MA Program in Chinese Studies FAQ
Q: What are the requirements for this MA program?
A: First, you need to have a BA in Chinese Studies or an equivalent degree with a grade of 1.9 (B) or above. If you did your undergraduate studies in another field, but have China-related qualifications, you should contact us directly to clarify whether you are eligible to apply. Second, you need to have a good grasp of the modern Chinese language (no classical Chinese required). Finally, you are expected to have stayed in China or Taiwan for at least half a year. Most of our applicants spent this time studying Chinese at a university, but this is not a requirement.
Q: Are there special regulations for Chinese native-speakers?
A: If you are a Chinese native-speaker, you obviously do not need to prove your Chinese language proficiency with a HSK or similar documents. You also will not have to attend the modern Chinese language classes. However, you are required to take the classes in classical Chinese: we find that translating classical Chinese in proper English presents even native speakers of modern Chinese with a challenge. In addition, we will ask you to translate some modern Chinese text into English so we can give you a grade for the class in modern Chinese. The text will be selected by one of our professors to suit your research interest (e.g. in connection with a seminar paper you have to write).
Q: What if I have a BA degree not in Chinese Studies, but in some other field?
A: You may still be able to apply, if you had some courses that related to China. Please contact us directly to discuss what to do in your case individually. For instance, if we feel that you are generally qualified, but lack some basic knowledge on China, we might give you a conditional admittance. That means you would have to take some more classes on China from our BA program to make up for what is missing.
Q: Which documents do I need for the application?
A: You need your BA certificate, some document of your Chinese language proficiency, proof of stay in China or Taiwan, a CV and Letter of Motivation.
Q: Do you need original documents or copies/scans?
A: Please do not send us your original documents. Rather copies (via regular mail) or scans (via email) are preferred.
Q: Can I send my application via email?
A: Yes, you can. Please direct your email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What does the application process look like?
A: First, send in your application by March 15th at the latest. We will contact the shortlisted candidates and set up appointments for the interviews in April. In case you are not in Germany, we can also conduct the interview via Skype. After the interview we take about one week to notify you whether you have been accepted.
Q: When do I get the admission letter?
A: After being accepted following a successful interview, we will send out the letters of admission in May. If you are an EU citizen, you can directly use this to enroll at our university. Non-EU citizens have to first send verified copies of all their necessary documents to the International Office of the university by June. They will get another formal admission letter from the International Office with which they can then enroll around the end of June.
Q: Is the focus of this program on contemporary or pre-modern China?
A: This is your own choice. Please state in your letter of motivation which track (contemporary or pre-modern) you want to take.
Q: If I select the contemporary track of the program, will I still be able to take classes on pre-modern China (or vice versa)?
A: Yes. In fact, you will have to take classes on both, but by selecting your field of specialization you decide in which of the two you will take more seminars. This refers to content-related classes as well as to the methodology class in the 2nd term.
Q: If I select the contemporary track of the program, will I still have to take classical Chinese?
A: Yes, you will. We feel that in order to do research on China (no matter on which period) you should be able to read sources from the pre-modern history of China as well.
Q: If I select the pre-modern track of the program, will I still have to take modern Chinese classes?
A: Yes, you will. If you want to do research on pre-modern China, then you have to be able to read secondary sources on Chinese history. And most that is published on this topic is written in modern Chinese.
Q: Why do I have to take Japanese classes for a program in Chinese Studies?
A: The Japanese class is meant to bring you from beginner’s level to a level of language proficiency on which you can look for interesting Japanese sources on China. You will be surprised how much research on China is published (only) in Japanese.
Q: Do I have to know Chinese, before I start the program?
A: Definitely yes! This program is consecutive, that means it addresses graduates of Chinese Studies BA programs. Please provide some documentation of your Chinese language proficiency along with your application (HSK test results, transcript of records or similar). If your BA was in economics or business administration and you don’t know any Chinese, but you want to study Chinese economics, please refer to our MA program “Chinese and Economics.”
Q: What are the topics covered in class?
A: Since this is a small and research-oriented program, we can accommodate our students’ interests when deciding on classes and concrete topics. We want to enable you to write your MA thesis on a topic of your own choosing. So, ideally, classes in the first two terms will guide you towards the field that you are interested in.
Q: How does the semester at Peking University work?
A: This term in Beijing is fully integrated into our program. That means it is compulsory. But it also means that you will have a chance to study at one of the most prestigious universities in Asia with minimum hassle. We run our own program office at Peking University, so your stay will be well organized. For instance, we have a number of apartments around campus that our students will share while studying in Beijing.
Q: What classes do I have to take at Peking University?
A: There are intensive language classes specifically for our small group of MA students. But you will also have to take two regular classes, one on contemporary politics, the other on Chinese history, along with all the other Chinese students. That may sound a bit difficult, but don’t worry: there will be a tutor for each class to help you prepare and recapitulate the topics covered in these classes.
Q: What if I still have questions?
A: Write us an email (email@example.com), but please make sure to have read the FAQs carefully before doing so.