Chinese Studies

This two-year specialisation in Chinese Studies combines content courses with intensive and advanced language training.

You will be taught by internationally recognised experts in fields ranging from political science to literature and religion, as well as experienced teachers of Chinese as a foreign language.
The programme will equip you with an excellent command of Mandarin (and – in the case of certain specialisations – of Classical Chinese), a broad knowledge of China, insight into its internal and external dynamics, and starting points for contextualising China within Asia. An important part of your training and education you will get from your one year stay at Shandong university.

In addition, the programme utilises the resources of the world-renowned Leiden sinological library, one of the largest and most diverse collection in Europe and an important reference point for scholars from around the world.Chinese Studies at Leiden builds on a long, continuous tradition of internationally recognised, local expertise. This enables the combination of diachronic and synchronic perspectives, and constitutes a wide-ranging institutional memory.
Evidence is found in a wealth of publications aimed at specialist and general audiences, and in top-quality library collections and archives. Direct access to source materials in Chinese provides the foundations for scholarship in the fields of art and material culture, including:

  • Cultural/intellectual/social/economic history;
  • Language;
  • Literature and film;
  • Media and communication;
  • Philosophy;
  • Political science;
  • Religion.

As a programme unique in the Netherlands, it provides a nation-wide avenue for the first-hand study of a civilisation whose significance – past, present and future – needs no elucidation.


The objective of the programme is to ensure you graduate with the following skills:

  • An excellent command of Mandarin and – in the case of certain specialisations – Classical Chinese;
  • A broad knowledge of China, and the ability to comment on China from other vantage points – for example, western Europe – for both specialist and general audiences, and to act as cultural mediators;
  • Some awareness of the history of Chinese Studies, its current development, its interfaces with various disciplines – for example, anthropology, history, art history, linguistics, literature, religion – and its societal importance;
  • Awareness of disciplinary thinking, concepts, terminology and methodology as dictated by your regional-disciplinary specialisation;
  • The ability to carry out independent and academic-quality research.

It is also possible to focus on Chinese Studies within the two-year Research Master’s programme Asian Studies and the one-year East Asian Studies programme. The two-year Chinese Studies programme has a maximum of 30 places. For East Asian Studies and the Research Master’s, there is no restriction on the number of available places.

One of the main objectives of two-year programme Chinese Studies is to enhance Chinese language proficiency. We therefore strongly advise native speakers to apply for the Research Master’s programme or the specialisations History, Arts and Culture: or Politics, Society and Economy.

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Asian Studies
  • Degree Master of Arts in Asian Studies
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Duration 2 years
  • Start date September
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60840

Find your master's at Leiden University