Careers

Study Chinese. Do Anything.

What can I do with a Chinese major?

The world is more interconnected now than it ever has been before. Knowledge of the diverse languages and cultures of East Asia is vital to our engagement with the global community at large. The study of East Asian languages and cultures is indispensable for many sectors, including business, humanities, social sciences, communications, technology, and the arts. Notre Dame Chinese majors find full-time employment in a variety of positions, enroll in graduate school, service programs, join the military, or launch independent projects after graduation.

Skills you'll learn

  • Effective oral communication
  • Strong writing
  • Team Work
  • Critical thinking and analytical reasoning
  • Ability to apply knowledge to real-world settings
  • Ethical judgment and decision making
  • Ability to analyze and solve problems with people from different backgrounds
  • Research and Data Analysis
  • Cultural Sensitivity
  • Social Adaptability

Jack McKenna '15

President, Prescient

"If you want to set yourself apart in anything you do—whether it's a job, whether it's applying to graduate school, whether it's meeting a new person—I'd say learn a language. If you want to set yourself apart from people who are learning a language, learn Chinese," said Jack McKenna, Chinese and political science major, who began his career working at ThyssenKrupp in Singapore and is now president at Prescient, a global investigations, intelligence, and cyber services firm.

"If you're somebody who can speak the language and understand the culture and history, you understand the next big thing in the world. You're going to be leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else in business or politics."

  • Jack McKenna '15

    President, Prescient

    "If you want to set yourself apart in anything you do—whether it's a job, whether it's applying to graduate school, whether it's meeting a new person—I'd say learn a language. If you want to set yourself apart from people who are learning a language, learn Chinese," said Jack McKenna, Chinese and political science major, who began his career working at ThyssenKrupp in Singapore and is now president at Prescient, a global investigations, intelligence, and cyber services firm.

    "If you're somebody who can speak the language and understand the culture and history, you understand the next big thing in the world. You're going to be leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else in business or politics."

  • Keisha A. Brown '07

    Assistant Professor of History, Tennessee State University

    Keisha Brown majored in Chinese and American Studies. She is now an Asian studies scholar specializing in modern Chinese history. Her research and teaching interests include comparative East Asian histories, postcolonial theory, transnational studies, world history, and race and ethnic studies.

    "What began as an interest in the history of Black American travelers in East Asia has transformed into the nexus of my research: what I have termed Sino-Black relations...my current research focuses on Chinese understandings and representations of the Black American other in order to bring about a balanced discussion of this transnational alliance." 

  • Mike Pilger '14

    Policy Analyst, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

    Mike Pilger, a Chinese and philosophy major, used his experiences in the program to launch a career with the U.S. Government, advising Congress on matters to do with Chinese economic policy and security matters between the two nations. He then became a Junior Fellow on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

  • Emily Vincent '18

    Yenching Scholar

    After graduating from Notre Dame with majors in Chinese and anthropology, Vincent received a full scholarship to pursue a master’s in China studies with a concentration in law and society at the prestigious Yenching Academy of Peking University.

    “I am focused on spending as much time in China as possible, immersing myself in the culture, and really trying to understand what life is like, what cultural influences are driving this situation, and what pressures people face from their society or government.”

  • Lily Falzon '18

    Yenching Scholar

    "In my (senior thesis) research, I explored how exposure to Western medicine impacts ideas and attitudes towards traditional Chinese medicine," said Lily Falzon, who studied sociology and Chinese at Notre Dame. "With 80 percent of the developing world reliant upon traditional medicines for primary care, there is a need for governments to legitimize and incorporate pre-existing traditional medicines into overarching health care systems. China is one of the few countries to have successfully created an integrated health care system."

    As a Yenching Scholar, Falzon plans to pursue a master of China studies concentrating in literature and culture, with a particular focus on how Chinese classics inform traditional and modern cultural representations of illness, health and death in China.

97% of recent Notre Dame Chinese majors found full-time employment, enrolled in graduate school, entered service programs, joined the military, or launched independent projects within six months of graduation.

69% find full-time jobs

  • Analyst, Deutsche Bank
  • Application services consultant, Cerner Corp.
  • Architectural design assistant, Poleis-Design Architecture, Italy
  • Asian studies research assistant, American Enterprise Institute
  • Associate, Boston Consulting Group
  • Business management associate, General Mills
  • Business systems and integration analyst, Accenture
  • Consultant, Navigant Consulting
  • Employee health and benefits analyst, Mercer
  • Equity research analyst, Robert W. Baird
  • Financial analyst, Ford Motor Co.
  • Intern, The White House
  • Investment analyst, Northwestern Mutual Capital
  • Investment banking analyst, Morgan Stanley
  • Leadership development program, Allstate
  • Leadership development program, Heinz North America
  • Management associate, MGM Resorts
  • Research intern, U.S. China Commission
  • Senior academic tutor, Houston Independent School District
  • Staff assistant, U.S. Senate
  • Teacher, EF Education First China
  • Technology advisor, Ernst & Young
  • Trader, Belvedere Trading

16% go to graduate or professional school

  • Asian studies: UCLA
  • Chinese: Jiao Tong University
  • Classics: UCLA
  • Education: Miami University
  • Law: University of Denver
  • Medicine: Baylor College of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago
  • Theology: Graduate Theological Union

8% enter service programs

  • Alliance for Catholic Education, St. Petersburg, Florida
  • AmeriCorps, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

3% join the miliary

1% launch independent projects

Note: Outcomes data comes from First Destination reports, a survey of recent graduates conducted by the Notre Dame Center for Career Development and Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Research. Status is known for more than 90% of each graduating class. 

Further Reading

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