M.Phil. in Modern Chinese Studies
Two women wear Shanghai-styled qipao while playing golf in this 1930s advertisement from Shanghai.
The M.Phil. in Modern Chinese Studies is a two-year master's degree programme combining intensive study of the Chinese language with a thorough training in the study of modern China.
The aims of the programme are to provide:
- A strong grounding in modern Chinese language, both written and spoken;
- A strong foundation in understanding modern Chinese society and culture;
- Advanced training in conducting and reporting on independent and original research.
Students spend the first year of the course in Oxford where they study Chinese language alongside core classes in Chinese society and culture. They also choose from a range of options (shared with the MSc Modern Chinese Studies) which allow them opportunities to acquire advanced knowledge of the society, politics, economics, history, literature and art of modern China. The first part of the second year consists of a four-month intensive Chinese language programme at Peking University during which students also have the opportunity to do research in China for their dissertations. After this students return to Oxford to prepare for the final examination in June.
The programme 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.
Knowing the Chinese language is essential for anyone who wants to understand China and the programme is designed to provide this at both elementary and intermediate levels. Students entering the degree from September 2013 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 500-550 Chinese characters. Students must have learnt most of the main grammar points to enter the intermediate level.
The course is not designed for people with a first degree in Chinese Studies, or those who otherwise already have advanced knowledge of modern Chinese. Such students are advised to apply to one of the following courses:
- M.Sc. in Modern Chinese Studies run by the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies for students with an interest in contemporary China.
- M.St. in Chinese Studies run by the Faculty of Oriental Studies for students preparing to enter a doctoral program for the study of premodern or early modern China.