The Chinese language program introduces students to Mandarin Chinese, which is the most commonly spoken language in the world and an official language of China, Taiwan and Singapore.

The curriculum at USD promotes language learning in a rich cross-cultural context that involves exploring the values, attitudes and beliefs of contemporary Chinese society as well as aspects of the region's literature, arts, politics and history. Students in the Chinese language program develop communicative proficiency in all basic skills, and collaborative classroom activities assist with the acquisition of the Chinese writing system and verbal and non-verbal communication.

Chinese Minor

The minor provides students an opportunity to study Chinese language, culture, and society beyond the basic and intermediate levels. Students who minor in Chinese are prepared for achieving working language proficiency in areas such as business administration, international relations, engineering and environmental science. A minor will equip students with linguistic and cultural skills for graduate studies and careers in many professions. 

Alternatively, students who wish to learn more about Asia beyond the scope of China, may elect to minor in Asian Studies, an interdisciplinary program in the College of Arts and Sciences."

Chinese Minor Options

Option 1: 18 units: at least 9 of the 18 units must be upper-division courses (at the 300 level or higher) taught in Chinese (CHIN).

Option 2: 12 units of upper-division courses taught in Chinese (CHIN). Prerequisite: CHIN 202 or equivalent and approval by the department chair.

Please note:

  • The recommended upper-division courses for both are CHIN 301, 302, 303, 347, 394, and 494.
  • A minimum of 6 upper-division units must be taken on the USD campus.
  • Students are highly encouraged to study abroad at a Chinese institution.
  • In addition, students are encouraged to take at least one China-related course taught in English.

Core Curriculum Program

Please read the placement policy of this department before enrolling in your first Chinese class at USD or elsewhere.


The typical student begins in Chinese 101 (first semester Mandarin) and progresses to Chinese 201 to complete the Core Curriculum requirement.

However, students with a strong background in Mandarin Chinese (having studied it previously or learned it in a non-academic setting) may be able to skip 101, and begin with Chinese 102 (second semester Mandarin).

Students who have completed Chinese 102 at any college or university may satisfy the requirement by taking only Chinese 201 (third semester Mandarin).

We offer very advanced students the opportunity of taking the Competency Exam in lieu of 201. To learn more, visit our the competency section of the Language Gateway.