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Chinese Studies

Degree Master of Arts
Application required access-restricted
Course commences winter semester only
Standard course duration 4 semesters
Format options full-time and part-time
Language requirements English (on application)
Language of instruction German
Other features postgraduate / consecutive

Philosophische Fakultät


 Course outline

The M.A. course in Chinese Studies sets out to impart to its students in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and the scholarly methods central to this subject and their application in academic practice. The main factor operative in the choice of content for this course is academic curiosity about a very different culture. This is not to suggest, however, that China (including Taiwan and Greater China) is regarded as a research object existing in isolation in the vast expanses of East Asia. As in our B.A. programme, which significantly goes by the name of East Asian Studies with a focus on China, full account is taken of the East Asian context. In the M.A. programme, however, which builds on previously acquired general knowledge of the region, topics specific to China are at the heart of our endeavours.

The scholarly issues we pursue in this course stem from a dual source: linguistics, cultural studies and literary studies on the one hand, and sociological-cum-historical aspects of Chinese Studies on the other. The aim of the course is to produce specialists on China equipped with a holistic understanding of Chinese civilisation and society enriched by transcultural comparisons.

The M.A. course is designed to enable students to enhance the knowledge and skills they have already acquired, improve their language proficiency and further develop their personal interests both in the cultural/literary sector and in the sphere of sociology and history. Only students with a very good working knowledge of the Chinese language need apply for admission to the programme. As a subsidiary subject they can choose any programme offering instruction at the M.A. level.

Course structure

The M.A. course in Chinese Studies follows on from the successful completion of a B.A. course in the same subject. Standard course duration, including the time required for the final examination, is four semesters. Taught classes take up the first three terms, the M.A. thesis is completed in the fourth. The thesis is designed to demonstrate that the student in question is able to handle, independently and within the time allotted for the purpose, a chosen topic of relevance to Chinese Studies in line with established academic standards. After graduation from the M.A. programme, students with an above-average interest in academic study can go on to work towards a PhD in the subject.

The M.A. course in Chinese Studies is made up of a General Part (GP) and a Specialised Part (SP). The Specialised Part is subdivided into two focal areas: Classical Chinese Studies and Modern Chinese Studies. The course is modular in structure. A module is a learning/teaching unit devoted to a specific topic dealt with within a defined period of time. This unit can comprise various classes. A distinction is made between compulsory modules that all students have to engage with and elective-compulsory modules in which students are free to choose from the modules offered by the Department (i.e. only the choice itself is compulsory). To pass in a given module, students need to achieve at least grade 4.0 (“adequate”) in all parts of the module tested.

The modules required for successful graduation from the M.A. programme are equivalent to a total of 120 credit points (CP). Of these 120 CP, 70 are acquired in specialist classes on Chinese Studies plus the written and oral examinations, 20 are accounted for by the subsidiary (minor) subject and 30 by the M.A. thesis.

Subsidiary (minor) subject

Students of this M.A. course are required to obtain 20 credit points in a subsidiary (minor) subject. Click here for a list of all subsidiary subjects on offer.

The M.A. course in Chinese Studies can also be studied as a subsidiary (minor) subject accounting for 20 CP.

Main research interests

The modules in the M.A. programme Chinese Studies are thematic in nature and divide into research-skill modules, language-proficiency modules, modules for the acquisition of cross-disciplinary skills, and examination modules.

The research-skill modules encompass classes concerned with Sinological research methods and issues as well as with scholarly work in general (research colloquium). These include advanced seminars in the General Part of the course on topics of universal interest within Chinese Studies, content-related advanced seminars in Classical or Modern Sinology, and source-related advanced seminars in Classical or Modern Sinology.

The objectives of these classes are

  • critical incorporation of cross-disciplinary conceptualisations with a bearing on China in their relation to the source situation (advanced seminar GP)
  • communication of specialist knowledge on topics from the fields of cultural history/history of ideas, politics, economics or linguistics, plus instruction in analytic methodologies, reading proficiency (Chinese source texts), and reading and oral proficiency (scholarly Chinese) (content-related advanced seminars)
  • imparting to students the linguistic proficiency required to deal with thematically focused Chinese sources (texts, images, recordings) and strategies for the analysis of these sources (source-related advanced seminars).

Language-proficiency modules consist of two part-fields with differing content: the Scholarly Language module and the Source Exploration module. The Scholarly Language module consists of four part-modules (scholarly discourse, scholarly texts in Chinese, scholarly translation, preparations for the final written examination), all of which serve the purpose of introducing students to scholarly usage in Chinese and the translation thereof. The Source Exploration module consists of three part-modules (1x online communication and online sources, 2x source reading and analysis) for practice in exploring and analysing different Chinese-language sources.

Modules for the acquisition of cross-disciplinary skills facilitate access to the most important conventional and digital resources in Classical and Modern Sinology (Scholarly Resources module GP) and practical techniques employed in scholarly inquiry (Academic Practice module GP).

The examinations module (Classical Sinology / Modern Sinology) consists of the M.A. thesis and preparation of, and participation in, written and oral examinations.

Formal requirements


Access to the course is restricted. The current Admission Regulations are available here.

Prospective students from Germany

Prospective students from Germany can enrol without prior application at the Central University Administration building by the beginning of the lecture period. To matriculate, they are required to show a written statement of admission issued by the representative of the Master’s programme they wish to attend, confirming that the requirements set out in the Admission Regulations have been met. Please apply to the Institute of Chinese Studies for further information on how to proceed.

International prospective students

Prospective students from other countries must apply in writing, so that their previous academic record can be verified. The deadline for international applicants is 15 June. Applications must be addressed directly to the International Relations Office. Please use the M.A. application form here and enclose the necessary documents.

Further information

Current information on procedure

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations M.A. (27 October 2006)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.

Academic advisors

Marina Rudyak, M.A.

Institute of Chinese Studies
Voßstraße 2, Building 4120, Office 120.02.21
69115 Heidelberg
Office hours: See here
phone: +49(0)6221 / 54-15363



Institute of Chinese Studies
Voßstraße 2, Building 4120
D-69115 Heidelberg



Voßstraße 2, Building 4120, Office 120.03.06
Phone: +49 (0)6221-54-15310


Student representation

E-Mail: Seitenbearbeiter
Letzte Änderung: 2019-06-03
zum Seitenanfang/up