MA in Chinese Language & Culture


Xiayu Liu, MA '20 in Chinese Language and Culture

Xiayu Liu, MA '20, Chinese Language and Culture

GW's Master of Arts degree in Chinese Language and Culture (CLC) offers students an opportunity to achieve professional proficiency in Chinese in addition to a deepened intellectual and cultural understanding of China and the Chinese-speaking world.

Located in the heart of the nation’s capital, the CLC program aims to be a pipeline of professionals and scholars with advanced Chinese language proficiency and intercultural competence, preparing students for careers in government, consulting, education, academia and business.

The CLC program offers a deep and rich curriculum that can be tailored to students’ current proficiency level and areas of professional and academic interest. New courses including Advanced Topics in Chinese, Chinese-English Translation and Business Chinese push students’ language proficiency and cultural competence to new heights.

Students tailor their degree to fit their interests and career goals. They may dive deeper into a specific area — Chinese literature or Chinese linguistics — or pursue a broader perspective through a range of content courses in our department and beyond. Our dual-option literature and culture focus and linguistics focus allow students to develop an understanding of China and Chinese, past and present.


MA Program Outcomes


Literature and Culture Courses

  • Gain insight into the historical development of the many genres of Chinese literature
  • Develop sensitivity to the aesthetic characteristics of Chinese literature
  • Build a strong foundational understanding of China’s history, religion and art.


Linguistics Courses

  • Learn the structure as well as the history of the Chinese language
  • Develop proficiency using key theoretical and methodological tools for linguistic analysis
  • Analyze Chinese cultural and social issues from a unique linguistic perspective
  • Gain a foundation for further study in any branch of linguistics.


Sample Student Theses

Find all past MA theses on the GW Libraries ScholarSpace website.

  • Ethan Franz: "Examining the Essential Functional Similarities Between the Confucian Superior Man and Jewish Religious Leaders" (Director: J. Chaves; Co-Directors: L. Chen, E. Aviv)
  • Yuanyuan Zou: "Finding the appropriate fit: An interdisciplinary rereading of Daoist nuns in Hearing Zither in Bamboo Dock" (Director: X. Kang; Co-Director: L. Chen; Reader: H. Dong)
  • Tianyu Fan: “Seize the dragon's tail – An Analytical Study of Laozi’s biography in Shiji” (Director: J. Chaves; Co-Director: L. Chen; Reader: H. Dong)
  • Yeweitao Wu: “When Mistakes Are Made in Music Playing, Someone Glanced”: The Evolution of Allusion “Zhou Lang Gu” (Director: J. Chaves; Co-Director: L. Chen; Reader: H. Dong)
  • Mengke Zhou: "'Heaven and Earth Grant Me This Life at Leisure': An Analytical Study of Yongzheng's Leisure Poetry" (Director: J. Chaves; Co-Director: L. Chen; Reader: H. Zhang)

Research Projects-in-Progress

  • Katarina Micklus: "Development of Mandarin tones: A comparative study of native-English speaking children's second tone production" (Advisor: H. Zhang)


Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

30 credits for the thesis option, 33 credits for the non-thesis option.

Program Requirements

Course ListCode Title       Credits


Language Proficiency     

Students whose Chinese language skills are determined by examination to be below the advanced level must take CHIN 4108: Readings in Modern Chinese. Students whose skills are determined to be at the required level take an alternative 3-credit course, which must be pre-approved.   

Major Field Courses       

A minimum of 18 credits from the following:      

CHIN 6109           Introduction to Classical Chinese              

CHIN 6110           Introduction to Classical Chinese 2          

CHIN 6111           Chinese Literature in Translation              

CHIN 6112           Chinese Literature in Translation II          

CHIN 6123           Structure of Chinese       

CHIN 6125           History of the Chinese Language              

CHIN 6126           Chinese Phonology         

CHIN 6128           Chinese Semantics          

CHIN 6163           Taiwanese Literature and Film   

CHIN 6171           Poetry of the Tang and Song Periods I    

CHIN 6172           Poetry of the Tang and Song Periods II   

CHIN 6173           Traditional Chinese Theatre and Drama 

CHIN 6179           Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature I 

CHIN 6180           Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature II

CHIN 6199           Graduate Seminar           

CHIN 6201           Second Language Acquisition of Mandarin Chinese           

CHIN 6210           Introduction to Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language

CHIN 6310           Practicum in Chinese Language Instruction           


A minimum of 6 credits from the following:         

CHIN 6550           Independent Study for Chinese Language and Culture (Thesis Option) *  

CHIN 6841           Religion and Politics in China      

CPED 6557          Second Language Acquisition      

CPED 6627          Teaching Second Language Reading and Writing

EALL 6811           Confucian Literature in East Asia              

EALL 6831           Introduction to Daoism 

EALL 6832           Myth, Ritual, and Popular Religion in China          

EALL 6881           Women, Gender, and Religion in China  

HIST 6610            Readings Seminar: Late Imperial China (Thesis Option (3 credits)) *          

Thesis option    

For students pursuing the thesis option a total of 3 credits from the following:    

CHIN 6999           Thesis Research

*Or an alternative pre-approved course.

**Students must submit a research proposal before enrolling in CHIN 6550.

 Visit the program website for additional information.