Chinese Studies Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Chinese Studies

Chinese Studies is the study of China and the Greater China region with a focus on History, Linguistics, Politics, Social Policy, Cultural Studies and Translation Studies. Interest in this area has exploded over the last few years.

China Studies courses aim to offer a well-rounded introduction to this complex and complicated region, instruction in Mandarin and the freedom to focus on topics such as history, media or politics.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Chinese Studies in the following subject areas:

  • Chinese Studies (M.Phil.) – Chinese Studies is a multidisciplinary field of study, drawing upon and integrating disciplines such as History, Linguistics, Politics, Social Policy, Cultural Studies and Translation Studies.
  • Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture – An introduction to traditional Chinese culture, the language, Chinese business manners, and how even numbers and colours have secret meanings in this very indirect culture.
  • Chinese (Mandarin): Beginners – The course is designed to meet the basic requirements for daily social communication, and focuses on both listening and speaking skills.
  • Commerce (International) with Chinese Studies  – Combining business subjects with the study of the Chinese language and culture, this degree will equip you with the skills and knowledge to work in a fast-changing global business environment.

Studying Chinese Studies

There are many courses in Chinese Studies that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Volunteering can be a useful way of developing experience overseas. Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), such as the United Nations and the European Union, offer volunteering opportunities, internships and traineeships. The UN also offers a Young Professionals Programme for graduates wanting to start a career as international civil servants.

Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers.  Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Chinese Studies course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of Chinese History, Linguistics, Politics, Social Policy and Cultural Studies.

With its booming economy, China has plenty to offer ambitious graduates seeking a new challenge – discover what it’s like to live and work in this thriving Asian country.

The growth of China’s economy has been rapid and the country currently boasts the second-largest economy in the world (behind the USA). While the rate of economic growth has slowed down in recent years, job prospects are generally good, although competition for graduate roles is fierce.

The opportunity to experience a completely different culture is a huge attraction to foreigners considering working in China. To make life a little easier, you may wish to consider taking classes in Mandarin – not only does a second language look great on your CV, but it could also boost your chances of success when looking for work.

Major industries in China include chemicals, consumer products, food processing, machine building, mining, technology, textiles and transport.

If you want to use your degree directly, consider roles with government departments such as the Department for International Trade and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. If you are interested in working within China please note that China has a five-day working week, typically Monday to Friday. According to Chinese labour law, employees must not work more than 40 hours a week (eight hours per day) – although, in reality, overtime is common and many local companies rarely compensate for this.

Related jobs include:

  • Civil Service fast streamer
  • Diplomatic service officer
  • Government social research officer
  • Intelligence analyst
  • International aid/development worker
  • Policy officer
  • Political risk analyst
  • Public affairs consultant
  • Armed Forces operational officer
  • Border Force officer
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Business development manager
  • Data scientist
  • Marketing executive
  • Sales executive

Further study

After completing a course in Chinese Studies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as Accounting, Engineering, Fashion, Finance, Hospitality, IT, Law and Marketing.


Why should I take a course in Chinese Studies?

China, Japan, India and Canada’s economies are among the world’s top ten (second, third, fifth and tenth respectively), reflecting the fact that the majority of gross domestic product (GDP) is now generated outside of the USA and Europe. This trend is set to continue, with Indonesia, Brazil, Russia and Mexico expected to join the top ten in the not too distant future.

International programmes give students an understanding of the different cultures found all over the world and can prepare them for potential careers working abroad or in organizations that are engaged in business on a global scale.

Studying international business allows you to see how globalization has brought about an increasing ‘connectedness’ of businesses, markets, people and information across countries.

What skills will I learn from a course in Chinese Studies?

A qualification in Chinese studies will introduce you to the country and culture of China and give you a new appreciation of cultural differences. You will learn how to communicate with different audiences and develop intercultural and global awareness, which is of value in a global job market.

Many international courses encourage international study or work experience so you may also be able to demonstrate transferable skills such as learning a new language, flexibility, cultural awareness and curiosity.

Where can I study Chinese Studies?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Mandarin is not the only language in China. There are others such as Yue, Wu, Minbei, Minnan, Xiang, Gan and Hakka. Some regions in China also have their own dialects.
  • Chinese New Year’s celebration lasts for 15 days. It’s the biggest holiday in China which is usually celebrated in January or February. New Year in China is even more popular than Christmas. But here’s an even interesting fact: many countries in the world celebrate Chinese New Year as well.
  • The Bailong Elevator in Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie, China can carry visitors up to 300 meters high on a cliff’s edge. This elevator is the world’s heaviest and highest outdoor elevator.
  • China, along with Italy, has the highest number of UNESCO sites in the world. Some of the most visited UNESCO sites in China include the: Forbidden City in Beijing, The Great Wall of China, Summer Palace in Beijing, and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and the world-famous Terracotta Army.
  • Every single Panda living in the whole world belongs to China. That means if you see a Panda in your country, it is lent by China. In China, all Pandas can be found in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital city.

Mariza Halliday

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