By Karen Valenzuela January 20, 2017

By deeply immersing themselves in Chinese culture for a year, students will grow personally and professionally.


Since 2013, Vice President of China Projects and Executive Director of ACTCM at CIIS Lixin Huang, CIIS President Emeritus Joseph Subbiondo, and members of the CIIS faculty and the Board of Trustees have collaborated with China’s Zhejiang University (ZJU) to foster greater understanding and cultural exchange between China and the United States.

In fall 2017, CIIS and ZJU will deepen their ties by providing 10 graduate students a unique opportunity for integral activist-scholar studies: the Anthropology and Social Change (ANTH) PhD with China Studies Scholarship. The five-year dual-degree program is open to students who want to integrate a year abroad in China with the standard ANTH doctoral curriculum. In addition to their PhD from CIIS, students will earn a master’s degree in Contemporary China Studies from ZJU.

The first, third, fourth, and fifth years of coursework and research will take place at CIIS; students will spend the second year of the program in Hangzhou, one of China’s largest and most beautiful cities. Travel, tuition, and living expenses for the year abroad are fully funded by generous scholarships from ZJU.

To prepare students for their time in China, ZJU will send faculty members to CIIS to lecture in first-year courses. Several CIIS professors and administrators have visited ZJU to present at conferences and facilitate workshops in social and emotional learning, drama therapy, and other subjects.

Zhejian University

Zhejiang University

Educational experiences during the year in China will be tailored to students’ interests: a student focused on traditional Chinese medicine could be connected with a Chinese hospital whose doctors integrate Western and Eastern treatments; a student interested in community organizing could be linked with Chinese activists. Applicants with any research or career goals are welcome to apply, as long as they can demonstrate a link between their plans and the year abroad.

“Graduates will have a greater understanding of cultures different from their own and will thus be better prepared to collaborate with future peers and colleagues,” Vice President Huang said.

Huang explained that the faculty and administration of both schools were very eager to make the partnership possible. “This would never have happened without President Emeritus Subbiondo’s quick response to the faculty of Zhejiang University,” she said. “CIIS’s enthusiastic and open communication really helped in getting this program off the ground. Everyone was truly invested in making the program the best it could be and ensuring the success of our future students.”

This is the first collaboration between an American and Chinese university on a doctoral degree. “It could be the beginning of graduate programs similar to this one sprouting up around the world,” Huang commented. “We look forward to modeling best practices in integral education and international collaboration.”

Learn more about the program here.


Karen Valenzuela is a Southern California based freelance writer and editor.

Anthropology and Social Change, Student News, Academics, China

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