KIN4510 – How to study Chinese Culture and Society at an Advanced Level

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course constitutes a basic module in the study of Chinese culture and society at the postgraduate level. Through interactive seminars you will:

  • Learn how to identify, access and process Chinese primary sources and Chinese and English secondary sources, including reference works, digital material, interviews, etc.
  • Work with theory, concepts and methods in order to help you produce independent academic analyses
  • Develop new questions and ideas for projects based one existing research
  • Practice presentation techniques and methodological skills, both individually and in teams with other students

The course includes a 2-day workshop – the academic survival kit (ASK) – sometimes together with students and academic staff from the Master’s program Japanese studies.  We explore how to combine theoretical-analytical and empirical work, and if possible we stay overnight in a place near Oslo. Students present their own ideas for thesis work and collection of data, and you will receive individual feedback and suggestions for the planning of your further studies and career.

Autumn 2021: The academic survival kit is held in October.

Learning outcome

You will gain:

  • Methodological and theoretical skills needed to identify and analyze sources that are key to understanding Chinese society, culture(s), politics and history.
  • Skills in presenting knowledge for a broader public, and in engaging in academic and other forms of dialogue about research findings.
  • Techniques of writing, including how to develop an academic project and write a project description, how to write short summaries of key texts, and how to present findings in written form academically and for a broader audience.
  • Experience in working both individually and in teams, also under the pressure of deadlines and with specific requirements.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the MA programme option Chinese Culture and Society.

The course presupposes competence in modern Chinese, and basic reading competence in classical Chinese.

Overlapping courses

The course may overlap with discontinued courses and old study units of all types and levels. You must ensure that the content of the course does not overlap with other study units you have previously obtained credits for.

Contact the Department if you have any questions.


The course will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops throughout the semester. The course is taught for four hours per week, with an additional compulsory two-day workshop.

Compulsory activities

  • At least 80 percent attendance with active participation in class, assigned team work, and discussions
  • A two-day workshop (The Academic Survival Kit)
  • 1-3 oral presentations (individually or as part of team work) as assigned by the teacher
  • A project description for the proposed master's thesis, 700 - 900 words plus list of references. To be submitted in Canvas within a given deadline

Oral presentations and approved project description are only valid for one semester.

All compulsory activities must be approved in order to qualify for the exam. It is the student’s responsibility to check whether or not the compulsory activities are approved. This is how you apply for valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The exam is a portfolio consisting of three parts:

  1. Theme Package I: Written summary/analysis of a selection of academic papers in Chinese and/or English, 1200 - 1600 words plus list of references.
  2. Theme Package II: Written summary/analysis of a selection of academic papers in Chinese and/or English, 1200 - 1600 words plus list of references.
  3. One individually written paper on a subject approved by the teacher, 3200 - 3500 words plus list of references. The paper should be based on both primary sources in Chinese, and secondary source readings in Chinese and/or English.

At least one of the Theme Packages will be a group assignment, and all students must contribute to the team work.

Each theme package must be passed, and one single grade based on the individually written paper is awarded for the portfolio.

Grading guidelines

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodic evaluation Autumn 2011

Periodic evaluation Autumn 2019

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

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