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Department of Chinese Studies

Understanding and appreciating the language of the future

Traversing history, philosophy, linguistics, translation, literature, gender and film, our academics are experts in Chinese language and culture. 

Our expertise covers a diversity of disciplines including Chinese linguistics, Chinese pedagogy, second language acquisition, media in Chinese society, social and political changes in China, multiculturalism and multilingualism in China, minority education, East Asian thought and East Asian Buddhism.   

We teach both Modern Standard Chinese (Standard Mandarin/Putong Hua) and Classical Chinese from beginner level, and we provide options for students who can already read Chinese fluently. We also offer opportunities to study topics as diverse as language, linguistics, translation, literature, gender and film.

In partnership with the China Studies Centre, our Sydney China Visitors program invites innovative and respected researchers in Chinese Studies from around the world.

Our study offering

Chinese Studies delivers a solid understanding of Chinese society and culture and the foundational language skills essential to function with confidence in the Chinese-speaking world. Studies in this area have exchange and summer study opportunities, including to Peking University.


*Available as a major and minor within the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Chinese In-Country Study

We also offer a semester-based program of study (normally intermediate or advanced Modern Standard Chinese language) at a tertiary institution in China or Taiwan.


Our research 

We have research strengths across these broad areas:

  • Modern Standard Chinese language education
  • Classical Chinese language
  • Chinese linguistics, discourse studies, and translation studies
  • Chinese literature, classical and modern
  • Chinese media and communication
  • Chinese history.


Our advanced exchange programs provide life-changing experiences in China where students exercise their language skills and develop an understanding of cultural intricacies first hand. 

  • Fudan University, Shanghai
  • Nanjing University
  • National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Peking University, Beijing 
  • Shandong University, Jinan 
  • Tsinghua University, Beijing


See our school's calendar for a full listing of upcoming events.

NOTE: Some of our events are transitioning to online delivery and will be advertised accordingly. Let us know what event you're interested in via our online form, and we'll update you as the situation changes. Learn more about the University’s COVID-19 advice.

Our people

Sydney China Distinguished Fellows

The Sydney China Distinguished Fellowship features senior scholars specialising in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature, Culture or Translation Studies. Co-hosted with the China Studies Centre, the Sydney China Visitors program invites innovative and respected researchers in Chinese Studies around the world.

The fellowship is enabled by the vision and generosity of Mr James Lee, a University of Sydney alumnus now based in Hong Kong.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are actively working with our 2020 Distinguished Fellows to reschedule their visits. We will continue to share updates on this page.

Academic photo of Professor Peter Zarrow

Professor Peter Zarrow

Peter Zarrow is a Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. He previously worked as a Research Fellow at Academia Sinica, Taiwan. His research focuses on the intellectual and cultural history of modern China (late 19th- to 20th-centuries). Zarrow has written on aspects of Chinese political thought such as anarchism, statism and utopianism; key intellectuals such as Liang Qichao, Cai Yuanpei and Hu Shi, as well as lesser-known figures; and a variety of subjects such as education, trauma and historiography. His current research deals with the construction and consumption of heritage in comparative perspective, using key sites in China, Japan, Britain and France as case studies.

Academic photo of Professor Yomi Braester

Professor Yomi Braester

Yomi Braester is Lockwood Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is also the co-editor of Journal of Chinese Cinemas. His current book projects include Keywords for the Digital City: New Media and the Reassemblage of Public Space and Cinephilia for the Masses: Viewing Communities and the Ethics of the Image in the People’s Republic of China, which is supported by a Guggenheim fellowship.

Professor Hongyin Tao

Professor Hongyin Tao

Hongyin Tao is a professor of Chinese language and linguistics and applied linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles; he also holds an honorary Distinguished Chair Professor position at the National Taiwan Normal University. His research and teaching focuses on the social, cultural and interactional aspects of Chinese language use in context. His recent books include Integrating Linguistics Research with Chinese Language Teaching and Learning (John Benjamin, 2016), Chinese under Globalization (World Scientific, 2011), and Working with Spoken Chinese (Penn State University, 2011). His present project is on the phenomenon of claiming incompetency by speakers in conversation as a way to monitor and manipulate the alignment framework of interaction, and to help with identity-building.

2018–2019 Sydney China Distinguished Fellows:

Department Chair

Headshot of Associate Professor Wei Wang


  • School of Languages and Cultures, Room 506, Brennan MacCallum Building A18, The University of Sydney NSW 2006

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