Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Chinese

Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is the key to discovering Chinese culture and society and an increasingly important language for conducting business. The Chinese language program provides students with an opportunity to concentrate on acquiring a strong working knowledge and expertise in Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture. A degree in Chinese can help prepare students to live and work in Sinophone (a.k.a. Chinese-speaking) areas of the world as informed, capable individuals equipped with appropriate intercultural skills and awareness. It also prepares students for graduate study in a variety of Chinese culture-related fields.

Why should I major in Chinese?

What makes a world citizen in the 21st century? Among various answers, there must be one that includes “a global perspective across languages and cultures.” Undoubtedly, Chinese language and culture play an indispensable role in that big picture. A Chinese major makes you unique among others and increases students’ job market potential when pursuing career and self-development opportunities. The U.S. and China are the two biggest economies in the world, and they will always have a critical relationship regardless how social and political contexts change. The better informed and prepared we are, the better the outcome. The Chinese language program at Penn State provides students with extensive training in Chinese language proficiency and Chinese culture and society, and enhances students’ intercultural communicative competence in a way that benefits academic success and career development.

What careers can I have with a major in Chinese?

Chinese majors may seek employment in government service, domestic and foreign offices, the United Nations, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Information Agency, or other international agencies. Many majors go on to teach English in China, or to do translation work. Employment may also be available with import and export trade organizations, international banking houses, law firms, or U.S. companies abroad. In addition, an increasing number of domestic and multinational companies are seeking employees who have backgrounds in multicultural studies as a way of dealing with the global market.

Requirements for the Major

The Chinese major requires 35 credits of study (this includes 0-9 credits of General Education GA, GH, or GS courses) with at least 21 credits at the 400 level. Students are strongly encouraged to take at least 12 of their credits as part of a study abroad program in a Chinese-speaking location. This education abroad experience can be pursued at any time during students’ studies at Penn State. For curricular sequencing, however, there is a preference for doing so after completing two years of language instruction. Students must earn a “C” or better in all courses applied to their major. You can keep track of your courses by downloading the Chinese major checklist.

Select 3 credits from:

  • CHNS 120 – Introduction to Chinese Literature and Culture
  • CHNS 121 – Chinese Film and New Media

 

Select 3 credits from:

  • CHNS 414 – Chinese Language, Culture and Society
  • CHNS 415 – China Beyond China
  • CHNS 416 – Gender and Sexuality in China
  • CHNS 417 – The Warrior, the Courtesan and the Ghost in Classical Chinese Novels
  • CHNS 418 – Confucius and the Great Books of China
  • CHNS 419 – The Chinese Rhetorical Tradition

 

Select 3 credits from:

  • CHNS 452 – Contemporary China: Culture and Trends
  • CHNS 453 – Chinese Film
  • CHNS 454 – Introductions to Classical Chinese
  • CHNS 455 – Masterpieces of Traditional Chinese Literature

Select 6 credits pertaining to China, such as courses in Art History, Asian Studies, Chinese, Comparative Literature, Economics, Geography, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Theatre Arts, or other fields, selected from the departmental list below.

Courses not on this list may also count with approval from the Chinese adviser. This approval process is not complex and can be done via e-mail.

  • ARTH 120 – Asian Art and Architecture 
  • ARTH 220 – Chinese Art
  • ASIA 003 – Introduction to the Religions of the East
  • ASIA 004 – Introduction to Asian Literatures
  • ASIA 083S – Asian Studies First Year Seminar
  • ASIA 100 – What is Asia?
  • ASIA 104 – Introduction to Buddhism
  • ASIA 174 – East Asia to 1800
  • ASIA 175 – East Asia since 1800
  • ASIA 181 – Introduction to the Religions of China and Japan (3)
  • ASIA 182 – Asian Trade: Economy, Industrialization and Capitalism in Asia 
  • ASIA 183 – Gender, Family, and Society in East Asia  
  • ASIA 184 – Society and Culture in the Pacific
  • ASIA 188 – Tibet: People, Places and Spaces  
  • ASIA 197 – Special Topics 
  • ASIA 200 – What Are Asian Languages? 
  • ASIA 400 – International Culture in East Asia
  • ASIA 401 – Technology & Society in Modern Asia
  • ASIA 404Y – Topics in Asian Literature 
  • ASIA 405Y – Seminar in Asian Studies 
  • ASIA 440 – Monuments of Asia 
  • ASIA 483 – Middle China
  • ASIA 484Y – History of Chinese Thought
  • ASIA 485Y – China’s Last Empire: The Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911
  • ASIA 486 – China in Revolution
  • ASIA 487 – Zen Buddhism
  • CHNS 120 – Introduction to Chinese Literature and Culture
  • CHNS 121 – Chinese Film and New Media
  • CHNS 410 – Chinese through Film
  • CHNS 411 – Chinese Written Characters
  • CHNS 412 – Business Chinese  
  • CHNS 414 – Chinese Language, Culture and Society
  • CHNS 415 – China Beyond China
  • CHNS 416 – Gender and Sexuality in China
  • CHNS 417 – The Warrior, the Courtesan and the Ghost in Classical Chinese Novels
  • CHNS 418 – Confucius and the Great Books of China
  • CHNS 419 – The Chinese Rhetorical Tradition
  • CHNS 452 – Contemporary China: Culture and Trends
  • CHNS 453 – Chinese Film
  • CHNS 454 – Introductions to Classical Chinese
  • CHNS 455 – Masterpieces of Traditional Chinese Literature
  • CMLIT 448 – Literary Cultures of Buddhism
  • PHIL 007 – Asian Philosophy
  • PLSC 463 – Politics and Government in China
  • PLSC 465Y – Democratization in Asia

Requirements for the Minor

Select 4 credits from:

Select 6-8 credits from:

  • CHNS 401 – Level Three Chinese A
  • CHNS 402 – Level Three Chinese B
  • CHNS 403W – Level Four Chinese A
  • CHNS 404 – Level Four Chinese B
  • CHNS 410 – Chinese through Film
  • CHNS 411 – Chinese Written Characters
  • CHNS 412 – Business Chinese
  • CHNS 414 – Chinese Language, Culture and Society
  • CHNS 415 – China Beyond China
  • CHNS 416 – Gender and Sexuality in China
  • CHNS 417 – The Warrior, the Courtesan and the Ghost in Classical Chinese Novels
  • CHNS 418 – Confucius and the Great Books of China
  • CHNS 419 – The Chinese Rhetorical Tradition
  • CHNS 452 – Contemporary China: Culture and Trends
  • CHNS 453 – Chinese Film
  • CHNS 454 – Introductions to Classical Chinese
  • CHNS 455 – Masterpieces of Traditional Chinese Literature
  • CHNS 496 – Independent Studies in Chinese
  • CHNS 497 – Special Topics in Chinese
  • CHNS 499 – Foreign Studies in Chinese

Language Exchange Program

Penn State and The National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) have officially renewed an institutional partnership and signed a collaboration agreement for a formal language exchange program with the Taiwan Huayu BEST Program. This language program allows for our Penn State students (Asian Studies and Chinese majors, as well as non-majors enrolled in our Chinese language program) to benefit from a variety of opportunities to learn and practice Mandarin Chinese. Two Visiting Scholars from the NTNU will join us at Penn State every year to assist with Chinese language pedagogy and program activities. In addition, the program offers attractive study abroad scholarships specifically for Penn State students to study at the NTNU in Taiwan, either during the summer or academic year.

Advising

Tom Spencer is the undergraduate adviser for the major and minor in Asian Studies, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. To make an appointment, visit Starfish and hit ‘Log Into Starfish.’ Select “Appointments” and click the “Advisers” link at the top of the page to view Tom Spencer’s hours for the week. Please make an appointment if you need help with:

  • Your next semester schedule (language pre-majors and majors)
  • Concurrent major planning (feasibility, courses needed)
  • Academic difficulty
  • Faculty Senate petitions (retroactive withdrawal or registration, etc.)
  • Course selection

For other information on the Chinese program, please contact Yupeng Kou.