The undergraduate degree in Chinese emphasizes knowledge and awareness of:

  • Chinese literary and cultural history, focusing on selected canonical or widely recognized works.
  • The historical and cultural contexts in which particular works were written or created.
  • Critical approaches to the study of Chinese language and civilization.
  • The challenges, deficiencies and possible gains inherent in the process of translating from one language to another.

With a Chinese major, students will have skills, information and concepts that are relevant to careers in virtually every area. Competency in a foreign language is a highly desirable skill in all fields. A knowledge of Chinese is particularly beneficial and useful in business, engineering, industry, commerce, the civil or foreign service, law, library science, natural and social sciences, the media, economics, public administration, journalism, government and teaching at all levels. In addition, China is an increasing source of a wide variety of excellent careers, as it is among the world’s largest economies and trading partners with the U.S. and Colorado.

Students are encouraged to consider combining their Chinese language training with courses in these or other fields. Additional career opportunities can be found on the Career Services website.


Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below. CHIN 1010CHIN 1020 and CHIN 2110 do not count toward the maximum of 45 credit hours in the major department.

The major program for the BA degree in Chinese requires successful completion of 30 credits, of which at least 18 credits must be at the upper-division level.

All required major courses must be passed with a C- or better and cannot be taken pass/fail. Students must have a grade point average of at least 2.000 in the major in order to graduate, and no more than 45 credits in CHIN courses may be applied to overall graduation requirements. 

Required Courses and Credits

Required Courses
CHIN 2120Intermediate Chinese 25
CHIN 3110Advanced Chinese 15
CHIN 3120Advanced Chinese 25
CHIN 4210Introduction to Classical Chinese 13
The remaining 12 credit hours (at least 5 of which much be upper-division) may be chosen from the courses listed below; 3 of these credit hours may be satisfied by courses focusing wholly or substantially on China offered in other departments, subject to approval by the Chinese undergraduate faculty advisor. 212
Introduction to Chinese Civilization
Masterpieces of Chinese Literature in Translation
Film and the Dynamics of Chinese Culture
Modern Chinese Media Cultures
Adv Wrtg Topics on Chinese & Japanese Literature and Civilization 3
The Dao and the World in Medieval China
Political Thought in Ancient China
Culture and Literature of Late Imperial China
Race and Ethnicity in Chinese Literature: Sinophone Culture, Diaspora, and Identity
Chinese Narrative Tradition
Literature and Popular Culture in Modern China
Sinophone Literature in the Contemporary World
Reality and Dream in Traditional Chinese Literature
Women and the Supernatural in Chinese Literature
Topics in Chinese Film (taught in English)
Chinese Media and the Environment
Advanced Readings in Modern Chinese 1 1
Advanced Readings in Modern Chinese 2 1
Readings in Classical Chinese 1
Open Topics: Readings in Chinese Literature
Independent Study
Honors Thesis
Total Credit Hours30

Graduating in Four Years

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress in Chinese, students should meet the following requirements:

  • Declare the major by the first semester of sophomore year.
  • Students wishing to major in Chinese and who have no prior knowledge of the language should begin the required major courses no later than the sophomore year.
  • Students must consult with the department's undergraduate academic advisor to determine adequate progress toward completion of the major. 

Recommended Four-Year Plan of Study

Through the required coursework for the major, students will fulfill all 12 credits of the Arts & Humanities area of the Gen Ed Distribution Requirement. Average 30 credits per year. Credits may vary due to 5 credit language courses. Expect to take 14-17 credits per term. Keep the first year schedule closer to 14. Not all courses will be taught in the semester listed below. Be flexible with course options and speak with your advisor for specific recommendations.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
Fall SemesterCredit Hours
CHIN 1010 Beginning Chinese 1 (does not fulfill CHIN major credit requirement) 5
CHIN 1051
Masterpieces of Chinese Literature in Translation
or Introduction to Chinese Civilization
Gen. Ed. Skills course (example: QRMS) 3-5
Gen. Ed. Skills course (example: Lower-division Written Communication) 3
 Credit Hours14-16
Spring Semester
CHIN 1020 Beginning Chinese 2 (language prerequisite, does not fulfill CHIN major credit requirement) 5
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Natural Science with Lab) 4
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Social Sciences) 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Year Two
Fall Semester
CHIN 2110 Intermediate Chinese 1 (Language Prerequisite, does not fulfill CHIN major credit requirement) 5
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Social Sciences) 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Natural Science) 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours14
Spring Semester
CHIN 2120 Intermediate Chinese 2 5
CHIN 3200 Adv Wrtg Topics on Chinese & Japanese Literature and Civilization (fulfills Upper-division CHIN elective as well as Gen Ed Skills course: Upper-division Written Communication) or any upper division writing course such as WRTG 3020) 1 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution/Diversity course (example: Social Sciences/Global Perspective) 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Natural Science) 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours17
Year Three
Fall Semester
CHIN 3110 Advanced Chinese 1 5
CHIN 4210 Introduction to Classical Chinese 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution/Diversity course (example: Social Sciences/US Perspective) 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution (example: Social Science) 3
 Credit Hours14
Spring Semester
CHIN 3120 Advanced Chinese 2 5
CHIN Upper-division Major Elective 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Natural Science) 3
Upper-Division Elective 3
Upper-Division Elective 3
 Credit Hours17
Year Four
Fall Semester
CHIN Upper-division Major Elective 3
Upper-division Elective 3
Upper-division Elective 3
Elective 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
Upper-division Elective 3
Upper-division Elective 3
Upper-division Elective 3
Upper-division Elective 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
 Total Credit Hours121-123

Bachelor's–Accelerated Master's Degree Program(s)

The bachelor's–accelerated master's (BAM) degree program options offer currently enrolled CU Boulder undergraduate students the opportunity to receive a bachelor's and master's degree in a shorter period of time. Students receive the bachelor's degree first, but begin taking graduate coursework as undergraduates (typically in their senior year).

Because some courses are allowed to double count for both the bachelor's and the master's degrees, students receive a master's degree in less time and at a lower cost than if they were to enroll in a stand-alone master's degree program after completion of their baccalaureate degree. In addition, staying at CU Boulder to pursue a bachelor's–accelerated master's program enables students to continue working with their established faculty mentors.

BA in Chinese, MA in Asian Languages and Civilizations

The BAM degree program in Chinese recognizes the need for master's-level training upon entering the job market in a variety of sectors that call for highly advanced proficiency in the Chinese language, knowledge of the culture of China and its literature and the skills acquired by BA and MA graduates in the humanities: research, analysis, interpretation, translation and communication.

This degree offers a challenging and focused academic experience for exceptional students (particularly those who enter the university with significant preparation in Chinese studies from high school or with other backgrounds, or those who participate in study abroad opportunities at CU) who demonstrate the ability to express their ideas clearly, both orally and in written form, using standard English. 

Admissions Requirements

Students interested in applying for this option must consult with the department's undergraduate academic advisor early in their career at CU to establish their program of study. In order to gain admission to the BAM program named above, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a current CU Boulder undergraduate student
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher for all courses taken at CU Boulder
  • If a transfer student, have completed a minimum of 24 credit hours at CU Boulder

Students must submit the following materials by Sept. 1 of their junior year (or, in exceptional circumstances, during the student's senior year) to the director of graduate studies in Chinese:

  • Intent application
  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing sample
  • Three letters of recommendation (at least one from a full-time member of the Chinese faculty)

Applications will be reviewed by the Chinese graduate faculty.

Program Requirements

Students are required to fulfill separately all requirements for the BA in Chinese and MA in Chinese, with the exception of the following courses that can satisfy requirements for both the BA and the MA:

Students must apply to graduate with the bachelor's degree, and apply to continue with the master's degree, early in the semester in which the undergraduate requirements will be completed.

Additional information about the BAM requirements and curriculum can be found on the department website. 


Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the requirements for the Chinese major, students will be able to:

  • Converse in Chinese with confidence and ease about routine tasks and topics familiar to students from their daily lives.
  • Read and comprehend a variety of texts and other materials in Chinese.
  • Write about familiar topics in Chinese in a style resembling students' oral discourse.
  • Recognize and discuss, in English, major works of Chinese literature, thought and other representational media from the earliest eras to the present.
  • Analyze, interpret and write in English about Chinese literature and culture according to contemporary academic conventions.