China Studies

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
Our Alumni
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.
A Comparative Guide to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with AIIB's Inaugural Counsel, Natalie Lichtenstein
Security-Relevant Perceptions in US-China Relations: Elites and Society, Nov.1, 2013
On the Changjiang Shennong Brook, China
Meeting at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, China
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
Show More


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.


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

China Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives
China Studies Courses for the 2017-2018 Academic Year

China Studies Core Reading List

Entering Class 2017-2018
MA students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 courses (48 credits) or 14 courses (56 credits) as approved by Academic Affairs.
Students concentrating in China Studies must take at least 4 courses within this program.
Students who received the HNC Certificate in Chinese and American Studies will receive a reduction in the number of China Studies course requirements, but must take a minimum one China Studies course at the Washington, DC campus. Academic Affairs will inform each student of the approved reductions.
China Studies concentrators must also fulfill the requirements for the field of Asian Studies, which include 2 Asian Studies area courses outside of China Studies.
Students in China Studies also have the option of pursuing a specialization in the International Relations of Asia (AsiaIR).



Students must complete 16 credits. The four required courses are:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent: Microeconomics)
  • International Trade Theory (prerequisite: Microeconomics)
  • International Monetary Theory (prerequisite: Macroeconomics)

If a student passes a waiver exam in one of these areas, the student must take a replacement International Economics program course(s) to fulfill the concentration requirement.

Starting with the entering class of Fall 2017, students who pass Microeconomics in Pre-Term will have the concentration reduced to 12 credits, but still must complete Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory (or a replacement course(s) if waiver exam(s) passed). The Pre-Term Microeconomics course is not for credit and is not factored into the GPA.

Beyond the requirements, many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.

Concentration GPA Requirement
Students must achieve a combined GPA of at least 2.67 in four (or three if Microeconomics is passed in Pre-Term) required International Economics program courses or they must retake the course(s) until a 2.67 concentration GPA is achieved. In the standard case, the concentration GPA will be the average of the grades of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory.

If one or more of the four standard courses is waived, the school will use the highest grade(s) from any eligible replacement International Economics program course(s) to compute the International Economics concentration GPA.



Students must complete one course from the list below.

  • Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
  • Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
  • Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
  • Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
  • Risk Analysis and Modeling
  • Quantitative Global Economics (prerequisite International Monetary Theory)
  • Credit Markets & Credit Risk (prerequisite Corporate Finance)

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

If a student passes the statistics waiver exam, the student must take an alternate course from the list above to fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Starting with the entering class of Fall 2017, students who pass Statistical Methods for Business & Economics in Pre-Term will have fulfilled the Quantitative Reasoning requirement. The Pre-Term course is not for credit and is not factored into the GPA.



All students must pass 2 core courses and/or exams from the subjects below. China Studies concentrators must pass Comparative Politics as one of their core requirements prior to the start of their third semester. If the core courses/exams are not completed by the start of the final semester, the student no longer has the option of completing the exam and must enroll in the core course(s) for credit.

  • American Foreign Policy Since World War II
  • Comparative Politics
  • Evolution of the International Systems
  • Theories of International Relations


China Studies MA candidates must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in Chinese. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering the school. Native Chinese speakers must pass proficiency in a second language which can include English. Recent HNC Certificate students are exempt from taking the Chinese proficiency exam and will have met the proficiency requirement.



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)


Entering Class 2016-2017
Entering Class 2015-2016
Entering Class 2014-2015
Entering Class 2013-2014
Entering Class 2012-2013
Entering Class 2011-2012
Entering Class 2010-2011
Entering Class 2009-2010


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.

To add or change a minor, please click HERE.

SAIS China

China’s coming of age in the 21st century presents significant opportunities and challenges. The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) offers unparalleled resources for combining the graduate-level study of international relations and China. Known for its outstanding faculty, the school offers a dynamic multidisciplinary curriculum rooted in the study of international relations, economics, and regional studies.

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.

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).

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.


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.

Click here for the full list of Spring 2018 events.

Our Alumni


China Studies Alumni

Alumni Facebook Group

Join the group by visiting the Johns Hopkins SAIS China Alumni Group and click “Request to Join”. You will need to have a Facebook account to login and join. The group is focused on connecting China Alumni and updating them on all events hosted by the China Studies program.

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.


A Journal of Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies.
A publication of MA candidates (2009-2013).

Contact Us

David M. Lampton
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 509

Zhaojin Ji
Program Coordinator
Rome 610

Address & Phone

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