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Chinese history masters in Europe, America or Australia?


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I'm asking this for a Chinese friend, who wants to do a master in Chinese history outside of China. She prefers to study in Europe (England would be the first choice), but would also consider other Western countries. We have been looking for suitable programs, but so far only found Sinology or China Studies type programs heavily geared towards Western students, which means a lot of Chinese language learning and presumably somewhat basic classes in Chinese culture and history. Even if these programs would accept Chinese students, it doesn't seem very appropriate.

 

If no specific Chinese history masters program exists in the West, would there be anything that comes close as an alternative? To be clear, she is expecting to be taught in English (although Chinese would be ok as well, I guess), and wants to research Chinese history, but would also consider somewhat related subjects related to China.

 

If you have any suggestions or thoughts on this, please share! Thanks a lot!

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She prefers to study in Europe (England would be the first choice)

 

 

Among my British colleagues, American degrees/training are preferable to that attained in the UK. An American degree often makes one more competitive than a peer with a degree from a UK university.

 

. We have been looking for suitable programs, but so far only found Sinology or China Studies type programs

 

 

You need to look harder. There are plenty of excellent programs out there. However, your friend needs to be searching for specific faculty to work with, not a name-brand university. This differs greatly with Chinese expectations, which is why you two have may have yet to consider it. Even then, you two didn't think to look at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, or Colombia's programs?

 

heavily geared towards Western students

 

 

I'm confused why you'd say this. If you look at the graduate student profile pages of many of the top programs you'll see that they sport a large student body from China. Again, you need to look closer.

 

which means a lot of Chinese language learning and presumably somewhat basic classes in Chinese culture and history

 

 

Absolutely false. On the contrary, it's very difficult to get admitted to a graduate program in Chinese history without being able to demonstrate your ability to conduct research in Chinese.

 

Source: Complete an MA in Chinese History in the PRC. Currently a second-year PhD in the States.

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Hi kdavid,

 

Thanks so much for your reply! Very happy to read that there are actually lots of programs out there! Admittedly, us not finding the programs you mention might well be because of a lack of understanding of the western university system, and not knowing where and how to look. We have also primarily been looking at European programs. I will defenitely put more time and effort in this, knowing now that there is a lot to be found.

 

She is not looking for a name-brand university, and would probably not get in. Would you have any recommendations on specific programs or faculties, or would you recommend any online resources?

 

Thanks again!

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bad_dream_house

Don't rule out the UK - there are a number of top tier universities where you can certainly study Masters degree in Chinese history

 

Typically UK universities will offer 'MA History' as a post-graduate course without differentiating between subject matter - it is then up to the student to select the taught courses that appeal and agree a supervisor and topic for dissertation.  The programmes you are coming across (e.g. MA Chinese Studies) are more geared towards students who want multi-disciplinary study alongside Chinese language learning

 

Both Oxford and Cambridge have faculty specialising in Chinese History and I'm sure even kdavid might agree they award competitive degrees!

 

There is also SOAS in London which is a leader in the study of Chinese history (Frank Dikotter and Gary Tiedemann were formerly Professor of History there) and has one of the best collections in the world (including the archives of the LMS if you are into that sort of thing) 

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Have a look at Southampton University, there is a very large Chinese student population here, has even cause a mini china town to spring up in the vicinity of the university.

 

If I remember correctly it is ranked no. 20 of British universities so pretty good.

 

Its a nice city with lots of green areas and pleasant climate. it is on the Solent so has access to the coast and the Isle of Wight for day trips and sightseeing.

 

P.S. Be careful not confuse University of Southampton with Southampton Solent University, they are 2 entirely different things.  University of Southampton is the more established and respected one.

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Thanks a lot, dream house! That's some really valuable information. I'm afraid it might be a bit too hard to get into Oxford, but knowing now a general 'MA History' can be geared toward Chinese history as well, we'll have a lot more to choose from. Thanks again for the tips, will defenitely check everything out!

Also thanks to Shelley, I'll look into that one as well, sounds great.

Of course, more recommendations still welcome. Thanks again!

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@Ludens

 

Regarding finding the right fit, this is all contingent on your friend's research interests. You wouldn't, for example, want to work with a professor whose research interests are ethnic tensions in Xinjiang during the Qing if your interests are shifting gender norms under the pre-1949 Communist regime.

 

That's not to say that professors here wouldn't have a grasp of the literature outside of their own interests. However, working under a professor who shares similar research interests and has published on an overlapping topic will help your own research.

 

If your friend is considering graduate school, I'd imagine she's well-read. Have her start with some of the scholars she most admires. Track down where they teach/taught and go from there. Your next step will be to reach out to graduate students currently enrolled in those programs for feedback on their own and others.

 

Good luck!

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somethingfunny

 

 

Among my British colleagues, American degrees/training are preferable to that attained in the UK. An American degree often makes one more competitive than a peer with a degree from a UK university.

 

This is interesting, would you mind elaborating?  I have heard it said before that the UK is ahead of US at high school and undergraduate level, but the US catches up fast and overtakes by postgraduate level.  My own experience confirms the first half of this, but I don't have much experience of the US postgraduate system.

 

Is your statement specific to people looking for work in America, or have you heard British people say that an American degree will get them further back home in the UK?

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Is your statement specific to people looking for work in America, or have you heard British people say that an American degree will get them further back home in the UK?

 

 

Of my British colleagues (a very small sample, mind you), and American colleagues who have/are working in the UK, all have stated that an American degree makes one (regardless of nationality) more competitive in the UK market. This includes professors/graduate students at/from Oxford, UM, and UCL.

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  • 5 months later...
艾墨本

Not sure if your still searching but UW-Madison (where I went for undergrad) has a lot on Chinese history. A lot of work is also done with Classical Chinese. Overall, the teachers working with China at the university are top notch and I highly recommend the campus (it's beautiful). 

 

http://history.wisc.edu/courses_graduate.htm

 

If interested or have more questions about the university, let me.

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艾墨本

Not sure if your still searching but UW-Madison (where I went for undergrad) has a lot on Chinese history. A lot of work is also done with Classical Chinese. Overall, the teachers working with China at the university are top notch and I highly recommend the campus (it's beautiful). 

 

http://history.wisc.edu/courses_graduate.htm

 

If interested or have more questions about the university, let me know.

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