Academic Program

M.A. International Studies – China Studies

The M.A. program in China Studies at the University of Washington offers students the opportunity to develop a substantial understanding of Chinese culture, history, society, and contemporary issues. Language learning and facility are a core element of the program of study. The more than twenty faculty members of the China Studies Program provide a broad and deep range of course offerings in the social sciences and humanities, and some of the professional schools at the University of Washington. The M.A. program is relatively small, and there is close faculty-student interaction. Students may combine their graduate study in China Studies with professional degrees (subject to acceptance by those programs and schools). Advanced work can also be pursued in disciplinary departments after completion of the M.A. degree.

The China Studies Program is recognized as one of the best programs in the country. There are generally two faculty members in each social science discipline, eight faculty in the humanities, and one in the School of Law. Particular strengths are found in Chinese language and literature, history, geography, demography, economics, Chinese film and anthropology. The University of Washington has been the center for the study of the minorities of China. In addition to faculty strengths, the East Asia Library is one of the ten largest East Asian language libraries in the United States.

Besides course offerings, the program sponsors a lively, regular China Colloquium, bringing scholars outside of the University to campus to present their research. Seattle is home to the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and the University of Washington has a partnership with the Burke Museum, a growing museum of natural history and anthropology on campus. The state of Washington is the most trade dependent state in the US, and most of that trade is with Pacific nations. This offers the opportunity for paid and unpaid internships, and makes China a focus of community and academic concern.

Some of our graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs, and are now teaching at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California-Los Angeles. Others have gone on to work in business, including Microsoft, Weyerhauser, and other major companies. Still others work in the US government and law firms, both in the US and in Asia.

The course of study combines a structured series of courses in Chinese language with great flexibility in the rest of the student’s course of study. Students are free to take courses concentrating on one particular issue or to broadly take courses on China. Students may also take two upper level courses related to their career interests outside of China studies that can count for their degree.

David Bachman, Graduate Program Coordinator


A summary of the curriculum is provided below. A detailed description of the entire program curriculum, policies and procedures can be found in the China Studies handbook.

JSIS A 521-522 Seminars: Introduction to the Interdisciplinary Study of China These seminars (5 credits each) are offered during the winter and spring quarters and are designed to introduce students to interdisciplinary analysis of selected problems of modern China through readings drawn from several academic disciplines.

At least 26 elective China Studies related credits These credits must be fulfilled by 400-, 500-, or 600-level classes. The courses taken to fulfill this requirement must be from at least two departments or disciplines other than Asian Languages and Literature to ensure that your coursework is interdisciplinary. First through fourth-year Chinese and first-year classical Chinese do not count toward your twenty-six credit requirement.

Capstone Research Project You must complete either a thesis (approximately 50 pages) or two papers (approximately 25 pages each) of near publishable quality under the guidance of your Masters Supervisory Committee.

Comprehensive Oral Exam Your Masters Supervisory Committee will examine your capstone research project and conduct your oral exam during your graduation quarter.


Language proficiency is not required for admission.

Language study is an essential part of the program. Courses in Chinese language and literature are offered by the Department of Asian Languages and Literature. While you are required to complete third-year Chinese, or second-year Heritage Chinese, you are urged to take instruction beyond this level if your schedule permits. If you believe you have attained the required level before you entered the Jackson School, you must take and pass a proficiency exam. Native Chinese speakers are exempt from this requirement.


M.A. in China Studies Handbook 2023-24

M.A. in China Studies Handbook 2022-23

M.A. in China Studies Handbook 2021-22

M.A. in China Studies Handbook 2020-21


Applications must be submitted by January 31 for admittance to the autumn quarter cohort. We only accept students into the M.A. program during autumn quarter.

You can find information about the application requirements and process on our website.



The Jackson School houses 14 outreach centers. These centers provide opportunities for educators, students, and the community to learn about the world. Some of them have specific scholarship opportunities and other resources that may be useful. Here are those you might find particularly useful: