The Yenching Academy of Peking University offers a Master's degree in China Studies. This specially designed, English-taught program aims to push the study of China beyond the boundaries of traditionally defined Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines. It creates space to incorporate the diverse backgrounds and experiences of program participants into the study of ancient, modern, and contemporary China, effectively acting as an incubator for innovative approaches to past, present, and future Chinese transformations. At the core of the program lies its emphasis on interdisciplinarity and the value it assigns to thinking about China's development from both Chinese and international perspectives.

Fellowships for international Yenching Scholars are for twelve months, during the course of which they complete their coursework and may complete the thesis. A limited number of financial aid packages are available for those who wish to remain on campus for a second year. Degrees are granted upon the completion of all coursework and satisfactory defense of the thesis, and are awarded in January and July of each year.

Scholars design their study experience by choosing one of six academic concentrations, and pursue a number of core courses and electives, including field studies. Working in small groups encourages Scholars to actively engage in dialogue between academic disciplines, as well as with their peers across concentrations, creating an environment conducive to the exchange of ideas and mutual learning. Complementing academic courses, Chinese language training is provided for all international students, in accordance with their level of proficiency, while foreign language courses are offered to Chinese students.


Research Areas

Yenching Scholars select classes from six academic concentrations in the field of China Studies. Scholars must complete required core courses and elective courses designed to introduce them to major topics in this field offered by the Yenching Academy and/or Peking University. Chinese language study is compulsory for all international students. Scholars will be placed into one of different levels according to their performance in the placement test at the beginning of the academic year. In order to supplement their regular studies, the Academy organises field studies to culturally, economically, or socio-politically significant regions within Mainland China. Graduation from the Academy requires the successful completion of at least 30 academic credits, as well as writing and orally defending a master’s thesis. For Yenching Scholars from China, at least 75% of the courses must be taught in English.

Politics and International Relations

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The courses associated with this concentration address public policy, foreign policy and international relations, with special emphasis on China's perspectives. Students will learn about the philosophy of contemporary Chinese politics and international relations, the Chinese political system and its operation, forms of governance, and the process leading to public policies and diplomatic decisions. Students will acquire the analytical and theoretical tools to understand Chinese politics and international relations, as well as gain professional expertise about issues in Chinese politics, international relations, and national governance. Courses offered in this concentration in the 2016-17 academic year include:  

  • China's Diplomacy and Global Governance in the New Era, Prof. He Yafei

  • Theory and Practice of Chinese Foreign Policy, Prof. Zhang Qingmin

  • Cross-Cultural Communication, Prof. Chen Changwei

  • Contemporary Chinese Public Policy and Reforms, Prof. Fu Jun, and Prof. Zhou Qiang

  • China-U.S. Relations, Prof. Fan Shiming, and Prof. Wang Dong

  • Chinese Politics in a Historical Perspective (Taught in Chinese), Prof. Yang Zhaohui

Philosophy and Religion

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This concentration starts with historical Chinese texts, and offers comparative perspectives on historical and contemporary Chinese thought. The courses will assist students to acquire an understanding of China’s worldviews, fundamental values, as well as ideas of ethical and social order of the Chinese people. Students will develop a solid and broad foundation in Chinese philosophy, and become systematically acquainted with relevant theories and research methods. Courses offered in this concentration in the 2016-17 academic year include:  

  • Chinese Ethics and Values, Prof. Wen Haiming

  • Selected Readings from the Confucian Classics (Taught in Chinese), Prof. Meng Qingnan

  • Daoism: Body, Immortality and Mysticism, Prof. Cheng Lesong

Literature and Culture

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This concentration features courses in Chinese language, literature, and comparative literature. The essential task is to train students how to analyze the artistic works of language and cultural expression to understand the Chinese experience structures, inner worlds and how they are expressed. Within the framework of world literature and thought, using comparative, critical analysis and discussions of methodology, students will develop new analyses and their own interpretations. Courses offered in this concentration in the 2016-17 academic year include:  

  • Twentieth Century Chinese Poetry in Translation

  • Twentieth Century Chinese Literature in Translation: Literature and the Birth of a Nation, Prof. Zhang Xudong  

  • Art of China, Prof. Ding Ning, Prof. Liu Chen, and Prof. Jia Yan

  • Guided Readings in Classics of Ancient Chinese Literature (Taught in Chinese), Prof. Chang Sen, Prof. Fu Gang, Prof. Li Pengfei, and Prof. Pan Jianguo

Law and Society

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Courses in this concentration will help students acquire an understanding of the Chinese legal system, important laws, the legal enforcement system, and social problems in China. The courses will use an analytical approach to explain the ideas and characteristics of the Chinese legal system, and will explore the logic of its development and evolution. Students will develop the ability to research the Chinese legal system and practice, draw lessons from it, and generate ideas for further development. And by deepening their knowledge of Chinese society and modern social science methods, students will be equipped with tools for analyzing and debating developments of contemporary Chinese society, and will be able to make both theoretical and practical observations. Understanding Chinese law and society in a global context will help prepare them to be experts on dialogue between China and the world. Courses offered in this concentration in the 2016-17 academic year include:  

  • Contemporary Chinese Society, Prof. Xie Yu

  • The Legal Dynamics of Chinese Commerce and Society, Prof. Guo Li and Prof. Lou Jian Bo

  • Social Stratification and Mobility in China, Prof. Qiu Zeqi

  • Women in Contemporary China, Prof. Li Yingtao

  • Science and Society, Prof. Wu Kai

History and Archaeology

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With courses and study outside of the classroom, including field research, students of this concentration will understand the pluralism and richness of Chinese civilization and history, as well as the linkages between Chinese civilization and other world civilizations in a global perspective. Students will be trained to grasp the basic methodology and concepts of Chinese historiography, and while utilizing modern methods and ideas, will understand the special significance of the study of Chinese history and civilization. They will also be able to gain insights on important questions about the formation and development process of the Chinese civilization. Courses offered in this concentration in the 2016-17 academic year include:  

  • Development of Chinese Civilization, Prof. Lu Yang

  • History of Chinese Religion, Prof. Lu Yang

  • Archaeology of Cultural Exchange between China and the West, Prof. Giuseppe Vignato

  • Formation of Chinese Civilization, Prof. Cao Dazhi, Prof. Qin Ling, Prof. Zhang Hai, Prof. Zhang Chi and Prof. Qu Tongli

Economics and Management

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Starting from fundamental economic and management theories, this set of elective courses focuses on the institutional characteristics of the Chinese economy, the current state of China's economy, the governance structures of Chinese business entities, and the practical management aspects of doing business in China. Students will also gain a solid grasp of the theory and tools of economic research, and an understanding of the most advanced trends in international economic research. Courses offered in this concentration in the 2016-17 academic year include:  

  • Contemporary Issues of the Chinese Financial System, Prof. Jin Li and Prof. Zhang Wei

  • Chinese Economy and Institutions, Prof. Zhou Li’an, and Prof. Wang Hui

  • Rural Chinese studies (Taught in Chinese), Prof. Wang Shuguang