Chinese Studies

[ courses | faculty ]

3084 Humanities and Social Sciences Building
Muir College
(858) 534-6477

All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice. Updates may be found on the Academic Senate website:

Chinese Studies is an interdisciplinary program that allows the student interested in China to utilize the university’s offerings in various departments to build a major leading to a bachelor’s degree. In addition to coordinating courses in the various departments, the Program in Chinese Studies offers courses directly under its own auspices to round out the available offerings.

The Chinese Studies Program combines historical understanding with an emphasis on modern and contemporary China. The Department of History has a strong specialization in late imperial and modern China. A full spectrum of courses on the politics, economics, society, and culture of today’s China are offered via other departments at UC San Diego. Another focal point of research interest is visual culture and cultural history in modern and premodern China. The interdisciplinary nature of the program (see departmental affiliation of the participating faculty) can accommodate students of a wide range of interests. In addition to our local resources, the University of California Education Abroad Program (EAP) and Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP) are affiliated with various universities and language institutes in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. This, together with other academic exchange programs with a number of Chinese universities, provides the possibility of a junior year abroad, to take both Mandarin Chinese courses and nonlanguage courses dealing with various aspects of Chinese studies. Such courses are subject to final approval by the program director of an Undergraduate Student Petition upon completion of the course(s). Please note that at least six of the upper-division courses for the major must be taken at UC San Diego.

The Major Program

The student choosing a major in Chinese studies must meet the following requirements:

  1. Two years of Mandarin Chinese (CHIN 10 A-B-C and 20 A-B-C or equivalent) or equivalent Chinese language knowledge.
  2. Twelve upper-division four-unit courses in Chinese studies topics.
    • Courses must be taken from at least three different departments or programs.
    • Three of the twelve courses must be upper-division Chinese history.
    • One of those courses is required to be a four-unit seminar or colloquium in which students are expected to write a substantial term paper. Typically, the Department of History offers at least one colloquium per academic year, which are usually numbered HIEA 161–171. The student will need to request and receive permission from the professor and the Department of History before enrolling in such a course. The colloquium must be completed at UC San Diego.
    • No more than six of those upper-division courses may be Chinese language acquisition courses.
    • A minimum of six upper-division courses must be taken at UC San Diego.
  3. As a rule, all courses must be taken and completed for a letter grade for both the major and minor. Exceptions are granted for CHIN 198 and CHIN 199.

In principle, the courses that the Chinese Studies Program accepts are lower- and upper-division courses that study China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Mandarin Chinese. Only six upper-division courses may be taken abroad (or at another institution) and only three of those may be Chinese language acquisition courses. All courses not taken at UC San Diego must be reviewed and approved as compatible with the Program in Chinese Studies guidelines via a Student Petition upon returning from EAP, OAP, or from another US academic institution. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the Chinese Studies Program, a majority of the courses listed below are planned by participating departments or programs for the current academic year.

Honors Program

Minimum requirements for admission to the program are

  1. Junior standing
  2. A GPA of 3.5 or better in the major
  3. Overall GPA of 3.2 or better
  4. Recommendation of a faculty sponsor who is familiar with the student’s work
  5. Completion of at least four approved upper-division courses approved by the Chinese Studies Program
  6. Completion of at least one year of Chinese language study or equivalent knowledge

Students who qualify for honors must consult with a faculty mentor; submit a proposal; complete the appropriate form(s); enroll, complete, and pass a two-quarter sequence of directed study during which they define a research project; carry out the research; and complete a senior thesis.

The completed thesis will be evaluated by a committee consisting of the student’s thesis adviser and one other faculty member appointed by the Chinese Studies Program director.

The Minor Program

A minor in Chinese studies consists of at least three lower-division courses (a minimum of twelve units) and four upper-division courses (a minimum of sixteen units). Each course must be taken for a letter grade. The seven courses must be selected from across three different departments or programs. No more than three Chinese language courses may be applied toward the minor. For students wishing to apply courses taken abroad to the minor, certain restrictions do apply, Please consult with the program coordinator regarding the following: the student petition process, the minimum four-unit requirement for each course taken abroad, which type of courses qualify, and what combination is applicable for each particular student.

Courses Applicable for the Chinese Studies Major and/or Minor Offered by Various Departments and Programs

For description of courses listed below, see appropriate departmental listing. All graduate-level courses require consent of the instructor/department for undergraduate students. Some departmental offerings have content that varies from year to year. In those cases, Chinese Studies Program approval via student petition is given only when content relates primarily to China.

Lower Division


HILD 10. East Asia: The Great Tradition (staff)

HILD 11. East Asia and the West (staff)

HILD 12. Twentieth-Century East Asia (staff)


LTWL 4C. Fiction and Film in Twentieth-Century Societies: Asian Societies (Zhang)


MUS 13AS. World Music: Asia and Oceania (Guy)

Third World Studies

TWS 23. Third World Literatures: Chinese Literature (staff)

Upper Division

I. Chinese Culture and Society


ANSC 136. Traditional Chinese Society (Jordan)

ANSC 137. Chinese Popular Religion (Jordan)  


HIEA 119. Religion and Popular Culture in East Asia (Cahill)

HIEA 125. Women and Gender in East Asia

HIEA 128. History of Material Culture in China (Cahill)

HIEA 129. Faces of the Chinese Past

HIEA 134. History of Thought and Religion in China: Confucianism (Cahill)

HIEA 135. History of Thought and Religion in China: Buddhism (Cahill)

HIEA 136. History of Thought and Religion in China: Daoism (Cahill)

HIEA 137. Women and Family in Chinese History (staff)

HIEA 138. Women and the Chinese Revolution

HIRE 115. Women in Chinese Religious Traditions (Cahill)

HITO 102. Religious Traditions: East Asian Religious Traditions (Cahill)


MUS 111. Topics/World Music Traditions (Guy) (Topic must be music of China)


SOCI 162R. Religion and Popular Culture in East Asia (staff)

SOCI 189. Special Topics in Comparative-Historical Sociology (Madsen)

Visual Arts

VIS 105D. The Aesthetics of Chinese Calligraphy (staff)

VIS 105E. Chinese Calligraphy as Installation

VIS 127B. Arts of China (Shen)

VIS 127C. Arts of Modern China (Shen)

VIS 127D. Early Chinese Painting (Shen)

VIS 127E. Later Chinese Painting (Shen)

VIS 127G. Twentieth-Century Chinese Art (Shen)

VIS 127N. Twentieth-Century Art in China and Japan

II. Contemporary China


HIEA 132. History of the People’s Republic of China (Pickowicz)

HIEA 140. China in the Contemporary World (Gerth)

School of Global Policy and Strategy

IRGN 400. International Relations of the Pacific (staff)

IRGN 403. The Rise of China: Security and Technology

IRGN 404. Chinese Politics (staff)

IRGN 405. U.S.-China Relations

IRGN 461. Doing Business in China (Naughton)

IRGN 467. Chinese Environmental and Energy Policy

IRGN 486. Economic and Social Development of China (Naughton)

Political Science

POLI 113B. Chinese and Japanese Political Thought I (staff)

POLI 113C. Chinese and Japanese Political Thought II (staff)

POLI 130B. Politics in the People’s Republic of China (Shirk)

POLI 131C. The Chinese Revolution (Hoston)

POLI 132. Political Development and Modern China

POLI 232. The Chinese Political System (staff)


SOCI 188G. Chinese Society (Madsen)

III. Language and Literature


LIGN 141. Language Structures (staff)


LTCH 101. Readings in Contemporary Chinese Literature (staff)

LTEA 100A. Classical Chinese Poetry (Yip)

LTEA 100B. Modern Chinese Poetry (Yip)

LTEA 100C. Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Yip)

LTEA 110A. Classical Chinese Fiction (staff)

LTEA 110B. Modern Chinese Fiction (staff)

LTEA 110C. Contemporary Chinese Fiction (staff)

LTEA 120A. Chinese Films (staff)

LTEA 120B. Taiwan Films (staff)

LTEA 120C. Hong Kong Films (staff)

LTEA 120D. Filming Chinese Literature (staff)

LTEN 159B. Chinese Poetry and American Imagination (Yip)

LTCO 274. Genre Studies—Intercultural Poetics (Yip)

LTWL 176. Literature and Ideas: Taoism (Yip)

LTWR 113. Intercultural Writing: Chinese (Yip)

IV. Chinese History


HIEA 120. The History of Chinese Culture and Society: The Ancient Imperial Period (staff)

HIEA 121. The History of Chinese Culture and Society: The Middle Imperial Period (staff)

HIEA 122. The History of Chinese Culture and Society: The Late Imperial Period (staff)

HIEA 124/HISC 110. Science in China and the West from Ancient Times to the Seventeenth Century (staff)

HIEA 126. The Silk Road in Chinese and Japanese History (Cahill)

HIEA 130. History of the Modern Chinese Revolution: 1800–1911 (staff)

HIEA 131 (IP/GEN 408). History of the Modern Chinese Revolution: 1911–1949 (Pickowicz)

HIEA 132. History of the People’s Republic of China (Pickowicz)

HIEA 133. Cultural History of Twentieth-Century China (Pickowicz)

HIEA 162. History of Women in China (staff)

HIEA 164. Seminar in Late Imperial Chinese History (staff)

HIEA 165. History of Material Culture in China (Cahill)

HIEA 166. Creating Ming Histories (Schneedwind)

HIEA 167. Special Topics on Modern Chinese History (staff)

HIEA 168. Special Topics in Classical and Medieval Chinese History (Cahill)

HIEA 170. Colloquium on Science, Technology, and Medicine in China (staff)

HIEA 171. Society and Culture/Premodern China (staff)

Visual Arts

VIS 128DN. Asian Art History (staff)