MSc Politics Of China


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

China has the world’s biggest population and the second-largest economy in the world. As part of the BRICS and BASIC group, China has a large impact on world affairs: understanding China is increasingly becoming essential to understanding the world. Politics and International Relations of China provide a fascinating opportunity to examine issues and themes in modern politics. From dynastic rule to the fall of the Qing, unequal treaties and their legacies in the form of Hong Kong and Macau, China offers an example for examining and analyzing long-standing questions of territory, border, identity and sovereignty. From these historical origins to the more recent ‘Rise of China’, the buzzword of the 21st Century, this MSc degree brings together elements required to fully appreciate and understand China’s rise, its origins, and its current position in the world.

The MSc covers China’s domestic and international politics, and the historical and theoretical issues through the Chinese Politics modules of State and Society in the Chinese Political process (domestic politics), China and International Politics (international relations) and Taiwan’s Politics and Cross-Strait Relations. Each China Politics module combines empirical and theoretical material in a historically sensitive manner. The modules aim to establish thematic groupings for the purposes of considering and debating the government and politics of China, and further examine the relations between the government and politics of China and regional developments, international pressures, and the global political economy.


Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.

  • 90 credits from A (all modules compulsory);
  • 30 additional credits B or C;
  • Dissertation on some aspect of Chinese Politics (compulsory)


Must be written on some aspect of Chinese Politics.

  • Dissertation in Political Studies

Taught Component

Compulsory Modules

Modules must be completed successfully for the achievement of an exit award.

  • China and international politics
  • State and society in the Chinese political process
  • Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations

Guided Options

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from list B or C below

List of Modules (subject to availability)

  • List B: Politics modules
    • International politics of East Asia
    • Politics of Globalisation and Development
    • State & society in Asia & Africa
    • Northeast Asian politics: Japan, Korea and Taiwan
    • State and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus
    • Geopolitics and Security in Central Asia and the Caucasus
    • Government and politics of modern South-East Asia
    • The Indian Ocean in World Politics
    • Political Thought on the Just Rebellion
    • Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Social Research
    • Foreign Policy Analysis
  • List C: Modules focused on China in a cognate discipline:
      • Culture and Society of China
      • Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China
      • Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China
      • Culture and Conflict in Nepal

    Language modules: Please contact the relevant module convenor during welcome week to arrange a placement test if necessary.

      • Elementary Spoken Cantonese (PG)
      • Elementary spoken Hokkien (Minnanyu, Taiwanese) (PG)
      • Chinese 1 A (PG)
      • Chinese 1 B (PG)

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

The qualification for entry is normally a first or upper-second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Politics or International Relations, or related social science discipline. Applicants without such a background may be considered for admission depending on their academic training and undergraduate performance.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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