Chinese major

The Chinese major combines thorough training in spoken and written Chinese language with the development of critical approaches to a broad range of Chinese cultural phenomena including classical and modern literature, visual arts, film, popular culture, and underlying aspects of philosophical and social thought. Most courses are conducted in Chinese with readings in Chinese.

The major, which is not open to advanced native speakers due to the limited number of advanced courses, begins with language work and a writing-intensive introduction to important issues in East Asian culture (CHIN-024 "East Asia: Texts and Contexts"), and proceeds through advanced coursework in language and culture, classical and modern (often including a semester or year abroad). In order to familiarize themselves with relevant critical and historical issues in the field, students must take at least one of the courses on Chinese culture offered by the department in English in addition to "East Asia: Texts and Contexts." The major culminates in a Senior Seminar paper or Senior Honors Thesis on a topic of the student's interest within the area of Chinese cultural studies.

In addition to courses offered by this department, a wide variety of Asian studies courses is available through other departments. It is highly recommended that Chinese majors fulfill their general education history requirement by taking courses in Chinese or Asian history. Beyond that, China-related courses are offered in Economics, Government, International Affairs, Theology, and other fields. These can serve as free electives for Chinese majors, or can in some cases fulfill general education requirements. Finally, such outside courses can often be counted toward an Asian Studies Certificate through the Area Studies Programs. Students should seek help from their department advisers in developing a well-integrated academic program built around their interests and drawing upon this rich variety of resources.

Chinese majors are required to spend at least one semester studying in a Chinese-speaking country, and may spend up to one year. Opportunities for overseas study in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are available through Georgetown. (See section on this topic below.)

Required Courses for the Chinese Major

12 General Education Requirements, including:
  • 1 CHIN-024 East Asia: Texts and Contexts
  • 2 Courses in History, for which the department highly recommends that the second be either: HIST-122 or HIST-123 (History of China I or II)

4 Language courses CHIN-300 or above 1 Introduction to Classical Chinese (CHIN-362) 1 Departmental course on Chinese culture, literature or linguistics taught in English 1 Senior Seminar Additional Chinese language courses as needed for a minimum total of 11 courses in the major (not counting General Education courses).


CHIN 312 Chinese Composition and Style
CHIN 313 Advanced Oral Communication
CHIN 314 Topics in Chinese Media
CHIN 321, 322 Business Chinese I & II
CHIN 325 Advanced Readings in Chinese
CHIN 331 Topics in Current Affairs
CHIN 351 Literature and Culture in Modern China
CHIN 352 Images of Women in Contemporary Chinese Films
CHIN 353 War and Its Legacies in Chinese Literature (in English)
CHIN 354 Reading Chinese Landscapes (in English)
CHIN 358 Cultures of Modernization in East Asia (in English)
CHIN 360 Chinese Literary Dream Texts
CHIN 363 Tradition of Chinese Fiction
CHIN 364 Chinese Diplomatic Discourse
CHIN 391 Introduction to Chinese Linguistics
CHIN 406 Reading Lu Xun
CHIN 461 Modern Chinese Fiction
CHIN 462 Contemporary Chinese Women Writers
CHIN 463 Survey of Chinese Literary Genres
CHIN 464 Modern Chinese Drama
CHIN 466 Readings in Chinese Humanities
CHIN 467 Chinese Avant-Garde Fiction

(Not all courses are offered every year. Current offerings can be seen here.)

To further their understanding of Chinese culture, students should take advantage of the wide range of reading materials and audio-visual materials available at the University Library. Beyond the University, students should explore the Freer-Sackler Gallery, which has one of the finest collections of East Asian Art in theworld, as well as a delightful research library. The Library of Congress, too, has an enormous collection of Chinese books and periodicals.


Chinese minor

Students majoring in other fields, particularly those involving Asian studies, are encouraged to consider a minor in Chinese. The Chinese minor requires seven courses, at least six of which must be Chinese language courses or advanced courses conducted in Chinese. The seventh course may be taught in either Chinese or English and must have Chinese literature, culture/civilization, or linguistics as a substantial component.

Study Abroad

Prof. Kafalas is the department's study abroad advisor for Chinese.  He encourages you to start your hunt for a Chinese study abroad program with the following sites.


Students must apply to these Georgetown approved programs through the Office of International Programs if they wish to earn GU credit.

Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)

Semester and academic year programs in Beijing (at Peking University), Nanjing (at Nanjing University), Shanghai (at East China Normal University) and Taipei (at National Chengchi University).  There are also summer programs in Beijing and Shanghai, although they are not the approved Georgetown summer program.  All of the programs offer substantial language training; the Shanghai and Taipei programs include options for combining Chinese language courses with multiple Chinese studies courses in English.  For more info:


Semester and summer programs at the Harbin Institute of Technology, including one-on-one tutorials with local professors on topics of the student's choice, and a comprehensive language pledge. Particularly recommended for advanced students. For more info see CETAcademic Programs:

Associated Colleges in China (ACC-Hamilton)

Semester and Summer programs administered by Hamilton College and hosted at Minzu University of China in Beijing. A very intensive, language-only program with comprehensive language pledge and a daily individual session in addition to group classes.

The Beijing Center for Language and Culture

Fall, Spring, and Summer programs in Beijing, with language courses and courses in English on China. Not primarily a language program. For more info:

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Fall, spring, and academic year programs in Hong Kong, offering Mandarin training and business courses. For more info:


Students may apply directly to these programs as well as others, in consultation with the Office of International Programs. Georgetown students have successfully attended all of the programs below for credit.

IUP (Inter-University Program)

Academic year and summer programs in Beijing. Offers one-on-one and very small group classes for motivated undergraduates and graduate students. For more info:

Princeton in Beijing

Summer program in Beijing. A rigorous intensive program using Princeton’s texts, so it is keyed to an American curriculum. For more info:

International Chinese Language Program at National Taiwan University

Offers one-on-one and very small group classes. (This used to be the site of the IUP program listed above, and retains IUP’s effective structure.)

CET C.V. Starr-Middlebury Program, and CET Hangzhou Summer Immersion Program, Hangzhou.

There are also CET C.V. Starr-Middlebury programs in Beijing and Kunming.  Largely modeled on the CET-Harbin program above.


The Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies

One-year graduate level certificate program, and a new M.A. program. American students studying about China in Chinese are paired with Chinese roommates studying about the U.S. in English. Many of our graduates have continued on to this program. For more info: