East Asian Studies BA

2025-26 entry
School of East Asian Studies

Studying the culture and society of China, Japan and Korea gives you a unique perspective on the contemporary development of East Asia, its rich history and diverse cultures. This course develops your understanding of contemporary East Asia, covering topics including politics, culture and history.

Key details

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    Course description

    undergraduate students studying

    Choose East Asian studies for a global perspective on one of the world's most dynamic regions.

    Explore the rich and intertwined cultures of Japan, Korea and China at the School of East Asian Studies. Our academics use their expertise of the individual countries and the wider region in both their teaching and research across the whole of East Asia.

    East Asian studies offers you a wide choice of modules from both humanities and social science subjects taught by lecturers who are doing cutting-edge research in disciplinary fields such as anthropology, history, film, sound and media studies, literature and politics. You’ll have the option to learn Chinese, Japanese or Korean at your own pace.

    Taking a transnational approach, the three year programme is designed to prepare you to work across the region. In the third year, you'll bring your training together to research and write a dissertation project on a topic of your choice supported by world-leading researchers.

    Why study this course?

    • Voted number one - ranked 1st in National Student Survey (NSS) results 2023 across Asian studies in the UK, our staff are UK leaders in supporting your studies and career goals.
    • A long history of teaching across the region - Sheffield is the only major university outside London with expertise in all three countries – 60 years’ for Japanese studies, 40 years’ Korean studies, 30 years’ Chinese studies.
    • You have flexibility and choice - you can take a variety of less intensive language modules while exploring the subjects you’re passionate about.
    • Opportunities for fieldwork and year abroad study in East Asia - we offer a variety of opportunities to engage with East Asia, whether through optional field trips or study abroad for a year.
    Two students working at a computer

    Modules

    We're revising the curriculum of this course for this year of entry and are in the process of confirming the modules. The information on this page gives you an idea of the areas we expect the course to cover. There may be changes before you start. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Title: East Asian Studies BA course structure
    UCAS code: T300
    Years: 2022, 2023
    First year

    In your first year, you will take a core module in Exploring East Asia to enable you to understand the regional context and the links - geographical, historical, cultural, social and political - between the East Asian states; and a choice of modules on the Critical Analysis of texts about East Asia, to enable you to interpret and utilise scholars' writings about East Asia.

    Through optional modules you will aslo be able to explore China, Japan and Korea in more detail or take up an East Asian language module.

    Core Module:

    Exploring East Asia

    This module introduces students to the study of modern East Asia. Beginning by encouraging consideration of what the subject of East Asian Studies is, it then introduces the following key topics: East Asian Geography and Environment, History, Culture and Media, Economics and Business, and Political Relations. In parallel with this content, the module also introduces core academic skills as follows: independent, lecture and seminar study; reflective practice; critical information, digital and visual literacy; evidence and argument in academic writing, and appropriate examination techniques. These two elements provide a firm foundation of knowledge and abilities for higher level study. 

    20 credits

    Approved Modules:
    You will take 4 of the follwing modules to suit your individual interests.

    History and Culture in China

    This module explores what it means to study China at university level, and considers how 'area studies' research on China fits within disciplines such as history and cultural studies. We will consider how histories and cultural understandings of China are built with the following in mind: how researchers use primary evidence such as texts, documents and/or images to understand social change; and how to navigate key debates in a field and evaluate competing arguments. You will finish this module with a deeper understanding of our core topic and the disciplinary approaches that frame it, and a foundation in critical research and writing skills that you can apply and develop in further study.

    We will work on a combination of new and established research to explore one core topic: In 2022-2023 we will explore the history of twentieth-century Shanghai as seen from the grassroots.

    20 credits
    Politics, Economy and Society in China

    This module explores what it means to study China at university level, and considers how 'area studies' research on China fits within disciplines such as political economy, international relations, anthropology, sociology and geography. We will work on a combination of new and established research to explore core topics in contemporary China: including how Chinese society has changed; how researchers use different conceptual frameworks and types of primary evidence to understand change and its wider impact; and, how to use the different types of work published in the field and evaluate competing arguments in key debates. You will finish this module with a deeper understanding of our core topic and the disciplinary approaches that frame it, and a foundation in critical research and writing skills that you can apply and develop in further study.

    20 credits
    History and Culture in Japan

    This module explores what it means to study Japan at university level, and considers how `area studies' research on Japan fits within disciplines such as history, comparative literature and cultural studies. We will work on a combination of new and established research to explore one core topic. We will consider how studies of Japan are built, how researchers use primary evidence in text and/or images to understand change; how to navigate key debates in a field and evaluate competing arguments. You will finish this module with a deeper understanding of our core topic and the disciplinary approaches that frame it, and a foundation in critical research and writing skills that you can apply and develop in further study.

    We will work on a combination of new and established research to explore one core topic: in 2022-2023 we will explore Japanese literature in the twentieth century as a frame for understanding modern Japanese history.

    20 credits
    Politics, Economy and Society in Japan

    This module explores what it means to study Japan at university level, and considers how ‘area studies’ research on Japan fits within disciplines such as political economy, international relations, anthropology, sociology and geography. We will work on a combination of new and established research to explore core topics in contemporary Japan: including how Japanese society has changed; how researchers use different conceptual frameworks and types of primary evidence to understand change and its wider impact; and, how to use the different types of work published in the field and evaluate competing arguments in key debates. You will finish this module with a deeper understanding of our core topic and the disciplinary approaches that frame it, and a foundation in critical research and writing skills that you can apply and develop in further study.

    20 credits
    History and Culture in Korea

    This module explores what it means to study Korea at university level, and considers how 'area studies' research on Korea fits within disciplines such as history and cultural studies. We will consider how histories and cultural understandings of Korea are built with the following in mind: how researchers use primary evidence such as texts, documents and/or images to understand social change; and how to navigate key debates in a field and evaluate competing arguments. You will finish this module with a deeper understanding of our core topic and the disciplinary approaches that frame it, and a foundation in critical research and writing skills that you can apply and develop in further study. We will work on a combination of new and established research to explore one core topic.

    20 credits
    Politics, Economy and Society in Korea

    .This module explores what it means to study Korea at university level, and considers how 'area studies' research on Korea fits within disciplines such as political economy, international relations, anthropology, sociology and geography. We will work on a combination of new and established research to explore core topics in contemporary Korea: including how Korean society has changed; how researchers use different conceptual frameworks and types of primary evidence to understand change and its wider impact; and, how to use the different types of work published in the field and evaluate competing arguments in key debates. You will finish this module with a deeper understanding of our core topic and the disciplinary approaches that frame it, and a foundation in critical research and writing skills that you can apply and develop in further study. We will work on a combination of new and established research to explore one core topic

    20 credits

    Guided Modules:
    Through guided modules you will have the option to take a non-specialist East Asian lanaguage module, listed below, or chose from a list of guided moduels from departments across the univeristy

    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.

    Learning and assessment

    Learning

    You'll study modules covering East Asian history, society, business, literature and culture. Your lectures will focus on specific themes. which you will then discuss in seminars and tutorials.

    You'll also have the option to take non-specialist language modules in Chinese, Japanese or Korean.

    We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

    Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

    Learning support facilities and library opening hours

    The School of East Asian Studies (SEAS) has over 50 years’ experience of researching contemporary East Asia and pioneering new methods for teaching East Asian languages.

    SEAS staff, many of whom are fluent in at least one East Asian language, are internationally renowned specialists in East Asia, and bring their expertise in various fields such as history, culture and politics, to the wide range of courses on offer.

    Right from the start, you'll be working with expert researchers and native speakers, who will help you to reach your potential.

    Assessment

    You will be assessed through a combination of coursework such as writing essays, developing a portfolio, taking part in group projects and presentations, and formal examinations.

    If you are learning a language you will be taught by native speakers in Chinese, Japanese and Korean in regular small group classes using custom made course material. You will be assessed on the core skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

    Programme specification

    This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

    Find programme specification for this course

    Entry requirements

    With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible.

    Standard offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    ABB

    A Levels + a fourth Level 3 qualification
    BBB + B in a relevant EPQ
    International Baccalaureate
    33
    BTEC Extended Diploma
    DDD in a relevant subject
    BTEC Diploma
    DD + B at A Level
    Scottish Highers
    AAABB
    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels
    B + AB
    Access to HE Diploma
    Award of Access to HE Diploma, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit
    Other requirements
    • Evidence of interest in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea) demonstrated through the personal statement is also required

    Access Sheffield offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    BBB

    A Levels + a fourth Level 3 qualification
    BBB + B in a relevant EPQ
    International Baccalaureate
    32
    BTEC Extended Diploma
    DDM in a relevant subject
    BTEC Diploma
    DD + B at A Level
    Scottish Highers
    AABBB
    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels
    B + BB
    Access to HE Diploma
    Award of Access to HE Diploma, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 at Distinction and 21 at Merit
    Other requirements
    • Evidence of interest in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea) demonstrated through the personal statement is also required

    English language requirements

    You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for an International Foundation Year in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Graduate careers

    School of East Asian Studies

    Studying China, Japan or Korea prepares you for a career in the world's most dynamic region. There are also many opportunities across Europe for people with skills in Asian languages and cultures.

    Our graduates work in government and diplomacy, media and the arts, non-government organisations and international business - in professions as diverse as management consultancy, accountancy, marketing, research, language teaching and translation.

    School of East Asian Studies

    Our courses are designed to immerse you in the languages and cultures of East Asian countries. You will be taught by native speakers in Chinese, Japanese and Korean in regular small group classes using custom-made course material.

    Our courses are based on world-leading research and taught by experts whose work influences policy and informs public debate. Most of our staff publish in their specialist field and many of them have written books for major publishers such as Oxford University Press, Routledge and Macmillan.

    The School of East Asian Studies is located in the Jessop West building, right in the heart of campus and close to the University of Sheffield tram stop. You'll visit the department to meet with your tutors and gain any support you need. Your lectures, seminars and language classes will take place in various locations across the University of Sheffield campus.

    School of East Asian Studies

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      Number one in the Russell Group
    National Student Survey 2023 (based on aggregate responses)

      92 per cent of our research is rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      Top 50 in the most international universities rankings
    Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023

      Number one Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023, 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

      Number one for teaching quality, Students' Union and clubs/societies
    StudentCrowd 2023 University Awards

      A top 20 university targeted by employers
    The Graduate Market in 2023, High Fliers report


    School of East Asian Studies

    Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction

    National Student Survey 2021

    50+ years' experience

    in teaching and researching East Asia

    Fees and funding

    Fees

    Additional costs

    The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

    Examples of what’s included and excluded

    Funding your study

    Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

    Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

    Additional funding

    Placements, field trips and studying abroad

    Placements

    You may have the opportunity to add an optional placement year as part of your course, converting the three year course to a four-year Degree with Placement Year. 

    A placement year will help you to:

    • gain an insight into possible careers
    • develop a range of transferable skills
    • build a professional network
    • get a feel for what you do and don’t like doing
    • add valuable work experience to your CV
    • gain experience of applying for jobs and interview practice
    • apply elements of academic learning in the workplace

    Field trip

    The East Asian field trip gives you the chance to spend up to two weeks in East Asia undertaking a country based research project in the second year of your degree.

    This is an exciting opportunity for you to spend time in one of the countries you are studying as part of your degree. You'll travel to East Asia as a group along with academic staff.

    During your stay you'll be able to immerse yourself in local culture, explore your host city and conduct in-country research that will enhance your understanding of East Asia and contribute to your overall degree.

    This trip will help you develop a better understanding of the region and improve your research skills, and your ability to learn independently and manage projects effectively.

    Funding your East Asian field trip

    The East Asian field trip is funded by the School of East Asian Studies, with students only needing to pay visa costs and living expenses while abroad such as food, drinks and social activities.

    Study abroad

    Spending time abroad during your degree is a great way to explore different cultures, gain a new perspective and experience a life-changing opportunity that you will never forget. 

    You can apply to extend this course with a year abroad, usually between the second and third year. We have over 250 University partners worldwide. Popular destinations include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

    Find out more on the Global Opportunities website.

    Visit

    University open days

    We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Subject tasters

    If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Offer holder days

    If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our offer holder days, which take place between February and April. These open days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

    Campus tours

    Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.

    Campus tour: book your place

    Apply

    Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
    www.ucas.com

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

    2025-2026

    Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
    www.ucas.com

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    Studying the culture and society of China, Japan and Korea gives you a unique perspective on the contemporary development of East Asia, its rich history and diverse cultures. This course develops your understanding of contemporary East Asia, covering topics including politics, culture and history.