BA (Hons) International Studies & Chinese

  • UCAS
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: BBB
    IB: 33 points including three HL subjects
  • Length
    4 years full-time (including a year in China)
  • Department
    Politics and International Relations, Confucius Institute for Dance and Performance

Course overview

The 2008 global economic crisis led to a shift in global economic power. China was at the forefront of this change. This course offers you the cultural, linguistic and theoretical skills necessary to fully appreciate Chinese political culture.

Expressed in ways that all too often appear to western journalists and reporters as a totalitarian nation, this degree provides students with the necessary theoretical, comparative and linguistic tools to enable them to tell a more complex, variegated and culturally embedded story.

Yet this is not an area studies degree. It's a new type of degree which combines discipline and language so that students are theoretically, linguistically and culturally ready to undertake a thesis on the subject of China.

You'll spend a year abroad in China, and after graduating from Goldsmiths with your BA in International Studies and Chinese you may be able enrol for one further year of study in China and, upon passing the additional year at Capital Normal University in Beijing. This will lead to the award of a BA in Chinese from this prestigious institution.

Why study BA (Hons) International Studies & Chinese?

  • You'll develop an understanding of conventional as well as interdisciplinary ways of understanding the international realm, and will study not only the West, but also China, Japan, India and Africa. In other words, this course offers a broad comparative and culturally nuanced understanding of the world that takes into account its changing nature.
  • You'll gain an advanced level of Chinese that will enable you to read Chinese newspapers, books and blogs and listen to radio television and film in Chinese.
  • To understand politics you need to understand culture. Politics is embedded in culture and yet all too often we assume knowledge which is also culturally embedded is neutral. We'll defamiliarise you from what you think you already know, and encourage you to look at subjects from different cultural perspectives.
  • We have a lively events programme that attracts renowned speakers, meaning that you'll have the opportunity to hear the latest political arguments, theories and ideas.
  • The Department has links with the Home Office, Department for Transport, local government and the European Commission and policy think tanks. It also has, in conjunction with the Goldsmiths Confucius Institute, a wide range of contacts in China.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Michael Dutton or Paul Gunn

Modules & structure


This four year programme is split 50/50 with Mandarin and Politics. It is made up of 480 credits (120 credits each year).

The programme offers modules that will give you a foundation knowledge in international relations, global politics, comparative area studies and/or political theory.

These disciplinary skills are then combined with the intensive Chinese language training programme given at Goldsmiths' Confucius Institute, followed by a year abroad in China (at the Capital Normal University in Beijing).

Here you will undertake advanced language training and gain first hand experience of everyday Chinese life. Then you'll be in a position upon your return to undertake their final year dissertation.

Level 4

This year starts with a comprehensive introduction to Mandarin which you will build to an advanced level. With the Department of Politics and International Relations you will be introduced to the different political systems and cultures that exist around the world, and gain an understanding of global political systems.

You will study Mandarin 1 and Mandarin 2, or Mandarin 3 and Mandarin 4, depending on your level of ability. You then take the following two compulsory modules:

Module title Credits
  World Politics 30 credits
  The Politics of Other Cultures 30 credits

Level 5

This year seeks to improve your Mandarin skills and develop them to a level where you can spend your third year in China. Building on your strong foundation in global politics you will study international relations and begin to develop areas of specific interest within the diverse options offered within the Department of Politics and International Relations.

You will study Mandarin 3 and Mandarin 4, or Mandarin 5 and Mandarin 6, depending on your level of ability. You then choose 60 credits from a list of modules currently available in the Department:

Module title Credits
  An(other) Japan: Politics, Ideology and Culture 15 credits
  Chinese Politics: The Revolutionary Era 15 credits
  Contemporary International Relations Theories 15 credits
  Europe Since 1945 15 credits
  Global Governance and World Order 15 credits
  Ideologies and Interests: Political Thought in Modern Britain 15 credits
  Liberalism and its Critics 15 credits
  Life: A User's Manual 15 credits
  Modern Britain: Thatcher and After 15 credits
  Modern Political Theory 30 credits
  Politics and International Relations of the Middle East 15 credits
  Politics of Vision 15 credits
  Rough Politics 15 credits
  US Politics and Foreign Policy 15 credits



Year in China

You will spend your third year in China at Capital Normal University in Beijing to consolidate your Mandarin knowledge. Within this you will be able to develop your understanding the international nature of politics and culture within China and its relation on a global stage.

Level 6

Returning to Goldsmiths in the final year, you will further build your language skills, as well as writing a dissertation focussing in detail on an area of your choice. Students must take the following compulsory modules:

  • Advanced Audio-Visual News Comprehension
  • Advanced Practical Writing  
  • Advanced Chinese Journal Reading
  • Contemporary Chinese Issues
  • Dissertation project

Students make up their remaining 30 Credits from the list of options currently available in the Department:


Module title Credits
  An(other) China: Streetscenes of Politics 15 credits
  An(other) IR – Views from the South 15 credits
  Anarchism 15 credits
  Beyond All Reason 15 credits
  Britain and Europe 15 credits
  Colonialism and Non-Western Political Thought 15 credits
  Critical Security Studies 15 credits
  Ethics and Economics of Environmental Protection 15 credits
  Feminist Politics 15 credits
  Liberal Government and Power 15 credits
  Movements and Conflict in the Middle East: from the Arab Spring to ISIS 15 credits
  Nationalist Conflict and International Intervention 15 credits
  New Radical Political Economy 30 credits
  Work Placement 15 credits
  Politics of Conflict and Peacebuilding in Contemporary Africa 15 credits
  Rhetoric and Politics 15 credits

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

A-level: BBB
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher), BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B2

If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us. 

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Read more about our general entrance requirements


Voted one of the top political universities in the UK by students**

Politics and International Relations

Politics and International Relations at Goldsmiths doesn’t just examine parliaments, voting systems and the formal arenas of political power. We explore ‘the politics behind politics’ – the major economic, social and cultural conflicts that are hidden by the formal veneer of institutions, but are central to everyday life.

We study politics and international relations for the 21st century, in which anarchism may be as important as liberalism, and in which Asia and Africa are as economically and geopolitically important as Europe and North America. 

Find out more about the Department of Politics and International Relations

**Which? University 2014

The Goldsmiths Confucius Institute offers a range of joint undergraduate programmes, as well as Mandarin option modules for students in other departments.

Confucius Institute for Dance and Performance

Our other activities, such as summer and winter camps, Chinese language courses and cultural workshops give you the best opportunities for language learning and cultural education.

Find out more about the Confucius Institute.

Learning & teaching

On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills.

The teachers are imaginative and innovative in their methods, to bring together theories and concrete examples. We use various assessment methods, such as asking you to write blog posts and contribute to Twitter discussions. Class presentations, writing various types of documents (such as a policy report) and collaborative work with other students are all important parts of our teaching process, which aims to give you confidence and practical experience in the skills that you will need later in your career.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning in lectures and seminars, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.

This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers.

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments
  • The Goldsmiths Virtual Learning Environment
Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches

Skills & careers


This programme will develop you intellectually, and will enhance your transferable and communication skills – learning to plan your workload, to research solutions, and to express your ideas coherently. In addition to these generic skills students will also gain fluency in the language of the world’s fastest growing economy.


Graduates of this programme will be in a unique employment position having gained broader disciplinary based theoretical skills than China area studies programmes, yet have advanced Chinese language skills and experience in China that are usually only available to China area studies scholars.

Graduates of the this programme have gone on to a wide variety of careers. Some go on to postgraduate study or further training in law, accountancy, social work, business administration, or to specialise in one area of their academic studies, whilst others go directly into employment.

Recent graduates have found employment in administration and management; in various departments of central and local government; in finance, in the media; in research and computing; in voluntary agencies; in health, education and housing management; the probation service; in company management, and as lecturers and teachers. You can find out more about different career options open to you on our Politics careers pages.

With the addition of Chinese languages plus the one year in country training students of this programme will also have more specialised skills and experiential knowledge of a country that is economically, politically and socially fast becoming the world’s second super-power.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student work

Michael Yeoman
Jamie Lee
Tayfun Isin
Jonathan Leary-Hemans
Edward Ritchie
Michael Yeoman


Fees & funding

Related content links

University statistics for this course