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, proceeds through advanced coursework in language and culture, classical and modern (including a semester or year abroad), and 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 are available through other departments. It is highly recommended that Chinese majors fulfill half of their core history requirement by taking at least one course in Chinese history. Beyond that, China-related courses are offered in Economics, Government, International Affairs, Theology, and other fields. These can serve as free electives or can in some cases fulfill core requirements. Finally, such outside courses can often be counted toward an Asian Studies certificate for interested students. Students should seek help from their department advisors in developing a well-integrated academic program built around their interests and drawing upon this rich variety of resources. Courses taken abroad that are taught in English do not count toward the major or minor.

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. (For more on programs, see Resources and Study Abroad.)

Requirements for the A.B. in Chinese

12 courses, including:

  • CHIN-024 East Asia: Texts and Contexts
  • 8 courses in Chinese language
    •  4 at the 300-level or above*
    • 4 language courses at any level
  • CHIN-362 Introduction to Classical Chinese
  • 1 department course on Chinese culture, literature, or linguistics taught in English from CHIN 351, 352, 353, 354, or 391
  • CHIN-459 Senior Seminar

*Note: students must complete or place out of First, Second, and Third Level Chinese before enrolling in 300-level language 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 the world, 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 minor in Chinese. The Chinese minor requires seven courses, at least six of which must be CHIN language courses or advanced courses conducted in target language. The seventh course may either be another CHIN course in the target language, a CHIN course taught in English, or, by permission of the EALC department, a Georgetown course with Chinese literature, culture/civilization, or linguistics as a substantial component.

Study Abroad

Professor Kafalas is the department’s study abroad advisor for Chinese.  He encourages you to start your hunt for a Chinese study abroad program.

(For more on programs, see Resources and Study Abroad.)