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Chinese Studies

About the major

China is one of the world’s great civilisations, comparable to the European and Middle Eastern traditions. The Chinese studies program will provide you with a solid understanding of Chinese society and culture, the foundational language skills essential to function with confidence in the Chinese-speaking world, a basic ability to work in China-related professions and the competence to conduct research in Chinese studies. The modern Chinese language program caters for students with different levels of Chinese language proficiency: complete beginners, advanced learners, and speakers with background in both standard and non-standard forms of vernacular Chinese. The program focuses on developing effective communicative skills at different levels, including Chinese for professional purposes. At the advanced levels, we also teach research and academic writing skills in the Chinese language, including classical Chinese, which is essential for understanding Chinese tradition.

All students, regardless of prior experience of the language, have access to the full range of units of study offered by the department including the opportunity to go on exchange or attend intensive in-country programs at Peking University or Wuhan University. Whether you are an absolute beginner in the language, have an HSC at some level of Chinese language, or are a background-speaker, you can major in Chinese studies and go on to complete an honours year or postgraduate study in the subject. Graduates may go on to future careers in international relations, multinational corporations, media, tourism, NGOs, academic research, and education relating to China.

Requirements for completion

The Chinese studies major and minor are available via the pathways indicated below.

Students will follow the appropriate pathway specified in the unit of study tables, based on their individual language level*. Students completing any of the pathways below will be awarded a major or minor in Chinese studies.

* Appropriate language units are determined either by language level and grade therein achieved in Higher School Certificate (as listed in the pathways linked above) or International Baccalaureate, and/or by one-on-one placement interviews prior to commencement. If you are unsure of your language level or which pathway is appropriate for you, please contact the Chair of Chinese Studies for advice.

Please note: A ‘gap’ year after Year 12 does not normally affect placement.

Advanced coursework

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the advanced coursework units of study page.


The Honours program in Chinese studies will provide you with an opportunity to engage in in-depth study of social, political, cultural, literary or linguistic topics related to Chinese studies.

All students with good academic records in Chinese studies should consider an honours year. There will be a range of options for students with different levels of Chinese language proficiency and research interest. However, the more Chinese you have learned before you start, the more interesting options that will be available to you.

Honours admission requirements

Admission to Honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies or Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and requires the completion of a major in Chinese studies with an average of 70 percent or above. 

Prior to commencing honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open learning environment (OLE) units and, where undertaking the Bachelor of Advanced Studies, a second major.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the Chinese Studies honours units of study page.

Contacts and further information

More information and current contact details for academic coordinators can be found at: