China has a recorded history of 3,500 years. The range of Chinese achievements in philosophy, literature, art, science and technology compares with those of a whole continent rather than a single country. Students learn Classical Chinese, the medium through which traditional Chinese civilization has been transmitted, and the contemporary language, which gives access to the world's most populous state.

You do not need to have any prior experience of Chinese in order to apply to study this language at undergraduate level.

The BA in Oriental Studies (Chinese) is a four-year course. The main emphasis in the first year is on building a sound basic knowledge of contemporary written and spoken Chinese. All students spend their second year in China, attending a course at Peking University which has been especially designed for Oxford’s undergraduates. In the third and fourth years of the degree programme the focus is on further developing linguistic skills, detailed study of texts, and developing a broad understanding of Chinese society. The course includes a wide choice of options covering literature, history, anthropology, politics, and art.

Chinese with a subsidiary language

It is possible to take Japanese, Korean or Tibetan studies as a subsidiary language for the BA in Oriental Studies (Chinese) degree, which will give you the opportunity to study the subsidiary language to intermediate level. Alternatively, you may choose options which will enable you to learn the fundamentals of Japanese and Korean, by selecting one of these as a subsidiary language for your degree.