Study Humanities and Social Sciences in China

All you need to know about studying Humanities & Social Sciences in China

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Humanities and Social Sciences is all about humans and their behaviours. Humanities are academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture and use methods that have a significant historical element, contrary to natural sciences which use mainly empirical approaches.

What is Humanities & Social Sciences about?

Humanities and Social Sciences is all about humans and their behaviours. Humanities are academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture and use methods that have a significant historical element, contrary to natural sciences which use mainly empirical approaches.

The subjects in humanities include philosophy, history, literature, religion, music and the human condition. Whereas social science is more related to human behaviour, it is a scientific study of human society and social relationships among individuals within a society. The field of study here is criminology, gerontology, law, political science, psychology and human development.

What are the major fields in Humanities & Social Sciences?

Human and Social Sciences as a whole has many major fields, which include but are not limited to:

1. Anthropology
The word “Anthropos” in Ancient Greek means “human being” and Anthropology is a science of the totality of human existence, divided into four sub-fields: archaeology, physical or biological anthropology, anthropological linguistics and cultural anthropology.

The goal of anthropology is to provide a holistic account of humans and human nature and Anthropology courses can easily be found in different institutions in China.

2. Political Science
Political science is an academic and research discipline that deals with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour.

There are many subfields in Political Science, including political economy, international law, international relations, public administration, public law, political theory and philosophy and many more. Political Science is methodologically diverse and appropriates many methods originating in social research.

3. Psychology
Psychology is an academic and applied field involving the study of behaviour and mental processes, which comes from the Ancient Greek “psyche” (soul) and “logy” (study). It also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of human activity, including problems of individuals' daily lives and the treatment of mental illness.

It is different from biology and neuroscience in that it is primarily concerned with the interaction of mental processes and behaviour, not simply the biological processes.

4. History
History is the story of humankind and how the past has influenced the present. It involves more than facts, dates and events and explores the different ways in which societies, cultures and nations have evolved from the days of ancient civilisation to the present. As a historical studies student, you will learn about historical developments, events, social and cultural conditions, major turning points and the lives of people who shaped them.

5. Sociology
Sociology is the systematic study of society, pattern of social relationships, social interaction and culture of everyday life, which the goal is to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance and change or social revolution on subjects ranging from micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.

The focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, religion, social mobility, gender and more.

What are the important skills do I need in this field?

The study of Humanities and Social Sciences will require you to develop a wide range of skills that will be useful to you when you work in this field. To shine in this field, you might want to prepare yourself with these important and useful skills:

1. Communication Skills
Communication skills are important to a Humanities and Social Sciences student as a student will have to be able to present findings in appropriate forms for different audiences and purposes using subject-specific terminology. Good communication skills are also important in this field as the interaction of humans in daily lives are based on interpersonal communication.

2. Questioning
Questioning skills are important in this field especially to a criminal investigator or a psychologist. The skill is crucial as important questions about events, developments, issues and phenomena related to Humanities and Social Sciences needs to be developed in order to discover new findings in this field to benefit the whole society and humankind.

3. Creative Thinking
Creative thinking is one of the fundamental skills that allow us to perform well in all fields, including Humanities and Social Sciences. Creative thinking skills are not only important in this field, but it is also important when it comes to personal development, and form a basis for understanding the human experience.

Thinking creatively will enable you to come up with many solutions to problems related to Humanities and Social Sciences.

4. Analysing, Researching and Evaluating Skills
As a Humanities and Social Sciences student or graduate, you will have to collect information, evidence or data and analyse them. The accuracy and reliability of these pieces of information will need to be identified and determined before carrying out an evaluation on these pieces of information and making a conclusion.

The conclusions made need to be evidence-based, with explanations for events, developments, issues and phenomena.

5. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is important in all fields of study, including Humanities and Social Sciences. No matter which field you are in, critical thinking skills are important to help you analyze situations and make informed decisions. In the field of Humanities and Social Sciences, you will need to be able to understand problems, think critically and devise solutions to problems related to humans and society.

What are the entry requirements and qualifications?

There are many institutions in China offering different programmes for Humanities and Social Sciences. To study Humanity and Social Science programme in China, you will need to fulfil these requirements:

Qualification Requirements
Bachelor's Degree
  • Chinese Proficiency: New HSK5 or above, HSK4 190 or above
  • IELTS 5.5 - 6.5 or above
  • TOEFL 70 - 90 or above
  • IB
  • GCE
  • SAT
Master's Degree, PhD
  • Minimum of Bachelor’s degree in any field
  • Chinese Proficiency: New HSK5 or above, HSK4 190 or above
  • IELTS 5.5 - 6.5 or above
  • TOEFL 70 - 90 or above
  • IB
  • GCE
  • SAT

How long will I be studying this programme?

A Humanities and Social Sciences programme is available for a different level of studies including Foundation, Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and PhD and the duration of study for these levels are different. The duration of study for a programme of the same level offered by different institutions could be different too.

Study Levels Duration
Bachelor's Degree 4 years
Master's Degree 1 - 2 years
PhD 3 - 4 years

How much does it cost to study Humanities & Social Sciences?

The cost of studying a Humanities and Social Sciences course depends on your level of study level and institution. Here are the estimated tuition fees of studying Humanities and Social Sciences in China according to study levels:

Programme Estimated Fees
Bachelor's Degree RM16,000 - RM47,000
Master's Degree RM17,000 - RM60,000
PhD RM22,000 - RM60,000

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What are the job opportunities?

Humanities and Social Sciences is a very wide field and many Humanities and Social Sciences careers are financially fulfilling as well as personally fulfilling. There are many jobs that you can get with a Humanities and Social Sciences degree, including:

  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Psychologist
  • Legal Administrative Assistant
  • Journalist
  • Lecturer
  • Social Worker
  • Travel Guides
  • Diplomates
  • Counsellors
  • Field Archeologist
  • Policy Advisors
  • Political Advisors
  • Political Scientist
  • Public Administrator

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Top 10 universities that offer Humanities & Social Science courses in China

Humanities and Social Sciences is a popular field and many institutions in China offer Humanities and Social Sciences programmes in different study levels. You can check out these top universities to study Humanities and Social Sciences programme in China:

1. Peking University

Peking University is one of the top universities in China and around the world, ranking #31 globally. The university has become a centre for teaching and research, embracing diverse branches of learning such as social sciences and humanities, basic and applied sciences, management, and education.

The campus is situated at Haidian District in the western suburb of Beijing and stands near to the Yuanmingyuan Garden and the Summer Palace.

2. Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University is a well-known university located in Beijing, China, having 20 schools and 58 departments with faculties in science, engineering, humanities, law, medicine, history, philosophy, economics, management, education and art, and is attended by more than 33 000 students, including international students.

As one of China’s most prestigious universities, Tsinghua is committed to cultivating global citizens who will thrive in today’s world in all fields of studies.

3. Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of the most renowned universities in China and was founded in 1896. The university is one of the top 10 best universities in Mainland China, ranking 6th among other universities in China and obtained a ranking of 60 in QS World University Ranking.

Despite Mandarin being the main language of instruction in the university, Shanghai Jiao Tong University offers a few undergraduate and postgraduate courses that are taught in English.

4. Nanjing University

​​​​​​Being a renowned university with more than one hundred years of history, Nanjing University enjoys high prestige and is currently situated in the old capital city of Nanjing. At present, the university has three campuses: Xianlin Campus, Gulou Campus and Pukou Campus.

Since the founding of the university in the early 20th century, Nanjing University has been among the most active universities in building a close relationship with many first-class universities around the world.

5. Zheijiang University

Zhejiang University is one of China’s top higher education institutions, as well as one of it's oldest. The university comprises of 7 faculties and 37 schools, with more than 3000 full-time faculty members and is currently located in Hangzhou, one of China’s most picturesque cities.

It ranks among the top three universities in the Chinese Mainland and within the top 100 in the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings and QS World University Rankings.

6. Beijing Normal University

Beijing Normal University is a renowned institution of higher education known for teacher education, education science and basic learning in both arts and sciences.

Beijing Normal University promotes broad international cooperation and exchange by signing cooperative agreements with nearly three hundred universities and research institutes from more than thirty nations and regions. It also has student exchange programmes with over fifty universities.

7. Shandong University

Shandong University was founded in 1864 and is a member university of China’s two national key construction projects to support the development of high-quality universities. The university comprises of 31 schools with a massive library collection with about 4,500,000 volumes.

As one of the first universities finding its name on the list of the two national projects mentioned above, the university has been developing by leaps and bounds in recent years and the educational quality and competitiveness of the university have been remarkably improved.

8. Fudan University

Founded in 1905, Fudan University is one of the first National Key Universities in China. It was also one of the first universities to accept foreign exchange students since the Communist Revolution.

Fudan University pays high attention to the quality of international student programs and is committed to raising the percentages of international degree programme students. The university has always been actively recruiting international students by offering different types of international student programmes.

9. Xiamen University

Xiamen University, established in 1921, is the first university founded by an overseas Chinese leader and its campus in Malaysia is the first overseas branch campus established by a prestigious Chinese university. Nestled between green hills and the blue sea, Xiamen University is renowned as China’s most beautiful university for its excellent education facilities and beautiful environment.

XMU is increasingly becoming an internationally acclaimed world-class university and has forged partnerships with 236 universities from countries around the world.

10. University of Science and Technology China

The University of Science and Technology China is a prominent university in China and enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences in USTC was founded in 2000, with a goal to cultivate well-rounded students. The School has 14 units and departments, including the Department of Scientific History and Archaeometry, and the Department of Foreign Languages.

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