PhD Scholarship in Chinese Film and Soft Power (2020 Entry)
 Reference: 2003BRI_XLZ
 Length of Scholarships: up to 36 months, subject to satisfactory progression
 Programme PhD Culture Studies
School/Department School of International Communications
 Place:  1
 Closing Date:  15 May 2020 


The available PhD scholarships cover:

  • Tuition fee
  • Monthly stipend (RMB4,500)
  • Medical insurance with designated providers
  • All above items are covered for up to 36 months based on satisfactory progression
  • All regulations set out in the UNNC PGR Scholarship Policy apply

In addition to the above scholarship, successful candidates also have the opportunity to carry out paid teaching (after the completion of Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) training) or research assistant duties at UNNC since second year of their PhD programmes.

Available PhD research areas:

The above scholarship is to support research projects outlined under the following theme: 

Title of the theme: The BRI, Soft Power, and Chinese Film

This project aims to examine the role of film in the formation, projection and reception of Chinese soft power, which, according to Nye (2004), means a nation’s ability to achieve goals through attraction, but not coercion or payment. It will investigate films screened at the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), which created the “BRI Film Night” in 2018 for cultural and educational exchange that featured 26 films from 26 countries. It will also investigate films selected in the following years by the SIFF that were toured in specific BRI countries, with the mandate of “spreading Chinese culture and telling Chinese stories.” Finally, it will investigate the development of the BRI film festival alliance, which currently includes 38 institutions in 33 countries, and is projected to grow.

Grounded in film studies - but also drawing on cultural studies, international relations, and China studies - this qualitative project is expected to throw fresh light onto China’s evolving understanding and conduct of soft power, as well as provide insights into the empirical and theoretical implications of film as soft power.

The successful candidate will be working with two specialists in Chinese films and Chinese uses of soft power in the School of International Communication, which has a large film studies contingent, and offers a stimulating environment to nurture a budding film scholar. The successful candidate is expected to finish the project within three years and to jointly publish with the supervisors. 

Informal inquiries may be addressed to Xiaoling Zhang at, or Corey Schultz at but formal applications should follow the instructions in ‘How to apply’ section Please specify 2003BRI_XLZ as scholarship reference code when submitting application. 


PhD programme structure

PhD programmes at the UNNC are composed of 3 years research and a 1 year thesis pending period for full time PhDs. Full time PhDs are expected to submit their theses within a maximum of four years from initial registration. PhD supervision is undertaken jointly by academics from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) and the University of Nottingham UK (UNUK). On successful completion, students will be awarded the University of Nottingham PhD degree, and no reference will be made on the degree certificate as to where the degree has been completed. The University of Nottingham PhD degree will be accredited by the Chinese Ministry of Education.




Applicants must have a first class honours undergraduate degree or 65% and above for a Masters’ degree from a British university, or the equivalent from other institutions.

Applicants must meet the required English language proficiency for the relevant subject area. IELTS 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all elements) or its equivalent is required for Faculty of Science and Engineering (FoSE) scholarship applicants.

More details can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ page of the website.


How to apply

No separate application is required for applying for a scholarship but please make sure you quote the scholarship reference number in your PhD application form. It normally takes 7-8 weeks for a final decision to be made after the closing date. List of required documents can be found on the ‘how to apply’ page.