UW–Madison offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Chinese, specializing in linguistics, literature and culture, or thought. The program provides broad foundations and focused training in these three tracks, assuring that graduates are prepared to teach and conduct research.

The Chinese Collection, as part of an East Asian Collection ranked highly nationally, houses excellent basic collections, databases, and journals.

The department is home to the journal Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR) and encourages graduate student participation in the production of this publication.

For more details about the program and its respective specializations, see the department website.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees


Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

30 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

16 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

All 30 credits must be completed in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, no more than 7 credits of graduate coursework (as defined above) completed while a UW–Madison undergraduate may be counted to satisfy degree requirements. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework (as defined above) taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a Master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

All students must take

E ASIAN 701 Proseminar in Chinese Literature3
Select one of the following:6
History of Chinese Literature
and History of Chinese Literature
History of the Chinese Language
and History of the Chinese Language
Literary Studies in Chinese Drama
and Literary Studies in Chinese Fiction
Select one semester of one other history sequence3
Select one of the following in the chosen track: 13
E ASIAN 932 Seminar in Chinese Linguistics2-3
Seminar in Chinese Literature
Seminar in Chinese Thought

These may be substituted with other appropriate courses with the approval of the advisor. It is recommended that Chinese linguistics students take E ASIAN 431 Introduction to Chinese Linguistics and E ASIAN 432 Introduction to Chinese Linguistics.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00 GPA required.

Other Grade Requirements

Students must earn a B or above in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student.

Probation Policy

If a student’s average falls below 3.0 in a given semester, the department will decide whether the student may continue on probation. A specific plan will be arranged with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status.

Advisor / Committee

All students are required to have an advisor, and should consult with a faculty member to serve as major professor no later than the end of their second semester.

To ensure they are making satisfactory progress, students are encouraged to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

Assessments and Examinations

A final written examination is required.

Candidates are required to submit two substantial research papers written in seminars, or, with the consent of the major advisor, in a course at or above the 700 level.

Time Constraints

The maximum time for completing all M.A. requirements and passing the M.A. examination is three years.

Master’s degree students who are absent for five or more years will not be given credit for prior work.

Language Requirements

Advanced proficiency in modern Chinese is required. Reading proficiency in Classical Chinese is required for students with interests in pre-twentieth century culture or historical linguistics.

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the applicant's previous academic record, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are required. TOEFL is required of all applicants who are not native speakers of English. Writing samples in English are strongly encouraged for M.A. applicants and required of Ph.D. applicants.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrate understanding of the primary field(s) of study in a historical, comparative, and global context.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the major theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry in one of the following areas of study: Chinese literature and culture, Chinese linguistics, Japanese literature and culture, Japanese linguistics, and Transasian studies.
  • Demonstrate ability to integrate theories into practice.
  • Demonstrate ability to articulate and communicate knowledge in specialized field(s).

Professional Conduct

  • Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct.

Chinese Faculty: Professors Dunne, Huang, Nienhauser; Associate Professors Huntington, Meulenbeld, Zhang; Assistant Professors Yang, Zhu

Japanese Faculty: Professors Kern, McGloin, Mori; Associate Professors D'Etcheverry, Geyer, Ridgely

Languages and Cultures of Asia Faculty: Professors Rafferty (chair), Buhnemann, Schamiloglu; Associate Professor Gade