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Learn about Imperial China with online courses and programs

Explore the global influence of Imperial China. Learn about the period of Chinese history with online courses delivered through edX.

What is Imperial China?

Imperial China was a sprawling and dynamic chapter in Chinese history that left an undeniable mark on the world. As an empire, Imperial China's origins can be traced back to the unification under the Qin Dynasty, a pivotal era that gained global prominence upon the Silk Road.Footnote 1

Imperial China was characterized by dynastic rule, where a series of emperors held supreme authority over a vast and diverse territory. It achieved several remarkable accomplishments, including the construction of the Great Wall, the development of Confucianism as the state ideology, the invention of paper, printing, and gunpowder, and the construction of grand architectural marvels like the Forbidden City.

Researchers have measured Imperial China’s reign from the Qin Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, signifying a continuous span of 2,000 years under dynastic rule that culminated in nationalist, and later communist movements.

Imperial China | Introduction Image Description

 Imperial China course curriculum

Studying Imperial China can provide learners with context for understanding the various aspects of Chinese history, culture, and society today. Topics that can be covered include:

  • Historical timeline: Gain insights into the rise and fall of different Chinese dynasties, from the Xia and Shang to the Qing, and understand the major events and transitions.

  • Cultural heritage: Explore Chinese philosophy, art, literature, and architecture that emerged during Imperial China.

  • Political structures: Learn about the governance systems, imperial bureaucracy, and the role of the emperor in shaping the state.

  • Economic and trade practices: Understand China's economic prosperity, advancements in agriculture, and the development of the Silk Road for trade and cultural exchange.

  • Technological innovations: Explore technological breakthroughs such as papermaking, printing, and gunpowder, which had a profound impact on world history.

  • Social hierarchies: Examine the social structure, including the roles of scholars, bureaucrats, farmers, and artisans, and the concept of the Mandate of Heaven.

  • Military history: Study the strategies and military campaigns that defined Imperial China's expansion and defense.

edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying about culture, langues, and a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education programs courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Why learn about Imperial China?

Learning about Chinese history can be beneficial for those pursuing professional careers in the field of culture, education, research, and more. Jobs in these sectors may include:

  • Historian: Specializes in researching, documenting, and interpreting aspects of Imperial China for academic institutions, museums, or historical organizations.

  • Curator: Works in museums or cultural institutions to manage and exhibit collections related to Chinese history and art, with a focus on Imperial China.

  • Archaeologist: Engages in archaeological excavations and research to uncover and study artifacts and sites related to Imperial China.

  • Educator: Teaches courses on Chinese history, culture, and civilization at educational institutions, from K-12 schools to universities.

  • Academic researcher: Pursues advanced studies in Imperial China and contributes to scholarly research and publications.

  • Library or archive specialist: Manages historical documents, records, and materials related to Chinese history and make them accessible to researchers and the public.

Are you looking to advance your historical knowledge of different regions around the world? Start learning today with online courses delivered through edX.

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