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East Asian Religions and Cultures BA (Full time) 2018 start

Course information for 2019 start

Key facts

UCAS code: T4T3

Start date: September 2018

3 years full time

Typical A-level offer: ABB

UK/EU fees See fees section below
International fees £17,500 (per year)

Language requirements
IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component

Study abroad option: Yes
Work placement option: Yes


This programme will give you an insight into the religious and philosophical traditions of East Asia, putting them in their cultural and historical contexts and exploring how they are changing in an increasingly globalised world.

You’ll study the main traditions of Buddhism, Daoism, Shinto and Confucianism, as well as forms of folk religion and the encounter with Christianity and Islam. Using a range of approaches, you’ll explore these traditions through the prisms of anthropology, sociology, theology and cultural and historical studies. You’ll also have the chance to specialise in topics that particularly interest you when you select from optional modules. You even have the option to learn Chinese, Japanese or Thai, although we teach all modules in English.

Taught by world-leading experts in an internationally recognised centre for the study of East and South East Asia, this degree will equip you with an understanding of the religious life of this vibrant and fast-growing region.

Specialist resources

We have an impressive variety of library resources to support the full range of your studies.

With over fifty years of acquisitions, the Chinese collection housed in the beautiful Brotherton Library is one of the best collections of modern Chinese books in the country. The Special Collections held in the Brotherton also contain extensive archive, early printed and manuscript material to help you in your research across areas such as theology and religious studies.

The University Library has impressive holdings of books in English about East Asia, its history and culture, backed up by a wide range of digital materials. Leeds also has state-of-the-art facilities to support language study - our fully equipped Language Centre includes digital language labs, audio/video practice booths and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL).

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Course content

In your first year core modules will lay the foundations of your studies, introducing you to the study of religion as a whole as well as the different traditions within East Asia and key religious and philosophical texts. You’ll also select from a range of optional modules: you could choose to learn Thai, expand your understanding of religion’s role in society or explore the culture and history of East Asian countries.

Over the next two years you’ll build on this knowledge, with core modules focusing on specific traditions and countries. You’ll look at the religious landscapes of China and Japan and consider the roles of Buddhism and Islam across the region. Then you’ll select optional modules allowing you to specialise in the topics that suit your interests, from the role of religion in development to modern Japanese history, Korean politics or even the status of Islam in the modern world.

In your final year, you’ll also have the chance to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you’ve gained when you complete an independently researched dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Introduction to Religious and Philosophical Texts of East Asia 20 credits
Introduction to East Asian Religions 20 credits
Introduction to the Study of Religion/s 10 credits

Optional modules

Introduction to Islamic Theology 20 credits
Basic Chinese Language 1 20 credits
History and Culture of Imperial China 20 credits
Chinese Culture in the Twentieth Century 10 credits
Basic Japanese Language (1) 20 credits
Japan: History and International Politics 10 credits
Japan: A Cultural History from Buddhism to Murakami Haruki 10 credits
Foundations of East Asia 20 credits
Basic Thai Language and Culture 1 20 credits
LCS Academic Essentials 5 credits
Introduction to South Asian Religions 10 credits
Religion, Politics and Society in the Modern World 10 credits

Year 2

Optional modules

An Introduction to Cantonese (1) 10 credits
Intermediate Japanese 2 20 credits
Intermediate Chinese (II) 20 credits
Religion in China 20 credits
Energy Security: Global and Asian Perspectives 20 credits
Japanese Cinema in the World 20 credits
Religion in Japan 20 credits
Buddhism: A Lived Tradition 20 credits
Sociology of Religion I 20 credits
Religions and Global Development 20 credits
Hindu Traditions to 1600 CE 20 credits

Year 3

Optional modules

Chinese Oral and Performance Traditions 20 credits
Religion in China 20 credits
Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector in Contemporary China 20 credits
Narratives of Japanese Modernity: Fiction and Film 20 credits
Sino-Japanese Relations: Past and Present 20 credits
Korea: Politics, Economy and International Relations 20 credits
Religion and Violence 20 credits
Final Year Project: Dissertation 40 credits
Final Year Project: Digital Documentary 40 credits

For more information on typical modules, read East Asian Religions and Cultures BA in the course catalogue

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use a number of different learning styles so you can benefit from the expertise of your tutors. Lectures, seminars and tutorials are the main methods we use, but workshops are also used in some cases. We’re also making more and more use of online learning.

However, independent study is a key part of your course – it allows you to develop your research skills and encourages you to think critically about the material in front of you. Leeds has excellent library resources to help you manage this, and the University Library runs a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of it.


Different types of assessment are also used. Exams and essays are the most common, but in some modules you may also be assessed on group work or oral presentations. We offer plenty of support to help you handle this and offer extra classes on issues such as exam technique, public speaking and structuring essays throughout your time at Leeds.

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Entry requirements, fees and applying

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB

  • Access to HE Diploma

    Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.

  • BTEC

    BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: DDM. Other BTEC qualifications are also considered. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

  • Cambridge Pre-U

    M1, M1, M1

  • International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall including 16 at Higher Level

  • Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

    H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3

  • Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

    BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers, or AABBBB in Highers

  • Welsh Baccalaureate

    The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

  • Other Qualifications

    European Baccalaureate: 77%

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be BBB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information, contact the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: See fees section below
International: £17,500 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2019, the fee for 2019/20 will be £9,250. 

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students starting in the 2019/20 academic year will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

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Career opportunities

This degree will grant you an in-depth understanding of religious traditions across the East Asian region, as well as their impact on the lives of individuals and communities. This cultural and social awareness will be valuable for a range of careers where cultural sensitivity is an important factor, from international business to media, teaching, politics and the civil service.

However, the programme will also equip you with a wide range of skills. You’ll be a confident researcher who can work independently or within a team, and you’ll have strong critical and analytical skills. In addition, you’ll be able to communicate effectively both in writing and in person, as well as having strong organisational and time management skills. All of these are desirable to employers in a variety of industries.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

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Placement opportunities

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Order a prospectus online or telephone +44 (0)113 343 2336