The Chinese language program is offered regularly in four proficiency levels, designed for students who have no or little background in the language, to advanced level learners.

We use an integrated approach in our language program. That is, we emphasize the importance of achieving proficiency in all the four skills, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing. For beginner level learners, we start out from focusing more on spoken skills and ease students into recognizing and using characters, and then help them to progress gradually in reading and writing passages. Conversations and themes in textbooks for beginning to intermediate learners focus more on everyday topics such as food, lodging, travel, etc., while themes for advanced level students encompass topics pertaining to social problems, news reports, and popular Chinese culture that are more suitable for expressing opinions.

The Challenge of China for Adventurous Students

Virtual reality is no substitute for the real thing when you want to become part of the global village in a cross-cultural experience. With your present command of English plus a knowledge of Chinese (25 percent of the world’s population speak this language), you can communicate with almost everyone in the world. Communication is the name of the game in virtually every field of the humanities and social sciences as well as that of business and the vast cyberspace.

It is generally acknowledged that China and Japan are among the dominant powers in the world, to say nothing of the influence they have had on the Western hemisphere. As the longest, continuous culture in the world, China has much to offer. But communication doesn’t count for much if you have nothing to say or, even if you have something to say, don't know how to say it. Acquiring a knowledge of Chinese can be the most enriching experience of your life. Give it a try!


The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures offers a Chinese major that combines the best of Chinese studies, ancient and modern, with expert training in speaking, reading, and writing the language. Upon this solid language foundation is built a diverse and balanced curriculum of courses in cultural studies, thought systems, literary masterpieces, and modern cinema.


We have a diverse and balanced curriculum of courses in cultural studies, thought systems, literary masterpieces, and cinema. Those courses will equip students with knowledge of both ancient and modern China.


Learn about the three options for students who want to obtain a minor in Chinese.

Heritage Minor

Learn more about a minor option for students of Chinese heritage and others whose oral and aural abilities exceed their reading and writing skills


Once you've declaired a Chinese major in the Department, your major advisor (Stephen Luft) will help you select courses and guide you through the major curriculum. The advisor will also be happy to help you with post-graduation plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn about the Chinese language program further by exploring the frequently asked questions.

Certificate in Asian Studies

To obtain a certificate in Asian Studies, you need two years of an East Asian language. This means if you're a Chinese major or minor, you will not need additional coursework. For more information, visit the Asian Studies Center.

Summer Chinese

There will be a Cool Chinese: Pitt Chinese Language and Culture Summer Camp for high school students.

For more information, please see the Camp Flyer, Registration link, and Recommendation Letter link

Advanced Placement

If you earn an AP score 4 or 5, you should request an interview before enrolling in a language program. If you are placed at the second year level or higher, you will be given 10 credits for CHIN 0001 and CHIN 0002. For further details contact Yi Xu.

Study Abroad & Internships

We encourage our students to study in both the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. A number of Pitt students enroll in many college-level programs in PRC and Taiwan to improve language proficiency and to gain firsthand experience there.

Internships, either as a part of your undergraduate study or undertaken after graduation, will give you a chance to apply your language skills and obtain job experience at the same time in the target culture. We will give you as much assistance as possible in finding an appropriate intern situation.