Asian Languages and Civilizations (Chinese), MA

At a Glance: program details

Deepen your academic and societal understanding of China while continuing to study the language in depth. Study in a research-intensive, interdisciplinary program in the traditional and modern languages and cultures of China.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MA Asian Languages and Civilizations (Chinese)

The Chinese graduate program in the School of International Letters and Cultures offers an MA degree with a focus in one of two areas: culture (literature, linguistics, religion) or pedagogy.

The two areas of instruction are designed to prepare students to succeed in Chinese language environments with cultural competence. Each of these two areas also introduce students to the fundamentals of sinology and East Asian studies, which can prepare them for further scholarly, educational and professional pursuits.

The focus on culture (literature, linguistics, religion) provides disciplinary training that allows students to achieve in-depth command of spoken, aural and oral Mandarin Chinese as well as written literary Chinese.

The pedagogy focus is intended for students whose major interest is in teaching modern Chinese in K-16 environments. Students are trained in communicative and task-based language teaching approaches embedded within appropriate cultural contexts, as well as developing solid foundations in teaching Chinese literacy, pronunciation and linguistic systems.

Degree Overview

The 30-hour program of study includes two areas of focus students can chose from and a thesis or applied project, depending on area chosen. Prospective masters students should have ambition, enthusiasm and commitment to Chinese language and culture. 

Courses and Electives

The coursework for each student is individualized and based upon the student's previous training, research goals, and mentor and committee consensus. Our program requires students to complete a written thesis.


The degree plan includes a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate work, as approved by the candidate's supervisory committee, a thesis, or an applied project. The plan must include the CHI 501 Proseminar: East Asian Humanities course offered by the department. When approved by the candidate's supervisory committee, nine hours of advanced-level work in another language or in closely related courses may be included. Students who are primarily interested in teaching at the secondary or community college levels may select a plan of study with a concentration in language pedagogy.

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of Graduate College and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

Degree requirements Credit hours
Core course 3
Concentration course 3
Electives 18
Culminating experience 6
Total credit hours 30


Under-represented minorities


International students

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 30 credit hours and a thesis
  • 30 credit hours including the required applied project course (CHI 593)

Required Core (3 credit hours)
CHI 501 or JPN 501 Proseminar: East Asian Humanities (3)

Concentration (3 credit hours)
SLC 596 Second Language Methodologies (3)

Electives (15 credit hours)

Other Requirements (3 credit hours)
CHI 598 Topic: History of the Chinese Language (3)

Culminating Experience (6 credit hours)
CHI 593 Applied Project (6) or
CHI 599 Thesis (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
The Master of Arts in Asian languages and civilizations has concentrations in Chinese and Japanese. Students in the Chinese concentration take CHI 501 as required core and students in the Japanese concentration take JPN 501 for core. The course is cross-listed.

Electives are selected in consultation with the program chairperson.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in Chinese or a related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. personal statement
  4. writing sample
  5. resume
  6. three letters of recommendation
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

The writing sample should represent the applicant's thinking and writing skills on a topic connected with Chinese culture.

Candidates for the master's degree should present the equivalent of an undergraduate major in Chinese upon entrance to the program. Those who lack this background but show strong potential and meet the Graduate College admission requirements, including those with regard to English proficiency, may be admitted to a graduate program on a provisional basis, pending removal of specified deficiencies. These deficiencies must be completed in addition to the regular plan of study for the master's degree.

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Application Deadlines



Session A/C
In Person
January 15th

Career Opportunities

Professionals with this degree can confidently move into academic, business and international fields. Skills developed through this program are valued for teaching positions, translation work or work in larger sectors such as governmental, diplomatic and international business.

Career examples include:

  • foreign service
  • historians
  • interpreters and translators
  • lawyers
  • reporters and correspondents
  • social and community service managers
  • state department employees
  • supply chain managers
  • teachers and professors of area, ethnic and cultural studies
  • teachers and professors of foreign language and literature

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.

Application fee waiver

Applicants facing financial hardship may request a waiver for their application fee. Please complete the online application up to the fee payment page. Please send both Ashley Lawless ( and Xiaoqiao Ling ( a brief essay (about 150 words) describing why paying the application fee is difficult in your situation, along with your application ID number. If your request is accepted, we will let you know that you can submit your application without paying the fee. The School of International Letters and Cultures has established a limited budget for these waivers. Requests will be considered as they are received until the budget is spent.