MA programme in Chinese Studies at Leipzig University, Germany

Philip Clart's picture

Master of Arts in Chinese Studies at Leipzig University


The Institute of East Asian Studies at Leipzig University is now accepting applications for enrolment in its English-language MA programme in Chinese Studies in the academic year 2020/21.


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 Chinese language skills, 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 alums 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).


The application deadline for the winter semester 2020/21 is 12 June 2020 for all applicants. Applicants with undergraduate degrees earned outside of Germany in addition need to apply through the UniAssist portal by 31 May 2020. 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 Society and Culture of Modern China.

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


Jens Reinke, MA, lecturer, Society and Culture of Modern China.
MA 2014 National Chengchi University
Research areas: Chinese diaspora, religious studies, Chinese Buddhism, Anthropology of religion


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