Universiteit Leiden

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Chinese Studies (MA) (120EC)

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University.

What our graduates do

Our graduates frequently find employment in policy-making occupations and are sought-after within the world of commerce. We have alumni working in management positions in NGOs, multinationals and SMEs in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia.

You may also find employment as a journalist, correspondent, public relations manager, travel guide, interpreter or translator. We have graduates working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China Southern Airlines, Gassan Schiphol and Reformatorisch Dagblad.

Some of the occupations of our graduates include:

  • Curator of the China department at a national museum of ethnology
  • PhD candidate at a university in Hong Kong
  • China Director at an international architecture, planning and strategic consultancy firm
  • Test consultant at a large IT consultancy firm
  • Managing partner of a translation agency
  • Policy officer at a ministry of foreign affairs
  • Editor at a publishing house
  • Project officer for Asia collections at Leiden University Library
  • Technical programme manager at a multinational technology company
  • Web editor and newsletter coordinator at an embassy in China

Your qualifications

As a graduate of the master's in Chinese Studies, you are qualified to work within any field in which there is a demand for expertise in Asia, including journalism and publishing, international trade and marketing, business, public relations, education and development aid, and in government, international organisations and NGOs.

Research Master

If you have ambitions to pursue a PhD position or a career as a researcher in business or academia you can apply for the two-year Research Master in Asian Studies on completion of the programme.

A Leiden University degree

Leiden University Master's graduates are sought-after employees at (inter)national organisations. Our graduates are known for their combination of robust academic training, in-depth and relevant knowledge, and critical, multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving.

Kimberley Goebel

Graduated in the MA Chinese Studies

Kimberley Goebel

“After my Bachelor’s degree, the MA programme Chinese Studies seemed like the most logical option for me. It gave me the opportunity to study abroad and gain an even better understanding of what I had learned before. To be able to have a firsthand experience of the field you are interested in, and to be able to use your academic knowledge on a day-to-day basis is a wonderful thing.”

“Right now I am working at Ni Hao Helan, a travel and consultancy agency directed towards the Chinese market. Through this job I am combining my knowledge of the Netherlands with my knowledge of China. We work closely with Chinese clients and the skills I acquired during my studies at Leiden University especially come in handy when communicating with them."

Thomas Falkenhagen

Graduated in Chinese Studies

Thomas Falkenhagen

"As soon as I obtained my master’s degree in 2009 I joined the national civil service trainee programme. I thought it would be a good way of getting into the civil service, but to my surprise I was immediately selected for Foreign Affairs, the very place I most wanted to work. My career since has taken me to vastly different places, with 'all-things-Asia' frequently returning on my path. Currently I am serving as deputy Consul-General in Chongqing, China."

Thesis research in China

"I have always been keen to go abroad. During my studies I spent a year in Beijing, which was great! It was a wonderful experience to live in such an enormous metropolis. I visited China again during the last three months of my master’s, for my thesis research."

First steps of professional life

"The master’s in Chinese Studies prepared me for first steps of professional life at the ministry of Foreign Affairs because it fostered my ability to take initiative, to work both independently and in cooperation with others and to handle politically sensitive issues. And of course in my line of work, foreign language proficiency is a real must, with Chinese language growing in relative importance."

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA Chinese Studies 2016-2020. 

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 30 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 10 % IT
  • 10 % Communication and marketing
  • 10 % Welfare and health
  • 10 % Corporal services
  • 10 % Research
  • 10 % Education
  • 10 % Finances

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 60 % found a job within two months
  • 90 % found their first job at academic level

Career preparation

Find out how this programme exactly prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

At Leiden University, we give you the tools to become a powerful critical thinker with a strong and relevant knowledge base. Graduates of the master's in Asian Studies understand the key academic approaches taken within Asian Studies across multiple disciplines, and how to use these concepts to conduct quality research. They have a wealth of practical and professional skills. These qualities amount to a highly attractive package for future employers.

Do you consider to put your knowledge into practice during your studies? Determine whether an internship could be an option for you. Start orientating your possibilities by visiting an internship information session. This way you can receive information about the internship procedure and listen to tips of former interns.
Notice that you will search for an internship yourself to find a place of your interest. Do you need some help with this or the application process? Do not hesitate to contact the Career Service. When you have found an internship, inform us. Then, the internship coordinator advises you how to proceed and provides your internship plan with feedback so it can be submitted for approval to the board of examiners.

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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