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Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Last updated January 2003

Since its beginning in 1989 the M.A. program in Chinese has had as its primary aim the training of students to go on to advanced, Ph.D. work in Chinese literature. The success of the program is attested by the fact that fully half of the individuals awarded the degree have indeed enrolled at Ph.D. programs in Chinese literature, at the following universities:

Columbia University (4)
University of Washington (3)
Yale University (2)
Indiana University (2)
Princeton University
Harvard University
Cornell University
University of Chicago
University of Wisconsin
Pennsylvania State University
CU-Boulder (4, Comp Lit-Chinese track)

The quality of the program is well known, and its emphasis on training future scholars is reflected in the fact that most applicants state their intention to become university professors. Students who have taken the Chinese M.A. as a terminal degree have proceeded to a variety of professions, including the following: law school (UCLA), language instructor at the Air Force Academy, president of a joint-stock company (Palo Alto), social work (San Francisco), magazine editor (Washington, D.C.), vice-president of trade consulting company (Denver), director of CU-Denver study-abroad program in Beijing, and others.

Currently the Chinese M.A. program offers two tracks--one in language and literature, one in language and civilization. The latter track was added in 1997 for the benefit of students who might not wish to prepare themselves for doctoral work and who preferred somewhat less work in Chinese language. To date only two students have chosen to pursue this track. Dual-M.A. tracks in Chinese & History, and Chinese & Religious Studies were added in 2000. To date one student has enrolled in each.

The decision in 2000 by the Graduate School to close down the "Chinese-track" Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, which had operated successfully since 1991 and placed its graduates in fine positions, has had unfortunate consequences for our M.A. applicant pool. The decision to close this track was taken in consequence of a program review of the Comparative Literature program, and without consultation with any of the China faculty. Where our M.A. applicants previously saw at least the possibility of staying on at CU-Boulder for their entire graduate training in Chinese literature, they now see no chance for that. This has especially discouraged those applicants (particularly from abroad) who may not wish to contemplate moving twice during the course of their graduate careers.

The Chinese M.A. program usually accepts about half of its applicant pool in any given year. Typically, about one third to one half of those accepted actually enroll here. The relatively small amount of fellowship aid we are able to offer is a major factor in our not convincing more accepted applicants to join us. Nevertheless, we have often enrolled students here who had more lucrative offers at such institutions as Berkeley, Chicago, and Washington; this has been owing to their desire to work specifically with certain faculty members.

Over the years the background of students enrolled in the program has been approximately half U.S. citizens and half from abroad (primarily from China). Because of increasing difficulties experienced by students from China in obtaining visa approval by the U.S. government, recent years have seen a decline in our foreign-student enrollment. Because such students are usually among our best teaching assistants in basic-level Chinese language courses, this decline has had some impact on our undergraduate language program. We hope this situation will improve.

Of students who enroll in the program, very few leave before taking the degree. In the decade-plus that the program has been in operation, only a handful of enrolled students have not finished the degree. The career destinations of those who receive their degree are summarized in the opening paragraph above.


Last revision 01/29/03

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