BA East Asian Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

BA East Asian Studies will provide you with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the East Asian region, with a focus on China and Japan, through studying cultures, histories, societies, economics and politics.

You will gain a critical appreciation of the complex contemporary realities in East Asian countries, as well as the changing position of these countries in an ever-changing international context.

This course aims to provide you with the knowledge and critical tools needed to understand East Asia in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as well as an appreciation of the major historical events and social movements that have made East Asian countries what they are today.

East Asia is studied both as an economically connected region with overlapping histories, languages and cultural identities and as a diverse group of countries and peoples with divergent political systems and contemporary cultures.

By the end of your degree, you will possess the socio-cultural understanding and analytical skills needed to embark upon more long-term professional or academic engagements with the East Asian region, and will have acquired a more international perspective on the world as it stands today and as it has developed over the course of history.

You will have the option of learning some Chinese, Japanese or Korean language as part of your studies, although East Asian Studies is not a language-intensive degree programme.

You can tailor your degree according to your interests and professional ambitions, and from the second year onwards can choose from a wide range of courses on topics including:

  • language;
  • contemporary art;
  • literature;
  • religion;
  • media;
  • popular culture;
  • business;
  • anthropology;
  • history;
  • economics;
  • politics.

Aims

We aim to provide you with:

  • the knowledge and critical tools to understand East Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries;
  • appreciation of the major historical events and social movements that have made East Asian countries what they are today;
  • an understanding of East Asia as both an economically connected region with overlapping histories, languages and cultural identities, and a diverse group of countries and peoples with divergent political systems and contemporary cultures;
  • the socio-cultural understanding and analytical skills needed to embark upon more long-term professional or academic engagements with the East Asian region;
  • a more international perspective on the world as it stands today and as it has developed over the course of history.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Study abroad

You may be able to have one semester studying abroad in a country in East Asia.

Your residence abroad will strengthen your languages skills and employability in many ways, and provide a valuable and inspirational life experience. It will equip you with numerous transferable skills to aid your future career, including:

  • a diverse and knowledgeable worldview;
  • cross-cultural sensitivity and adaptability;
  • the ability to rise to new challenges using initiative;
  • enhanced self-confidence and leadership skills;
  • demonstration of effective cross-cultural communication and interpersonal skills.

Societies

The University is home to more than 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.

Learn more about colloquialisms in language through native speakers and take part in discussion groups and socials.

Some of our societies also coordinate trips abroad to language-specific destinations.

Join the Japan Society North West or Manchester University Chinese Students Society and enjoy an exciting calendar of cultural events, including annual Japan Day and Chinese New Year celebrations.

Teaching and learning

You will be taught through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars and tutorials. 

You will spend approximately 12 hours each week in formal study sessions, and for every hour spent at the University you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

Your individual study component could be spent:

  • reading;
  • producing written work;
  • revising for examinations;
  • working in the University's Language Centre.

We'll provide individual learning support to help you take control of your learning and develop your confidence.

Our peer support scheme is one of the largest in Europe. Peer mentors are higher-year students on the same degree programme as you, who will help you find your feet when you arrive here and adjust to student life. As they'll have already been a student at Manchester for at least a year, they should be able to help you with anything you might be worried or unsure about.

Study with us and you'll also be assigned an academic adviser who is there to give advice about any academic issues throughout the duration of your course. Your adviser will be able to help you with the transition from school/college to university - and can help you get to grips with studying and learning more independently. They'll also be able to help you develop your skills in academic writing or research, or any other skills that are specific to your degree programme.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • presentations;
  • coursework (which may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research);
  • in your final year, a dissertation based on a research topic of your choice.

Assessment methods vary from course unit to course unit - see individual course unit listings for more information.

Course content for year 1

Single Honours students will study between 80 and 120 credits in East Asian Studies.

Compulsory units consist of Introduction to Chinese Studies, Introduction to Japanese Studies, Empire and Culture in East Asia, and Introduction to Japanese History and Literature.

You also have the option of studying a 40-credit Minor in another subject within the arts, languages and cultures. Or, with special permission from the Programme Director, you may be able to choose up to 40 credits in Chinese, Japanese or Korean language.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Introduction to Chinese Studies CHIN10050 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

Choose from a range of course units on various aspects of East Asia, including language, politics, business, economics, history, literature, anthropology, society, art and science.

Course unit options include Contemporary Asian Art, Science and Civilization in East Asia, Modern Chinese Literature, and Families and Networking in Chinese Society.

You also have the option of studying a 40-credit Minor in another subject within the arts, languages and cultures. Or, with special permission from the Programme Director, you may be able to choose up to 40 credits in Chinese, Japanese or Korean language.

Course content for year 3

You will continue developing your interests and can either continue with a similar range of subjects to Year 2, or branch out into new disciplines and topics.

Third year course units are offered on cutting-edge topics such as Love and Sexuality in Contemporary China, Media, Society and Religion in Japan, Chinese Pop Culture and Media, The Environment in Chinese Literature and Film, and Bodies, Sex and Gender in Japan.

Students are also encouraged to take free choice course units related to East Asia within History, Sociology, Business, Economics, Religion and Screen Studies.

You also have the option of studying a 40-credit Minor in another subject within the arts, languages and cultures. Or, with special permission from the Programme Director, you may be able to choose up to 40 credits in Chinese, Japanese or Korean language.

Facilities

The University Language Centre is home to language resources, including a new interpreting suite, purpose-built recording rooms and resources for over 70 languages.

The Centre also offers multilingual word processing, language learning software, off-air recording and AV duplication, multilingual terrestrial and satellite TV, and extensive support and advice for learners.

Learn more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk