Taught Postgraduate Programmes (MACHS)




The MA in Chinese Historical Studies curriculum aims at providing students with the requisite knowledge and training to conduct independent research in Chinese history.  It also caters for the continuing education needs of secondary school teachers in Chinese history and culture.


The curriculum includes several semester-length courses in Chinese historical materials and methodology, Chinese historiography, and various topics related to the history and culture of imperial, modern and contemporary China.

Students in this curriculum are required to complete eight courses (4 core and 4 elective) and a dissertation.  Coursework teaching is held from September of the first year until December of the following year.  There are usually three sessions of two contact hours per week.

Ten courses will be selected from the following categories and be taught in each cycle.

Core Courses

CHIN6007. Imperial China: Thematic Studies (6 credits)

This course examines the political development of successive dynasties and their significance in the overall context of Chinese history.  Major institutional establishments and cultural achievements of different historical periods will also be discussed.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN6008. Republican and Communist China: Thematic Studies (6 credits)

This course examines the political, social and economic development of China in the twentieth century.  Special attention is given to the themes of nationalism, revolution and modernization.  It aims to show how present-day China has evolved from its recent past.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN6013. Documentary Research in Chinese Historical Studies (6 credits)

This course discusses in depth the history and the importance of documentary research in Chinese historical studies.  It also looks into various conceptual and practical issues in documentary research, such as the ways of classification and the methods of analysis.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN7001. Materials and Methodology (6 credits)

This course introduces students to the basic research materials and research methodology (both Chinese and Western) in Chinese historical studies.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN7005. New Approaches to Chinese History (6 credits)

This course attempts to explore the new research approaches and trends in Chinese history studies, especially after the rise of the “China-centered” approach in the US in the 1980s. Apart from assessing the academic achievements of the mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, East Asia and the West, it also evaluates the roles and limitations of social theories and methods in Chinese historical studies. Scholars with different research interests and expertise will be invited to share their experience with the students in the lectures.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN7006. An Introduction to Documentary Sources in Chinese (6 credits)

This course will appeal not only to students majoring in Chinese history but to students looking to incorporate Chinese sources into their research. Both academic knowledge and practical skills are emphasized across the course curriculum. The academic knowledge imparted ranges from explanations of the classification and circulation of traditional Chinese documents to an introduction to the ideas of noted bibliographers, the special features of major overseas Chinese collections and the latest research output on documentary sources in Chinese published by foreign scholars. In addition to demonstrating how to search different kinds of documentary resources, including Internet resources, the practical skills delivered include the ability to read primary historical documents. Students are also presented with case studies elaborating the use of documentary sources in pursuit of historical research.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN7007. An Introduction to Archival Sources in Chinese (6 credits)

This course is designed to introduce students to the special features of archival sources in Chinese, and enable them to progress to a higher level of proficiency in undertaking Chinese historical studies. Both academic knowledge and practical use of these sources are emphasized across the course curriculum. The course starts with an introduction to the types, compilation and collection of archival sources in Chinese, and then assesses the experience of noted historians in using archival treasures for academic research and analyzes the construction of pre-modern to contemporary Chinese history through these sources, before concluding with a review of archival research in Hong Kong studies. It will demonstrate how to search the major archival collections deposited in local, national and overseas institutions and guide students in reading primary archival documents. Case studies elaborating the use of these sources in pursuit of historical research will also be provided.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Elective Courses

A    History

CHIN6009.  Intellectual Development in Traditional China (6 credits)

This course examines the dominant intellectual trends in China from the Qin to the High Qing period.  Special emphasis will be given to their political, social and philosophical impacts.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN6010. Intellectual Development in Twentieth Century China (6 credits)

This course examines the dominant intellectual trends and issues of twentieth century China, and discusses in detail their influences on various cultural spheres, such as literature, religion and philosophy.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN6011. Education and Examination: the Chinese Experience (6 credits)

This course examines the history of the Chinese education and examination systems, surveys the changing thoughts about the relation of education, examination and talent nurturing, analyses the impacts of education and examination on politics, economics and society, and critically assesses the roles played by Western education and examination models in the modernization of China.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN6012. Chinese Migration History: Inland and Overseas (6 credits)

This course examines the migration history of Chinese from ancient times to early twentieth century.  Topics discussed include the backgrounds and motives of the migrants, the routes they took, their destinations, and their adaptions to their new homes.  Special attention will be given to the emigrants of Qing China, their continuous conflicts with local residents, and how the problems they faced and the solutions they adopted reflect certain features of Chinese culture.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN7002. Chinese Historiography (6 credits)

This course provides a broad and systematic overview of the origins and development of Chinese historiography.  It examines in detail the teachings of leading Chinese historians and historiographers, both ancient and modern.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN7008. Intellectual History of Pre-Qin China (6 credits)

This course investigates the origin and development of the pre-Qin Chinese thought. With an understanding of the contents and development of the pre-Qin Chinese thought, students can acquire a solid background in Chinese intellectual history and thereby can decipher the intellectual and cultural foundation behind the historical developments of China thereafter. The bulk of the course will be about the various schools of thought of the Eastern Zhou period. The course will center upon the four major pre-Qin schools of thought: Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism and Legalism. As a supplement, other minor schools of thought will be also be covered.

Assessment: 100% coursework

B    Culture

CHIN6301. Special Topics in Confucian Classics (6 credits)

Texts in the Confucian canon will be examined in great detail and their import highlighted.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN6303. Special Topics in Chinese Thought and Chinese Literature(6 credits)

The intimate relation between Chinese thought and Chinese literature will be examined with reference to sample literary works.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN6304. Special Topics in Chinese Culture(6 credits)

Chinese culture in its myriad forms will be studied, the emphasis being placed on its unique features and its impact on global developments.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN6305. Special Topics in Chinese Bibliographical and Textual Studies(6 credits)

Bibliographies and texts of various types will be studied with the use of different methodological approaches.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN7009. Traditional Chinese Thought and Its Modern Transformation (6 credits)

This course attempts to explore the characteristics of traditional Chinese thought, and investigate how it underwent a modern transformation in a period of rapid change in the nineteenth century. The course will analyze how the pre-modern Chinese mode of thinking in the political, economic, and social aspects was dominated by Confucianism and later Neo-Confucianism, and how it eventually transformed itself into the modern times under the challenges of Western learning in the late Qing. In addition, the contemporary meanings of those traditional ideas nowadays shared by the Chinese will also be discussed in the lectures.

Assessment: 100% coursework

CHIN7010. Modern Chinese Intellectual Trends and Intellectuals (6 credits)

This course explores the intellectual and cultural trends and the thoughts of the leading Chinese intellectuals in twentieth-century China. It is divided into two parts. The first part examines the intellectual fermentation from the late Qing to the Republican periods. The second part analyzes the thoughts of the intellectuals under the domination of Communist ideology from 1949 to the reform era. It covers the establishment of a modern education system modelled upon the West, the decline of traditional Confucian culture, Chinese elite and their thoughts after the May Fourth Movement, and the intellectual development under the Communist rule. Some best-known historical figures will be selected for case study.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Capstone Experience

CHIN7011. Capstone Experience: Dissertation in Chinese Historical Studies (12 credits)

The dissertation should normally be around 20,000-30,000 characters in Chinese or 10,000-15,000 words in English.  It should be submitted by the end of June of the second year of study. A topic should be submitted for approval by the end of June of the first year of study. On approval of the dissertation topic, a supervisor will be assigned to each candidate.

Assessment: 100% coursework


Courses are assessed by coursework as specified in the descriptions of individual courses.  Coursework assessment is based on essays, term papers, projects, tests, or other kinds of oral or written work as prescribed by the course instructors.

Medium of Instruction

Courses will be generally conducted in Cantonese but a number of them may be taught in Putonghua.

Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission to the courses leading to the degree of Master of Arts, candidates

    (a) shall comply with the General Regulations;

    (b) shall comply with the Regulations for Taught Postgraduate Curricula;

    (c) shall hold

          (i) a Bachelor’s degree with honours of this University;

        (ii) in respect of the courses of study leading to the degree of Master of Arts in the field of Chinese Language and Literature, a Bachelor’s degree with honours with a major in Chinese of this University;

       (iii) a qualification of equivalent standard from this University or another comparable institution accepted for this purpose; and

    (d) shall satisfy the examiners in a qualifying examination if required.

How to apply

Apply online
Tuition fees: Local $ 108,000 ; Non- local $113,000, to be paid in 2 installments.
For enquiries, please contact 3917 7291 for details.
Closing date: March 31, 2017