Chinese Philosophy Degree and Certificate Program Information
Degree programs specializing in Chinese philosophy are rare in the United States; however, bachelor's, master's and doctoral philosophy programs often offer concentrations in Chinese and other Eastern philosophies. Undergraduate philosophy majors who wish to pursue Asian philosophy can prepare for advanced studies by earning a certificate in Asian Studies.
Certificate in Asian Studies
A certificate in Asian Studies typically involves multidisciplinary study in Asian languages, history, culture, literature, politics and philosophy. Programs generally allow students to focus on one Asian culture, such as China, and may require students to take up to two years of Chinese language studies. Language and cultural immersion through study abroad programs can facilitate the study of Chinese philosophy. An Asian Studies certificate provides an additional academic credential and possible competitive advantage when earned alongside a bachelor's degree in philosophy.
Coursework often involves study in Eastern languages, social sciences, fine arts and humanities. Students can select from a wide range of interdisciplinary courses to create a concentrated program determined by student interest. Topics of study may include:
- Eastern art
- Ancient Chinese philosophy
- Beginning and intermediate Chinese language
- Asian cultural history
- Modern Chinese politics and sociology
Although higher degrees mainly prepare for careers in academia, the critical thinking and reasoning skills learned through philosophy degree programs may benefit multiple professions, including law, business or medicine. An educational background in East Asian Studies may prepare for careers in:
- Cultural affairs
- Arts administration
- Foreign language teaching
- Foreign service
The philosophy educational path continues into graduate school. Master's and doctoral programs in philosophy offer more concentrated curricula, which allows for focused study in Chinese and other Eastern philosophies. In graduate school, candidates may gain experience teaching introductory sections of philosophy or acting as a research assistant.
Master's Degree in Philosophy
Two-year graduate programs in philosophy offer further exploration of Eastern and Western philosophical themes. A significant background or bachelor's degree in philosophy is a prerequisite. Students may choose an area of concentration, including Chinese philosophy. Philosophy programs award a Master of Arts in Philosophy generally after the completion of a thesis, though non-thesis options may be available.
Graduate study involves advanced philosophical theory and history courses, as well as philosophical applications of other disciplines. Students may also be required to take advanced foreign language courses. Advanced courses include:
- Philosophy of art
- Modern Chinese philosophy
- Classical Chinese language
Salary Information and Job Projections
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job growth of 17%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, for postsecondary teachers in general from 2010-2020. The BLS reported the national mean annual wage for postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers as of May 2012 was $71,210. Postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers held 22,800 jobs in 2012 (www.bls.gov).
Ph.D in Philosophy
Doctoral programs in philosophy offer independent research opportunities and prepare students to teach philosophy at the university level. Entrance into Ph.D. programs may occur after earning a B.A. or an M.A. Students take postgraduate philosophy courses during the first few years of doctoral study and eventually work toward writing and defending an academic dissertation. Completing a Ph.D. program may take five years.
Students engage in advanced philosophy courses and conduct independent research in a focus of their choice. Advanced level coursework includes:
- Comparative philosophy seminar
- Hermeneutics history
- Neo-Confucianism and Daoism
- Islamic, Indian and Buddhist philosophy
- Dissertation research
A Doctor of Philosophy qualifies graduates for teaching positions at the collegiate level. According to the BLS, those who hold a Ph.D. are likely to receive the best job prospects for postsecondary teaching (www.bls.gov). Chinese philosophy professors may contribute to scholarship in their field by publishing in academic journals, such as the Journal of Chinese Philosophy.
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