Chinese Culture

Students often begin a Chinese culture studies program by focusing on language and progressing into the study of art, politics, linguistics and literature. Learn more about undergraduate and graduate degree programs related to Chinese culture, and review some jobs you could pursue after earning a degree in this field.

Is Chinese Culture for Me?

Overview of the Field

As a student of Chinese culture, you'll study ancient history, contemporary Chinese life, politics and international relations. Although Chinese cultural studies programs are available at the undergraduate level, they are mostly designed to help you acquire the language skills needed to study Chinese literature and life in graduate programs.

A typical Chinese cultural curriculum includes surveys of Chinese literature and studies of the many famous Chinese dynasties. You'll also study the rise of the People's Republic of China, Taoism and other facets of modern Chinese culture.

Career Options

Corporations that are based in or do business with China require employees who have an excellent understanding of Chinese language, culture and society. Other career options may be found in teaching, diplomacy or international law, depending on your education and experience.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary teachers of area, ethnic and cultural studies earned a mean annual wage of $77,690 in May 2012. That same year, lawyers enjoyed an average yearly salary of $130,880, while management analysts earned $88,070. As of May 2012, the mean annual wage for an interpreter or translator was $53,410 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Chinese Culture?

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate courses in speaking, reading and writing the Chinese language play a prominent role in a Chinese studies curriculum. In addition, you can expect courses in Chinese civilization, literature, film and popular culture. Chinese studies programs are usually interdisciplinary and cover topics in religion, political science, economics and business. Many students earn dual degrees in Chinese culture and international business or relations to improve their job prospects. Some programs can provide opportunities to study abroad.

Graduate Degree Programs

A working knowledge of the Chinese language is usually required before you can be admitted to a graduate program. Areas of specialization can include religion, literature, linguistics or history. In addition to classroom work, you'll have to pass both oral and written examinations and complete a written thesis.

If you choose to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chinese Culture, you may concentrate on a specific field of study, such as cultural anthropology or Chinese history. Successful completion of a program can qualify you for a teaching position at a university.

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