Representatives from California State University, Northridge’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication signed an agreement last week that will allow students at Shanghai Normal University (SHNU) to complete an accelerated master’s degree in music.
The program, which is called “3+1+1,” will begin this fall. It is exclusively for students in the Music College at SHNU who qualify for conditional enrollment in the Department of Music’s graduate program.
“This kind of a partnership is very enriching for our own students and faculty,” said Robert Bucker, dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication. “The introduction into our community of more international students just gives our youngsters a better sense of what the competition is around the world.
“In the arts, we work in a business that’s not just about the region. It’s about the international community,” he said.
Shanghai Normal University is one of more than 40 “sister” relationships Cal State Northridge has with Chinese universities and government entities. Shanghai Normal University has had a relationship with CSUN for more than 20 years, hosting the Women’s Chorale, jazz band and theater students. Visiting scholars from SHNU have come to Cal State Northridge, and CSUN administrators and faculty have gone to China.
The 3+1+1 program is one of several degree program agreements between CSUN and SHNU. The College of Business and Economics and the Department of Art have undergraduate programs that allow Shanghai Normal University students to earn a bachelor’s degree through a combination of courses taken in China and at CSUN.
“One of the most important goals of Chinese education is to be international,” said Cong Li, dean of the Music College at SHNU, through an interpreter. “Music is without borders. We are really happy to develop this relationship.”
Li said Cal State Northridge has “one of the best” music programs in the United States. He said this is the second educational exchange program approved by SHNU. A year ago, they signed a 2+3 agreement with a Russian university to allow Chinese students to earn a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in music through work in both countries.
Shanghai Normal University will begin the process of admission into the program when freshmen are accepted into the university. At that time, SHNU faculty will recruit promising students, enroll them in intensive English-language classes and supervise the application process. CSUN faculty will first become involved in the audition process at the conclusion of the freshman year. Each year, a cohort of between 20 and 25 SHNU freshmen who pass the audition will be conditionally accepted into the program.
The summer before the SHNU student’s senior year, the student can opt to take a summer classes at CSUN’s Tseng College in “Summer English and Cultural Experience” to help them transition to the campus and Southern California culture. Students in the 3+1+1 program must pass an approved English-proficiency exam prior to admission. Shanghai Normal University students are responsible for all tuition, living expenses and other costs associated with the program. The first cohort is expected to arrive at CSUN in the fall of 2014 and graduate with a master’s degree in 2016.
Katherine Baker, director of CSUN’s Women’s Chorale and one of the music faculty traveling to China this summer to audition freshman students for the program, said this is a wonderful opportunity for students at both universities.
“This is an opportunity for them to make great friends and scholars that will be part of their network,” said Baker, who has traveled to China with the Women’s Choral.
Cal State Northridge’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication is inspired by the shared belief that art is communication, that communication is art and that art and communication are essential pillars for building and maintaining community. Many of its programs, including those in art, music, theater, cinema and television arts and journalism, have an international reputation for graduating skilled professionals who go on and make names for themselves in their respected fields.