China & Asia-Pacific Studies

major minor

As a China and Asia-Pacific studies (CAPS) major, you’ll be trained as a future leader, equipped to address the inevitable challenges and negotiate the delicate complexities in U.S.-China relations. With four years of intensive Chinese language training and two semesters of internships in Washington, D.C. and Beijing respectively, you’ll be part of a new, ambitious program with unprecedented pre-professional training mapped onto a solid Cornell liberal arts education.


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.

There are no prerequisites to the CAPS major. Upon enrollment, CAPS majors must complete six or seven required CAPS courses and two elective CAPS courses (totaling 34 to 36 credits) with a grade average of C or better.

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 3403 China under Revolution and Reform (crosslisted GOVT 3403)
  • CAPS 3827 China and the World (crosslisted GOVT 3827)  Next offered 2020-2021
  • CAPS 3907 Crises in Asia (crosslisted GOVT 3907)
  • CAPS 3967 What is China (crosslisted GOVT 3967) Next offered 2020-2021

Other required courses:

  • ALS 4200 Immersion and Engagement in DC (taught at Cornell in Washington);
  • 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);
  • 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 3502 Becoming a China Hand
  • Two 4000-level seminars (in any department or college) that has a China focus

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 2014-2018 First-Destination Post-Graduate Survey. Lists are not exhaustive; rather, they are a sampling of the data. "Other" includes time off, travel, volunteer experiences, and/or preparing for graduate school. If you would like more information, please email

More than 4/5 of 2014-2018 China Asia-Pacific Studies graduates reported being Employed or Attending Graduate School, with the majority being Employed.

71% of the Class of 2014-2018 China Asia-Pacific Studies graduates completed the survey. n = 24

Below, you will find:

  • Top Employment Sectors
  • Where Graduates Work
  • Top Graduate Fields
  • Where Graduates Study

Top Employment Sectors

  • Education
  • Government
  • Nonprofit Organization
  • Consulting/Prof. Practice
  • Financial Services
  • Law
  • Business - Other

Where 2014-2018 CAPS Graduates Work

Employer Job Titles
Advisory Board Company Research Associate
Albright Stonebridge Group Associate
Ashinaga Tokyo Princeton in Asia Fellow
Bank of America Merrill Lynch Analyst
Bipartisan Policy Center Communications Assistant
Cornell University Admissions Counselor
Davis Polk & Wardwell Corporate Legal Consultant
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant
HSBC Investment Banking Analyst
Intertrust Resources Management Limited Internship Trainee
KnowledgeLink International Program Manager
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Research Scholar
New York City Government Program Coordinator
Shihezi University Princeton in Asia Fellow
United States Department of Defense Analyst Intern

Top Graduate Fields Pursued

  • East Asian Studies
  • Information Science
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Music
  • Statistics

Graduate Degrees Pursued

  • MA
  • MS
  • JD
  • MPS

Where 2014-2018 CAPS Graduates Study

  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California-Santa Barbara
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Oxford
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Virginia
  • Yale University