Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be cancelled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
CIEE Area Studies Electives
Some area studies electives may change from year-to-year depending upon student interest, instructor availability, and new course options.
Fall and Spring
ENVI 3001 BESC
Sustainability in Context
This course systematically introduces the field of sustainability through a "three-pillar" model articulating the critical need to balance environmental, sociocultural, and economic needs in development. Social and economic dimensions are viewed as constrained by, and reliant upon, the environment, thus one critical focus for sustainability is on understanding the environmental effects of various human socio-economic practices in general, and in the discovery of new knowledge leading to more sustainable practices for both the benefit of current and future generations. The course examines sustainability specifically within the Chinese national context, but also through the perspective that China is a part of, and situated within, the world, and what happens in China also interacts with and impacts other regions and peoples. Thus China, as a case study, teaches us fundamental principles and issues of sustainability. In this course we examine the ongoing and evolving field of sustainability, including the environmental, sociocultural, and economic aspects and their interdependencies, nature and urgency of the current situation, impact of policy and regulation, process of consensus building and public involvement, and meanings of sustainability for humans who share this planet as equal heirs.
ENVI 3002 BESC / POLI 3001 BESC
Environmental Conditions and Public Perception in Contemporary China
This course examines the current state and recent changes of environmental conditions in China, including pressing issues like over-utilization of natural resources, urban expansion into farmlands, desertification, loss of grasslands, pollution and waste management, and cross-border impacts, as well as conservation efforts and distribution and protection of endangered species. The course also looks at changing public perceptions and awareness of environmental issues, as well as the works of environmental NGOs and individual activists, and the functions of mainstream Chinese media.
ANTH 3001 BESC
Field Research and Ethnographic Methods
This course trains students in interdisciplinary research methods drawn primarily from anthropology, sociology, and journalism. Selected methods emphasize field research skills that allow students to work effectively with human subjects for intended course projects. Within China as a research context, students use ethnographic mediums such as writing, photography, and film to document their findings through interactions with individual subjects, and observation of and participation in local cultural events.
INDR 3003 BESC
Directed Independent Research
CIEE supports qualified students who wish to pursue an academically rigorous independent research project, under the guidance of CIEE staff, while in China. Independent research in this program requires the student to perform firsthand field research in the Chinese context, meeting and interacting with people, and observing public events and other social activities, in addition to traditional literature review. In order to enroll, students must submit a research proposal including a clearly defined research topic, an explanation of research plans, a description of preparation in the planned area of study, a list of resources, a tentative outline of a final paper, and a suggested schedule of progress. Students complete a total of 135 hours of research and meet regularly with a CIEE assigned advisor to complete an academically rigorous, ethically sound, and culturally appropriate research project and final paper. Independent research topics include, but are not limited to, anthropology, ethnology, sociology, linguistics, philosophy, and Chinese religions. Approval for participation in Directed Independent Research must be obtained from the CIEE center director and the student’s home institution prior to arrival on the program.
CLST 3001 CBEJ
Seminar on Living and Learning in Beijing
The CIEE Seminar on Living and Learning takes an experiential, developmental, and holistic approach to intercultural development. In this course, students will acquire intercultural concepts and skills to apply to their daily experiences in Beijing. Active reflection will help deepen their understanding of the complexity and diversity of Chinese core values and cultural practices; encourage them to develop a more nuanced awareness of cultural background; and help them develop the ability to handle intercultural tensions successfully. This course may meet at another CIEE host university, Peking University, a short subway commute from Minzu University of China.
COMP 3001 BESC
Writing Research for Publication
Academic year participants refine their own original research papers from a previous semester’s CIEE area studies elective to ready for publication in undergraduate journals. Students submit their papers to a panel of peer reviewers who provide suggestions on writing style, argument, relevance, structure, use of references, and research ethics. Students edit and strengthen papers in response to feedback, and meet individually with faculty three or more times over the semester for additional feedback and guidance. Successful completion requires production of a polished paper and actual submission to the Columbia East Asia Review, Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, or similar undergraduate journal or conference. This course is open to year-long students who produced a high-quality final paper in any CIEE area studies course the previous semester in China, and with permission from the center director. Contact hours: 15. Recommended credit: 1 semester/1.5 quarter hours.
EAST 3001 BESC / ANTH 3002 BESC
Ethnic Diversity and Identity in China
China is a nation of many faces. Like other multi-ethnic countries, it has its own unique ethnic geography, which comprises approximately 63% of China’s territory. While non-Han Chinese are indeed minorities, in terms of the size of their combined territories China’s 55 ethnic minorities in fact comprise the majority of China’s land. This is an interdisciplinary course on the current state of ethnic diversity in China, as well as factors influencing cultural and linguistic change and survival for groups in China. In this class students develop a critical understanding of how culture, in both conceptual and empirical senses, is dynamic and boundary-crossing and why China’s modernization project is implemented differently in Han Chinese and ethnic minority regions with different effects. Through lectures, discussions, and mini-field trips, the class addresses these questions through case studies of Tibetan, Uyghur, Hui, Miao, Han, and other ethnic groups.
RELI 3001 BESC / ECOL 3001 BESC
Religion and Ecology in Contemporary China
This course surveys how religious beliefs and rituals are inherently connected with ecological practices, especially among ethnic minority populations in Western China. It offers textual interpretations of this connection as well as provides case studies of different ethnic communities. Course materials are drawn from contemporary scholarly studies of religion and ecology with an emphasis on religions and folk belief systems in China. Students are expected to explore ways and means to include relevant native ecological practices and worldviews in the ongoing global public discourse concerning environmental ethics and the sustainability of nature, culture, and biodiversity. Throughout the semester the class examines both conceptual and material realties of tradition and modernity in relation to religious beliefs and ecological practices. Cases studies in the class include how native communities respond to the impact of tourism, the construction of hydraulic dams, and sedentarization of nomadic populations.
Chinese Language Courses
This course is designed for students with no previous Chinese language knowledge and introduces students to modern Mandarin Chinese. The course begins with an introduction to the phonetic system of Mandarin Chinese and moves on to training in the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Through intensive drills and various types of practice, students are able to use vocabulary and sentence patterns in meaningful contexts. The course has an additional aim of introducing students to Chinese culture. Textbook: Liu Xun 刘珣, ed. Xin Shiyong Hanyu Keben (1-2 Ce) 新实用汉语课本 (1-2册) (New Practical Chinese Reader, vol. 1-2). Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press. Contact hours: 140. Recommended credit: 7.5 semester/11.25 quarter hours.
Integrated Chinese—Low Intermediate
This course is most appropriate for students with two semesters of college-level Chinese, or the equivalent. Students at this level are trained to speak and write coherent and correct paragraphs rather than sentences, and discuss and write about topics related to modern Chinese society. Textbook: Liu Xun, ed. Xin Shiyong Hanyu Keben (2-3 Ce) 新实用汉语课本 (2-3册) (New Practical Chinese Reader, vol. 2-3). Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press. Contact hours: 112. Recommended credit: 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
Integrated Chinese—Intermediate I
This level is for students with a Chinese vocabulary of 1,000-2,000 words. Students who complete this level should be able to pass the original version of the HSK (Elementary) Level 4, and is approximately equivalent to ACTFL sublevel Intermediate Mid. Textbook: Qian Xujing 钱旭菁, Huang Li 黄立, and Li Xiaoqi 李晓琪, ed. Boya Hanyu: Zhun Zhongji Jiasu (Pian I) 博雅汉语:准中级加速 (篇I) (Boya Chinese: Pre-Intermediate, vol. 1). Contact hours: 112. Recommended credit: 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
Integrated Chinese—Intermediate II
This level is for students with a Chinese vocabulary of 2,000-3,000 words. Students who complete this level should be able to pass the original version of the HSK (Elementary) Level 5, and is approximately equivalent to ACTFL sublevel Intermediate High. Textbook: Qian Xujing, Huang Li, and Li Xiaoqi, ed. Boya Hanyu: Zhun Zhongji Jiasu (Pian II) 博雅汉语:准中级加速 (篇II) (Boya Chinese: Pre-Intermediate, vol. 2). Contact hours: 112. Recommended credit: 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
Integrated Chinese—Advanced I
This level is for students with a Chinese vocabulary of 3,000-4,000 words. Students who complete this level should be able to pass the original version of the HSK (Intermediate) Level 6, and is approximately equivalent to ACTFL sublevel Advanced Low. Textbook: Zhao Yanfeng 赵延风 and Li Xiaoqi, ed. Boya Hanyu: Zhongji Chongci (Pian I) 博雅汉语:中级冲刺 (篇I) (Boya Chinese: Intermediate, vol. 1). Contact hours: 112. Recommended credit: 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
Integrated Chinese—Advanced II
This level is for students with a Chinese vocabulary of 4,000-5,000 words. Students who complete this level should be able to pass the original version of the HSK (Intermediate) Level 7 or 8, and is approximately equivalent approximately to ACTFL sublevel Advanced Mid. Textbook: Boya Hanyu: Zhongji Chongci (Pian II) 博雅汉语:中级冲刺 (篇II) (Boya Chinese: Intermediate, vol. 2). Contact hours: 112. Recommended credit: 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
Integrated Chinese—Advanced High I
This level is for students with a Chinese vocabulary of 5,000-6,000 words. Students who complete this level should be able to pass the original version of the HSK (Intermediate) Level 8 or HSK (Advanced) Level 9, and is approximately equivalent to ACTFL sublevel Advanced Mid or Advanced High. Textbook: Jin Xunian 金舒年, Chen Li 陈莉, and Li Xiaoqi, ed. Boya Hanyu: Gaoji Feixiang (Pian I) 博雅汉语:高级飞翔 (篇I) (Boya Chinese: Advanced, vol. 1). Contact hours: 112. Recommended credit: 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
CIEE Language Electives
CHIN 1001 BESC
Communicative Chinese Language
(This course is required for students with no previous Chinese language knowledge and who do not enroll in “Integrated Chinese—Elementary.”)
This course introduces students to modern Mandarin Chinese for basic communicative purposes, and begins with a basic introduction to the phonetic system of Mandarin Chinese and trains students in the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing at an essential level. Class instruction emphasizes communication, interaction, performance, and group work. Interactive classroom activities such as role-plays, interviews, group discussions, and trips outside the classroom will be used to encourage students to use Chinese in meaningful contexts. Students will complete a number of speaking tasks, including regular oral assignments, in-class oral activities, oral exams, as well as occasional real-life speaking activities during fieldtrips outside the classroom. Textbook: Liu Xun 刘珣, ed. Xin Shiyong Hanyu Keben (1 Ce) 新实用汉语课本 (1册) (New Practical Chinese Reader, vol. 1). Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press. Contact hours: 45. Recommended credit: 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours
TBET 1001 BESC
The main goal of this course is to ensure that students have the ability to speak the Tibetan Amdo dialect at a basic level by the end of the semester. Students will be able to create sentences that are commonly used for self-introduction, daily functional needs, and learning about one’s surroundings while traveling or living in the Amdo region of China. Although this course is designed as a spoken language class, students start with Tibetan phonetic system, writing, grammar, and vocabularies. By the end of the semester, students will gain a 1,000-word vocabulary, basic listening skills, and the ability to make sentences. Contact hours: 45. Recommended credit: 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.
UYGR 1001 BESC
This course introduces students to the basics of writing, reading, speaking, and understanding modern Uyghur. Emphasis is put on training students to be able to engage in simple situational conversations with native Uyghur speakers. Students will learn how to create sentences for self-introductions, making friends, asking directions, and shopping in a Uyghur social environment. By the end of the semester, students will be able to read and write simple dialogues on topics studied, as well as communicate with and comprehend Uyghur native speakers at a basic level. Contact hours: 45. Recommended credit: 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.