Trinity College Dublin Announces New MSc in Chinese Studies and Opening of the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies

Trinity College Dublin has announced a new Masters in Chinese Studies and the opening of the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies. These innovative developments aim to advance Chinese scholarship and to promote Ireland as a leading knowledge centre for pan-Asian language studies and research. The new M.Phil in Chinese Studies has been enabled through a philanthropic donation by Dr Sam Lam, a Trinity alumnus from Hong Kong. Dr Lam, a medical graduate, presented his donation to the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, during the Provost’s visit to Hong Kong last year. The announcement was made during the Education in Ireland mission to China organised by Enterprise Ireland and led by Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan TD.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister O'Sullivan said: "The new Masters in Chinese Studies and the opening of the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies at Trinity College Dublin are important developments in promoting partnerships with China. They highlight Trinity's ongoing commitment to Chinese collaborations, as well as deeper engagement with China."

Trinity College’s new Masters Programme with its focus on China today and during the last century will provide an important new approach to Chinese Studies in Ireland. The interdisciplinary two-year taught M.Phil will offer a unique opportunity for students to gain expertise in key aspects of contemporary Chinese society, history, politics and governance. The chief aims of this new postgraduate degree in Chinese Studies are: to contribute to understanding modern influences in China; to establish the discipline of Chinese Studies in a way that develops relevant teaching and to contribute to the development in Ireland’s engagement with China. As a result, the new Masters programme aims to produce graduates equipped with the intellectual and transferable skills for future careers requiring a strong knowledge of contemporary China.  

 Trinity College Dublin has also established a multi-disciplinary Trinity Centre for Asian Studies (TCAS). As well as acting as the “institutional ‘home” for Chinese Studies, this new centre will bring together existing capabilities in the Mandarin language, Korean, Japanese and Indian Studies in addition to other regionally-based scholarship and pan-Asian research. The new teaching and research centre will provide a structure for multi-disciplinary education in the broader disciplinary umbrella of Asian Studies. The centre is located in the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences. It aims to promote Asian studies nationally and internationally, and in doing so, to become an Irish leading knowledge-centre for policy-makers, business leaders and scholars in the field.

Professor Juliette Hussey, Vice President for Global Relations at Trinity College Dublin, said: “Trinity College Dublin has had strong links with China for most of its history. We are delighted to announce this M.Phil  in Chinese Studies that will introduce students to a global dialogue on their area of academic study and in building a global Trinity community.”

Commenting on the new M.Phil in Chinese Studies, which will commence in September 2015, the Director of the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies, Professor Lorna Carson explained: “We see Chinese Studies as a vital part of a modern Trinity education; a unique and vibrant educational experience which equips its students to be global citizens. Our goal is to establish Chinese Studies in a way that develops relevant teaching and research for our university, and allows students to engage deeply China today.”

The M.Phil. programme will add to the provision of Chinese scholarship in Ireland in a number of novel ways. The programme will enable in-depth studies of China in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries within a comparative, global context and offer a range of disciplinary perspectives, including modern Chinese history and thought, politics and governance, language, society and culture. It is principally aimed at students with a first degree in humanities or social science subjects. The degree course has two strands, one for students with no prior knowledge of Mandarin, and  another for students with prior or native knowledge of Mandarin. As a result, Trinity’s new Masters programme will also be of interest to Chinese student who wish to extend their study of modern China in a European cultural setting and comparative context. The M.Phil in Chinese Studies also incorporates an integrated Study Abroad module: a semester spent at one of Trinity’s partner universities which will allow students to develop their language skills as well as to experience campus life.

The new multi-disciplinary Masters programme is a cross-faculty initiative and will involve the recruitment of three new academic staff in Chinese Studies: two Assistant Professors and one Associate Professor. The position of Associate Professor, which was enabled by Dr Lam’s donation, will commence in Spring 2015, will be based in the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences and is funded for four years. An Assistant Professorship, in the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, was taken up by Dr Xin Sun in September 2014. Dr Sun is a graduate of Peking University and Northwestern. A third post in Chinese Studies (Assistant Professor) will commence in September 2015.

Applying for the M.Phil in Chinese Studies

Applications for the course are open for the 2015/16 Programme. The first enrolments on the course will be in September 2015 and the application closing date is April 2015.

Enquiries can be sent directly to:


Trinity College Dublin’s Links with China

Trinity College Dublin has a longstanding relationship with China which dates to the Mission to the Far East and the establishment of Trinity College Fuzhou. The Dublin University Far Eastern Mission (founded in 1886) established Trinity College Fuzhou in 1907, now the Fuzhou Foreign Language School. Later, Trinity was one of the first universities in the European Union to welcome Chinese students to its campus, with students from Beijing and Nanjing studying in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Today, engagement with China forms a core part of the university's international strategy, and fourteen partnerships have been formed with key Chinese HEIs in the last number of years, and a Trinity Office in Shanghai has been opened. Numbers of Chinese students coming to Trinity continue to increase, and are encouraged by a diverse and rewarding student experience, which includes the support of a vibrant Chinese Society. Additionally, Trinity academics across a number of disciplines are engaged in academic collaborations with their Chinese counterparts to meet some of the major global challenges of the coming years in terms of healthcare, sustainable provision of food and water, urban planning and technology. Trinity has further solidified its commitment to China via the announcement of a new Chinese scholarship and a Trinity Chinese website and social media.

Media Contact:

Caoimhe Ni Lochlainn, College Press Officer | | +353 1 896 2310 / +353 87 995 8014 (out of office hours)