Chinese Cultural Studies pathway (Modern Languages MLitt) 2023 entry

Explore the cultural creativity of the Chinese-speaking world in the 20th and 21st centuries in its many representations, including visual arts, language and literature. You will also learn the specialist methodologies and critical skills necessary for conducting research in this field. 

The Chinese Cultural Studies programme is one of the available pathways on the Modern Languages MLitt programme

Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2024
One year full time
School of Modern Languages

Application deadline

Thursday 10 August 2023

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • personal statement
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

Chinese Cultural Studies is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Modern Languages. In this course, you will further your knowledge of the cultural creativity of the Chinese-speaking world of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

You will work on literary, visual, and other cultural representations and critiques of modern and contemporary issues such as: 

  • ecology 
  • gender and sexuality 
  • minority ethnicities 
  • creative liberties. 

You will acquire the specialist methodological and critical theoretical skills and knowledge necessary for conducting research on these globally important issues in the context of the cultural expression of the Chinese-speaking world and its diaspora.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details about each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue, which is for the 2022-2023 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2023 entry. 

Students on the Chinese Cultural Studies pathway will take the following compulsory modules: 

  • Research Methods for Chinese Cultural Studies: provides training in the Chinese language and other China-specific research tools and methods.
  • The Cultural Creation of China the nation-state: from Qing decline to 21st-century spectacular power: examines the creation and frequent re-invention of China-the-nation-state through language, literature and culture in its widest sense, and focuses on the imbrication of politics and culture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Texts studied will be drawn from poetry, fiction, film, television, and popular music. 
  • EcoArts China: Art in the age of the Anthropocene: explores the dynamics of ecocriticism in China from the early 20th century to the present day through the lens of art, visual culture and film. We will explore the environmental impact of economic liberalization, urbanization and globalization as well as the historical complexity of changing conceptions of nature, landscape and space. 
  • Cultural Expression in the Chinese Diaspora: addresses literary and visual texts and practices created outside of China by migrants and their descendants. The module will introduce the historical context of a migration that was brought about by Western aggression against what was not yet China the nation-state which resulted in a Chinese diaspora that today extends to all five continents. 

Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and, assuming you have attained appropriate grades, receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt. 

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


The School promotes discipline-specific and collaborative teaching and learning so that students may explore their own particular interests in greater depth and breadth.  

Classes are delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Classes are intentionally small, with many being one-to-one or in very small groups. Lectures are usually in groups of up to 20.

Modules are assessed through coursework, and there are no final exams. 


The School of Modern Languages is the largest modern languages department in Scotland and one of the largest in the UK. 

The School is distinguished by the breadth of its research which spans language, literary, and cultural studies across eight distinct language areas – Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Persian, Russian, and Spanish – but also a range of cultural-historical epochs from the middle ages to the present day.

This expertise is complemented by the School’s comparative literature scholarship. 

The School hosts a year-round programme of research seminars which postgraduates are invited to attend. Opportunities to engage with the School’s wider research community are also provided through its  four research centres and institutes and its highly successful Byre World series, an annual programme of events bringing modern languages and cultural studies research to the local community. 




More information on tuition fees can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Find out more about the scholarships and postgraduate loans available.

All taught postgraduate scholarships

After your degree


Alongside your academic learning, you will develop your broader capabilities and employability. All Masters students have access to the Professional Skills Curriculum, a flexible programme of workshops, lectures, and online materials to help you develop your personal and professional skills. 
Graduates have gone on to careers in fields including: 

  • consulting 
  • energy resource management 
  • international development 
  • journalism 
  • UN interpreting 
  • public policy 
  • publishing 
  • the civil and diplomatic services 
  • University academics and administrators. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Further study

The MLitt provides academic learning and research skills training for students intending to continue to a doctoral or other research degree.  

As well as the PhD degree, the School of Modern Languages offers supervision for two research-based Masters degrees – the Master of Studies by Research (MSt (Res)) and the Master of Philosophy (MPhil).  

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate virtual days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2961
School of Modern Languages
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

School of Modern Languages website