At which campus can I study this program?
Any Penn State Campus
Currently more than a billion people speak Chinese, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. As a rising superpower with an increasingly global impact, China is a major international presence. The major in Chinese is designed to develop skills in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing Chinese, as well as to promote an understanding of the diverse literatures, cultures, and traditions of the Chinese-speaking world, ranging from China itself to Chinese-speaking America. The major can help students prepare for professional careers in which knowledge of Chinese, especially Mandarin, is useful. Students are strongly encouraged to study abroad.
Students planning to teach in public schools should schedule the appropriate courses leading to certification in consultation with an adviser in the College of Education.
What is Chinese?
The Chinese program provides students with an opportunity to concentrate on acquiring expertise in an important modern language and its culture. Giving students a strong working knowledge of the Chinese language and understanding of Chinese culture, the program can help prepare students for work in contexts where the language and culture are pertinent, to live and work in Sinophone areas of the world as informed and capable individuals equipped with appropriate intercultural skills and awareness, or for graduate study in China-related fields. Graduates may work in government service, domestic and foreign offices, or international agencies. Many go on to teach English in China, or to do translation work. Employment may also be available with trade organizations, international banking houses, or U.S. companies abroad. Domestic and multinational companies are increasingly seeking employees with backgrounds in multicultural studies as a way of dealing with the global market.
You Might Like This Program If...
- You are interested in Chinese language, culture, history, or society.
- You want to live or work in a Sinophone country.
- You are aiming for a career involving travel to Sinophone countries and interaction with native speakers of Chinese.
Entrance to Major
In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:
- attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
- have third-semester classification.
For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese, a minimum of 124 credits is required:
|Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements||24|
|Requirements for the Major||35|
0-6 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 0-6 credits of General Education GA, GH, or GS courses.
3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.
Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.
Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.
The keystone symbol appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.
Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)
- Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits
University Degree Requirements
First Year Engagement
All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.
Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.
First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.
6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements
- United States Cultures: 3 credits
- International Cultures: 3 credits
Writing Across the Curriculum
3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.
Total Minimum Credits
A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.
Quality of Work
Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.
Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition
The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.
B.A. Degree Requirements
Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.
B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)
Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.
Requirements for the Major
At least 21 credits must be 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. For curricular sequencing, the program encourages students to pursue this Education Abroad experience in the summer or fall semester of the junior year.
A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.
|Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|CHNS 110||Level Two Chinese B||4|
|CHNS 401||Level Three Chinese A||4|
|CHNS 402||Level Three Chinese B||4|
|CHNS 403W||Level Four Chinese A||4|
|CHNS 404||Level Four Chinese B||4|
|Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|CHNS 120||Introduction to Chinese Literature and Culture||3|
|or CHNS 121N||Chinese Film and New Media|
|Select 3 credits from the CHNS 414-419 level||3|
|Select 3 credits from the CHNS 450-459 level||3|
|Supporting Courses and Related Areas|
|Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better|
|Select 6 credits pertaining to China, such as courses in art history, Asian studies, comparative literature, economics, geography, history, philosophy, political science, religious studies, theatre arts, or other fields, selected from departmental list||6|
Integrated B.A. in Chinese and M.I.A. in International Affairs
Requirements for the Integrated B.A. in Chinese and M.I.A. in International Affairs can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.
Program Learning Objectives
- Students will have developed oral skills in Chinese to allow them to communicate efficiently in a range of settings from informal to professional.
- Students will have developed literacy skills that allow them to both read and write in Chinese.
- Students will have developed an understanding of the structure of the Chinese language.
- Students will understand the role of culture in everyday interactions in Chinese speaking communities.
- Students will be prepared for graduate study on a China-related topic or work in a Chinese-language context. They will have developed critical thinking skills that analyze and evaluate cross-cultural phenomena through constant reflection and comparison.
The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.
Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.
Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Suggested Academic Plan
The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).
University Park Campus
The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.
|CHNS 1*||4||CHNS 2*||4|
|ENGL 15, ENGL 30, ESL 15, ENGL 137H, or CAS 137H‡||3||CAS 100, ENGL 138T, or CAS 138T‡||3|
|General Education Course||3||Any level China-related course from Supporting Course and Related Areas List*||3|
|General Education Course||3||General Education Quantification (GQ)‡||3|
|First-Year Seminar||3||General Education Course||3|
|CHNS 3*||4||CHNS 110*||4|
|CHNS 120 or 121N*||3||General Education Course||3|
|General Education Quantification (GQ)‡||3||General Education Course||3|
|General Education Course||3||US Cultures||3|
|BA Knowledge Domain Course||3||BA Knowledge Domain Course||3|
|CHNS 401*||4||CHNS 402||4|
|General Education Course||3||CHNS 415, 416, 417, 418, or 419*||3|
|General Education Course||3||ENGL 202B‡||3|
|BA Knowledge Domain Course||3||General Education Course||3|
|CHNS 403W||4||CHNS 404*||4|
|CHNS 452, 453, 454, or 455||3||Any level China-related course from Supporting Course and Related Areas List*||3|
|General Health and Wellness (GHW)||1.5||General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)||1.5|
|Total Credits 124|
Course requires a grade of C or better for the major
Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education
Course is an Entrance to Major requirement
Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement
University Requirements and General Education Notes:
US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).
W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.
GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.
Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.
All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.
Bachelor of Arts Requirements:
Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.
Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.
A B.A. in Chinese can be the basis for careers in the public sector (diplomatic corps, armed forces, intelligence, etc.), international law, business, public relations, journalism, travel and hospitality, careers requiring foreign travel or living abroad in Japan language specialist (translating, interpreting, teaching).
With a Chinese degree, you'll be prepared for a career in a wide range of industries and professions, including the public sector (diplomatic corps, armed forces, intelligence, etc.), international law, business, public relations, journalism, travel and hospitality, careers requiring foreign travel or living abroad in Asia, language specialist (translating, interpreting, teaching).
Opportunities for Graduate Studies
International Affairs programs, law, or the study of Asia in various disciplines, such as art history, literature, history, religion, philosophy, political science, and sociology.