Hopkins Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies Review

Hopkins Nanjing Center (HNC)

The Hopkins Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies (HNC) opened in 1986 as a Sino-US educational collaboration and can still boast to being the only university program in China with academic freedom of speech. Students even get access to a VPN to bypass China’s strict censorship laws!

However don’t expect your Chinese professors to be trumping the facts behind ’89 or Chinese classmates plotting a democratic revolution. My Chinese roommate was convinced Tiananmen Square was an American conspiracy story!

As part of the Sino-U.S theme of the program, Chinese students and international students (predominately American) are matched up together to share a room and live on campus. The roommate setup is optional for two year Master students. The roommate aspect of studying at HNC is a great feature of the program, allowing students to practice speaking Chinese/English on a daily basis and to get help on editing essays. As an international student at the program, at least 75% of your essays and assessment will be conducted in Chinese. This includes lectures and required reading as well!

Your writing, reading and listening skills in Chinese will certainly improve immensely through the program, as well as your ability to understand formal and subject specific vocabulary.

Hopkins Nanjing Center Review

Study Programs

HNC offers two options for students interested in studying in Nanjing:

– A one-year Certificate in Chinese and American Studies, and

– A two-year Master of Arts in International Studies degree, conferred by both The Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and Nanjing University.

International students must take three classes a semester in Chinese, and can take an optional class in English. Chinese students study three subjects in English and again have the option of attending a subject in their native tongue.

Students seeking to combine their studies in Nanjing with further degree studies in the United States can also apply to study at the  The Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. This is commonly referred to as the Five-Semester Option.

Five-Semester HNC-SAIS D.C.
Number of Semesters
Courses Required
6 (at HNC)
Nanjing, China
Nanjing, China
Nanjing & Washington D.C.
Master’s Thesis
Degree Conferred
Certificate in Chinese and American Studies
 MA in International Studies
Certificate and SAIS MA*


Certificate Program

The Hopkins Nanjing Center awards a graduate Certificate in Chinese and American Studies to students who spend one academic year at the Center. Students must take six classes in their target language over the year (3 per semester). Many students also choose to take a fourth class each semester in their non-target language. This academic program includes an array of courses relating to all aspects of contemporary China, the U.S and Sino-U.S relations. Over 70 courses are offered- allowing students more choice in matching their studies to their particular interests, including history, international relations, economics, politics, finance and legal studies.


Master of Arts in International Studies

The Master of Arts in International Studies is a two-year graduate degree jointly offered by The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and Nanjing University. Students select from one of four areas of concentration: International Politics, International Economics, International & Comparative Law, and Chinese Studies. Master’s students are required to complete 13 courses as well as a thesis both written and defended orally in Chinese.


Five Semester Option

A huge bonus of attending HNC is that the program offers a somewhat easier channel into the globally renown SAIS program in Washington D.C A very high proportion of students who complete the one year Certificate at HNC are successful in their application to study in Washington despite typically less work experience than the average candidate. The SAIS program is typically rated as the one of the top international affairs programs in the world alongside Georgetown University.

Students who meet the admission requirements of both the Hopkins Nanjing Center and SAIS in Washington, D.C. complete two semesters of study at the Hopkins Nanjing Center and then three semesters at SAIS in Washington, D.C. To apply for the Five-Semester Option you should be are advanced in Chinese language abilities, have demonstrated professional development through work experience and have a background in the fundamentals of economics. Graduates are awarded a jointly-issued Graduate Certificate in Chinese and American Studies and a SAIS D.C. Master’s degree.

Hopkins Nanjing Center Review
US Ambassador to China at the time, Gary Lock, speaking at the 2013 Hopkins Nanjing Center Review Graduation Ceremony


Fellowships & Fees

Tuition fees are as you would expect, quite steep. A one year Graduate Certificate at the Center will set you back approximately USD $22,500, while the Masters Program is USD $38,800 and marginally cheaper than the fees charged for SAIS in Washington. Dormitory fees for one academic year are reasonably priced at approximately USD $1,600 for a share room and the cafeteria is very affordable. There’s even spaghetti and donuts served from time-to-time!

Many American students receive a scholarship from U.S funding sources and most international students receive a fellowship from HNC alumni and other donors (usually USD $4,000-$8,000). As a non-US international student, tuition fees must be paid up front and as an Australian student there are very few options for other external funding.

Chinese government scholarships do not apply to HNC and the plethora of Australian supported scholarships are typically limited to language and exchange programs. The only potential Australian scholarship applicable for a student applying to HNC is the John Monash Foundation which offers eight high-achieving Australians the opportunity to study a Masters program overseas. Therefore, you would have to apply for the two year Masters program to be eligible for the Monash Foundation Scholarship.



Facilities are top notch. The classrooms are modern, the library is comprehensive and uncensored, and the fifth floor lounge offers comfortable sofas and a spectacular view of Nanjing. On top of that, there’s a gym, cafeteria, two music rooms, a calligraphy room, study areas, a bar and and a rooftop for summer parties.


Hopkins Nanjing Center (HNC) Library


Alumni & Career Development

A major differentiator between a mainstream Chinese university option and HNC is in careers service. The Center has a stellar careers advisory program and runs regular career workshops on resumes, job applications and interviewing. The Center coordinates three career field trips known as the Beijing Trek, Shanghai Trek and the Hong Kong Trek to provide students with the opportunity to meet with Center alumni working in industry and government in China.

Each year, major companies such as Apple visit the Center to interview and hire students. Three students from my year got a gig working with Apple in China. Most U.S students return to the U.S for further study, while others tend to go to Beijing and Shanghai to find work.

The Center also boasts a well connected and active alumni network with chapters in Beijing, Shanghai and throughout the U.S.


How to Get in Touch?

If you are already living or planning to drop by Nanjing for a day then you are welcome to have a one day tour of the Center including a free lunch and access to sit in as many classes as you. This is also a great opportunity to meet other students and to get the lowdown on life inside the Center.


Click Here to Find Out More on the HNC Blog


Hopkins Nanjing Center Review
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Excellent Alumni Community
Strong Industry Connections
Esteemed Reputation
Academic Freedom of Speech
Uncensored Library
Top-Notch Facilities


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Olly Theobald

Director at Asia Options.
Olly works in Hangzhou China and is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship, e-commerce, Asia education, data science, and foreign languages. Olly is a graduate from RMIT University and the Hopkins Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies. Olly speaks Mandarin and Korean.

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