ABSTRACT Studies conducted hitherto on English education for Chinese non-English major postgraduates have preponderantly focused on themes such as learning motivations, teaching or learning strategies, and various examinations. Yet little attention has been paid to the issue of curriculum design. In order to explore the correlations amongst curriculum design, linguistic competence and self-actualization, the author has carried out a survey on the English curriculum design for non-English major postgraduates in Yunnan Normal University by applying Maslow’s theory of self-actualization. The survey reveals that postgraduates’ reading abilities hold low correlation with self-actualization, thus priority should be given to improve their speaking proficiency as well as listening abilities. Besides, as a basic requirement for all postgraduates, academic writing receives the most attention since the quality of their graduate dissertation is considered as the ultimate indication of their self-actualization. Apart from providing concerning suggestions on the curriculum design according to the above findings, the author also holds that curriculum design is an autonomous, flexible and dynamic process. Hence, instead of sticking to the long-adopted uniform English curriculum for all non-English major postgraduates in China, more flexible curricula and requirements should be introduced in order to fulfill the self–actualization of postgraduates from different universities, different majors, and different regions.
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