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Hi Guys,

 

i would really like to hear your feedback on this issue, i am currently doing an M.A. on Indian Studies, but in future i would like to work on China-India interactions for my PhD. now as someone who has studied one of these countries in depth, what would you say about studying in china or India for a PhD? i mean one could come to the U.S. or other major universities and work on them with professors who are experts on them and the field but how would you fell about going down there and staying there for the time of you study?cause Jawaherlael Nehru University in Delhi has some great programs in its international studies school and its South and East Asia centre is very much active and they also have an abundance of language programs to do in your extra time, also in China, Fudan University in Shanghai has started an English-taught PhD in International politics which is great as one could use the 4 years time to work on his Mandarin too.  anyways, i would like to hear your ideas on the issue.

Edited by 30rus
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Where do you want to end up? In academia? From what I understand, for academia, doing your PhD in Asia is very difficult (i.e. getting your PhD from an Asian institution). As someone working on Asia myself, I did consider doing a PhD in Asia, but it seemed like if anything, NUS in Singapore is the only school where you have a realistic chance for getting an academic job outside of Asia, and even they have mostly US-educated peeps on their faculty.

 

Did you look into joint programs/the possibility of doing research years in China/India? I met a guy from GWU while in China, and know of at least one program in Germany that explicitly has 1 year Germany, 1 year China, co-supervision.

 

I also believe that doing a PhD at a Chinese university is even more difficult than at an Indian uni, bc of censorship, which is real. An acquaintance of mine had to write two M.A. thesis, because the first one did not pass the censorship. For India-China, where Tibet is likely to play a role, that could be a real concern. Even if it isn't a concern for your research, it'll likely be a concern for people seeing your diploma. Fudan is amazing for IR, but (1) censorship happens even there, and (2) most of my friends doing English-language programs were quite disappointed with them, since the quality of education/supervision etc. was not what they expected.

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Where do you want to end up? In academia? From what I understand, for academia, doing your PhD in Asia is very difficult (i.e. getting your PhD from an Asian institution). As someone working on Asia myself, I did consider doing a PhD in Asia, but it seemed like if anything, NUS in Singapore is the only school where you have a realistic chance for getting an academic job outside of Asia, and even they have mostly US-educated peeps on their faculty.

I was going to come here and make this point. While this isn't the case for everyone (there is that occasional star that probably can get a US-job with a PhD from Asia) it does make it harder for you to market yourself in the US (and I assume Europe).

 

Studying in Europe or the US, learning methods and how the discipline works, coupled with extensive field research in Asia might be a better option.

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Where do you want to end up? In academia? From what I understand, for academia, doing your PhD in Asia is very difficult (i.e. getting your PhD from an Asian institution). As someone working on Asia myself, I did consider doing a PhD in Asia, but it seemed like if anything, NUS in Singapore is the only school where you have a realistic chance for getting an academic job outside of Asia, and even they have mostly US-educated peeps on their faculty.

 

Did you look into joint programs/the possibility of doing research years in China/India? I met a guy from GWU while in China, and know of at least one program in Germany that explicitly has 1 year Germany, 1 year China, co-supervision.

 

I also believe that doing a PhD at a Chinese university is even more difficult than at an Indian uni, bc of censorship, which is real. An acquaintance of mine had to write two M.A. thesis, because the first one did not pass the censorship. For India-China, where Tibet is likely to play a role, that could be a real concern. Even if it isn't a concern for your research, it'll likely be a concern for people seeing your diploma. Fudan is amazing for IR, but (1) censorship happens even there, and (2) most of my friends doing English-language programs were quite disappointed with them, since the quality of education/supervision etc. was not what they expected.

i would like to end up in the think tanks, but as you mentioned i think joint prog. could be a great deal.FU Berlin has one with Fudan and some other Chinese universities and KCL has one with JNU and NUS.

but to add another point i have seen recently that JNU has given good placements and alumni and professors have gone to work at some great places.

 

ah, another minor thing i would love to ask, i might not be sure about the india-china thing and might focus on Iran-India, as an iranian i thing that would give me better chances for jobs, right?

Edited by 30rus
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If you want to learn Chinese and experience real Chinese culture, go to Taiwan.

People are nice (the girls there are really beautiful), the environment is clean, no censorship and cheaper than places like Beijing or Shanghai.

For an exchange or a language course, I would say that's a great choice ! much better than than Mainland; of course you want to go there too, but just for holiday..

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I have friends studying in both HK and Singapore, and most of them left me the impression that HK is better if (1) you wanna study in English and (2) you wanna do stuff about mainland China (henceforth "China"). A friend of mine just finished his MA in Chinese in Taiwan, and while it was a great experience for him, he mentioned that he did not get an impartial view on China at all. While mainland is "rose-colored classes", he thought that his Taiwanese teachers spent a lot of time explaining why TW is better than China. Of course, that's just anecdotal evidence, but also something I heard. HK has some pretty good universities, and still has freedom of speech. However, it recently looks like BJ wants to take control, so spending 4/5 years there and hoping it stays the way it is might be risky.

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^ Agreed.

Hong Kong is a great place to study China, but only if you are interested in domestic politics, public admin. or political economy. It is not really that great if you are into IR.

You do study in English, but life is not easy if you don't speak Cantonese, or live outside HK island or Kowloon (downtown area).

Nevertheless, the $$ is solid, it's very safe and clean and close to everywhere. According to the Economist, the most livable city in the world, I think. Pretty good deal overall.

Bottom line, if you want to learn Chinese, go to Taiwan; if you want to pursue a research degree (MPhil/PhD), then you might try HK (Singapore too, of course).

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I'd say, for China's foreign relations, Singapore (especially Nanyang Technological University) is one of the best places (if not the best place) to be in Asia. NUS is pretty good as well, but they tend to focus more on domestic political economy issues.

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anyways, back to Fudan, anyone heard anything from the quality? i dont want to take the GRE so no US and top Canadians and everywhere else the fundings are so tight ,  and i have a guaranteed job back at home if i specialize in china and especially if i learn the language, i guess i'll be able to attend the language classes if i attend there as a PhD right? also, government and shanghai scholarships seems sweet since our currency is kinda broke these days. how about the placement, any one heard stuff on that?

Edited by 30rus
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Everyone posted above told you exactly the same message: Go to HK, Taiwan or Singapore are way, way better than China Mainland.

 

Since you are so interested in Fudan, I have something more to say. I came from Shanghai Jiaotong University, and many faculty of the so-called "political science" department  (again, it is self-alleged, titular "science" while no scientific methodology was applied) graduated from Fudan. Without offence, the most important lesson I learnt from them was, what is not Political Science.

It would be a really bad, bad option to pursue PhD in China Mainland. If for financial reasons, you would not study in US/Canada/HK/Japan, why not choose Singapore? They have generous government funding and living expense is not that ridiculous. Besides, correct me if I were wrong, but what I heard was even for Chinese PhD students in engineering school, they might expect to receive funding below the level of 2000 RMB/per month? Pretty low, unless one day in the near future the exchange rate is 1:1.5. 

 

As for learning language, China mainland is a sounding option. 

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If you're dead-set on China, Fudan is probably your best option, but don't expect to get an academic job afterwards. In addition, most people I know that did an English-language program in China were not able to simultaneously learn the language, bc Chinese is hard, and needs practice, and you're most likely to hang out only with English-language peeps. Also note that in terms of language-learning, most of ML China is not ideal for beginners, because they tend to not be very good at pedagogy, teaching grammar etc., and your class is likely made up of Koreans/Asians, who have different experiences learning Chinese.

 

I know people who did their PhD at European unis, but spent most of their time doing fieldwork/language study in China, which I do absolutely believe to be better. I also know people who did their Post-Doc at good Chinese universities (think Fudan, Renda etc.), and managed to land good positions afterwards.

 

Also note that the government scholarship in China is really low. In my year (2011-2012), it was (I think) 1400 RMB/month, plus a shared dorm room. If you're willing to live on campus (in a shared room), and to eat mostly in the campus cafeteria, not go out etc., this might be enough to live on, but it's not comfortable, especially not in SH, arguably the most expensive mainland city. 

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If you're dead-set on China, Fudan is probably your best option, but don't expect to get an academic job afterwards. In addition, most people I know that did an English-language program in China were not able to simultaneously learn the language, bc Chinese is hard, and needs practice, and you're most likely to hang out only with English-language peeps. Also note that in terms of language-learning, most of ML China is not ideal for beginners, because they tend to not be very good at pedagogy, teaching grammar etc., and your class is likely made up of Koreans/Asians, who have different experiences learning Chinese.

 

I know people who did their PhD at European unis, but spent most of their time doing fieldwork/language study in China, which I do absolutely believe to be better. I also know people who did their Post-Doc at good Chinese universities (think Fudan, Renda etc.), and managed to land good positions afterwards.

 

Also note that the government scholarship in China is really low. In my year (2011-2012), it was (I think) 1400 RMB/month, plus a shared dorm room. If you're willing to live on campus (in a shared room), and to eat mostly in the campus cafeteria, not go out etc., this might be enough to live on, but it's not comfortable, especially not in SH, arguably the most expensive mainland city. 

I agree. It might also depend on what level of Chinese the OP need. If he wants to be a researcher who reads information from Chinese documents and newspaper, the ideal path is to study in a PhD program in Europe that has China research as one of its strengths. Then, during substantive research, he can learn Chinese in language classes offered there. This is because IMO, learning Chinese with Europeans or Americans is easier than learning Chinese with Koreans, because many Koreans who study Chinese already have decent background in basic Chinese. 

 

BTW, for China scholarship outside of the US, I recommend Australia in addition to Singapore and HK. Deakin University has He Baogang, who is respected everywhere. Sydney and ANU should also house good China scholars. 

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If you're dead-set on China, Fudan is probably your best option, but don't expect to get an academic job afterwards. In addition, most people I know that did an English-language program in China were not able to simultaneously learn the language, bc Chinese is hard, and needs practice, and you're most likely to hang out only with English-language peeps. Also note that in terms of language-learning, most of ML China is not ideal for beginners, because they tend to not be very good at pedagogy, teaching grammar etc., and your class is likely made up of Koreans/Asians, who have different experiences learning Chinese.

 

I know people who did their PhD at European unis, but spent most of their time doing fieldwork/language study in China, which I do absolutely believe to be better. I also know people who did their Post-Doc at good Chinese universities (think Fudan, Renda etc.), and managed to land good positions afterwards.

 

Also note that the government scholarship in China is really low. In my year (2011-2012), it was (I think) 1400 RMB/month, plus a shared dorm room. If you're willing to live on campus (in a shared room), and to eat mostly in the campus cafeteria, not go out etc., this might be enough to live on, but it's not comfortable, especially not in SH, arguably the most expensive mainland city. 

Fudan has decent teachers of Political Science, folks including Tang Shiping and a few others. In China, Political Science has more political and less Science. However, Fudan is catching up. 

Nevertheless, if OP has options in HK and Australia, I would still not recommend Fudan for the things Toni pointed out above.

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thanks to all the guys for their comments, certainly i would try HK, Singapore and Europe, and ML China would be my last resort if i couldn't secure a scholarship at the mentioned places. one could afford china better with our currency than Europe.

now since the topic is on Asia, has anyone here heard anything on JNU and India?they seem to have a good international studies schools offering courses and research on different areas. any ideas?!

Edited by 30rus
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  • 1 month later...

Hello,

I am considering pursuing an MA in poli sci from National Taiwan University, after which I would pursue a PhD in the States. I am interested in researching the political economy of cross-Strait relations. Any thoughts on this program or how US schools would perceive an MA from Asia?

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