University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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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 a wide range of language abilities: 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 Fudan University. Whether you are an absolute beginner in the language, or 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 Department for advice.

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

Learning outcomes
No. Learning outcome
1 Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in standard Chinese.
2 Demonstrate knowledge of the major cultural, historical, social and political issues relating to Chinese language and cultures.
3 Analyse and evaluate a variety of sources and information relating to Chinese language and cultures.
4 Construct and defend valid arguments on Chinese language and cultures.
5 Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively and openly in intercultural and interdisciplinary settings to achieve high quality results.
6 Apply language skills, sociocultural knowledge and critical thinking skills gained from the study of Chinese language and cultures to offer solutions to problems encountered in new contexts.
7 Demonstrate the skills to access and evaluate primary and secondary sources to conduct research in Chinese Studies.
Advanced coursework

The Bachelor of Advanced Studies through the School of Language and Cultures prepares students to actively engage in the complex and culturally diverse contemporary world. Students will utilise linguistic and methodological skills developed in their previous studies to develop their knowledge of institutions, practices and ideas that permeate different cultures in the local and global context. They will be offered opportunities to participate in projects on translation, acculturation and self-reflexivity and to examine textual and social real-world problems related to topics which include translation, migration studies, cultural diversity and social integration.

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the Chinese Studies 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 the options that will be available to you.

Honours admission requirements

Admission to Honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in Chinese Studies with an average of 70 percent or above. You are advised to consider taking ASNS3690 Approaches to Research in Asian Studies, in the semester before you intend to commence Honours.

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 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:
Department of Chinese Studies
School of Language and Cultures