The Chinese Studies program in this Department involves elementary through advanced level language, literature, and culture courses, as well as academic experiences that highlight oral and written literacy, literary analysis, and cross-cultural studies.

The Department of Languages Literatures and Cultures offers a Chinese Minor. The Asian Studies Major – offered through the International and Global Studies Program – fosters an interdisciplinary understanding of Asian social and intellectual history through the study of language, literature, theater, film, politics, geography, and contemporary cultures of the vast regions of East, Southeast and South Asia, both maritime and mainland. The new LLC Major (B.A.), with a concentration in Global Languages and Communities, involves taking two languages through 204, plus 4 courses at the 300-level. One of the languages can be Chinese.

Why Study Chinese?

FACT worth considering

You may already know that Chinese is spoken by over one billion people and the Chinese culture is one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world. You may also know that the Chinese economy has the potential to become the biggest in the world and with increasing influence, China is becoming an important global player in the 21st century. For North Carolina, by 2019 China is the top source of imports and the third biggest export destination.

If you are hesitating about learning Chinese in college, consider these simple FACTs of why you should start learning Chinese!


Chinese language is a great source of entertainment for its speakers. Learning the language can be as simple as playing a game of words, or an enlightening exercise of mind. The combination of its musical tonal patterns and artistic writing system makes possible a myriad of puns, quips, and jokes.  Consider, for example, the following sentence: “Shànghǎi zì lái shǔi lái zì hǎi shàng 上海自来水来自海上. (Shanghai tap water comes from the sea.)” No matter if you read it left-to-right or right-to-left, it reads the same and the meaning remains the same.

Art and Culture

Learning Chinese opens the way to its rich cultural heritage of philosophy, religion, art, and literature. At the center of this heritage are some of the greatest books in world history. From ancient texts such as the Analects and Sun Tze to the award-winning modern science fiction novel The Three Body Problem, the Chinese literary tradition is the oldest unbroken textual tradition among today’s major civilizations. Chinese language will be your gateway to enter this treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom, and to understand a tradition whose values and norms may appear sharply different from those in America today.

“Catch Two Birds with One Stone”

Studying Chinese is not only about learning one language. Its writing system and vocabulary had immense influence over other East Asian languages such as Japanese and Korean. If you are interested in learning Japanese or Korean, studying Chinese will give you a solid foundation in understanding these languages and cultures. As the saying shared by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (as well as in English) goes, learning Chinese will help you “catch two birds with one stone 一石二鸟.”

Thrive with Your Language Skills

Learning Chinese also paves the way to different fields of study and career options. Whether you are pursuing a career in business, sciences, technology, or humanities, you will find your training in Chinese language is not only an item on your C.V., but also an essential tool to find data, communicate with your peers, or develop a key case study in your project. Learning Chinese adds value to your degree.

No matter what your view of China is, it is increasingly important to learn its language, culture, and more essentially, its people. Studying Chinese will be a lifetime rewarding experience that worth your investment during your college education.