Sinologie in Würzburg

'Chinese Studies' FAQ

MA Program in Chinese Studies FAQ

Q: What are the requirements for this MA program?
A: First, you need to have a BA in Chinese Studies or an equivalent degree with a grade of 1.9 (B) or above. Furthermore, your studies at BA level should show 20 ECTS in China related content and/or relevant method classes. If you did your undergraduate studies in another field, but have China-related qualifications, you should contact us directly to clarify whether you are eligible to apply. Second, you need to have a good grasp of the modern Chinese language (no classical Chinese required). The minimum requirement for language training are 40 ECTS in Chinese language. Finally, you are expected to have stayed in (greater) China (greater China: mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore) for at least half a year, corresponding to a minimum of 20 ECTS. As the program is fully English taught you will be required to proof your English proficiency by presenting IELTS (minimum 6.0) or TOEFL (72 or above).

Q: Are there special regulations for Chinese native-speakers?
A: If you are a Chinese native-speaker, you obviously do not need to prove your Chinese language proficiency. You won't have to attend the modern Chinese language classes either. You can make up for the credits acquired by non-native speakers in Modern Chinese by taking our Japanese class (optional for non-native speakers). However, you are required to take the classes in classical Chinese: we find that translating classical Chinese in accurate English presents a challenge even to native speakers of modern Chinese.

Q: What if I have a BA degree not in Chinese Studies, but in some other field?
A: You may still be able to apply, if you had some courses that related to China. Please contact us directly to discuss what to do in your case individually. For instance, if we feel that you are generally qualified, but lack some Chinese Studies contents, we might recommend to take additional classes on China from our BA program to make up for what is missing.

Q: Which documents do I need for the application?
A: You need your BA certificate, some document of your Chinese language proficiency, proof of stay in (greater) China (greater China: mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore), proof of English proficiency, a CV and Letter of Motivation that should indicate your track preference (either "Heritage and Innovation in Late Imperial China" or "Transformation in Contemporary China").

Q: Do you need original documents or copies/scans?
A: Please do not send us your original documents. Rather copies (via regular mail) or scans (via email) are preferred. You will have to submit your originals for final registration with the International Office.

Q: Can I send my application via email?
A: Yes, you can. Please direct your email to

Q: How does the application process work?
A: First, send in your application by March 15th at the latest. We will contact the shortlisted candidates and set up appointments for interviews in April. In case you are not in Germany, we can also conduct the interview via Skype. After the interview we take about one week to notify you whether you have been accepted. In a second step the admitted candidates will have to formally apply with the International Office by July 15th at the latest. BA graduates of Chinese universities will also have to get their documents certified (APS screening).

Q: When do I get the admission letter?
A: After being accepted following a successful interview, we will send out the letters of admission in May. If you are a German citizen, you can directly use this to enroll at our university. Other nationals have to first send verified copies of all their necessary documents to the International Office of the university by July 15th at the latest, but ideally by June. They will get another formal admission letter from the International Office with which they can then enroll around the end of July.

Q: Is the focus of this program on contemporary or pre-modern China?
A: Both are part of the program and it is your own choice which one you select as your focus. Please state in your letter of motivation which track (contemporary or late imperial) you wish to take.

Q: If I select the contemporary track of the program, will I still be able to take classes on late imperial China (or vice versa)?
A: Yes. In fact, you will have to take classes on both, but by selecting your field of specialization you decide in which of the two you will take more courses. This refers to content-related classes as well as to the methodology class in the 2nd term. You will also write your MA thesis in the chosen track.

Q: If I select the contemporary track of the program, will I still have to take classical Chinese?
A: We encourage you to do so, because we feel that in order to do research on China (no matter on which period) you should be able to read sources from pre-modern China as well. You may also substitute Japanese classes for classical Chinese, or, in fact, do both.

Q: If I select the late imperial track of the program, will I still have to take modern Chinese classes?
A: Yes, you will. If you want to do research on pre-modern China, then you have to be able to read secondary sources on Chinese historical subjects. And most that is published on this topic is written in modern Chinese.

Q: Why are Japanese classes part of a program in Chinese Studies?
A: Japanese is an important auxiliary language in Chinese Studies. The Japanese class is meant to bring you from beginner’s level to a level of language proficiency on which you can look for relevant Japanese sources on China. You will be surprised how much research on China is published (only) in Japanese.

Q: Do I have to know Chinese, before I start the program?
A: Definitely yes! This program is consecutive, therefore it addresses graduates of Chinese Studies BA programs. Please provide documentation of your Chinese language proficiency along with your application (proficiency proven by ECTS minimum requirements are a must, HSK test results or similar may be added). If your BA was in economics or business administration and you don’t know any Chinese, but you want to study Chinese economics, please refer to our MA program “China Language and Economy.”

Q: What are the topics covered in class?
A: Since this is a small and research-oriented program, we can accommodate our students’ interests when deciding on classes and specific topics. We want to enable you to write your MA thesis on a topic of your own choice. So, ideally, classes in the first two terms will guide you towards the field that you are interested in. Therefore, we discuss the choice of classes with the incoming students before the first term starts and let them pick from a range of topics on offer.

Q: How does the semester at Peking University work?
A: The term in Beijing is fully integrated into our program. That means it is compulsory. But it also means that you will have a chance to study at one of the most prestigious universities in Asia. We run our own program office at Peking University, so your stay will be well organized. For instance, we have a number of apartments around campus that our students will share while studying in Beijing.

Q: What classes do I have to take at Peking University?
A: There are intensive language classes specifically for our small group of MA students. But you will also have to take two regular classes, one on contemporary politics, the other on Chinese history or pre-modern literature, along with Chinese students. That may sound a bit difficult, but don’t worry: there will be a tutor for each class to help you prepare and recapitulate the topics covered in these classes. Thus, you gain a unique study experience.

Q: Due to the Corona crisis I could not study at a Chinese university. May I still join the program?
A: Please get in touch with us.

Q: What if I still have questions?
A: Write us an email (, but please make sure to have read the FAQs carefully before doing so.