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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

Chinese diplomats must notify Washington of meetings with state or local officials

Andrew Mertha interviewed in South China Morning Post, 10/17

The NBA responded. U.S.politicians roared. Now it’s China’s move.

Ho-Fung Hung quoted in The Wall Street Journal, 10/7

Hong Kong emergency law 'marks start of authoritarian rule'

Ho-Fung Hung quoted in The Guardian, 10/5

Trump faces dwindling leverage with China.

David Bulman quoted in The Hill, 9/15

In China, 2019 is not 1989.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Hill, 9/14

Big promises, few results: Chinese farms falter in Uganda.

Deborah Bräutigam cited in The Christian Science Monitor, 9/10

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.

China's Ambassador to the US and Johns Hopkins SAIS Alumnus Cui Tiankai takes a photo with students following a discussion on China-US relations.

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

Gaining Firsthand Expertise on Taiwan through the Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies Internship Award

A recipient of the Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies Internship Award, Jennifer Conrad, MA '20, reflects on her experience interning with the US Department of State's political section of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei.

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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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Nov 6 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Rome Auditorium, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Insurmountable Asymmetry? Influence and Agency along Chinese Belt and Road

What is China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) and is it distinguishable from China’s broader foreign policy in the developing world? Are the vast asymmetries between China’s power and that...

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.