Chinese Studies Admissions FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Admissions

Can the course be undertaken part-time or via a distance-learning? 

No, the course can only be undertaken full-time in Oxford. 

Do you accept international students?

Many of our students are international students. UK/EU students are also very welcome.

What is the application process?

The application procedure is explained in the Graduate Studies Prospectus. If you apply online your application will be automatically sent to the Graduate Admissions Office.  If you apply using the paper form, you must send two copies of both your form and all supporting materials to the Graduate Admissions Office in time for the relevant deadline.

How do I pay the application fee?

As well as completing the application form and providing your supporting documentation there is a small application fee (currently £75 but subject to change without notice) to pay for each programme application that you make. The fee is non-refundable and is payable whether your application is successful or not. We cannot process your application unless we receive payment in full at the same time. If you apply online, you can pay with a VISA or MasterCard. If you apply on paper, you can pay by Sterling cheque - drawn on a UK bank and made payable to University of Oxford, Sterling banker's draft made payable to University of Oxford, or Sterling International Money Order made payable to University of Oxford.
See the Graduate Prospectus for details.

Which colleges should I choose? 

Please visit the university's graduate admissions page to view the colleges that have agreed to consider applicants for the MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies and MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies

Why do I need a college place?

Every postgraduate student has to be admitted by both a department of the University and by one of the colleges. In general, prime responsibility for oversight of postgraduate students lies with the relevant University department, which appoints a supervisor for each postgraduate student, and arranges lectures and classes as appropriate. Applicants must first be accepted by the department concerned with their field of study and then their application will be passed to a college.

Which college should I apply to?

All graduate students at Oxford University are members of a department and also of a college. You should browse the college entries in the Graduate Studies Prospectus in order to find the ones that appeal to you the most. You should consider whether you would like to be a member of a college that accepts undergraduates as well as graduate students, or of one that admits graduate students only. These postgraduate-only colleges are clearly indicated on the list of colleges in the Graduate Student Prospectus. Other factors that you might like to consider are the location of the colleges, their library facilities and the atmosphere and ethos of each individual college. You must indicate on your application form one college that you would like to consider your application. You are also permitted an alternative choice, to which your application might be sent if you are unsuccessful with your first choice.

What purpose do colleges fill for graduate students?

Colleges act as a base for the duration of your time as a graduate student. They provide meals, chapels, social events, sporting clubs, and each has its own library (of varying degrees of size and specialism). Several colleges also provide accommodation for graduate students, either for one year, two years and exceptionally, three years. Some colleges offer scholarships for applicant students. You should check their individual college websites for further details.

Will I be required for interview?

No. Your candidature will be considered solely upon the basis of the materials that you supply with your application. 

Am I eligible for funding?

Your eligibility for funding will depend upon your own circumstances and upon the terms by which individual funding bodies award their scholarships. There are a variety of funding schemes for students and full details of all possibilities can be found on the Fees and Funding website. Please be aware of deadlines for the scholarships as the majority close at the end of the January gathered field so you will need to apply by this gathered field to be eligible.

If I am unsuccessful in finding funding, can I defer my place for another year?

No, we are unable to defer places due to lack of funding and we would ask you to reapply for the next year.

How much money will I need?

You can find detailed information about university tuition fees here. You will also have to pay fees to your college, the exact amount of which varies from college-to-college but is usually in the region of £2,000-£3,000. In addition to these fees, maintenance and living expenditure was estimated to be in the region of £11,500 per annum for Oxford in 2016/17.

What about visa requirements for International Students?

You must obtain a student visa before arrival in the UK. The Graduate Admissions pages provide information for International Students on visas.

How many people are accepted onto the course each year?

We aim to get around 18 students on the MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies and 9 on the MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies.

What induction arrangements will be made?

There are induction sessions during 0th Week in Michaelmas Term (the week before the start of your first term) and all students are expected to attend those parts relevant to their course  You will receive information on the general rules of the department (both the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies and the Oriental Institute) and of Oxford University and information on how to use the department/University computer systems and the University libraries.  Staff from the MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies and MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies will present the course content for core and option courses, explain timetables, examinations and facilities. The induction will also include a social event where you will have the opportunity to meet classmates and members of staff.  You will also receive a college induction during this week.

What are the supervision arrangements and what one-to-one or small group teaching will students on this course receive?

There is limited one-to-one teaching on MSc and MPhil courses. However, staff members will be available to advise you on reading, literature and topics. You will also be given a supervisor to help guide you through your dissertation research through regular one-to-one meetings. Students often arrange small group meetings between themselves to discuss reading lists before their lectures. Students may also discuss emerging essay and dissertation ideas with doctoral students working on China in the various departments of the university.

What workspace will be provided? What IT support/library facilities/experimental facilities will be available

The Dickson Poon building offers a graduate computer room, language lab and a common room. Information on IT access will be sent to students as part of the induction material. IT Services run courses on various computer programmes and can offer help and guidance. Oxford University has an extensive library system. The Bodleian K B Chen China Centre Library and the Social Studies Library are the main read-only and lending services respectively, for the material you will require. A tutorial on using the library and IT facilities will be provided at your induction and will be available in your induction packs.  

What training needs analysis will be carried out with students and what formal graduate research skills and transferable skills training will be provided? What opportunities are provided for students to take part in research seminars or groups?

A combined Introduction to the Area Studies Research Methods Course (compulsory for MSc students and one of two options available for those on the MPhil course) and Oxford’s IT services is held in Week 0 of Michaelmas Term. All students taking part in the Research Methods course are required to complete and submit a training needs analysis form.  The Research Methods  lectures and classes are held in Michaelmas term and the first part of Hilary Term.  Besides a generally intellectually stimulating environment, the Area Studies Research Methods course will offer research skills training in preparation for your dissertation as well as developing an understanding of the research process. This will cover such topics as research theory, sociological and anthropological approaches, social and economic surveys, discourse and narrative analysis, data analysis and elementary statistical techniques. You will also be able to attend an Essay Writing Skills workshop at University level, which will help you to develop in this area.

A range of China-related seminars take place at the University in term time. Weekly research seminars focussing on various aspects of Chinese Studies are held at the China Centre. Seminar series at the departments of Politics, Anthropology, Economics and International Development regularly feature papers on China. You are advised to attend as many seminars and lectures as possible. 

What arrangements are in place for pastoral and welfare support?

There is an extensive framework of support for graduates within each college. Your college will allocate to you a College Advisor from among its Senior Members, usually in a cognate subject, who will arrange to see you from time to time and who you may contact for additional advice and support on academic and other matters. In college you may also approach the Tutor for Graduates and/or the Senior Tutor for advice. The Tutor for Graduates is a fellow of the college with particular responsibility for the interests and welfare of graduate students. In some colleges, the Senior Tutor will also have the role of Tutor for Graduates. Each college will also have other named individuals who can offer individual advice. The student union can also offer help and advice.

Please address any further enquiries to the Programme Administrator at