Chinese Major

 Program Director: Minglang Zhou, Ph.D.

The Chinese major (CHIN) provides the training and cultural background needed for entering East Asia-related careers in such fields as higher education, the arts, business, government, international relations, agriculture, or the media. Students may also consider a double major in Chinese and another discipline such as business, government and politics, economics, or journalism. Chinese students have the option of applying to live in St. Mary's Hall (Language House) and participating in a study abroad program.

Placement in Courses

For information about the World Language Placement, go to:

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Linguistically, students will reach Intermediate-High to Advanced-Low, as measured by ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) standards, in speaking, listening, reading, and writing Mandarin Chinese.
  2. Students will demonstrate a good understanding of the development of Modern Chinese in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  3. Students will demonstrate a good understanding of the historical relationship between Modern Standard Chinese and Chinese dialects.
  4. Students will demonstrate a good understanding of the characteristics of the Chinese writing system
  5. Students will demonstrate a good understanding of the relationship between Chinese and minority languages spoken in China.
  6. Literarily and culturally, students will demonstrate critical and close reading skills of classical and modern Chinese literature.
  7. Students will demonstrate a good understanding of the inherent relationships between life, society, and fictional representation.
  8. Students will demonstrate familiarity with representative works of contemporary Chinese literature and cinema.
  9. Students will demonstrate a good understanding of the ability to see how art interacts with, and provides unique perspectives on politics, history, and society at large.

The Chinese major requires 39 credits: 18 of language and 18 of non-language electives, as described below.

Course Title Credits
College Requirements
Language Requirements
Select 18 credits of Chinese Language at 2xx level or above: 118
Intermediate Spoken Chinese I
and Intermediate Written Chinese I (must be taken and passed together)
Intermediate Spoken Chinese II
and Intermediate Written Chinese II (must be taken together and passed together)
Advanced Chinese I
Advanced Chinese II
Life in China through TV Plays I
Life in China through TV Plays II
Readings in Modern Chinese I
Readings in Modern Chinese II
Readings in Current Newspapers and Periodicals
Select 3 credits of Chinese Literature electives at 3xx level or above:3
Chinese Poetry and Prose in Translation
Modern Chinese Literature in Translation
Topics in Chinese Literature in Translation
Special Topics in Contemporary Chinese Fiction and Film
Traditional Chinese Fiction
Cultural Histories of Medicine in China
CHIN307Linguistic Landscape of China3
Select 3 credits of Chinese Linguistics at 3xx level or above:3
Selected Topics in Chinese Linguistics
The Languages of East Asia
Select 6 credits of Chinese history/civilization offered by other departments. Courses accepted include, but are not limited to:6
East Asian Civilization I
East Asian Civilization II
A History of Modern China
Select 6 credits of electives at 3xx level or above, subject to the advisor's approval 26
Chinese Calligraphy: Theory and Practice
Chinese Culture through Traditional Chinese Arts
Special Topics in Study Abroad III
Selected Readings in Classical Chinese
Selected Topics in Chinese Studies
Total Credits39

Students placing into the program at higher levels should reach at least the level of CHIN302 or CHIN306 but may substitute non-language courses on China-related subjects for some of these 18 credits. (The final decision on what substitute courses may be used for the major rests with the Chinese Program and Chinese Advisor.)


In addition to all the specific courses listed under "Non-language Requirements" above, language courses and independent study may also be used toward this requirement.

"Special Topics" and "Colloquium" courses (those with variable numbers, ending in 8 or 9 and followed by a letter) may be acceptable depending on the actual title and content of the course at the time it is offered. The final determination is in the hands of the Chinese Program and the Chinese advisor.

Students must earn a grade of "C-" or higher in each course applied toward a major or minor in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Additionally, an overall GPA of 2.0 in a major or minor is required for graduation.

Click here for roadmaps for graduation plans in the College of Arts and Humanities.

Additional information on developing a graduation plan can be found on the following pages:

Study Abroad

For information on study abroad programs see the program advisor and/or the Education Abroad website