Chinese Language & Culture Program

China not only boasts extraordinarily rich and diverse literary and cultural traditions going back thousands of years, it has also become one of the most powerful players on today's world stage. The principal gateway into the world of China, whether past or present, is through its language, and the Chinese major can expect to graduate with a high level of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing modern standard (Mandarin) Chinese and with the cultural skills needed to communicate effectively in a Chinese environment. In addition, majors will also have acquired a solid familiarity with and appreciation of the landmarks of Chinese culture and civilization, including its history, literature, philosophy, religion and arts, as well as a deepened understanding of the rapidly changing cultures of greater China today.


The Language

The modern Chinese language curriculum is arranged in a five-year sequence of courses offering a balanced emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing. A primary goal is that students be able to communicate fluently and accurately in appropriate social context as well as to read high quality authentic materials with the necessary aid of a dictionary and write short papers on designated topics, by the end of the fourth year.


The Literature & Culture

Apart from the wide range of courses offered through the Department, students are also encouraged to enhance their cultural knowledge by enrolling in China-related courses offered through other departments and programs, such as Anthropology, Art History, Film and Media Studies, History, Performing Arts, and Religious Studies.  Majors are highly encouraged to participate in Washington University-approved summer, semester, or academic year study abroad programs in China, especially the Washington University Center at Fudan University in Shanghai, as an important way to develop both their practical knowledge and their cultural sensitivity.

study Abroad Opportunities

Chinese Study Abroad Program

Since 2009 the Washington University study abroad program in Chinese has been housed at Fudan University in Shanghai.  Students can spend a summer in intensive language study with travel opportunities around the city, to Beijing, and elsewhere in China.  Or students can spend the fall academic semester at the Washington University Center at Fudan. This experience will include further intensive language study, area studies courses, and a language practicum.  Eligible students may also intern with a Shanghai corporation during their stay. Both programs will balance the rich cultural offerings in Shanghai with exposure to China's diverse social, environmental, and ethnic landscapes. Through these programs, the student normally earns eight units of credit toward graduation during the summer; students may earn 15-18 units for the academic semester. Most of the credits may be applied toward the major or minor in Chinese.

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Chinese Major & Minor Requirements

The modern Chinese language curriculum is arranged in a five-year sequence of courses offering a balanced emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing. A primary goal is that students be able to communicate fluently and accurately in appropriate social context as well as to read high quality authentic materials with the necessary aid of a dictionary and write short papers on designated topics, by the end of the fourth year.

At the same time, for those who are interested in premodern Chinese texts or aim to have the ability to use Chinese written resources in premodern China for senior thesis research, Introduction to Traditional Literary Chinese (410 & 411) is highly recommended. And those who are especially interested in learning Chinese language in a business setting, are encouraged to take Legal and Business Chinese (463) after the third year. In addition, Independent Studies (498 or 500) is also available to serve the needs of advanced students who want to further improve their language proficiency beyond the fourth year level with the permission of the Section Head.

learn about Chinese Major & Minor Requirements

 

 

In class we don’t just memorize words and characters; I’ve learned about Chinese geography, food, holidays, and daily life, as well as more serious issues like pollution, overpopulation, and gender inequality. Studying Chinese has brought me close to a lot of friends I never would have met otherwise, and given me the opportunity to live in China for a summer and experience a new and very different part of the world.

―Keatley PihlMinor in Chinese '17, summer 2015, Fudan Study abroad program

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