Leeds University Business School

East Asian Religions and Cultures

Leeds University Business School
In Leeds

Price on request
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Important information

Typology Postgraduate
Location Leeds
Start Different dates available
  • Postgraduate
  • Leeds
  • Start:
    Different dates available

This degree 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 a language (Chinese, Japanese or Thai) although we teach all modules in English.
Taught by 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).

Facilities (1)
Where and when



Leeds (North Yorkshire)
Maurice Keyworth Building, The University Of Leeds, LS2 9JT


Different dates availableNow taking bookings

To take into account

· Requirements

Entry requirements A-level: ABB Other course specific tests: 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. Select alternative qualification Access to HE Diploma BTEC Cambridge Pre-U International Baccalaureate y to higher education, or...

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What you'll learn on the course


Course programme

In your first year core modules will lay the foundations of your degree, 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.

Modules 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
  • LCS Academic Essentials
Optional modules
  • Introduction to Islamic Theology 20 credits
  • History and Culture of Imperial China 20 credits
  • Foundations of East Asia 20 credits
  • Introduction to South Asian Religions 10 credits
  • Religion, Politics and Society in the Modern World 10 credits
  • Beginner-level language modules in Chinese, Japanese or Thai

Year 2

Across Years 2 and 3 you must take the modules Religion in China (20 credits), Religion in Japan (20 credits) and Buddhism: A Lived Tradition (20 credits).

Optional modules
  • The Making of Modern Thailand 20 credits
  • Japanese Development Assistance in a Globalising World 20 credits
  • Hindu Traditions to 1600 CE 20 credits
  • Chinese, Japanese and Cantonese language modules

Year 3

Across Years 2 and 3 you must take the modules Religion in China (20 credits), Religion in Japan (20 credits) and Buddhism: A Lived Tradition (20 credits). You will also complete a final year project.

Compulsory modules
  • Final Year Project
Optional modules
  • Islam and Modernity 20 credits
  • Religion in China 20 credits
  • Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector in Contemporary China 20 credits
  • Energy Security: Global and Asian Perspectives 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
  • South East Asia in the Global Context

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