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

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 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.)