• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Resource Management and Environmental Science, Art History, Science Communication, Physiology, Health

This course introduces students to the fundamental tools and approaches of advanced research in Chinese studies. Students learn to evaluate and make use of a wide range of print and online research tools in parallel with an historical survey of the study of Chinese Studies as an academic pursuit–from its philological roots as Sinology in the 19th century to its re-conception as a branch of Area Studies from the second half of the 20th century onward. This survey takes account of the substantial development of specific online research tools over the past decades, assessing which tools in print have become obsolete and how to strike a good balance in the use of online and print media. Concurrently, the course addresses the methods for handling such issues as source criticism, bibliography, biography, chronology, geography, and bureaucracy in the study of China. The methods introduced and deployed in this course will be shaped by the individual research needs of students. The aim is to facilitate students’ development of critical thinking skills and self-sufficiency in the business of sinological research. Course materials focus on pre-imperial and imperial China, but the historical contextualisation of fundamental research approaches and associated skills may equally benefit advanced students of Modern and Contemporary China.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Identify the major themes, concerns, and methods of research in Chinese Studies, both past and present.
  2. Evaluate the ways in which themes and concerns have been methodologically addressed in different contexts.
  3. Apply methods of advanced research in Chinese Studies necessary to locate and interpret information from a variety of sources, both pre-modern and modern.
  4. Synthesise that information to solve specific practical research questions.
  5. Produce written digests of research findings in a form that suits the complex research problems at hand.
  6. Explicate research findings to an audience of specialists in Chinese Studies and to non-specialists.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Participation (10) [LO 1,2,5,6]
  2. Exercise sheets (10) [LO 3,4,5]
  3. Two methodological assignments (minimum 1500 words each) (30) [LO 2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Accompanying research assignment (minimum 2000 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


This course requires a total of 130 hours of work, including:

  • A weekly two-hour seminar, in which research methods and questions they address will presented, and students' findings discussed;
  • Nine hours of preparation for weekly research assignments and independent time for study and engagement with the accompanying research assignment.

Inherent Requirements

Advanced level of proficiency in Literary Chinese and/or Modern Chinese, comparable to proficiency requirements for enrolling in CHIN3015 (i.e. completion of CHIN2021 or entry permitted on the basis of the Chinese Language Proficiency Assessment).

Prescribed Texts

Materials will be provided.

Preliminary Reading

Endymion Wilkinson, Chinese History: A New Manual, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4259 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

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