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Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


Gain a competitive-edge from the only truly joint target-language US-China graduate school of its kind by developing expertise on diverse facets of Sino-Global commercial, academic, economic, and political relations. The two-year Master of Arts in International Studies is the only master's degree fully accredited in both China and the United States. Non-Chinese students complete coursework and a thesis in Chinese, culminating in a degree jointly awarded by Johns Hopkins SAIS and Nanjing University.

Become an Expert

Founded at the beginning of China’s post-Mao reforms, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center has witnessed China’s historic transformation firsthand. For more than three decades we have been at the forefront of education in and about China, and our thousands of outstanding alumni have gone on to influential roles in all kinds of organizations—wherever a nuanced understanding of China and superior linguistic fluency are important. We are a one-of-a-kind residential academic community where a shared commitment to cross-cultural learning, collaborative work, and linguistic fluency are at the center of everything we do.

What Your Schedule Will Look Like

You can study a wide-range of topics during your two years of study at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. As an interdisciplinary degree, the MAIS gives ample room for approaching your area of interest from multiple perspectives.

Fall Term

Through target-language study in Chinese, you will explore the interaction of nation-states and other actors in the international arena as well as China’s domestic issues. You are encouraged to think broadly and deeply about a potential topic area of relevance to the HNC’s academic mission and consider how your own thesis proposal might be linked to larger issues in Sino-international relations. 

Sample Courses

  • Contemporary International Politics (taught in Chinese)
  • Social Issues of China’s Modernization (taught in Chinese)
  • Chinese Constitution (taught in Chinese)
  • Air Pollution and its Control (taught in English)
  • MAIS Interdisciplinary Studies Tutorial (bilingual)


15 weeks

Spring Term

Gain familiarity with master theories and methods currently used in the field, and practice in applying them to policy formulation and analysis. You will select your Chinese faculty thesis advisor during this term, and also submit a draft thesis prospectus.

Sample Courses

  • Chinese History Since 1949 (taught in Chinese)
  • Ethnic Minorities in Chinese Society (taught in Chinese)
  • International Economics (taught in Chinese)
  • MAIS Thesis Preparation (bilingual)


15 weeks

Summer Term

Though there are no officially organized activities, you will stay busy. You may choose to engage in internships in China, the US, or abroad, or begin laying the foundation for your second year and thesis by conducting field research and beginning your literature review.

Fall Term

You will conduct regular meetings with your faculty thesis advisor to discuss the thesis’ reasoning and field-specific concerns. By the end of the term, you will report on the thesis’ progress to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center Co-Directors, Academic Dean, and your thesis advisor.

Sample Courses

  • Film, Culture, and Society in Contemporary China (taught in Chinese)
  • Comparative Economies: US & China (taught in English)
  • Chinese Government and Politics (taught in Chinese)
  • Perspectives on Globalization (taught in English)


15 weeks

Spring Term

You will continue regular meetings with your faculty thesis advisor to ensure the thesis is on track for completion in a timely manner, and that you are prepared for the oral defense of your thesis by the conclusion of the term.

Sample Courses

  •  China on the Border: Provincial Relations in the Periphery (taught in English)
  • Strategic Studies (taught in Chinese)


15 weeks

Learn From the Best

Our faculty bring an impressive diversity of backgrounds, including extensive research on different aspects of contemporary China as well as other regions of the world. Unlike solely English- or Chinese-medium institutions, the HNC offers a space for genuine engagement with different academic traditions and for collaboration across them.

Adam Webb

American Co-Director, Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Resident Professor of Political Science

Tao Hua

Professor of Chinese Studies

Jiahe Cai

Professor of International Politics

Gaye Christoffersen

Resident Professor of International Politics

In the News

China’s territorial disputes: The ongoing quest for a viable explanatory framework.

Roda Mushkat wrote in Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution, 8/18

Japan’s Motegi to meet Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong, kicking off ASEAN tour.

David Arase quoted in South China Morning Post, 8/13

U.S. tech giants exposed if China takes Taiwan.

David Arase quoted in Asia Times, 7/20

After COVID-19, Japan recalibrates its foreign policy.

David Arase wrote in AsiaGlobal Online Journal, 7/2

U.S.-china relations under stress: Strategic competition in a pandemic.

David Arase participated in Asia Global Institute webinar, 6/4

Advance Your Career

From consultants to entrepreneurs, leaders of nongovernmental organizations to policymakers, Johns Hopkins SAIS graduates put their degrees to work.

75% of the one-year Master of Arts in International Studies Class of 2019 were employed, pursuing fellowships or internships, or had gone on for further study within six months of graduation.*

Recent Employers

  • Blackpeak (Holdings) Limited
  • China Policy
  • China Institute in America
  • Deloitte
  • DJI Technology Inc.
  • Global Security and Innovative Strategies
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • Wallbrook
*Based on results of a survey of students who graduated between December 2018 and August 2019. MAIS survey participation rate was 80%.

Build Your Network

Alumni of the Master of Arts in International Studies degree are renowned for their Chinese-language proficiency and their multidisciplinary approach to understanding international affairs and China studies. At the Hopkins-Nanjing Center you will develop high-level professional Chinese-language skills by reading academic articles, debating issues in class, writing research papers, and living in a bilingual community.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students talking

Most international students live with a Chinese roommate, nurturing long-lasting friendships.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students with Madeleine Albright

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright holds an informal discussion with alumni.

photo of amanda

A Cross-Cultural Education in China

"As someone who wanted to study Chinese history and politics, and be immersed in Chinese society, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center was the only choice that made sense for me."

View Story

photo of george

Exploring Cultural Roots and Gaining Expertise in International Economics

"Studying in Nanjing has allowed me to better understand my family’s experience living through World War II, the Cultural Revolution, and China’s economic transformation."

View Story


Oct 8 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm Online SAIS Event

Hopkins-Nanjing Center Virtual Information Session

Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 8:00 PM until 9:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Office will host an information session on the admissions and financial aid application...

Nov 12 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm Online SAIS Event

Hopkins-Nanjing Center Virtual Information Session

Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 8:00 PM until 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Office will host an information session on the admissions and financial aid application...

Dec 3 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm Online SAIS Event

Hopkins-Nanjing Center Virtual Information Session

Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 8:00 PM until 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Office will host an information session on the admissions and financial aid application...

Beyond the Classroom

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center fosters a close-knit community, and the bilingual learning environment extends beyond the classroom into everyday interactions on campus.

Study Treks

See policy in action by engaging in a study trip. Recent short-term study trips have taken students to local historical museums, the offices of global IT corporations, and newly-built urban infrastructure. Recent week-long research trips have taken students to study economic, social and political issues in China’s border regions and in Yunnan province.

Volunteer Opportunities

Serve the Nanjing community by volunteering as a student teacher at a local school.

Networking Events

Network with alumni and professionals by attending weekly academic lectures or career events, often hosted by alumni who return to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center to share their expertise.

World-Class Events

Hear groundbreaking research from leading scholars and practitioners. Recent sessions have explored topics including China's energy transition, China-Africa relations, and financial reforms in China.