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Chinese studies

23.03.23
Image by GormaKuma from Pixabay

Studying China

雷政的中国研究项目

In 2016, Sciences Po Rennes launched a series of optional courses on Chinese culture and history. Students can also complete time abroad in mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan.

China has steadily grown in geopolitical, economic and cultural importance over the last several decades. While French and Chinese society are rooted in different geopolitical histories, they are connected in the global modern world by common challenges. Students at Sciences Po Rennes who will lead careers in government, international organizations, diplomacy, international trade, research and higher education will work, collaborate and think on an increasing basis with Chinese partners. For this cooperation to be solid and flourish, a mutual understanding of each other’s customs, cultures and pasts is essential.

Sciences Po Rennes offers multidisciplinary learning, rigorous methodology and reflective thinking to help students understand and probe contemporary societies. This political science program is enriched by our course offer in Chinese studies, which confers the cultural, linguistic and historical knowledge so essential to adopting a critical and enlightened approach to the diverse world of China (PRC, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the diaspora). Through our partnerships with prestigious universities, students can choose to complete their third-year abroad in China, acquiring real-life experience of Chinese societies and enhancing their fluency in and use of Mandarin.

Program of study

During their studies, students can choose optional courses on China (on language, society and history) :

  • History of modern China (first year, 22 hours)

  • Socio-politics of contemporary China (second year, 22 hours)

  • Chinese language classes (first, second and fourth year, 36 hours/year, as the student’s second or third language)

  • China today (fourth year, 22 hours)

  • The world of China: introductory research seminar (fourth year, 48 hours) (selective basis)

The Bachelor of Political Science – the World of China is a three-year undergraduate degree (‘licence’ level) for Sciences Po Rennes students. Enrollment in the program is possible for first-year students upon request, or by application following the second-year direct access entrance exam. It includes the Sciences Po Rennes core curriculum of law, political science, economics, history, management and sociology, plus optional courses in Chinese language, society and culture. The third year abroad must be completed at a university in mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan.

First year: Sciences Po Rennes

  • Multidisciplinary courses in history, law, economics, international relations and political science
  • English as a second language + a second foreign language
  • Chinese language classes as a second foreign language (level A2-300 words) or as a third foreign language (beginner level or A1-150 words (36 hours)
  • History of modern China (22h)

Second year: Sciences Po Rennes

  • Multidisciplinary courses in history, sociology, law, economics and political science
  • English as a second language + a second foreign language
  • Chinese language classes as a second foreign language (level A2-300 words) or as a third foreign language (beginner level or A1-150 words (44 hours)
  • Socio-politics of contemporary China (22 hours)

Third year : abroad

Sciences Po Rennes offers students the opportunity to study at the best Chinese and Taiwanese universities. This immersion is essential for students wishing to familiarize themselves with contemporary Chinese society and learn — or deepen their knowledge of — Mandarin. Partner universities offer our students courses in Chinese as a foreign language and in the humanities and social sciences (taught in English). In exchange, Chinese students at these universities come to Sciences Po Rennes to learn French and attend courses in the disciplines offered at our school.

We have partnerships with the following universities :

This cross-cutting fourth-year seminar is open to students from different programs and with different interests and disciplinary focuses. While an extension to the Bachelor of Political Science / World of China, it is completely accessible to students not enrolled in Chinese studies courses.

The seminar is designed as an introduction to research. Students write a thesis on a subject of their choice related to current international, cultural or political issues in contemporary China. Practical classes are held during which students’ research projects are discussed, along with the different tasks involved in writing a thesis.

The seminar includes presentations by researchers and PhD students of their specialized work on contemporary China. Depending on the availability of speakers, presentations can be on the following topics: “Soft power and Chinese influence abroad”, “Rural migrants and citizenship”, “Independent cinema in China”, “Journalism and environmental activism”, “Gender and sexuality in the history of the PRC”, “Ethnic politics in China”, “A history of social movements in Hong Kong”, “Taiwan: literature and the Anthropocene”, “Socio-political issues in rap in China” and more.

The academic nature of this seminar is not restrictive and does not limit students to a career in research. [Work carried out] and knowledge acquired over the course of the seminar will serve as important assets for students pursuing a career in diplomacy, the arts, higher education, international non-governmental organizations or multinationals that are active in Asia and China.

During their third year abroad, Sciences Po Rennes students enrolled in the Bachelor of Political Sciences – World of China degree program can also enroll in the English-language Master of China Studies program at Shandong University (SDU). Shandong University is one of the most prestigious multidisciplinary universities in China and was among the top 15 in the Times Higher Education world university rankings 2019. It has campuses in the provincial capital of Jinan (which is twinned with the city of Rennes) and in the coastal city of Qingdao.

Taught in English, the Master of China Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary China. Graduates earn a Master’s Degree of Law, a nationally-recognized degree. Courses in the humanities and social sciences provide students with a better understanding of political, social, economic and cultural realities in China today. The program includes a practical component in the form of field trips and short internships during the first year of study in China, and a focus on research during the second year at Sciences Po Rennes (the fourth-year thesis is co-directed by Sciences Po Rennes and Shandong University). 

Students who passed the direct-access entrance exam can enroll in this selective Master’s degree upon completion of their second year. They must submit an application with a resume and personal statement and attend an interview. As part of this double degree, students must successfully complete a fifth year of study in a Master’s or equivalent program at Sciences Po Rennes (or a ScPo Network school) or at a university in France or abroad.

Third year at Shandong University (Master of China Studies)

  • Chinese as a foreign language
  • Chinese history, culture, art and literature
  • Research methods in the social sciences
  • Society, economics, diplomacy and political institutions in China
  • Immersion field trips

Fourth year at Sciences Po Rennes 

Students complete a fourth year of study at the School of International Affairs (Multi-level governance in international relations (MUGIR), Europe and global affairs). The choice of courses enables double degree students to earn credits towards the Master of China Studies.

  • Multidisciplinary courses in history, sociology, law and economics
  • International migration
  • Courses on specific topics about Asia and China (taught in English)
  • China today (22 hours)
  • The world of China: introductory research seminar (48 hours)
  • Research thesis co-directed with Shandong University
  • English as a second language
  • Chinese as a second language (level B1-600 words to B2-1,200 words)

Fifth year

Fifth year students enroll in a Master’s or equivalent program at Sciences Po Rennes (or a ScPo Network school) or at a university in France or abroad. The following Sciences Po Rennes and partner school master’s programs are recommended for the double degree:

  • MUGIR (Multi-level Governance and International Relations)
  • RIMI (International Relations, Globalization and Interculturality)
  • EAM (Europe and Global Affairs)

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