BA Chinese Studies and History
Course code: TV11
China is a complex, dynamic and fascinating society that contrasts high-tech cityscapes and monumental feats of engineering and industry, with ancient temples and grand palaces, paddy fields and bamboo groves, scorching deserts and high mountain peaks. Our degree in Chinese Studies and History allows you to develop Chinese language skills while gaining an insight into one of the world's great powers; one of largest and fastest growing and economies and a country with great cultural traditions.
You will compliment this with a broader study of history, choosing from an extensive range of option modules that allow you to really focus on the aspects of history that interest you most. We have around 40 members of academic staff, teaching and researching in ancient, medieval, early modern, modern and contemporary history. Our historians address themes including society and culture, politics, religion, gender and the history of violence and peace, in Britain, Europe, America and the wider world. This provides you with the ideal environment to develop your historical research skills and explore your individual areas of interest as well as developing a broad range of transferable skills to help you prepare for your future.
Along the way you'll gain skills that help you to identify and analyse relevant bodies of research. You'll learn to exercise independent judgement and be critical of accepted opinion and you will develop effective written and verbal communication skills that will enable you to present your findings to a variety of audiences.
In the School of East Asian Studies you will follow a balanced programme that develops both your language skills and your understanding of how China works, in terms of its politics, economy, society and culture. The intensive four-year language programme can accommodate both absolute beginners and students with some prior knowledge.
The language is taught intensively from the beginning of the course, covering all of the basic skills including grammar, writing and speaking. These skills will be further developed when you spend your second year at the University of Nanjing, one of the top universities in China. Returning to Sheffield for the third and fourth years, you will refine your Chinese language skills: our thematic approach which means that each language class, whether reading, translating, writing, speaking, or listening, is topic-focused with all materials drawn from a wide variety of sources including newspapers, literature, government documents, films and TV. At the same time, you will develop a critical appreciation of the challenges facing contemporary China through modules on politics, society and the economy, the environment, business, history and culture.
How it works
Our teaching and assessment system is modular, meaning that across all three years you can tailor your course to suit you. You will have core modules at each level of your degree: these help you to develop your skills and give you a strong foundation for your historical knowledge. Our wide range of option modules give you the opportunity to complement your core learning by specialising in the topics that interest you most. These option modules offer a wide chronological and geographical coverage of history from the ancient world to the modern day and reflect a variety of approaches and methodologies, so you can choose to focus on themes such as political, social, cultural or religious history.
Each year you will take 120 credits. This is normally split into 60 credits in the autumn semester and 60 credits in the spring semester. You will normally spend an equal amount of time and credits in each subject. Most History modules are 20 credits each, although some specialist modules at level three are worth 40 credits.
Getting you started
The first year programme is designed to help you to make the transition from studying History at school or college to studying it at degree level. It introduces you to core academic skills and provides a solid grounding in historical study and research, giving you the foundations you'll need to deepen your understanding of historical events and processes throughout your degree and setting you off on the path to becoming an independent historian.
Our first year option modules introduce you to our main areas of teaching and research and give you insight into what you can study in the coming years, so that you can better shape your degree to your individual interests.
You will take five core modules (100 credits) and you will choose one history option module in semester two.
Three of the above options will be on offer each year.
After you finish your first year of study you will go to live in China. You will continue to take intensive courses in Chinese language, building on the skills you learnt during your first year.
Building your skills and knowledge
Your second year builds on what you've learnt so far, furthering your knowledge in areas of history that you have already encountered and introducing you to new and exciting topics. A wide range of modules will help you to explore new areas and discover where your main interests lie ahead of your final year.
These modules will not only help you mature as a historian, challenge assumptions and appreciate the bigger picture, they will also develop professional skills of analysis, judgement and communication.
We want your degree to be coherent, so our core module continues to give you a strong foundation for your historical knowledge. You will choose 40 credits of history option modules. You can choose a maximum of one document option.
We want you to continue to have flexibility, so you can choose to replace one 20 credits history option module with modules from another department, subject to the approval of the Department.
Developing your expertise
Your final year is where you can choose to focus on one of the areas of history that you're most passionate about, using the academic skills and historical knowledge that you have acquired in years one and two to undertake focussed primary source research.
All students have the opportunity to take a Special Subject and a dissertation, as we think that they are important staples of a History degree. These modules give you the chance to explore your chosen topic in detail, alongside a leading expert in the field, helping you to further develop your knowledge and research skills. The unusually wide-ranging research expertise at Sheffield means that, with modules focusing on themes such as gender and domesticity; art; war and violence; cultural change; medicine and science, you'll be spoilt for choice.
Teaching and learning
You will experience a variety of teaching by leading historians who bring their award-winning research to life.
This will include regular lecturers and seminars complemented by individual tutorials and supervision sessions. We firmly believe in the importance of high-quality, small group teaching so your seminars will be including a maximum of 12 students in the first year and 16 students in the second and final year.
As you progress through your degree these seminars will become more important - the Special Subject is taught through 4 hours of seminar each week throughout the full academic year.
Your academic and personal development is important to us.
Our personal and level tutor system ensures that you have a wide range of support and advice available to you whenever you need it. This is complemented by a wide range of support across the University.
Your academic tutors will also be available to discuss your learning and assessment in their office hours, which they hold each week during term-time.
We use a range of assessment, including coursework, exams and presentations, all designed to help you develop a wide variety of professional skills.
As you progress, your assessment will include more analysis of primary sources and you will further develop your research, analytical and academic writing skills through independent research projects.
Personalise your degree
Get the most out of your degree by getting involved with student projects, gaining work experience or spending time studying abroad.
You can gain practical experience by spending a year in industry with the Degree with Employment Experience or you can take advantage of opportunities available through the History Society and the Careers Service.
Studying history at Sheffield also gives you the opportunity to get involved in a range of exciting extra-curricular activities, helping you to engage with history in new ways and get even more out of your student experience.
These activities can also help you to enhance your CV by gaining valuable transferable skills and experience in areas such as interviewing, film-making, and working with school children.
Degree with employment experience
Spending a year in employment as part of your degree is an excellent opportunity to put your skills and knowledge to practical use and gain experience that will help you in your future career.
There are lots of year-long placements available in the UK, as well as opportunities around the world.
Applicants should normally have, or expect to achieve, ABB in three A Levels including History or Classical Civilisation. Please see the University's online prospectus for full entry requirement details. If you have a question, or would like to discuss your individual qualifications, just get in touch.
* The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.