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First Year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Year in China or Taiwan

In China/Taiwan: Language Acquisition (Conversation, Writing, Classical Chinese, The News, Short Stories, Translation) 60

Second Year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Language Training: Modern Chinese oral/aural 5

a) choose one masterclass

Asian Studies Master Class: Issues and approaches in Modern China Studies 10
MA Masterclass: Theories and Methods in Area Studies 10

b) choose one of the following language courses:

Language Training: Modern Chinese reading/writing 5
Language Training: Advanced readings in Premodern Chinese 5

c) choose one of the State of the Field Seminars below:

State of the Field Seminar: Art History 10
Modern Chinese Literature: The Exile Experience 10
State of the Field Seminar: China in the 21st Century: Governing a Network Society in the Age of Information 10
State of the Field Seminar: Critical Security in East Asia 10
State of the Field Seminar: Chinese linguistics 10

Second semester

Chinese Writing 5
MA Thesis Chinese Studies 15

choose one out of the following three courses:

Topical Readings in Modern Chinese (philosophical and political texts) 10
Topical Readings in Chinese (texts on linguistics) 10
Topical Readings in Chinese (texts on premodern China) 10

Meer info


The objective of the programme is to ensure that graduates have acquired the following skills:

  • An excellent command of Mandarin and – in the case of certain specialisations – Classical Chinese;

  • A broad knowledge of China, and the ability to comment on China from other vantage points – for example, western Europe – for both specialist and general audiences, and to act as cultural mediators;

  • Some awareness of the history of Chinese Studies, its current development, its interfaces with various disciplines – for example, anthropology, history, art history, linguistics, literature, religion – and its importance for society;

  • Awareness of disciplinary thinking, concepts, terminology and methodology as dictated by your regional-disciplinary specialisation;

  • The ability to carry out academic research independently.


  • Structure

The programme is divided into two parts, spread over a two-year period:

Year 1: Mainland China or Taiwan
This year will take place at a university in China or Taiwan. The purpose is to strengthen your language skills while developing your understanding of the country and its society. At these universities, programmes in Chinese language and civilisation for foreign students typically include courses such as conversation, writing, newspaper readings and translation, offered at various levels for each course. While most courses run throughout the academic year, some may be offered for one term only; and there is, obviously, variation across institutions. [Applicants who completed (the equivalent of) a year’s study in situ no longer than three academic years before their entry into the programme, and whose experience since justifies the assumption that they have maintained their command of Chinese, are encouraged to apply for exemption from the first-year courses and permission to enter the programme in its second year.]

Year 2: Leiden
In the second year you will study the following courses in Leiden:

  • A master class in Asian Studies, covering topics such as Asian worldviews or Asian concepts of modernity

  • A state-of-the-field seminar, e.g. on modern Chinese politics and government, literature, history, linguistics, etc.

  • Language Training in Modern Chinese, with the possibility of taking Classical Chinese as well, should your specialisation require it

  • Topical readings in Modern Chinese literature, Classical Chinese or Chinese Linguistics

  • Writing in Modern Chinese

  • MA thesis. Half of the programme’s final term is reserved for writing your MA thesis. For more information, see below.

  • Full-time and part-time
    The programme is a full-time programme and requires your presence. It is not possible to register as a part-time student or follow courses online via distance-learning.

  • Masterthesis and requirements for graduation
    Half of the program’s final term is reserved for writing the MA thesis. The thesis is based on original research, and makes substantial use of primary material in Chinese and professional literature. It is written in English, and is up to 10.000 words in length: including footnotes and bibliography. It reflectsthe scholarly virtues of originality, focus and conciseness. The thesis must show the student’s ability to conduct original research under supervision, and to make a contribution to scholarship in a way that inspires confidence in her/his ability to prepare written reports of good quality (semi-)independently in a variety of professional settings. Its author must show that s/he is conversant with the discourse as it emerges from influential publications in the field.
    Once you have completed all requirements for graduation, you have to apply individually for the diploma-ceremony. There is no formal exam or Thesis-defense attached to the graduation. For details please check, Master students, graduation procedure

  • Specialisations
    The programme does not have formal specializations. It is, however, possible to focus on one’s own field of interest by choice of courses (State of the Field seminars) and the Thesis-topic, which does not have correspond with courses on offer (as long as you can find a staffmember to act as supervisor). In language (related) courses is also possible to focus more on premodern Chinese (Advanced readings and Topical Readings) and on Chinese linguistics (Topical Readings).