Department of Modern Languages


DePaul University offers four years of Chinese language instruction, plus specialized advanced language courses such as CHN 252 Introduction to Commercial Chinese and CHN 370 Chinese Culture through Film. The Chinese Studies Program is interdisciplinary with regular China focused courses in art, economics, history, philosophy, religion, politics, and other areas. We offer a major and minor in Chinese Studies, combining language and culture courses, and a minor focused specifically on advanced-level Chinese language.   

We also offer an 8-week summer intensive language program at Fudan University in Shanghai, one of China’s most prestigious universities, every summer. For detailed information, please check the Section “Study Abroad” below.

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Why Study Chinese?

The rise of China presents new economic, political and social realities that demand greater U.S. engagement at every level. As the foundation of that engagement, we urgently need to raise the number of Americans who can demonstrate a functional proficiency in Chinese.

  • China’s tremendous economic growth creates new opportunities and challenges for U.S. businesses. Between 1978 and 2002, China's annual GDP growth reached 9.4%, three times the world's average, and in recent years (2001-2004) China accounted for one third of global economic growth.

  • China is an immense market for American goods and services, and a vital supplier to American manufacturers and consumers. U.S. trade with China exceeded $245 billion in 2004 (second only to trade with Canada and Mexico).

  • China’s political importance in the Asia-Pacific region is broadly acknowledged and, particularly since 9/11, its help has been sought on difficult issues like North Korea and terrorism. Collaboration with China is increasingly deemed essential for solving a range of global issues, from nuclear proliferation to the environment, from currency exchange to trade laws.

  • As the most enduring world civilization, China has a major international cultural presence, in literature and cuisine, in music and film, dance and art, religion and philosophy, drawing on its tremendous heritage to enrich our present.

  • An official language of the United Nations, Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world, extending beyond the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan to Indonesia , Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, to the Philippines, and to Mongolia.

  • In the United States the Asian and Pacific Islander population is projected to grow 213 percent, from 10.7 million to 33.4 million, in the next 50 years, a substantial demographic shift. Their share of the nation’s population will double, from 3.8 percent to 8 percent.

Above material courtesy of the Asia Society (2009).


Chinese Studies offers a major that combines advanced level Chinese language proficiency and courses focused on China culture and society from many disciplines. We offer a minor in Chinese Language, which requires only language courses, and a minor in Chinese Studies, which requires one year of Chinese language and five China related courses. The study of China and Chinese language can also be integrated with other programs, such as the Minor in International Business through the College of Commerce, or a major or minor in International Studies. The requirements for the programs are described below. 

Undergraduate Major in Chinese Studies   

Students seeking to complete a major in Chinese studies must complete 52 quarter hour credits of coursework, distributed as follows:

Chinese Studies: 52 quarter hour credits of coursework, distributed as follows: 1) 24 to 32 credits of advanced (200 and 300 level) coursework in Chinese language, selected to develop appropriate levels of proficiency; and 2) 20 to 28 credits of coursework in Chinese studies, chosen from the list of approved courses and from at least three different departments, such as History, History of Art and Architecture, Religious Studies, Geography, International Studies, Political Science, etc.  Consult the current approved Chinese Studies course list available from the Department of Modern Languages or the website. Students who begin their study of Chinese at DePaul with CHN 202 or higher may substitute a 300-level Chinese elective course for any of the required 200-level courses.

If Chinese Studies is your secondary major, then you can count courses taken to fill liberals studies domain requirements toward both those requirements and toward the major. You can also count courses from your primary major toward the Chinese Studies major. If Chinese Studies is your primary or only major, then no courses can be “double-counted” in this way. Note that you can use one year of Chinese to take the “modern-language option” which allows you to substitute two language courses for liberal studies domain courses.


Minor in Chinese Studies   

Chinese Studies Minor One year of college-level Chinese language (101-102-103 or equivalent) and five additional courses focusing on China chosen from at least two different disciplines in consultation with an advisor from an approved course list (available from the Department of Modern Languages or the website). Currently there are offerings in Communication, Geography, History, History of Art and Architecture, International Studies, Political Science, Religious Studies, etc.

Courses which were taken to fill other requirements (for example, in a major or for liberal studies requirements) can also be counted toward the minor. Note that you can use one year of Chinese to take the modern-language option which allows you to substitute two language courses for liberal studies domain courses.

Minor in Chinese Language   

Language Minor in Chinese An individualized program can be developed for a minor after consultation with an advisor from the Modern Languages faculty. The language minor in Chinese language consists of any five courses in Chinese at the 200 and/or 300 levels.

Related Programs   

International Business Minor: The International Business Minor is available to College of Commerce students only. A student must be able to demonstrate that he or she has modern language proficiency through the intermediate level of college coursework to complete the minor (equivalent to CHN 106). Normally, that means you would take two years of Chinese, but if you already have some Chinese proficiency, language courses can be replaced with culture courses (12 credit hours are required). In addition, the minor requires two courses from the approved list of international business courses.  This can be combined with a minor in Chinese studies or language.

International Studies: The International Studies Program uses an interdisciplinary framework to explore the interactions among peoples and nations that are separated by cultural and geopolitical boundaries. It draws on the insights and finding of the social sciences (political science, economics, sociology, geography and anthropology) as well as history, literature and the arts.  Students majoring in International Studies choose a specific concentration, which can focus on China and be combined with the major or minor in Chinese Studies or Language.

Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language: Collaborating with the College of Education, Department of Modern Languages at DePaul offers a M.A degree in World Language Education. You can choose to focus on teaching Chinese as a foreign language at K-12 or university-level.

STARTALK Chinese Teacher Training Program: DePaul has been awarded the STARTALK grant to offer a Chinese teacher training program during the summer. Pre- and in-service teachers can take the course – Teaching Chinese: Linguistics, Approaches and Methods – offered in the program to fulfill their degree or professional development requirements. The program offers generous scholarships to cover tuitions and relevant expenses. More courses will be offered in the future.

Global Asian Studies: Global Asian Studies offers a critical perspective on the formation of a multiracial U.S. society by studying groups with roots in Asia and the Pacific. The minor program seeks to place the historical patterns and contemporary experiences of Asians and Pacific Islanders in America in a broader context by analyzing global economic, socio-cultural, and political factors that shape Asian America.

Japanese Studies: DePaul offers a full range of Japanese language classes, a major in Japanese Studies and minors in Japanese Studies and Japanese Language.


Approved Chinese Studies courses   

Many courses at DePaul include a focus on China, and in general, any course which concentrates at least one third on China can count toward the major or minor in Chinese Studies.  Courses which concentrate significantly on Chinese Americans also can usually be counted.  If the course is not on the list below, you must meet with an advisor in Chinese Studies to have the course approved.  For the list of courses offered next quarter and next year, email Prof. Li Jin ( The list of approved courses in Chinese studies from participating departments currently includes the following:

Art, Media, and Design

  • ART 293/WMS 394/DC 395 Film and Photography in China (study abroad)


  • CMNS 338 Asian Culture and Communication


  • ECO 334 Understanding China’s Economy


  • GEO 215/INT 360 International Development

History of Art and Architecture

  • HAA 115 Survey of Asian Art
  • HAA 220 Buddhist Art
  • HAA 342 Chinese Art


  • HST 161 East Asia to 1600
  • HST 162 East Asia since 1600
  • HST 232 Culture and Politics in Imperial China
  • HST 233 The Rise of Modern China


  • MGT 398 Special Topics: Business in China


  • PHL 287 Introduction to Asian Philosophies
  • PHL 387 Themes in Chinese Philosophy
  • PHL 388 Themes in Comparative Philosophy
  • PHL 390 Topics and Controversies: Chinese Philosophy in Transition (study abroad)

Political Science

  • PSC 246 Asian Foreign Policy
  • PSC 253 Asian Politics
  • PSC 344 World Political Economy
  • PSC 359 Chinese Politics
  • PSC 395 China’s Environmental Challenge (study abroad)

Religious Studies

  • REL 143 The Buddhist Experience
  • REL 241 Religion in Chinese History, Society, and Culture
  • REL 246 Traditions of Chinese Popular Culture
  • REL 248 Literature and Religion in China
  • REL 341 Daoism: China's Indigenous High Religion
  • REL 343 Moral Philosophy and Ethics in China

Finally, courses taken to fill other requirements, including courses for liberal studies domains or for another major, can be counted for the minor or toward the major, if Chinese Studies is your secondary major.


If you are declaring a major or minor or just thinking about it, please contact Program Director of the Chinese Studies Program Professor Li Jin (  You may also contact Dr. Jin if you have questions about taking our language classes or if you have an inquiry about our study abroad program. 

To declare the major or minor, please use the "Declarations and Inter-College Transfer" tool. 

We offer an online Chinese language placement exam for students who have previous knowledge of Chinese.  For information on how to take the exam, click here.

To sign up for our email list announcing China related activities and courses, email


Study Abroad   

The easiest (and most exciting) way to fill the requirements for the major or minor is to study in China. DePaul offers many opportunities to study in China.  We have a permanent summer intensive language program partnered with Fudan University in Shanghai, regularly offer short-term trips during the December break, and have longer programs to Beijing or Hong Kong for the winter and spring quarters. The School of New Learning regularly offers a summer study abroad trip to China, the Driehaus Center in the College of Commerce also offers some short term courses in China, and the College of Commerce also offers various international business seminars which include short trips in China. For more information, see the Study Abroad Website. We also have some information on study programs in China operated by other universities.

Summer: Shanghai Summer Intensive Chinese Language Program
DePaul offers one 8-week summer intensive language program at Fudan University in Shanghai. The program runs from mid-June to mid-August every summer. Students will take one pre-trip culture course on DePaul campus to get prepared for the trip in the spring quarter and three language courses in Shanghai which are equivalent to the entire 2nd-year or 3rd- year Chinese language classes. Applicants to the program must have taken the 1st-year Chinese classes prior to the trip. Internship opportunities s in Chinese public and private sectors are also provided to interested students. For more information, contact the study abroad office ( or Prof. Li Jin ( ). The deadline of application is February 15.

December Study Abroad: Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai
Professors from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Health and Science also lead various December trips to Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. For example, Prof. Chi Jang Yin taught ART 293 (cross-listed as ART 395, WMS 394, DC 395): Film and Photography in Contemporary China in 2009, Prof. Yan Li taught PSY333: Child Psychology/PSY303 Human Development, and Prof. Karen Budd taught PSY345: Cultural Issues in Psychology/PSY218 Psychological Issues of the Contemporary Family in 2011. These courses fill liberal studies domain requirements, Junior Year Experiential Learning, and requirements for the Chinese Studies major and minor and other major domains.  Students pay regular DePaul tuition plus a program fee.  For more information, contact the study abroad office (  The application deadline is May 15.

Winter/Spring Quarter Study Abroad: Beijing or Hong Kong
DePaul has a semester-long program set up through Syracuse University, designed for students to earn 30 hours of credit.  In addition to classes in Chinese language, students can choose from a wide range of courses related to Chinese culture, politics, business, and so on. These all fill requirements for the Chinese Studies major or minor, and they can fill requirements for other majors and some liberal studies requirements. The Beijing program is based at Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious universities. The Hong Kong program is based at City University of Hong Kong and includes an excellent internship program.  In general, if your goal is learning Chinese, Beijing is the best choice, but if you are less concerned with Chinese and more with business in Asia, Hong Kong might be better. Both programs begin with two weeks of travel around China. We currently have students studying on both programs, so if you want to talk to someone who has been there, let us know and we’ll connect you. The application deadline is May 15.

Scholarships for Study in China   

There is nothing better than having someone else pay you to go to China, and fellowships look great on a resume.  The DePaul Study Abroad website has more resources for funding, but here are some of the most important for studying in China.  Information on scholarships is sent out regularly through our email list.

China Scholarship

The Chinese government has been offering DePaul students two full scholarships to study in China for a semester, including tuition, housing, insurance, and a monthly living allowance.  Students can choose three schools as their preferences, although the final placement is made by the China Scholarship Council.nbsp; Only current DePaul students can apply, but this scholarship can be used either while still a student at DePaul or after graduation.nbsp; In other words, you can still apply even if you are about to graduate.  Our preference will be for students who have shown serious interest in China, particularly by studying Chinese language (usually students selected are in or have completed second year Chinese), but the requirements are flexible so if you think you can make a good case for why you should get it, apply.nbsp; This is a great opportunity.nbsp; Five DePaul students so far have gone to China with this scholarship.  The application deadline is usually in March for scholarships to study in the following academic year.

Critical Language Scholarships (CLS)

The U.S. government offers scholarships for students studying languages considered crucial for national security, which includes Chinese.  The scholarships are for intensive Chinese language study during the summer.  All expenses are paid, including airfare, housing, and even a small travel allowance while in China.  The programs are for students who will be ready to study intermediate or advanced level Chinese.  Thus to apply, you need to be in or have completed second year Chinese.  The scholarships are quite competitive but since there is no application fee and the application is not too difficult, anyone in second year Chinese or beyond should consider applying.  Aside from a free trip to China and a leap forward for your Chinese, these scholarships will look excellent on a future resume. Applications are due in mid-November.

Huayu Enrichment Scholarship

The government of Taiwan offers a scholarship for students to study Chinese language in Taiwan.  The scholarship provides a monthly stipend of NT $25000 (around $740).  That should be more than enough to live on in Taiwan.  It does not cover airfare to Taiwan or tuition, but tuition in Taiwan is inexpensive and you should be able to transfer your credits back to DePaul.  The scholarships are normally for one year, although they will consider shorter term scholarships.  These scholarships can also be used for study after you graduate, so if you are graduating and are not sure of your plans, going to Taiwan and studying for a year on scholarship is an excellent option.  In addition to applying for the scholarship, you must also apply to enter a language program in Taiwan.  The sponsors of the scholarship have said they will give priority to candidates who take their Chinese language proficiency test, which is giving around the same time as the applications are due.  Last year, one DePaul student applied and received it.  Applications are due in March.

Gilman International Scholarship Program

The Gilman International Scholarship Program offers scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.  Awards for the regular grant are up to $5000, but they also offer supplements of up to an additional $3000 for “critical needs” languages, which includes Chinese.  You must apply to a study abroad program in addition to applying for the grant.  You could apply for this grant to help fund DePaul’s winter/spring quarters study abroad program or other year-long programs.  It will not cover summer programs (or the December break).  In most years, several DePaul students receive this scholarship, so the odds are fairly good.  The application deadline is early October for the coming winter/spring quarter, or mid-April for the following fall.

National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Scholarships

This is a scholarship program for study abroad in “critical needs” languages, which includes Chinese.  Like the Gilman scholarship, you could apply for this grant to help fund DePaul’s winter/spring quarters study abroad program, but their preference is for year-long programs.  This scholarship can also be used to study in the year after you graduate, but you must be a student when you apply.  Upon return, NSEP recipients must work for the federal government for at least one year.

Fulbright Student Grants

The Fulbright organization has grants for students to conduct research and study in China for ten months after they graduate from college.  You design a research project, which can be in most areas of study.  The key to receiving a grant is having a well designed project and connections already in place in China.  Your teachers can help you with that – many of us have spent time in China.  A minimum of two years of Chinese is required.  These are competitive but they are attainable – there are currently 70 each year for mainland China alone, with more to Hong Kong and Taiwan.  The deadline is early in the fall (basically a year before the grant would start), so you need to start thinking about these in spring of your third year or at the latest over the summer before your last year at DePaul.  If you are thinking of applying, talk to your professors and contact us.  You can also contact Prof. Jonathon Gross (, who is the Fulbright Program Advisor at DePaul.

Blakemore Foundation Language Grants

These grants are for intensive study of Asian languages. For Mandarin Chinese, one can study either at the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) at National Taiwan University (Taibei) or the Inter-University Program at Tsinghua University (Beijing). The grants are intended for those pursuing an academic, professional or business career that involves the regular use of a modern East or Southeast Asian language. The scholarships are primarily intended for graduate students or those early in a career involving China, but they rarely are granted to students coming directly from an undergraduate degree. They must be used for a full academic year of study. Application deadline is usually December 30.


Teaching, Working in China   

What are you going to do when you graduate?  Go to China!  Many of us got our start by going to China to teach English.  In general, you can teach in China if you commit to staying for an academic year and you have a four year degree.  Chinese is usually not required.  While experience is not required, if you are thinking about this option, get some related experience, at least by doing some ESL tutoring.  You can usually make enough money to live reasonably well in China and to travel some.  If you are interested in teaching, you have three basic options: go through a program, go through guanxi (connections), or go blindly through the internet.  The website of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing has a good, detailed discussion of teaching in China, contracts, potential problems, etc.  In any case, go to DePaul’s Career Center and come see us.  We have many resources for finding teaching positions.  Some of the main programs that send teachers to China are listed below.


There are many programs which usually charge some fee to place you in China.  For that fee, they will help to find you a more reliable position, to negotiate a better salary or less teaching, and give you some orientation.  The fees can be a bit high, but they are probably worth it if you can afford them.  If you do not have much experience teaching or living in China, the orientation and training programs they give can be very helpful.  Another advantage of going through a program is that they will ensure your school helps you to get the correct visa.  Finally, going through a program gives you an immediate network of other teachers to exchange advice, vent complaints, and find couches to sleep on.

China Internship Program (USDA Graduate School)

This is a program run through the U.S. government which places teachers in China for either five or ten months.  The positions are for teaching in elementary or high schools in locations throughout China.  They provide a salary, housing, free Chinese lessons, and a travel bonus for international airfare.  As far as I can tell, there is no program fee.  Preference will be given to those who meet the March 30 deadline, but applications will be considered up until May 15.  It is also possible to begin in the spring semester, in which case applications are due in November.


This is an excellent program, run through Princeton but not restricted to their students.  They currently have 19 teaching positions in China.  They also have some internships with businesses and NGO’s.  Applicants should be graduating or have recently graduated.  The program includes an orientation meeting.  They find good positions and provide good support.  You should make enough to live on while in China and get some assistance for the airfare.  The program fees are low, around $400.  Applications are due at the start of December to begin teaching the next fall.

VIA (Volunteers in Asia)

This is a non-profit group based at Stanford, with a long standing program placing people in China.  This program is more “service” oriented, in that they tend to place people in schools where there is greater need and they often place people to work at an NGO in addition to teaching.  They encourage a two year commitment, but one year is also possible.  One strength of the program is that they provide extensive training (five weeks) in both the U.S. and Asia.  The program fee is $2000, but they offer financial aid (40% of applicants get some financial aid).  You should earn enough money to live comfortably while in China.  I’ve known some people on this program, and it is great.  The application deadline is in February to being in the fall.

Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)

The CIEE is a well established, reliable organization with many international programs, including one to place English teachers in China. The placement is usually for one year starting in August, although it may be possible to go for one semester. You should earn enough money to live on in China and half the cost of the plane ticket. The program includes a week of orientation and teacher training in Shanghai. The program fee for the yearlong program is $1700. The application deadline in May 1 to start in August, mid-November to start in February.

English Teaching Program in Shenzhen
There are currently four recent DePaul graduates teaching through this program, and they have been happy with it so far. The organization places you to teach English in a public school in Shenzhen, which is just across the border from Hong Kong. The salary is pretty good and they reimburse your full plane ticket. In addition, they arrange teacher training in August, and a visa that allows you to go freely in and out of Hong Kong. They also offer Chinese language classes for a small fee. The program fee is $1900 Application Deadline: April 1, 2012 (to start fall 2012).