BA (Hons) International Relations & Chinese

  • UCAS
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: BBB
    IB: Three HL subjects with 655
  • Length
    4 years full-time (including a year in China)
  • Department
    Politics and International Relations, Confucius Institute for Dance and Performance

Course overview

China has been at the forefront of a global economic power shift in the aftermath of the global economic crisis in 2008. On this degree you’ll gain the cultural, philosophical, conceptual and linguistic tools to focus on China, with a solid grounding in International Relations.

With the growing economic and political power and significance of China, specialist knowledge of the Chinese language is essential to understanding the country, its culture and its place in the world today.

Throughout this degree you’ll explore the key concepts, policies, practices and institutions of international relations, alongside developing your Chinese language skills, complemented by a year studying at Capital Normal University in Beijing. This experience in China will give you the chance to gain first-hand experience of the culture, to consolidate your knowledge, languages skills and offer you the chance to discover your own area of interest in China within the larger global context.

The study of international systems and relations is complemented by area studies focusing on particular regions that are of crucial geopolitical and economic significance today: you’ll focus on China, but will also look at the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. You can further enhance your knowledge in your personal areas of interest, with optional modules as diverse as security, development and human rights, foreign policy, conflict and genocide.

This theoretical learning is complemented by the opportunity to apply your academic knowledge to an optional work placement in the international relations sector. This will give you valuable experience that will set you apart as you embark on your career in areas such as government, international institutions, policy thinktanks, development agencies and NGOs.

After graduating from Goldsmiths with your BA in International Relations and Chinese you’ll be given the option to study for another year at Beijing Capital Normal University. If you successfully complete this year then you’ll also gain a BA in Chinese Studies from this prestigious institution. This option to gain an additional BA degree is a unique opportunity and the only programme of its type to be approved by the Ministry of Education in China, which will help to open doors for further employment opportunities.

Cultural visits to China

During your studies, you’ll be eligible to apply for funding to take part in our annual Summer/Winter Camp to China (funding will cover all necessary in country expenses, excluding international travel and visa fees).

You’ll spend 2 weeks studying and going on excursions in China. In previous years, students have visited Beijing and Shanghai and saw cultural sights including the Great Wall of China, visited the Forbidden City and cruised along Huangpu River. You can find out more about these camps on our scholarships page.

Contact the department

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

Modules & structure

Level 4

Students take the following compulsory modules in the Department of Politics and International Relations:

Module title Credits
  World Politics 30 credits
  Political Theory and Ideologies 30 credits

You will also study two consecutive Mandarin modules (ie. Mandarin 1 and Mandarin 2). The module you start with will depend on your language ability, which will be determined by the Confucius Centre at the start of the academic year.

Module title Credits
  Mandarin 1 30 credits
  Mandarin 2 30 credits
  Mandarin 3 30 credits
  Mandarin 4 30 credits

Level 5

You will study the following International Relations modules:

Module title Credits
  Contemporary International Relations Theories 15 credits
  Global Governance and World Order 15 credits
  Critical Security Studies 15 credits

You then choose ONE module from a list of IR/area studies modules. Current examples include:

Module title Credits
  US Politics and Foreign Policy 15 credits
  Rough Politics 15 credits

You will also study 2 more consecutive Mandarin modules, which should follow on from the Mandarin modules you studied in the first year. For example, if you studied Mandarin 1 and Mandarin 2 then you will study Mandarin 3 and Mandarin 4.


Module title Credits
  Mandarin 3 30 credits
  Mandarin 4 30 credits
  Mandarin 5 30 credits
  Mandarin 6 30 credits

Year abroad at Capital Normal University in Beijing

In your third year you will spend a year studying at Capital Normal University in Beijing. You will take compulsory modules to the value of 120 credits. 

Although you will be assessed as part of the course at Capital Normal University, these marks will not count towards your final degree classification. 


Level 6

Returning to Goldsmiths in the final year, you'll complete a dissertation worth 30 credits in the Department of Politics and International Relations.

You’ll also study the following Confucius modules:

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

And choose a total of 30 credits from a list of IR/area studies modules. Current examples include:

Module title Credits
  An(other) China: Streetscenes of Politics 15 credits
  Critical Security Studies 15 credits
  An(other) IR – Views from the South 15 credits
  Nationalist Conflict and International Intervention 15 credits
  Political Islam: Ideology and Discourse 15 credits
  Politics of Conflict and Peacebuilding in Contemporary Africa 15 credits
  The Politics and Economics of Immigration 15 credits
  Finance and the Global Political Economy 15 credits
  Colonialism and Non-Western Political Thought 15 credits
  The Political Economy of International Development Assistance 15 credits


Assessments are composed of coursework along with unseen written, listening and oral exams. 

Download the programme specification for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

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: Three HL subjects with 655

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 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2

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 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5

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* and ranked in the world's elite**

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 2016
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

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 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

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