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Frequently Asked Questions| Hopkins-Nanjing Center

We hope that the responses below will answer your questions about studying at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Please contact us via phone at 202.663.5800 or email at with additional questions.

How many years of Chinese language study do I need to apply?
Applicants have typically completed 3-4 years of college level Chinese and spent time in China. All applicants to the program must submit scores from the STAMP Chinese language proficiency exam in order to demonstrate their Chinese language ability. Click here for more information on the Chinese language proficiency examination.

Can I apply to more than one Hopkins-Nanjing Center program?
No. However, applicants who submit a MAIS application will be automatically considered for admission to the Certificate program as a second option. If you are unsure of which program is the best fit for you, please contact us at to speak with an admissions representative.

Do students have to submit two separate applications to be considered for the HNC Certificate+Johns Hopkins SAIS MAIR?
Students only submit one application to be considered for admission to the Certificate + MAIR program. The application will be reviewed separately by both the DC and Hopkins-Nanjing Center Admissions Committees for admission to each portion of the program.

Do students have to submit two separate applications to be considered for the HNC Certificate+Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA)?
Yes, applicants who wish to be considered for both the HNC Certificate program in Nanjing and the MAIA at SAIS Europe must submit a separate application for each program, but supporting documentation (transcripts & recommendations) may be submitted only once. However, please note there are separate essays for the MAIA and the Certificate which must be submitted with the corresponding application.

Can I submit application materials in Chinese?
We can only accept application materials in English. We will, however, accept officially translated recommendations or undergraduate transcripts from a certified translation service or agency.

Can letters of recommendation be emailed?
Recommendation letters must be submitted through our online application system. Applicants may register recommenders online and the application system will communicate with them directly to ensure secure delivery of the recommendation. If a recommender experiences technical difficulties while using the online system, please have them contact our office at

Do I need to submit transcripts for every college-level class I have taken?
We require transcripts for all degree courses. For non-degree courses/programs, we strongly recommend, but do not require, that applicants submit all transcripts.

Is the application fee refundable or are fee waivers granted?
The application fee is non-refundable. Currently the school offers application fee waivers to participants or alumni affiliated with the following professional development programs: Pickering, PPIA, IIPP, McNair, Rangel, Teach for America, Teach for China, Fulbright, Peace Corps, US Military Active Duty, and US Military Veteran. In order to receive a fee waiver, you must submit an official document confirming your participation in the appropriate program via email. Unfortunately, we do not grant fee waivers for financial hardship.

When is the application deadline?
Students applying for early notification need to submit all materials by November 1. All application materials must be received by our office by February 1 for general admissions.

Do I need work experience in order to attend the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?
Prior work experience is not required for admission. Many students attend the Hopkins-Nanjing Center directly after graduating from their undergraduate university, while other students may have several years of work experience.

I am a Chinese citizen; can I apply to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?
Citizens of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao must apply to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center through Nanjing University. Click here for information on the admissions process for Chinese students.

I have been admitted to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Can I defer my enrollment?
Deferral requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must indicate how they intend to maintain their Chinese proficiency over the coming year. Please note awarded scholarships do not carry over to the following year. If a deferral is granted, applicants must submit a non-refundable matriculation and deferral fee. Admitted students whose future plans remain uncertain, or those with insufficient funds, are advised to decline the offer of admission and reapply at a later date when circumstances may be more certain or stable. 

To request the STAMP test, you will need to start an application to a Hopkins-Nanjing Center program and complete the personal background and program details sections on the application. You'll then complete the STAMP Test Request section, where you'll be able to choose from two proctoring options: in-person or virtual. Once you complete this section, you will receive an email from with testing instructions and a link to pay the testing fee.

After you have completed the test, you will need to notify the Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Office by emailing You’ll then receive your score within 2 business days. All tests should be completed by the application deadlines: November 1 for Early Notification or February 1 for Regular Decision.

The test can be taken once every 3 months. If you would like to retake the STAMP test, please email

Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?
The GRE is optional for all Hopkins-Nanjing Center programs. Applicants planning to apply to the HNC Certificate + Johns Hopkins SAIS MAIR are encouraged to submit either GRE or GMAT scores. It takes approximately 3 weeks after testing to receive scores, so please take this processing time into account when scheduling your test. If you choose to submit GRE scores use the ETS code 5610.

Do I need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?
Non-native speakers of English are required to demonstrate English proficiency by submitting a recent TOEFL or IELTS score. If English is not your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English) but you hold an undergraduate degree granted by an accredited institution in a country where English is an official language and where English is the language of instruction, than you will not be required to submit an English competency exam.
If English is not your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English) but you hold a graduate degree granted by an accredited institution in a country where English is an official language and where English is the language of instruction, then you will need the approval of the Office of Admissions to be exempt from submitting an English competency exam. Please contact the for more information.

How do most students fund their studies?
The Hopkins-Nanjing Center awards 100% of students who apply for financial aid a scholarship based on merit and need. As a US accredited institution, US Citizens and permanent residents can also receive federal loans and work-study. Applicants can apply for external sources of funding, such as the Boren, Rangel, and Pickering fellowships. Deadlines for these fellowships can be earlier than the Hopkins-Nanjing Center application deadline, so we recommend that students apply well in advance.

Can my student loans be deferred while I am in Nanjing?
Yes. The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Office can process loan deferment forms upon matriculation in Nanjing.

What is it like to take graduate level classes in Chinese?
All students go through an adjustment period of becoming familiar with academic Chinese and expanding their vocabulary at the beginning of the year.  Since courses are content courses, students are primarily evaluated on their understanding and analysis of the course topics rather than on grammar patterns and drills. Coursework often includes class discussions, oral presentations, debates and written reports.

How many hours are students in class each week?
Certificate students take three to four courses a semester which each meet twice a week for an hour and a half. Master's students will take four to five courses per semester except for the last semester, during which the thesis will be the primary focus.

What’s the average class size?
The overall student body consists of about 170 students every year, which includes both the Chinese and international student body. About 50% of the student body is comprised of Chinese students, and the other 50% is comprised of international (non-Chinese) students. As for classroom size, classes are fairly small with around 10-15 students. All classes are capped at 30 students.  

How can I prepare for graduate coursework instructed in Chinese?
There are many summer programs which our students have enrolled in, including CET Academic Programs, CIEE, ACC, Middlebury College and the Chinese Language Institute. We also encourage self-study or one-on-one tutoring.  

Is there career counseling support at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?
The Hopkins-Nanjing Center provides career counseling to help you in your career planning. Career services programming includes employer visits and presentations, career skill workshops and career treks to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

What are the employment outcomes for graduates?
Visit our career services webpage for a section of recent employment outcomes for students.

Are there opportunities to intern while at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?
Some students intern during their second semester at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center or during winter and summer breaks. The career services office can provide guidance for pursuing internships that comply with visa regulations.

Do I have to live at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center? With a roommate?
Students have the option to find their own apartment off campus. Students in the one-year certificate program who choose to live on campus are required to live in the student dormitory with a roommate–typically an international and Chinese student pairing. Students in the Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) program may choose to live without a roommate in a single dorm room. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom and western amenities. If you plan to live with a spouse or dependent, you will be responsible for arranging your own off-campus housing.

What is it like having a Chinese roommate?
For all students with roommates, we do our best to pair international and Chinese students together. This not only builds the sense of community, but roommates can also serve as a great resource for language and academic support. We often hear from students that living with a Chinese roommate is a highlight of their experience.

What kinds of extracurricular activities and student groups are available?
The Hopkins-Nanjing Center is a small, but very active community. Student interests vary year to year, but in the past students have formed basketball, soccer, ping pong, dragon boat, dance, public speaking, and music groups. Academic student groups include environmental awareness and international law moot court teams. There are also extracurricular classes offered in erhu, calligraphy and tai chi.

Are there opportunities to work while I am at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?
The residence permit issued to students does not allow students to work while they are in Nanjing. A limited number of students may be awarded federal work-study funds to work at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.