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  • Sinologie Würzburg
Sinologie in Würzburg

Information for Prospective Students

Question: What is Sinology?
Sinology is the collective term for the academic study of China, including the Chinese language, but also Chinese history and culture, political science and economics. Often Sinology is a combination of different perspectives (interdisciplinary) and study approaches enable a comprehensive and profound understanding of questions relevant to China studies.

Question: Why study China?
China has been on everyone’ minds in recent years because of its rapid economic rise and growing political influence. But despite increased media attention, booming economic relations and greater opportunities for intercultural exchange, China remains an unknown entity to the majority of the German public. The is not only due to differences in culture, but also disparities in political, social and economic systems. Consequently, intermediaries are needed who are able to facilitate intercultural challenges by possessing operational language skills and professional knowledge of China's economy, history and society.

Question: Why study Sinology in Würzburg?
Three reasons: subject diversity, opportunities for specialisation and excellent language training. The three Chairs at the Sinology department complement each and cover a wide spectrum of topics: cultural history and literature, politics and society, as well as economics and contemporary China. The Sinology department's relatively small size, allows us to tend to students' individual needs, as evidenced by our large number of electives. This set-up provides you with the opportunity to tailor your programme to your future career prospects. The basis for all work in Sinology is, of course, the Chinese language, which you will learn under optimal conditions: intensively and in small groups.  

Question: Do you also learn Chinese?
You are bound to get asked this question (a lot) when you tell others you are studying Sinology. The answer is: Of course! Without language and writing skills, a deeper study of China is simply impossible. At the beginning of your studies, language training will make up the majority of your working day. Unlike in many other locations, Würzburg places a clear emphasis on modern Chinese. Classical Chinese, a purely written language, is only taught in the corresponding Master's programme (MA Chinese Studies). This allows us more time to teach you modern colloquial Chinese, which can be a decisive qualification for later professions. In order to perfect your Chinese, a lengthy stay in China is also included in Würzburg.

Question: Do the language courses start from scratch? What if I have prior knowledge?
The language courses begin with intensive classes as early as September, two weeks prior to the official start of term. You should register for these intensive classes by mid-July. You do not need any prior knowledge of the language to attend the intensive course. In the course, you will learn spoken and written Chinese at the same time. Should you possess previous knowledge of Chinese, you should inform us when you register or during a counselling interview. Depending on the extent of previous knowledge, an assessment test may be necessary to place you in higher level language courses.

Question: Do I have to go to China to study?
Yes, that is the plan… but honestly, we see it as a bonus of studying in Würzburg! Travelling or doing internships in China is valuable, but nothing beats living, experiencing and studying in China for a full semester! Without a study semester in China, you will not be successful in Sinology, since you will not be able to acquire the language skills you will need in your future profession. Every Sinology student in Würzburg spends at least one semester studying the language in China.

Question: How is the semester in China organised?
Many universities offer Sinology, but leave it to the students to organise and design their stay abroad. Not so in Würzburg! Here, we integrate a semester abroad into the Bachelor's programme 'Modern China'. You will spend the fourth semester at the internationally renowned Peking University, where we run a centre together with our partners in Aarhus and Oslo (the European Chinese Language and Culture Programme). All the work you do in this semester will automatically be accredited in Würzburg. Course selection and accommodation are arranged in advance, so that you can concentrate on your studies as soon as you arrive. In Beijing, you will be taught in small groups by highly qualified and motivated language teachers.

Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a semester abroad organised by the university?
The alternative to an organised semester abroad would be to allow students to arrange their own stay in China (through the German Academic Exchange Service, for example). However, in many of these programmes, the final decision on where you end up is with the Chinese side, so it is quite possible that you will study somewhere other than your university of choice. The level of language instruction cannot be guaranteed. In addition, it is often problematic to have your courses in China accredited at your home university, especially for courses that are not firmly integrated into your study programme. Many Sinology departments therefore do without a study period in China altogether or formulate vague statements as to what can and cannot be accredited from your stay abroad. All these problems do not exist with a firmly integrated semester abroad, such as ours.

Furthermore, we are confident that we have designed a study programme that provides the fullest possible experience of China you can imagine! Our students live in flats close to, but not on campus and not in a foreigners' dormitory, as is common in many study programmes. The set-up in conventional Chinese apartment blocks means you are much more integrated in Chinese society: you will have Chinese neighbours, you will go shopping off campus etc. In addition, there are of course opportunities for Sinology students from Würzburg to get to know other universities and cities in China, besides Beijing. For many years, we have offered a summer school in Changchun, which can be attended after the second semester of language training in Würzburg. If you are hungry for more, you can continue your stay in China by prolonging your study programme to a fifth semester at (for example) our partner university in Hangzhou (Zhejiang University). We are always happy to support promising applications for scholarships, e.g. via the DAAD, for extended stays in China.

Question: What about tuition fees for the semester abroad?
Tuition fees are charged for studying at Peking University. However, our students receive a significantly reduced rate of currently under 2.000 EUR per semester. If should be noted that the semester in China runs about five weeks longer than in Germany and that Peking University is one of the very best in the country! So you really do get a valuable education for your money!

Question: What degree programmes are available at the Sinology department in Würzburg?
If you are a first-year student, you can take the Bachelor's programme 'Modern China'. This is a single-subject programme in which you enjoy the full range of China-related content, including excellent language training. We also offer a minor BA, which you can choose, if your major is in another subject at the University of Würzburg. Should you be interested in pursuing the latter, then you would have to choose between a focus on language or other content related to China. While the semester abroad is compulsory in the major 'Modern China', it is omitted in the minor, where your focus will be on content courses.

If you already have a Bachelor's degree in Sinology or a related subject and would like to earn a Master’s degree in Würzburg, you can apply for the MA 'Chinese Studies' or the MSc 'China Business and Economics'. If you have a Bachelor's degree in economics, you can apply for the MA 'China Language and Economy'. For more information on these master programmes, please visit the respective programme websites, which can be found under 'Study Programmes'.

Question: And what can I do with a degree from the Sinology in Würzburg?
Again, you will likely be asked this question (particularly by your parents and friends). The answer is not quite so simple: Sinology is not a vocational training programme, we do not prepare you for a specific job description. Instead, Sinology is an academic degree that qualifies you for a wide range of activities related to China. What we offer though is flexibility: you get to pick what you want to study and are therefore capable of tailoring your programme to your ideal future profession. By choosing courses yourself, you are able to develop your own, individual specialisations and prepare yourself for your desired field of work. We regularly hold events with former graduates to inform you on and maybe inspire you towards possible professions in the future.

As an example, our graduates have found jobs in the business sector, in marketing, consulting, human resource management and other areas. If you can imagine following in their footsteps, the MSc ‘China Business and Economics’ offers you a perfect springboard into the world of business. Should you be less inclined to business practices, but rather see yourself in organisations that promote international cooperation or in the media (for example), then we also have the ideal offering for you. To qualify for management level jobs, you will almost certainly need a Master’s degree. The MA ‘Chinese Studies’, which gives you the choice between focusing on contemporary or historical China, offers corresponding specialisations that prepare you for an academic career.