MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies

MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies


The MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies is a two-year master's degree programme offered jointly by the Faculty of Oriental Studies and the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies which combines intensive study of the Chinese language with thorough training in the study of modern China.

The course is suitable for graduates who have developed an interest in China and now want to take that to a level where it could be useful for their future careers.  It can be taken either as a terminal degree in preparation for professional work in which knowledge of China and Chinese is an advantage, or in preparation for further research as part of a doctoral degree in either the humanities or social sciences.

The aims of the MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies are to provide a strong grounding in modern Chinese language, both written and spoken, a strong foundation in understanding modern Chinese society and culture, and advanced training in conducting and reporting on independent and original research.

You will spend the first year of the course in Oxford, studying Chinese language alongside core classes in Chinese society and culture. You will choose from a range of options, shared with the MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies, which allow you opportunities to acquire advanced knowledge of the society, politics, economics, history, literature and art of modern China.


Knowing the Chinese language is essential for anyone who wants to understand China and the course is designed to provide this at both elementary and intermediate levels. You will be allocated to the appropriate level by a placement test on arrival. 

Elementary level will be for students who are complete beginners or are false beginners, but not up to the next level. Students are taught reading, writing and translation skills as well as speaking and listening. Intermediate level will be for students who have excelled at the beginner level, are confident in daily communication and able to recognise and write about 500 to 550 Chinese characters. Students must have learnt most of the main grammar points to enter the intermediate level. 

The first part of the second year consists of a period of at least three months on an approved course of language study in China.

Please note: Because language classes are provided at elementary and intermediate levels only, the MPhil programme is not suitable for fluent or advanced learners of Chinese. They may wish to consider the MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies, a nine-month programme which shares many classes with the MPhil course.