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Master of Chinese Economic and Political Affairs (MCEPA)

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Degree Overview

The MCEPA is an innovative, two-year, full-time degree program.This professional degree allows students to combine rigorous professional training with a specialist’s interest in China. Students are trained to use cross-disciplinary tools to dig deeply into the economics and politics of China, as well as to consider its place in the Asia Pacific region and its relationship with the U.S.

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Program Overview

Students work with UC San Diego’s world-class community of China scholars to investigate in depth the most important issues relating to contemporary China. The expertise of the core faculty covering economics, management, political science and policy analytics, is supplemented by other UC San Diego scholars who specialize in Chinese politics, society, history and language. The result is academic and professional training that prepares graduates for an array of academic, business, diplomatic and government positions.

The MCEPA requires 96 units for completion. All students take 28 required core units of economics, management, political science and quantitative methods training during the first year. Another 24 units consist of China-specific coursework, and 24 units are selected to form an individualized program tailored to from the student’s chosen area of specialization: Chinese Economy, Chinese Environment, Chinese Foreign Relations and Security or Chinese Politics and Public Policy.

The final 20 units are divided into a three course research series, starting with “Sources and Methods” and followed by a two-quarter capstone requirement. The cornerstone of the degree is the design and implementation of an interdisciplinary capstone project. This research project is closely guided by our faculty over the last six months of the degree program. The capstone fosters a mastery of research design and methods for the study of contemporary China and requires critical analysis of original and secondary Chinese sources. The ability to use original language source material is essential for serious professional analysis of China, thus students must possess language skills that are appropriate to the type of research they propose to conduct.

Core Curriculum

All candidates must complete the following courses with a C- or better. 

Required Core (28 units; 7 courses):
Microeconomics for Policy and Management
Quantitative Methods I
Quantitative Methods II
International Politics & Security or Accounting and Finance for Policy Makers
International Economics or Policy Making Processes
Quantitative Methods III or an appropriate quantitative methods course

Required China Courses (24 units; 6 courses):
Three required China core courses will be taken during the first year of study:
Chinese Politics
Economic and Social Development of China
Chinese International Relations and Security

Then three additional courses will be chosen from a list of China-specific elective courses.

Areas of Specialization

All candidates must complete the following courses with a C- or better. 

Required Areas of Specialization Courses (24 units; 6 courses): 
Areas of specialization includes:

  • Chinese Economy
  • Chinese Environment
  • Chinese Foreign Relations and Security
  • Chinese Politics and Public Policy

Students work with a faculty adviser who teaches and/or conducts research in their chosen area of specialization. Students must build an individualized program of six courses with faculty approval. These courses include both advanced work in disciplinary subfields and comparative cross-country content.

Course Research Series

All candidates must complete the following courses with a C- or better. 

Required Sources and Methods Courses (12 units, 3 courses):
Chinese Sources on Politics and Economics

In addition, students may select two from the following GPS courses:
GIS and Spatial Data Analysis
Designing Field Experiments
Big Data Analytics
Evaluating Technological Innovation

Alternatively, pending faculty approval, students may be allowed to enroll in methods or sources courses outside of GPS, provided it has a clear relationship to their research on China.

Required Capstone (8 units, 2 quarters):
Capstone Research
Capstone Project Development

Capstone projects may be a response to a real world consultancy or defined independently by the student. The topic must be approved by the faculty member of record in the first quarter and by a second faculty member with expertise in the subject of the project, who will serve as the second quarter advisor.

The capstone project is expected to demonstrate mastery of the four components of the program including:

  • Development of the methodologies for rigorous data collection and analysis
  • An in-depth understanding of the historical regulatory, political and/or economic processes surrounding the chosen “problem” for analysis
  • Mastery of the working details of the “problem” at the center of the research
  • Demonstration of a requisite level of research proficiency in Mandarin Chinese

Optional: students are strongly encouraged to conduct fieldwork in China during the summer between year one and year two of the program. GPS will work with partner universities in China to create opportunities for extended fieldwork and training that might include both summer and year two fall quarter.

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