students studying in the library

Studies Modules

Our Studies Modules are all taught in English, and cover a wide range of topics spanning the entire East Asian region from history and politics to business, linguistics and modern cultures. They are a major part of your degree, and enable you to develop important transferable skills in writing, research, presentation and analysis. Modules are taught by experts who publish regularly in fields ranging from Chinese literature and Korean popular culture, to Japanese politics and international relations in East Asia. Teaching is integrated so that the knowledge you gain in language modules can be applied to studies modules – and vice versa.

The list below gives an example of the modules which are currently available to Single Honours students in the School.
Modules are subject to change as 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 Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn.

Year 1

Exploring East Asia

No country exists within a vacuum which is why we believe that to truly understand how China, Japan or Korea operates, whether in business, politics, geographically, or in wider society, you need to have an understanding of the wider East Asia region.

You will be introduced to key topics, learn how to effectively research the wider East Asian region and apply your knowledge to your country of study. This will give you a greater understanding of how China, Japan and Korea came to be, how they are positioned on the world stage and what their future may look like. 

Working with leading academics in 3-week blocks throughout the year, you will learn about the following topics through a variety of teaching methods including lectures, seminars and skills workshops.

  • What is East Asian studies
  • History of East Asia
  • East Asian geography and environment
  • East Asian media and culture
  • East Asian business and economy
  • Contemporary East Asian relations

Along with a topical theme, each block will focus on a key academic skill which will enhance your learning for that topic. Key skills covered will include: information and digital literacy (how to find information you need for your studies), critical thinking (how to judge whether what you find is any good), and uses of evidence (how to use information to make an argument convincing). You will finish this module with a well-rounded set of core academic and transferable skills which will help you progress through the later years of your degree.

Your classes will include students from a variety of degree programmes across the School allowing you to share knowledge, learn from each other and make friends outside of your course.


  • Reflective portfolio, developed throughout the year to cover all topics covered.
  • An end of year, short answer exam which will test students’ knowledge and understand of all the topics covered throughout the year.

Understanding China/Japan/Korea

In year 1 we offer students to opportunity to study China, Japan or Korea in a social sciences or humanities context through our understanding China/Japan/Korea modules. Each module will focus on a core text, which could be a book or a collection of articles, which has played a significant role in developing an intricate understand of the chosen East Asian country.

Working with this core text, you will learn how to identify, analyse and critique primary and secondary sources and develop a well-rounded understanding of the topic. These key research skills will help you as you develop through your degree and take on more independent study in later years.

Topics which may be covered

  • Understanding China/Japan/Korea 1 – Humanities stream: This module may cover texts relating to History, Media, Culture or Literature
  • Understanding China/Japan/Korea 2 – Social Sciences Stream: This module may cover texts relating to Politics, Economy, Business or Society.

You will be taught via a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures will give you in-depth information and background to your core text of study whilst seminars and workshops will allow for discussion and further exploration of the text.

Year 2

In your second year you will get the chance to explore your country of choice in more detail through optional studies modules which compliment your language training. In our Country specific degrees you will be able to choose two modules from the list below. For our East Asian Studies degree, you can choose four modules or Chinese, Japanese or Korean language.

East Asian Studies

East Asian Fieldwork - This module involves a two week trip to East Asia where you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture and conduct field-based research.

Chinese Business and Management

Urbanisation in China

Modern Chinese History: Beyond Revolution

Post-war Japanese Politics

Contemporary Japanese Society

Modern Japanese History

Understanding Contemporary North Korea

Contemporary Korean Society

East Asian Cinema

Final year

Your final year with us in Sheffield is designed to help you develop excellent research skills and prepare you for your future, whether that is in further study or in industry. Through the following modules you will work directly with academic staff within the school on active research questions and experience what it is like to be part of our research community.

Researching China/Japan/Korea 

During semester 1, you will take a humanities or social sciences focused research seminar module. Topics covered in these modules are based on the current research interests of the school and could range from poetry to International Relations and will be studied from the perspective of your chosen country.

Working closely with a member of academic staff, whose research interest align directly with the topic studied, in small groups of no more than 16, you will discuss, explore, and developing your knowledge of the chosen research topic, using the tutor’s expert knowledge as a guide to inform your studies.

China/Japan/Korea Research Project

In Semester 2 you will build on your knowledge from the research seminar module and, in a small project team, produce an engaging and innovative research output to be showcased at an end-of-semester research event. The research output can be in any medium such as a research poster, a film, an installation or a display provided it acts as the best way to showcase the research outcomes. We encourage all students to be creative in their approach.

The skills and experience you gain through these research focused modules will complement those you use in writing your final year dissertation.

After completion of these two modules, you will have developed valuable research and transferable skills including

  • Time management
  • Team working
  • Project management
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Advanced critical thinking
  • Independent learning
  • East Asian Information literacy