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China Studies
Zhaojin Ji, Academic Program Coordinator 
1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Suite 606
Washington, DC 20036
+1 (202) 663-5816


The China Studies program offers a nuanced understanding of China's political and economic system in contemporary and historical context. Its dynamic curriculum covers topics including Chinese leadership, economic and political reform, Chinese foreign policy, US-China relations, environmental challenges, military power, and the country’s growing role in Africa and beyond.

Become an Expert

The China Studies program is unmatched in the number and breadth of graduate-level courses on China-related topics and international relations. Learn from scholars and practitioners who are renowned for their work on contemporary China issues.


Featured Courses

Develop an understanding of China that encompasses the fast-paced changes and multiple dimensions shaping the country's political and economic development and its international interactions.


China’s National Security Perspectives

Along with China's emergence as a great power, Communist Party leaders in Beijing face a wide range of traditional and non-traditional security challenges.

Students will examine Chinese perspectives on, and responses to, contemporary national security issues such as North Korea's nuclear program, proliferation more generally, Taiwan and cross-Strait relations, energy security and sea lane protection, space and cyberspace security, and US "rebalancing" to the Asia-Pacific region.


US-China Relations

This course examines US policy toward China and specific US-Chinese political, economic, cultural, and security relations, with emphasis on the post-1949 period.

Students will examine the foreign policy process in each nation, recurrent policy issues and their implications for each nation’s behavior, and relations with third parties.


China and International Organizations: Perspectives on China and Global Governance

The objective of this course is to enable students to develop through reading, discussion, and original research an understanding of China’s role within existing international organizations and innovations in aspects of global governance.

This course is a research seminar that is structured so that students produce a substantial research paper based on original research.


Economy, Reforms, Performance, and Challenges

By some measures, China now has the world’s largest economy. By any measure, China has contributed more to global economic growth over the past decade than any other country.

How can we explain China’s rapid growth over the past four decades? What must China do to avoid getting stuck in a middle income trap? Focusing on these questions, this course aims to help students develop a deeper understanding of the Chinese economy.

Learn From the Best

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Andrew Mertha

George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Studies Program

David Bulman

The Jill McGovern and Steven Muller Assistant Professor of International Affairs and China Studies, Director of the Pacific Community Initiative

Ling Chen

Assistant Professor of Political Economy

Carla Freeman

Associate Research Professor of China Studies, Executive Director of the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute

In the News

Amid souring relations, U.S. appoints experienced Asia diplomat to Cambodia.

Andrew Mertha quoted on Voice of America Cambodia, 8/15

Hong Kong waits for Beijing’s next move. Here’s what the experts say.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, 8/15

The courage to back down in Hong Kong.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Hill, 8/14

Cambodia: Holding our noses for the greater good.

Director of SAIS China Andrew Mertha wrote in The Hill, 7/28

Are we missing the boat somewhere?

Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of Political Economy and Director of the China Africa Research Initiative Deborah Bräutigam cited in Liberian Observer, 7/10

Ambassador to U.S. makes Twitter debut.

Director of SAIS China Andrew Mertha quoted in China Daily, 7/10

Did Xi Jinping’s Pyongyang visit restart denuclearization diplomacy?

Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Institute Carla Freeman wrote in The Washington Post, 6/27

Advance Your Career

Gain the intellectual framework and analytic skills necessary to enter a variety of roles across the public, private, multilateral, and nonprofit sectors.

Recent Internships

  • American Chamber of Commerce, Beijing
  • American Institute in Taiwan
  • US Consulate General in Shenyang
  • East-West Institute
  • Office of the US Trade Representative
  • United Nations Operations and Crisis Centre
  • US Department of the Treasury


Recent Employers

  • Apple Inc.
  • China Development Bank
  • Deloitte
  • Facebook Inc.
  • Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd.
  • National Bureau of Asian Research
  • US-China Economic and Security Review Commission
  • US Department of State

Build Your Network

Join a diverse, accomplished, influential community of scholars, practitioners, alumni, and students working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Students have the opportunity to gain first-hand insights from policy experts and form important networks during school-hosted events focused on China.

A China Studies student shares her culture with the school's community during a Lunar New Year celebration.

A Competitive Edge in Sino-Global Relations

"I was so impressed by the alumni I met during the Asia Career Trek that I decided to complete my master’s degree in the five-semester HNC Certificate/Johns Hopkins SAIS-MA program."

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Gaining Many Valuable Insights on China and International Law Through a Flexible, Fast-Track Degree

"Attending the Hopkins-Nanjing Center allowed me to advance my Chinese at a policy and economics level and gain a more nuanced understanding of Chinese history and political developments from Chinese academics in their native language."

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News & Events

Find out what's going on in the China Studies program at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Amid souring relations, U.S. appoints experienced Asia diplomat to Cambodia.

Andrew Mertha quoted on Voice of America Cambodia, 8/15

Hong Kong waits for Beijing’s next move. Here’s what the experts say.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, 8/15

The courage to back down in Hong Kong.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Hill, 8/14

Beyond the Classroom

Learning to work with China across the full range of human endeavor is among the greatest challenges of the 21st century. We offer unparalleled resources for combining economics and international relations with the study of China.

Summer Internships

China Studies provides support for several first-year students who find China-related summer internships in the public, multilateral, or non-profit sector. Announcements of the competitive awards are made in May.

China Club

Bringing together classmates interested in China, this extracurricular club offers networking opportunities with alumni and professionals active in Chinese markets, culture, and policy.

China Club Facebook Page

China Studies Review

This academic journal provides students with opportunities to publish their research findings and to gain professional editorial experience with faculty support.


Networking Events

During your studies, you will have the opportunity to network with alumni and professionals and organize student-led events exploring pressing Sino-foreign issues outside the classroom.