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Curriculum | MAIS

Students in the MAIS program typically complete 13 courses over their two-year study at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in addition to completing a thesis. At least nine of these 13 courses (excluding thesis tutorial courses) must be taken in Chinese and six courses must count towards their area of concentration.


You can elect to concentrate in Chinese Studies, Comparative and International Law, Energy, Resources and Environment, International Economics or International Politics during your two years of study at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.

The Chinese Studies concentration is designed to provide advanced study of Chinese history, culture and society. Many of the courses in the concentration are cross-listed with the four disciplinary concentrations.

Past Chinese Studies Thesis Topics

  • An Analysis of the Social Capital of China's Migrant NGOs: A Case Study of Migrant NGOs in Beijing 
  • Chinese House Churches: A Case Study 
  • The Role of China's Online Anti-Domestic Violence Opinions in the Development of Women's Rights 

The International Politics concentration is designed to equip you with a thorough understanding of the interaction of nation-states and other actors in the international arena. Contemporary, historical, and cultural factors that influence international behavior are emphasized. You will master basic theories and methods currently used in the field and will gain practice in applying them to policy formulation and analysis.

Past International Politics Thesis Topics

  • The Role of the Maritime Militia: People's War at Sea 
  • China's Use of Educational Strategies to Increase its Soft Power in Africa: The Influence of Confucius Institutes and Project Hope 
  • Cross Strait Cooperation on Network Technology Standards: A Case Study on China Mobile's TD-LTE Project 

The goal of the International Economics concentration is to prepare you for an international career that requires economic skills and knowledge. The foundation that you will develop in international economic theory, applications, systems and policy will also prepare you for the further study of economics.

Past International Economics Thesis Topics

  • The Emergence of Rural Land Banks and the Capitalization of the Chinese Countryside 
  • An Empirical Study of the Influence of Foreign Investment on the Technical Efficiency of Chinese Domestic Retail Enterprises 
  • Contrasting Free Trade Theory and Infant Industry Protection: A Case Study of the WTO's Influence on the Efficiency of China's Automobile Industry 

The Comparative and International Law concentration presents courses on the legal systems of both China and the United States, as well as courses that look at legal structures and behavior in the transnational arena. You will develop an understanding of the legal basis of international relations and insight into how the legal traditions of China and the United States shape the behavior of the two countries.

Past Comparative and International Law Thesis Topics

  • The "Edward Snowden Event" as a Reflection of the Functioning of the International Legal Mechanisms for Protecting Whistleblowers 
  • The Application of the Doctrine of "Most Significant Relationship" in Chinese Judicial System: A Comparative Law Perspective 

Recognizing the importance of US-China cooperation on energy and environmental issues, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center added a specialization in Energy, Resources, and Environment. You can examine global concerns in these areas by taking courses on China’s Development and the Environment, Environmental Economics, Water Resources, Air Pollution and its Control, and Environmental Risk Assessment and Management.

Past ERE Thesis Topics

  • Are African Countries Used as Pollution Havens by China? 
  • The Geopolitical Implications of Chinese Natural Gas Imports 

Required Coursework

  • Students are required to take one course from each concentration area, which lends itself to the multidisciplinary framework of the MAIS degree. You must take six courses toward your concentration, including the concentration seminar.
  • Nine courses (not including the thesis) must be taken in Chinese.
  • Students NOT concentrating in International Economics will be required to take two International Economics courses of their choosing.

*Many courses are cross-listed between programs and may count for multiple requirements. For example, the course Chinese Legal System would count toward both Law and Chinese Studies.

In addition to the nine required target-language courses, you will be required to take the following thesis courses:

MAIS Tutorial - This course is intended to encourage you to think broadly and deeply about a topic area of relevance to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center's Sino-American academic mission. This will help you consider how your own concentration might be linked to larger issues in Sino-international relations. It also is designed to provide you with practical guidance in planning and carrying out your two-year course of study. This course is required for all MAIS students and the course is taught in English and Chinese.

MAIS Thesis Preparation - This course will provide a forum in which you will 1) report on and discuss with other students and the professor your progress on your thesis work; 2) interact with visiting scholars and current faculty who will discuss their own research and comment on the students' projects; and 3) meet bench-mark requirements intended to measure progress in the preparation and writing of your thesis. Chinese and International students will be combined together in this course, and the language of the tutorial will be determined by the professor.