Graduate Studies at the Center for Chinese Studies

In Chinese studies, each student pursues an advanced degree within a department or professional school. UCLA now has over one hundred and twenty-five graduate students in Chinese studies.

The principal characteristic of graduate study is the pursuit of new knowledge through research. At UCLA graduate students benefit from—and contribute to—the resources of one of the outstanding research universities in the country. A distinguished faculty committed to research and teaching, an extensive library system ranked among the best in the nation, and other excellent research facilities in virtually every major discipline all provide an extraordinary scope of opportunities for graduate endeavor.

In Chinese studies, each student pursues an advanced degree within a department or professional school. UCLA now has over one hundred graduate students in Chinese studies (out of about 11,000 graduate students in all fields on campus). The students in the China program represent a remarkably diverse group: most enter graduate school directly after undergraduate training and, as graduate students, most continue in the field in which they took an undergraduate degree. But a good many students enter graduate school after spending time in a career outside of academic life and some have educational backgrounds that seem far removed from the disciplines associated with Chinese studies. Thus, it is not unusual to see a student in the specializing in the history of Chinese science who has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, or a student of modern Chinese social and economic history who had been a high school teacher, or a student of sociology specializing in mass movements in China who had been a miner. The students in Chinese studies are also diverse in another sense: they hail from a wide variety of countries: a list might begin with Argentina and continue through—to name a few—Canada, Great Britain, the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Russia, and Zimbabwe.

For admission and degree requirements, prospective students should consult the UCLA General Catalog and contact the department or professional school of interest. The departments, schools, and programs cooperating with the Center for Chinese Studies include:

  1. Anthropology
  2. Applied Linguistics
  3. Archaeology
  4. Art History
  5. Comparative Literature
  6. East Asian Languages & Cultures
  7. Economics
  8. Education
  9. Ethnomusiciology
  10. Geography
  11. History
  12. Law
  13. Linguistics
  14. Philosophy
  15. Political Science
  16. Psychology
  17. Public Health
  18. Sociology
  19. Urban Planning
  20. World Arts & Cultures

Special graduate advisors are available in each department and program to assist prospective and currently enrolled graduate students. In addition, Richard Gunde (Assistant Director of the Center for Chinese Studies) provides counseling for students in the program. Finally, after admission to a department, program, or school, each graduate student is assigned a graduate adviser who assists the student in program planning and completing degree requirements. The graduate advisor is available for counseling whenever needed; departments usually require at least one student consultation each term. When the master's or doctoral committee is established, the faculty chair of that committee often assumes the adviser's role.

As budding professionals, it is essential that students have "hands on" experience: in presenting and critiquing papers in a professional forum outside the classroom, in organizing and managing conferences and seminars, and so on. To this end, the Center for Chinese Studies encourages and supports student initiatives. In particular, the Center encourages contact, collaboration, and exchange not just among students within each department, but also across the departments. It is a truism that sometimes our best teachers are our peers, and that often some of the most useful and intriguing insights on our own work come from those in seemingly unrelated fields. By working together, the students in the program are learning from one another and enriching their experience at UCLA.

Student-organized and student-led programs have been an important and vibrant part of the program. These have included a Dissertation Writing Workshop, composed mostly of students in the Department of History, where those writing their dissertations have the opportunity to get a real "work out": dissertation writers present in-progress chapters to a small group of their peers and to the faculty in Chinese history and are given the benefit of concrete, detailed, and probing comments and criticisms. Students have also organized and run a China Workshop Series (which usually meets at noon) at which students and faculty, and others, present papers. For more than twenty years now, the graduate students have published a Journal of Asian Culture, a refereed annual that is a model of its type.

The Center also supports its students through a Small Grants Program, which provides supplemental funding for travel to a major library for research connected with a writing seminar or the dissertation, and, for dissertation-writing students, where alternative funding is not available, to attend a conference, especially for the purpose of job interviews.

For more information on graduate study and graduate admission, please contact the department or professional school of your interest or refer directly to the online UCLA General Catalog.

Published: Monday, February 03, 2003