China & Asia-Pacific Studies

The Brittany and Adam J. Levinson China and Asia-Pacific Studies program offers a unique approach to the study of contemporary China through a set of courses on China's language, history, politics, economy, society and foreign relations, and by providing students with experience both on-and-off campus, including three years in Ithaca, one optional semester in Washington D.C., and one required semester in Beijing.


Want to start right away? Here are some basic requirements for students wanting to major in CAPS. Keep in mind this isn’t the complete list of formal requirements — that list can be found on the Courses of Study page.

Note: In addition to the major requirements outlined below, all students must meet the college graduation requirements.

There are no prerequisites to the CAPS major. Upon enrollment in the program, CAPS majors must complete six or seven required CAPS courses and two elective CAPS courses (totaling 30 to 36 credits) with a grade average of C or better. In addition, majors must achieve the 3000-level Chinese language proficiency refer to the Chinese Language Requirements on CAPS website.

CAPS majors must take any one of the following courses (taught in Ithaca), normally during the first two years.

  • CAPS 3049 China's Next Economy (crosslisted GOVT 3044);
  • CAPS 3827 China and the World (crosslisted GOVT 3827)  
  • CAPS 3967 What is China (crosslisted GOVT 3967) 

Other required courses:

  • CAPS 3000 Seminar in American Relations with China (taught at Cornell in Washington);
  • CAPS 4998 Inquiry in Politics and Policy (taught at Cornell in Washington);
  • CAPS 4001 China in Transition (taught in Beijing/Ithaca);
  • CAPS 4002 Chinese Perspectives on International and Global Affairs (taught in Beijing);
  • CAPS 4030 Issues in China and Asia-Pacific Studies (offered during the spring semester of the senior year in Ithaca).

For students opting out of the D.C. semester, they will be required to take the following courses offered in Ithaca as a replacement:

  • CAPS 4502 Becoming a China Hand (crosslisted)
  • CAPS 4049 The Rise of China and Change in World Politics (crosslisted) and
  • Two 4000-level seminars (in any department or college) that has a China focus

For students opting out of the D.C. semester, they will be required to take the following courses offered in Ithaca as replacement:

Sample classes

  • China Under Revolution and Reform
  • China's Changing Politics, Economy and Society
  • Chinese Perspectives on Global Affairs
  • U.S.-China Relations


All information below is based on the 2022 First-Destination Post-Graduate Survey. Lists are not exhaustive; rather, they are a sampling of the data. If you would like more information, please email

What can you do with a degree in China & Asia-Pacific Studies (CAPS)? 

Graduate school: 

CAPS students pursued various advanced degrees like their MA and MPS. Their graduate field interest ranges from Asian studies to East Asian Studies and Government.

These ambitious individuals have chosen to continue their education at prestigious institutions like Georgetown University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Oxford.


The majority of CAPS graduates entered sectors in government, consulting, education, and financial services.

Where 2022 CAPS Graduates Work

Employer Job Titles
Evercore Partners Investment Banking Analyst
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Private Banking Analyst
Korea Economic Institute Research Intern
Shihezi University Princeton in Asia Fellow
Teach for America Teacher