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 Chinese Program’s Statement against Anti-Asian Violence

 It saddens us that it takes a dramatic event such as the Atlanta mass shooting for many Americans to finally notice the horror Asian Americans have been constantly experiencing over the past year. Before the events of March 16th, their fear of being physically attacked in public spaces has been dismissed as paranoia and a consistent pattern of violence did little to convince anyone that these acts qualified as hate crimes. It is even more saddening to think that such visibility and attention will only be short-lived, soon to be replaced by other forms of sensationalism our society has grown accustomed to, and nothing will actually change. 

But maybe there is still time to remember the following before it is too late:

  • Scapegoating, while harming the victims, paralyzes a society and stops it from addressing real malaises.
  • If xenophobia is allowed to prevail, narrowmindedness brings down the insiders no less than the outsiders.
  • If learning about others stops being desirable, learning from others, a precondition for positive change, will never take place.

Humans are intelligent beings. For that, we believe, when a person’s mind is clear, he/she naturally knows the right thing to do. As professors teaching in the humanities who works on enhancing people’s knowledge about China, if our work has any meaning at all, it lies in helping people to have this clear mind. And as individuals living in America, we can only do our share to foster a social structure that allows this clear mind to exist. This is not another statement vying for attention, but our somber observation of the status quo—maybe, when we are backed into a corner, change is the only option left.

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.

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.

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.