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 [2] and the SAIS-Tsinghua Dual Degree Program [3] or as a semester exchange student at Tsinghua University [4].
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
Show More


  • [5]
    George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Studies Program, Director of SAIS China
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [7]
  • [8]
    Bernard L. Schwartz Professor in International Political Economy, Director of China-Africa Research Initiative
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [10]
  • [11]
    Associate Director of China Studies and Executive Director, SAIS China
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [13]
  • [14]
    The Jill McGovern and Steven Muller Assistant Professor of International Affairs and China Studies, Director of the Pacific Community Initiative
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [16]
  • [17]
    Associate Research Professor of China Studies, Executive Director of the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [19]
  • [20]
    Assistant Professor of Political Economy
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [22]
  • [23]
    Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Professor in Political Economy
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [25]
  • [26]
    Director of the Grassroots China Initiative, China Studies Affiliated Scholar
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [28]

Program Activities


China Forum

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


China Studies Luncheons

Throughout the academic year, the China Studies lunch series provides opportunities for students and faculty in the China Studies Program and others in the SAIS community to explore current China-related topics with experts in a small and informal setting.

See the Events Calendar page for a listing of events this semester.  [29]


Research and Publication Opportunities

Since 2015, SAIS China has published the China Studies Review, which features top student writing on China from the past year--see the latest CSR below. China Studies also 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 SAIS faculty or as interns for scholars in area research institutions.  


Study Trips

SAIS China faculty organize small study trips for students, focused on topics involving Chinese domestic or foreign policy. Recent trips include:

  • November 2018 - China’s Urbanization and the Quest for Sustainable Prosperity (photo below)
  • January 2018 - Climate Change and the Water-Energy Nexus along the Mekong River (China and Vietnam)
  • Post-trip report: "Challenges to Transboundary Water Governance in the Mekong River Basin" [30]
  • November 2017 - China's Energy Transition: Governance, Innovation, and Society



China Studies provides limited funding to support summer internships. In 2019, the SAIS China Summer Internship Program will make three internship awards of $2500 to $3,000.  For more information, see here [31].


Annual Rome Endowment Photo Contest

The China Studies Program hosts the annual Rome Endowment Photo Contest each year. This contest encourages the creative and perceptive use of photography to tell compelling stories based on our China Studies students’ travel experiences in Greater China. Contest winners are voted on by SAIS peers and top photographers 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). Past photographs appear below.

Rome Endowment Photo Contest Collage


China Studies Review

Since 2014, the SAIS China Studies Program has published the China Studies Review [32], an annual student journal featuring interdisciplinary work by graduate students conducting research on China, including political science, economics, public policy, and area studies. Look through the latest issue below, and find out much more at the CSR website saiscsr.org [33].


Prior to the creation of the Review, China Studies also featured research conducted by MA students on China in the China Studies Working Paper Series [35].



SAIS China Studies periodically hosts mini-courses taught by practitioners and outside experts that offer practical professional insights, highlight key skills sought by employers, and provide strong networking opportunities.

For example, in Spring 2018, Practitioner-in-Residence Beth Keck (SAIS '85), a former Senior Director at Walmartand and expert on sustainability and women's empowerment in China, taught "Public Affairs in China: A Practical Approach. [36]" Ms. Keck has taught mini-courses for SAIS China in Washington, DC, Nanjing, and Beijing. See here [37] for a Hopkins Nanjing perspective.


Financial Aid

SAIS General Funds
The SAIS Financial Aid Office [38] provides general financial aid resources and advisory services for all SAIS students.

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

Students in the China Studies Program can also apply for the following fellowships:

  • The Christine and Erik Brown Fellowship for China Studies (open to new students): This fellowship provides two years of 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 [39]

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 [40]

The Capstone exam is an oral exam conducted by the China Studies faculty. More information available here [41].


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 [42] 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 [43] 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 [44] 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 [43] 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 [45] other than General International Relations.

Students may pursue an optional specialization(s) in five areas International Economics [46], the International Relations of Asia [47], or Emerging Markets [48].



Entering Class 2017-2018 [49]
Entering Class 2016-2017 [50]
Entering Class 2015-2016 [51]
Entering Class 2014-2015 [52]


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 [53]
  • 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 [54]
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 [55]
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 [3]
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.

 A Study of China's Poverty Alleviation Initiative in Yunnan Province [56]


Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies hosts a number of events throughout the semester including 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 China Studies luncheons for discussions with invited China policymakers and scholars on their latest work, as well as many other events cohosted with other SAIS programs and at nearby institutions.

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

Thursday, February 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, February 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, February 13, 12:00-2:00 pm: China/Asia Studies Luncheon
Rome 806
"Beyond Regimes: China and India Compared" presented by Dr. Elizabeth Perry, Fairbank Center, Harvard University
Wednesday, February 27, 12:00-2:00 pm: China Studies Luncheon
Rome 806
"The Longevity of Chinese Absolutism" presented by Dr. Yasheng Huang, 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

Thursday, March 14, 4:30-6:00 pm: The US-China Policy Foundation
Rome Auditorium
"US-China Relations at 40: Reflections on the 40th Anniversary of Normalization" Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy, former U.S. Ambassador to China, USCPF Board Member; Dr. Yukon Huang, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment; Dr. Robert Sutter, Professor of Practice of International Affairs, Elliott School, GWU; Mr. Douglas Paal, Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Endowment

Tuesday, April 2, 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

Friday, April 12, 12:00-1:30 pm: Deans Forum/China Forum
Kenny Auditorium
"China's Move Into the High Income Category: Sectoral Productivity Growth and Structural Reform”
Presented by Dr. Min Zhu, Chairman, National Institute of Financial Research, Tsinghua University and Former Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

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)

Tuesday, May 21: 2019 China Studies Graduation reception

Click here to download the full events list. [61]

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
amertha1@jhu.edu [7]
Rome 612

Madelyn C. Ross
Associate Director of the China Studies Program, Executive Director, SAIS China
mross35@jhu.edu [13]
Rome 609

Zhaojin Ji
Program Coordinator
zji@jhu.edu [69]
Rome 610

Address & Phone

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