M.St. in Traditional China

Temple of Confucius, Beijing

Temple of Confucius, Beijing

For information on the MSt in Traditional China, including the selection criteria and resources available for the course, you should first consult the course page. Information on how to apply can be found in the University's Application Guide.

More information can also be found at the following links:

FAQs about the M.St. in Traditional China at the University of Oxford

Q: Who is this Master’s course for?
Among the many students who take up Chinese Studies in their undergraduate years there are always some who want to take their interest a step further, and possibly even move on to doctoral research. But in this field undergraduate studies never quite bring a student to a point where independent work becomes possible. A training is required, and it needs to be intensive and quite technical. This course aims to meet that need, and over the years it has brought several generations of students to the threshold of successful doctoral thesis work. They have come from varied backgrounds and different parts of the world – not only Britain, but also Canada, USA, continental Europe, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan. One great benefit of the course is to bring together students from all those different backgrounds so that they stimulate and enrich one another’s work. It is designed to stand independently as a one-year qualification which can lead on to further study elsewhere, but also to provide the standard training required by graduate students here in Oxford aiming at a thesis degree in pre-modern and early modern Chinese Studies.

If your interest is in history, art or literature, and you have a specific research proposal in mind then this could be the right course for you. But if, already armed with a knowledge of Chinese language, you may want to pursue a social science discipline (politics, economics, social anthropology, etc.), it would be best to choose one of Oxford's Master-level degrees in the discipline of your choice. For students with no previous knowledge of Chinese we offer the M.Phil. in Modern Chinese Studies (see the MPhil Modern Chinese Studies page).

Q: What will I learn?
This is a tough course. If you are admitted, you will have just one year in which to complete quite a stiff set of requirements. You will work closely with certain members of Oxford’s internationally renowned team of specialist tutors in Chinese Studies, and they will help you tailor your Master’s degree to suit your needs and interests. It will involve:

  • Close directed reading of selected texts which bear on your area of special interest. The selection will be carefully worked out during the first term of the course, and will balance your particular needs with those of other students working in similar areas.
  • A basic course in Japanese. Time is obviously too short to do real justice to this most difficult language, profoundly different from Chinese. So we focus on the essential need – to bring you to the point at which you can begin to tackle publications by Japanese specialists in your field. Once basic script and grammar have been covered, it means moving straight on to readings with a Chinese focus. (There is no time to spare for the skills of speaking and listening.) Your teacher will be a native Japanese Instructor.
  • An introduction to Sinology. This deals with the procedures of chronology, geography, bureaucracy, biography and bibliography as they arise in the context of traditional Chinese studies. The aim here is not so much to transmit information as to lead students away from a dependent, passive approach towards a questioning and free-standing research style.
  • A 15,000-word (max.) dissertation on an approved topic of your choice. Time is short and length is restricted, but this part of the course will still aim to bring out your powers of exposition and analysis, and you will document your work according to professional standards.

This will be an intensive experience, but potentially a valuable one. It can fundamentally refocus your approach to the subject and give you the means to go on to serious research.

Q. What do the classes look like?
Most of the teaching will be on an individual basis or in very small groups. We expect our prospective students to have a sense of what kind of research project they want to do before they come to Oxford. The course is very intense and focused, and you will work a lot with one supervisor. It is therefore crucial that you also check out the actual researchers in the Institute for Chinese Studies (i.e. not elsewhere in the university) and see whether your research interests and abilities also fit with what is on offer. You can do this by checking out our homepages and published research. Of course, we do not expect our students to work on exactly the same topics as we do, but there has to be enough of a match of your interests with our abilities that we can actually teach you. For this reason what you write on your research interests and experience is of great importance to us. If you are in doubt, then please feel free to write to the address provided below for more guidance.

Q: What else does Oxford offer for postgraduates studying Chinese?
You will enjoy the benefit of one of the best research collections of Chinese books in Europe. Apart from its early holdings of Chinese books from the 16th to 19th centuries, the Bodleian Library has over the last fifty years built up a systematic collection of monographs and periodicals. It has made a point of acquiring many large reprint series of gazetteers, government documents, maps and other material. It has an important collection of early 20th-century newspapers.

You will be among students who one day will form part of the next generation of China scholars around the world. Two activities will bring you into direct working contact with them. A Classical Chinese reading group meets every week in Full Term, and this gives a chance to each student in turn to share the reading of a difficult text with the rest of the group. The Institute for Chinese Studies also organizes its own weekly seminar, at which speakers include visiting international scholars, members of the Oxford academic staff, and graduate students. The talks are given in English or Chinese, and discussions are always critical and lively. Other graduate seminar groups with more specialized focus, for instance modern history or art and archaeology, also meet regularly.

Q: Want to find out more?
Then don’t hesitate to contact us!

Professor Barend ter Haar
Institute for Chinese Studies 
University of Oxford China Centre
Dickson Poon Building                            
Canterbury Rd OX2 6LU
Oxford

barend.terhaar@orinst.ox.ac.uk

 

Oxford-Ko Graduate Scholarships

One full scholarship is available to applicants who are ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland and who are applying for the full-time MSt in Traditional China. Preference will be given to graduates from the University of Leeds. 

The scholarship covers course fees, college fees and a grant for living costs of at least £14,296. Awards are made for the full duration of your fee liability for the agreed course. The scholarship is funded jointly by the Ko family and the University, in memory of Ko Cheuk-hung, MBE. Mr Ko was a prominent philanthropist who worked tirelessly for the homeless and destitute in British Hong Kong during the turbulent times following World War 2. 

There is no separate application process for this scholarship: to be considered, submit your application for graduate study by the relevant January deadline (20 January 2017). Selection is expected to take place by the end of May 2017. Please see the Standard scholarship selection terms for more information about the application and selection process. Details of this scholarship can be found here.

Oxford-Ko Cheuk Hung Graduate Scholarship

One full scholarship is available to applicants who are ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland and who are applying for the full-time MSt Traditional China.

The scholarship covers course fees, college fees and a grant for living costs of at least £14,296. Awards are made for the full duration of your fee liability for the agreed course. The scholarship is funded jointly by the Ko family and the University, in memory of Ko Cheuk-hung, MBE. Mr Ko was a prominent philanthropist who worked tirelessly for the homeless and destitute in British Hong Kong during the turbulent times following World War 2.

The scholarship is only tenable at St Cross College. All eligible applicants will be considered for this scholarship, regardless of which college (if any) you state as your preference on the graduate application form. However, successful applicants will be transferred to St Cross College in order to take up the scholarship.

There is no separate application process for this scholarship: to be considered, submit your application for graduate study by the relevant January deadline (20 January 2017). Selection is expected to take place by the end of May 2017. Please see the Standard scholarship selection terms for more information about the application and selection process. Details of this scholarship can be found here.

 

 

Further information can also be found in the Course Handbook, available here as a pdf. The Course Handbook is a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of the M.St. in Chinese Studies: