Master of Arts in Chinese Studies at Leipzig University

Beginning in the academic year 2019/2020, the Institute of East Asian Studies at Leipzig University will be offering an English-language MA programme in Chinese Studies.

Objectives and Target Audience

The two-year Master’s programme in Chinese Studies at Leipzig University offers a comprehensive programme of postgraduate instruction for students with a BA in Chinese Studies as well as graduates from the humanities and social sciences with appropriate language skills in Modern Chinese who want to deepen their understanding of the Sinophone world and improve their research skills. Focusing on religions and literature as well as economic and social history, teaching and research in Leipzig pay equal attention to China’s traditions and to their ruptures and continuities in the present day. We seek to provide our students with a historically grounded view of China, which will prepare them for either further graduate work in a PhD programme or for any occupation requiring a reflective understanding of China’s past & present. Leipzig Chinese Studies alumni today work in business, government, academia, cultural enterprises, and NGOs.

First year: Intensive Coursework

In the first year, Students receive advanced training in modern and literary Chinese language, as well as basic instruction in written Japanese as an important language of scholarship in Chinese Studies. In addition, students take altogether four modules on relevant topics in the areas of our faculty’s expertise. Each module consists of a seminar and a tutorial and includes a wide array of readings in English and Chinese. Up to two modules in the Chinese Studies MA programme may be replaced with modules from other MA programmes at Leipzig University; this may be advisable if your thesis research requires disciplinary knowledge and skills not offered in the Chinese Studies MA programme itself. In the past, students have “imported” such modules from Economics, Anthropology, Political Science, Religious Studies, South & Central Asian Studies, Sociology, History, and Linguistics.

Second year: Research and Master Thesis

The third semester is largely given over to preparatory research for your MA thesis (including the possibility of a semester abroad) and the fourth semester to the writing of the thesis (minimum 80 pages). Students will participate in the graduate colloquium and receive individual guidance from our faculty.

What Leipzig has to offer

Founded in 1409, Leipzig University is Germany’s second-oldest university. It was the first German university to establish a chair in East Asian Languages in 1878, which was filled by the pioneer linguist, Hans Georg Conon von der Gabelentz (1840-1893). Its Institute of East Asian Studies was founded in 1914, more than 100 years ago. Today, the university offers excellent resources in Chinese Studies. With a tradition of sinological teaching and research reaching back into the nineteenth century, Leipzig University Library has a sizable collection of premodern Chinese books; in addition, its Oriental Library has large holdings of Western-, Chinese-, and Japanese-language research literature. This collection is enhanced by the Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies, which comprises a quickly growing collection of reference and research publications from Taiwan, as well as online access to databases maintained by the National Central Library in Taipei. Furthermore, all MA students are provided with access to the Asian Studies virtual library CrossAsia (, which contains many indispensable databases and e-book collections. Hardcopies from the largest Asian-language library in Europe (the Berlin State Library) can be ordered free of charge through a dedicated interlibrary loan service.

Leipzig University’s Institute of East Asian Studies maintains partnerships and exchanges with the following universities in greater China: Renmin University (Beijing), Hong Kong Baptist University, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages (Kaohsiung), National Chengchi University (Taipei), and National Chung Hsing University (Taichung).

For detailed information on application requirements and procedures, go to

Faculty in Chinese Studies:

Prof. Philip Clart, PhD, Professor of Chinese Culture & History.

PhD 1997 University of British Columbia; editor of the Journal of Chinese Religions.
Research areas: history & anthropology of Chinese religions, popular literature of the Ming/Qing period

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Kaske, Professor of Modern Chinese Culture & Society.

PhD 2007 Heidelberg University.
Research areas: History of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; military history; fiscal and economic history; Chinese-foreign relations; education, language and politics; nationalism

Dr. Jörg Henning Hüsemann, lecturer, Chinese Culture & History.

PhD 2013 University of Hamburg.

Research areas: history and culture of early and early medieval China; historical geography; agricultural & environmental history; history of science and technology

Dr. Merle Schatz, lecturer, Society and Culture of Modern China.

PhD 2014 University of Bonn
Research areas: Chinese societies, established and outsiders, cultural neighbourhood, integration and conflict, cultural translation, sociolinguistics

Thorben Pelzer, MA, lecturer, Society and Culture of Modern China.

MA 2017 University of Bochum

Research areas: gender studies, social history of modern China

Barbara Drinhausen, MA, language instructor.

MA 1988 University of Bonn

Research area: didactics of Chinese as a foreign language

Liu Zhimin, MA, language instructor.

MA 1997 Tongji University, Shanghai

Research areas: Discourse history (late Qing- and Republican era), modern Chinese literature and contemporary literature

Wei Hsiao-chien, MA, language instructor.

MA 1999 University of York