Why are you studying China

Information for prospective students

Question: What is Sinology?
Answer: Today, Sinology can be understood as a collective term for the academic discussion of China, which uses the Chinese language and is based on in-depth knowledge of Chinese history and culture. Depending on the question and specialization, very different scientific approaches come into question, e.g. cultural-historical, sociological, political or economic approaches. Often it is only a combination of different professional perspectives (interdisciplinarity) that enables a comprehensive and profound understanding of the questions that are relevant in the China studies.

Question: Why study with a focus on China?
Answer: China has been on everyone's lips in recent years because of its growing economic power and growing political importance. But despite the increased media attention, booming economic relations and increasing opportunities for personal exchange (via student exchanges, tourism, studying abroad, etc.), China has so far remained alien to the German public. This is not only due to the otherness of its millennia-old culture, but also to the differences in politics, social and economic systems. Therefore, intermediaries are needed in all of these areas who can both master the intercultural challenges and also have in-depth technical knowledge and employable language skills.

Question: Why study Sinology in Würzburg?
Answer: The three main reasons are the professional diversity, the associated opportunities for specialization and the excellent level of language training. The three professorships each have their own focus areas, which complement each other on a wide range of topics. They cover cultural history and literature as well as politics, society and the economy of contemporary China. Sinology is a rather small subject with a very good supervisory ratio, and you can choose the courses that interest you most from a large number of courses in the large elective area. At the same time, this gives you the opportunity to develop your own focus areas during your studies. The basis of every sinological work is the language that you learn in small groups and very intensively.

Question: Do you also learn Chinese then?
Answer: You are guaranteed to get asked this question when you tell others that you are studying Sinology. The answer is: of course! Because without language and written skills, a more in-depth study of China is not possible. At the beginning of the course, language training actually makes up the majority of the work that has to be done. In Würzburg (unlike at many other Sinology locations) we clearly focus on modern Chinese. Classical Chinese, which is a purely written language, is only taught in the corresponding master’s program (MA Chinese Studies) mediated. This leaves more teaching time for teaching modern Chinese colloquial language, which is usually the decisive qualification for the later profession. In order to achieve a really high level of Chinese, a study visit to the country is inevitable.

Question: Do the language courses start from scratch and what if I have previous knowledge?
Answer: The language courses start with an intensive course in September, for which you should register by mid-July. You do not need any prior knowledge for this intensive course, which is part of the course. The language is conveyed in spoken and written form simultaneously. If you have previous knowledge, you should let us know when you register for the intensive course or during a consultation. Depending on the extent of the previous knowledge, an assessment test can then be carried out and a placement in a higher language course is possible.

Question: Do I have to go to China to study there?
Answer: Yes, it is intended that way ... but we see it as an additional incentive to study, not as a chore! Traveling and internships in China are beautiful and have their value. But without a regular degree in China, one cannot be successful in Sinology and cannot acquire sufficient language skills to be able to use it profitably in one's job. This applies even if the study regulations at some Sinology locations do not mandatorily stipulate a stay abroad. From the Sinology in Würzburg, every Sinology student spends at least one semester studying languages ​​in China.

Question: How is the study abroad organized?
Answer: Many universities offer sinological courses, but leave it up to the students to organize and organize their stay abroad. The Würzburger Sinologie chooses a different path and integrates a semester abroad into its bachelor's degree Modern China. You will spend the fourth semester at the renowned Peking University at a center that we operate together with the Universities of Aarhus and Oslo (European Chinese Language and Culture Program). All of the work you do this semester will be automatically credited to your student account. The choice of course and accommodation are arranged in Würzburg in advance so that you can concentrate on your studies as soon as you arrive. You will be taught in small groups by highly qualified and highly motivated language teachers.

Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of an organized semester abroad?
Answer: The alternative to an organized semester abroad would be for all students to find a place themselves (e.g. through the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD). Since the final decision about where to study lies with the Chinese side, it is possible that you will be sent somewhere other than the university of your choice. The level of language teaching cannot be guaranteed in this way. In addition, if the semester abroad is not firmly integrated into the course, it is often problematic to get credit for the achievements at the home university. Many sinologies therefore do without it entirely or only make very vague statements about what and to what extent can be taken into account. None of these problems exist with a permanently integrated semester abroad.

Conversely, you could say that it is boring and not challenging enough when all students in a year go to the same university in China. However, the following speaks against it: Firstly, our students live in apartments close to the campus (shared apartments in normal Chinese residential buildings) and not in a foreigner residence on campus, as is the case with other study visits to China. This means that there are still enough challenges to be mastered in everyday life in China and you do not live isolated from the rest of society on campus. Second, of course, there are also opportunities for Sinology students from Würzburg to get to know other universities and cities. For years we have been offering a summer school in Changchun after the second language semester. If that's still not enough, you can continue your stay in China in the fifth semester, e.g. at our partner university in Hangzhou (Zhejiang University). We are of course happy to support promising applications for a scholarship for an extended stay abroad, e.g. via the DAAD, to the best of our ability.

Question: What about tuition fees for the semester abroad?
Answer: There are tuition fees for studying at Peking University. However, our students receive a significantly reduced rate of currently almost EUR 2,000 per semester. It should be noted that the semester in China is about five weeks longer than in Germany and Peking University is one of the very best in the country. So you really get something for your money.

Question: Which courses are there in the area of ​​Würzburg Sinology?
Answer: If you are a freshman, you can take the Modern China BA course with us. This is a single-subject bachelor's degree in which you can enjoy the full range of sinological offers, including excellent language training. We also offer a minor BA, which you can choose if your focus is on another subject at the University of Würzburg. Then you have to decide whether you want to concentrate on the language or on the content in the China area. In the first case, the stay abroad in the fourth semester is also compulsory for you. In the second case, it does not apply and you take more content-related courses instead (but of course less than in the single-subject Bachelor's degree).

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in Sinology or a related subject and would like to acquire a master’s degree with us, then you can apply for the MA Chinese Studies or the MSc China Business and Economics. If you have a bachelor's degree in economics, you can apply for the MA China Language and Economy.

Question: And what do you do with it afterwards?
Answer: You will be asked this question too (regardless of whether it is from your parents or from other students). The answer is not that simple: Sinology is not a professional training and therefore does not have a clearly defined professional profile. Rather, it is an academic degree that qualifies you for a variety of activities related to China. Nevertheless, the BA Modern China the claim to qualify for a job. With your choice of course, you have it in your own hands to develop your own focal points and to prepare yourself for certain fields of activity. We inform our graduates about the different possibilities through regular events.

Most of our graduates find employment in the economy, whereby all branches of the manufacturing industry, advice / consulting, human resource management and much more are represented. If you want to take this route, the MSc China Business and Economics in Würzburg a tailor-made follow-up course and an excellent stepping stone into the economy. If you are less interested in business and more interested in cultural mediation, in foundations and other organizations involved in international cooperation or in the media, etc., you can qualify for this as well. In order to get into management positions, a master’s degree is often required here as well. The MA Chinese Studies With the option of focusing on contemporary or historical China, it offers opportunities for specialization that also prepare you for an academic career.