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.
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.
Chinese majors are required to spend at least one semester (not just a summer) studying in a Chinese-speaking country. Opportunities for overseas study in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are available through Georgetown. See the Study Abroad section of this Bulletin.
Writing takes place everywhere in the Chinese major, in many forms and levels of formality, including expository and creative writing as well as the art of translation, and including personal, public, and professional modes. Alongside expository writing in English about aspects of culture in East Asia, students also practice writing of increasing complexity in target language all through the course of their major. As approaches to careful observation of and careful thinking about their object, writing in English and writing in target language reinforce each other. Attention is also given to translation as a form of detailed interpretive commentary and as a means of examining temporally specific differences in linguistic structure, modes of argument, and perceptual and conceptual habits. Attention to English language writing skills in the field begins in the gateway course East Asia: Texts and Contexts. At the other end of the major, the capstone Senior Seminar requires writing an extensive research paper in either English or Chinese, or producing an original translation from Chinese with a critical introduction. For more information on writing in the major, see the EALC department website.
Several CHIN courses, including some taught in English and some in Chinese, can count for Core requirements in HALC and Social Sciences (linguistics). In addition, the department strongly recommends that Chinese majors fulfill half of the core requirement in history with HIST-122 or 123, History of China I or II.
To further their understanding of Chinese culture, students should take advantage of the wide range of reading and audiovisual materials available at the University library. Beyond the University, students should explore the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art, which have one of the finest collections of East Asian Art in the world. The Library of Congress has an enormous collection of Chinese books and periodicals.
Minor in Chinese
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 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.
Asian Studies Certificate
Interested students majoring in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean may also pursue an interdisciplinary certificate in Asian Studies. A minimum of six semester courses is required, including the study of more than one Asian society or national group. Students should consult the Director of Asian Studies, SFS, for additional information.
For course listings for Chinese see Schedule of Classes