China Studies

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JHU SAIS in DC is open on time Thursday February 21, 2019 with all classes, events and activities taking place as scheduled.

China Studies Program
China Studies Program
China Studies Program

Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies offers unparalleled training for future leaders and thinkers who will address China's evolving role in the world.

Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies offers unparalleled training for future leaders and thinkers who will address China's evolving role in the world.

Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies offers unparalleled training for future leaders and thinkers who will address China's evolving role in the world.

Program Activities
SAIS China
Events Calendar
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Learning to work with China across the full range of human endeavor is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. The China Studies Program offers unparalleled resources for combining the graduate-level study of international relations and China. Known for its outstanding faculty, the China Studies Program and SAIS offer a dynamic multidisciplinary curriculum rooted in the study of international relations, economics, and regional studies.
The China Studies Program is second to none in the number of graduate courses offered on contemporary China.  The program’s hallmark is its academically superb faculty, with considerable expertise outside of academe, from work in government and multilateral organizations to NGOs and foundations. Courses cover topics from Chinese leadership and foreign policy to economic and political reform, human rights and law, environmental challenges, China’s military power, and the country’s growing involvement in Africa and beyond. Interested students have the opportunity to spend their first year in China learning from top Chinese and international scholars through both the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and the SAIS-Tsinghua Dual Degree Program or as a semester exchange student at Tsinghua University.
China Studies students are exposed to many visiting policy makers and academics, and will have opportunities to undertake internships in Greater China and/or in Washington, DC, and to participate in field trips to China or the societies with which it interacts. A core commitment of the China Studies Program is to offer a curriculum that puts contemporary China in regional and historical context and integrates comparative and theoretical perspectives with the judgment that experience and history provide.
Aside from China itself, Washington, DC is ground zero for the study of contemporary China and China policy. SAIS is located in the heart of Washington--amidst embassies, think tanks, NGOs, and government agencies, all with considerable China involvement and expertise. Given their unmatched opportunity to study China from both the inside and outside, China Studies graduates are employed in government, business, multilateral organizations, and NGOs around the world.
Nov. 2018 study tour visits Sound Group in China
Professor Maggie Lewis's lecture on legal reforms in Taiwan
Professor Pieter Bottelier discussed his new book on “Economic Policy Making in China (1949-2016)” at SAIS China Forum
Visiting Danjiang Reservoir in China
On the Changjiang Shennong Brook, China
Meeting at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, China
Meeting with Dr. Wu Shicun, President of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies
Lunar New Year remarks by David M. Lampton Feb. 14, 2018
Visiting the Headquaters of Bank of China at Beijing, China
Studying China's Water Issue
Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai speaks at SAIS China Forum
SAIS Student Volunteers with Chinese Ambassador Cui, SAIS '87
Previous Rome Endowment Photo Contest Selections
HNC Co-director Chen Speaks to Students at Graduation, Spring 2018
SAIS-Tsinghua NexGen Global Forum: A Study of China's Poverty Alleviation Initiative in Yunnan Province
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  • Andrew
    George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Studies Program, Director of SAIS China
    Washington, D.C.
  • Deborah
    Bernard L. Schwartz Professor in International Political Economy, Director of China-Africa Research Initiative
    Washington, D.C.
  • Madelyn
    Associate Director of China Studies and Executive Director, SAIS China
    Washington, D.C.
  • David
    The Jill McGovern and Steven Muller Assistant Professor of International Affairs and China Studies, Director of the Pacific Community Initiative
    Washington, D.C.
  • Carla
    Associate Research Professor of China Studies, Executive Director of the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute
    Washington, D.C.
  • Michael
    Adjunct Lecturer of China Studies
    Washington, D.C.
  • Ling
    Assistant Professor of Political Economy
    Washington, D.C.
  • Ho-Fung
    Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Professor in Political Economy
    Washington, D.C.
  • David
    Adjunct Lecturer of China Studies
    Washington, D.C.
  • David
    Professor Emeritus of China Studies, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute
    Washington, D.C.
  • Shahid
    Adjunct Professor
    Washington, D.C.
  • Pieter
    China Studies Affiliated Scholar
    Washington, D.C.
  • David
    China Studies Affiliated Scholar
  • Natalie
    China Studies Affiliated Scholar
  • Anne
    Director of the Grassroots China Initiative, China Studies Affiliated Scholar
    Washington, D.C.

Program Activities


China Forum

For more than 30 years, the SAIS China Forum has brought leading experts on China from academia, the business world, and the policy community, to speak to the Washington China community on important topics of the day.


China Studies Luncheons

Throughout the academic year, this lunch series provides opportunities for the China Studies Program and others in the SAIS community to explore current topics on China with experts in an informal setting.


Research Opportunities

The China Studies program offers an annual China-focused research seminar for which students complete research papers of publishable quality. Students may also have opportunities to serve as research assistants for academic books or other faculty projects.


Study Trips

SAIS China faculty may organize travel for limited numbers of students on topics involving Chinese domestic or foreign policy. Recent trips include:



Each year, China Studies provides limited funding to offset costs that students may incur in undertaking internships in Greater China during the summer.


Annual Rome Endowment Photo Contest

The China Studies Program hosts an annual Rome Endowment Photo Contest each year. This contest encourages the creative and perceptive use of photography to tell compelling stories about our China Studies students’ travel experiences in Greater China. Contest winners are voted on by SAIS peers at the annual selection and award event, where winners win a cash prize and have the opportunity to speak about their work and experience. The contest grants three third place awards ($100), two second place awards ($200), and one first place award ($300).

Rome Endowment Photo Contest Collage


China Studies Review

Since 2014, the SAIS China Studies Program has published the China Studies Review, an annual student journal featuring interdisciplinary work by graduate students conducting research on China, including political science, economics, public policy, and area studies.

Prior to the creation of the Review, China Studies also featured research conducted by MA students on China in the China Studies Working Page Series.



SAIS China Studies periodically hosts mini-courses taught by practitioners-in-residence and outside experts. These small, application-based sessions offer practical professional insights, highlight key skills sought by employers, and provide strong networking opportunities.

In Spring 2018, Practioner-in-Residence Beth Keck (SAIS '85), a former Senior Director at Walmart who worked on sustainability and women's empowerment in China, taught "Public Affairs in China: A Practical Approach." Sessions included China Public Affairs Strategy: Government Relations and CSR, Crisis Management Case: Walmart Organic Pork Labeling Scandal, and a guest lecture and luncheon with Erin Ennis, Senior Vice President of the US-China Business Council. Ms. Keck has taught the mini-course for SAIS China in Washington, DC, Nanjing, and Beijing. See here for a Hopkins Nanjing perspective.


Financial Aid

SAIS General Funds
The SAIS Financial Aid Office provides general financial aid resources and advisory services.

China Studies Funds
Each year, SAIS China Studies offers top candidates funding through the Starr Excellence in China Studies Fellowship.

Students can apply for the following fellowships:

  • The Christine and Erik Brown Fellowship for China Studies (open to new students): This fellowship provides partial tuition support for an American citizen offered admission to the MA program with a concentration in China Studies. The recipient must declare his or her intention to pursue employment in US government service, education, journalism or the non-profit/non-government sector for five years after graduation.
  • The Stephen and Christine Liu Fellowship (open to rising second-year students): This fellowship is awarded to students who have distinguished themselves in China Studies and have exhibited the potential to lead in the field of US-China relations.
  • The James and Margaret Loe Fellowship (open to rising second-year students): Established in memory of James and Margaret Loe by their family, this fellowship supports students who have distinguished themselves in China Studies and contributed to better understanding between the people of the United States and China.



China Studies | MA Academic Requirements (Entering Class 2018-2019)

Learning Goals and Objectives

MA students must complete 64 credits and all degree requirements in order to graduate.

Students who are approved for a Dual Degree program or with Advanced Standing only need to complete 48 credits or 56 credits as determined by Academic Affairs, but still must fulfill all degree requirements.


China Studies Concentration

MA students concentrating in China Studies must complete 24 credits of applicable coursework and a program capstone. 16 credits must be China Studies courses. The remaining 8 credits must be from one or more of the programs below:

  • Asian Studies
  • Japan Studies
  • Korea Studies
  • South Asia Studies
  • Southeast Asia Studies

Students who received the HNC Certificate in Chinese and American Studies will receive a reduction in the number of China Studies credits required, but must take at least one China Studies course at SAIS Washington. Academic Affairs will inform each student of the approved reductions.

China Studies Courses for the 2018-2019 Academic Year

China Studies concentrators must complete one of the following capstones:

  • China Studies Capstone Exam that tests the student's knowledge of China in relation to the student's overall coursework
  • MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors—if eligible)

International Economics Concentration

MA students must complete a concentration in International Economics (16 credits). The four required courses are:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics (pre-requisite or concurrent: Microeconomics)
  • International Trade Theory (pre-requisite: Microeconomics)
  • International Monetary Theory (pre-requisite: Macroeconomics)

If a student is waived from a required course(s), the student must take a replacement International Economics course(s) to fulfill the concentration requirement. Students who received the HNC Certificate in Chinese and American Studies may use one Level 2 Economics course as a replacement course, but this does not carry any credit value.

Students who pass the non-credit Microeconomics course in Pre-Term will have this concentration reduced to 12 credits, but still must complete the remaining required International Economics courses (or a replacement course(s) if waiver exam(s) passed).

International Economics GPA Requirement
Students must achieve an International Economics concentration GPA of at least 2.67.

In the standard case, the concentration GPA is the average of the grades in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory.  If a student completed the non-credit Microeconomics course in Pre-Term, the concentration GPA is calculated based on the grades in the remaining required International Economics courses. If one or more of the required courses is waived, the highest grade(s) from any eligible replacement International Economics course(s) is used.

Students who do not meet the minimum International Economics concentration GPA must re-take required courses (or take additional replacement courses if any required course(s) are waived) until the minimum is achieved. The highest grade from any attempt at a required course is used in this calculation.


Quantitative Reasoning Requirement

MA students must fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning Requirement (4 credits). Eligible courses include:

  • Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
  • Econometrics (pre-requisite: Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
  • Applied Econometrics (pre-requisite: Econometrics)
  • Macro Econometrics (pre-requisite: Econometrics)
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Risk Analysis and Modeling
  • Quantitative Global Economics (pre-requisite: International Monetary Theory)
  • Credit Markets & Credit Risk (pre-requisite: Corporate Finance)

Students may not double-count the same course toward the Quantitative Reasoning requirement and as a replacement International Economics concentration course and vice-versa.

If a student is waived from a Quantitative Reasoning course, the student must take a different course from the list above to fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Students who pass the non-credit Statistical Methods for Business & Economics course in Pre-Term will have fulfilled the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.


Core Requirements

MA students must fulfill two Core requirements. Students may fulfill a Core requirement by passing a for-credit Core course or by passing a non-credit Core exam.

For students concentrating in China Studies, one of the Core requirements must be:

  • Comparative Politics

This must be completed prior to the start of the third semester.

The second Core requirement may be one of:
  • American Foreign Policy Since WWII
  • Evolution of the International System
  • Theories of International Relations

Students may not take a Core exam in the semester in which they plan to graduate. If Core requirements are not completed before the start of a student’s final semester, the student no longer has the option of completing the exam and must enroll in the Core course(s) for credit.


Language Proficiency

MA students must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in a non-native language taught at SAIS. Students enroll in non-credit language courses to prepare for the proficiency exam.

China Studies concentrators are required to demonstrate proficiency in Chinese. Native speakers of Chinese must demonstrate proficiency in any other language taught at SAIS, which can include English.

All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering the school, even if not using English for proficiency, and may be required to take additional English language coursework.


Electives, Minors and Specializations

Beyond the requirements, MA students may have room in their degree for electives, a minor, and/or a specialization(s).

Students may pursue an optional minor in any policy/regional area other than General International Relations.

Students may pursue an optional specialization(s) in five areas International Economics, the International Relations of Asia, or Emerging Markets.



Entering Class 2017-2018
Entering Class 2016-2017
Entering Class 2015-2016
Entering Class 2014-2015


China Studies Minor Requirements:

  • 3 China Studies (or cross-listed) courses (12 credits)
  • 4 semesters of Chinese language study or proficiency

General Minor Requirements:

  • MA students may pursue an optional minor in a policy or regional program. A student cannot pursue a minor in General IR or International Economics, but can pursue a Specialization in International Economics
  • A student can have only one minor and can declare a minor at any time prior to graduation.
  • Students do not receive bidding priority for a minor.
  • All minors require three courses. Some minors require a specific course(s) and/or language proficiency.
  • A student may use a maximum of one applicable cross-listed course (4 credits) toward both a minor AND concentration requirements. In the IR or Asia concentrations, the cross-listed course must be from the primary concentration area and not from the 2 additional required courses in the other IR or Asia areas.

SAIS China

SAIS China encompasses the formal China-related programs at Johns Hopkins SAIS as well as the school's footprint in Greater China. There are abundant resources for students beginning their China study as well as those with significant experience and mastery of Chinese. Students can pursue their studies in Washington, DC, at The Hopkins-Nanjing Center, or in affiliated programs at top Chinese universities such as Tsinghua University, with program options that allow the student to do coursework in both China and the United States. All locations offer top research facilities and a vibrant community of China scholars and practitioners.

China Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS
The China Studies Program in Washington, DC is one of America’s premier graduate programs for the study of China. The two-year Master of Arts degree program provides a foundation in international economics, trade theory, language proficiency, and comparative politics as well as classes on topics ranging from US-China relations, China’s foreign policy, politics, economy, and development, to grass-roots society, energy and environment, and Taiwan and cross-Strait relations. Students tailor their studies to focus on the issues that matter most to them, and take advantage of a rich array of international resources and events convenient to the school’s location on Embassy Row. The program also offers a small and highly selective PhD program in China Studies.

Meeting with Dr. Wu Shicun, President of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center
The Hopkins-Nanjing Center, jointly administered by Johns Hopkins University and Nanjing University, is the longest-running academic partnership between China and the United States. The HNC offers a unique academic community and experience in students’ target language at the HNC’s modern academic center in Nanjing. Intermediate- to advanced-level proficiency in Mandarin Chinese is required prior to beginning study in one of the HNC’s three programs:

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)—This two-year program, fully accredited in both China and the United States, culminates in a thesis and degree jointly awarded by Johns Hopkins SAIS and Nanjing University.

HNC Certificate in Chinese and American Studies—The one-year HNC Certificate gives students flexibility in course selection while deepening their knowledge of Sino-global relations and mastery of Chinese.

HNC Certificate/Johns Hopkins SAIS Master of Arts (MA)—Students spend one year in Nanjing, China and continue their studies for two to three semesters in Washington, DC or at SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy (with at least one semester in Washington, DC).

Co-director Chen speaks to students

The SAIS-Tsinghua Dual Degree Program in Global Politics and Economics
The SAIS-Tsinghua Dual Degree Program in Global Politics and Economics is a cohort-based program offered by Johns Hopkins SAIS and the International Relations Department at Tsinghua University. Students spend their first year at Tsinghua University in Beijing, followed by three semesters at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington, DC. With courses taught in English, this is an excellent way to gain a firsthand understanding of China and Sino-global relations, study in the capital cities of the US and China, and earn both a Master of Arts from Johns Hopkins SAIS and a Master of Law from Tsinghua University.

SAIS-Tsinghua NexGen Global Forum: A Study of China's Poverty Alleviation Initiative in Yunnan Province


Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies hosts the China Forum, which features presentations and speeches by top officials and thinkers who manage and study China's evolving role in the world. Students also attend luncheons and hear invited China scholars discuss their latest research.

SAIS China Studies will begin the Spring 2019 term with the following events:

Thursady, Feburary 7, 5:00-7:00 pm: Chinese New Year Celebration
Kenny Auditorium
All Asian Studies students, faculty, visiting scholars, and staff are invited to attend.
Monday, Feburary 11, 12:00-2:00 pm: China Studies Luncheon
Rome 806
“Promoting Democratic Institutions Worldwide: Reflections on 25 Years at the NED” presented by Ms. Louisa Coan Greve, Recipient of the JHU Global Achievement Award.
Wednesday, Feburary 13, 12:00-2:00 pm: China/Asia Studies Luncheon
Rome 806
"Beyongd Regimes: China and India Compared" presented by Dr. Elizabeth Perry, Fairbank Center, Harvard University.
Wednesday, Feburary 20, 5:00-7:00 pm: China Forum
Kenny Auditorium
“The State Strikes Back: The End of Economic Reform in China?” presented by Dr. Nicolas Lardy, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Wednesday, Feburary 27, 12:00-2:00 pm: China Studies Luncheon
Rome 806
"The Longevity of Chinese Absolutism" presented by Dr. Yasheng Huaang, Martin Trust Center, MIT

Wednesday, March 6, 5:00-7:00 pm: China Forum
Kenny Auditorium
"China's Crisis of Success" Dr. William Overholt, Ash Center, Harvard University

Tuesday, April 16, 5:00-7:00 pm: China Forum
Rome Auditorium
"China's Political Elites in the New Xi Jinping Era' Dr. Zhiyue Bo, Deputy Dean, XIPU New Era Development Research Institute

Thursday, April 18, 12:00-2:00 pm: China Studies Luncheon
Rome 806
'China Aviation Forum: Looking Back and Looking Forward" Mr. James Fallows, writer and journalist, author of China Airborne; Ms. Elizabeth Keck, Practitioner in Residence of China Studies, SAIS

Tuesday, April 23, 12:00-2:00 pm: China Studies Luncheon
Rome 806
“Thirsty Cities: Social Contract and Public Goods Provision in China and India” Dr. Selina Ho, National University of Singapore

Wednesday, May 1, 12:00-2:00 pm: China Studies Luncheon
Rom 806
“Chinese PLA 101” Ken Allen, Research Director, China Aero space Studies Institute (CASI)

Click here to download the full events list.

Our Alumni


China Studies Alumni

Alumni Facebook Group

Join the group by visiting the Johns Hopkins SAIS Alumni Group and click “Request to Join”. You will need to have a Facebook account to login and join.

Alumni Linkedin Group

Join the group by visiting the Johns Hopkins SAIS China Alumni Group and click “Join Group." You will need to have a Linkedin account to login and join. The group is focused on connecting China Alumni and friends in a professional context.



Contact Us

Andrew Mertha
George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Studies Program
Rome 612

Madelyn C. Ross
Associate Director of the China Studies Program, Executive Director, SAIS China
Rome 609

Zhaojin Ji
Program Coordinator
Rome 610

Address & Phone

China Studies
Rome Building, Suite 606
1619 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC