BA in Chinese Language & Literature

Yunmo Li (left) and Mark Schaefer, BA '17, Chinese Language and Literature and Asian Studies, at a Lunar New Year celebration

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese learn the language while studying literature, history, political science, anthropology, international affairs and culture. Intensive language and elective courses suit a wide variety of interests, with topics including Business Chinese, Readings in Modern Chinese, Poetry of the Tang and Song Periods, Taiwanese Literature and Film and more.

The BA program is excellent preparation for a variety of careers as well as the Master of Arts in Chinese Language and Culture.

Questions about the Chinese major? Contact Liana Chen.


Departmental Honors

Students may apply to earn special honors in Chinese to be noted on their transcript. Department faculty will recommend the student for special honors only if they meet the requirements for eligibility:

  • Meet GW’s special honors requirements 
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.7 or higher in the major and 3.4 overall
  • Complete an honors thesis through CHIN 4199: Proseminar and receive a grade of A- or A. Qualified students will be invited to take the course by the beginning of the fall semester of the senior year. Only if a committee of three faculty members approves the completed project will special honors be recommended. 

Chinese Proseminar

The two-course Chinese proseminar (CHIN 4198-4199) is recommended for all Chinese majors, and required for students who wish to be considered for departmental honors. The seminar prepares students to consult Chinese reference works, both traditional and modern. Students engage in one-on-one tutorials and seminar meetings to discuss literary criticism and original research. By the end of the course, students complete a thesis chosen from a wide variety of topics, from Christianity to Nüshu script.

Sample Honors Theses

  • Nicolas Gangi-Saroukhanioff: "Writing the Revolution: Literature and Communism in Mao’s China and the German Democratic Republic" (Advisor: J. Chaves; Reader: L. Chen)
  • Easton Weizer: "Brand Localization in the Chinese Market: A Linguistic Analysis and Categorization of Name Translation Strategies" (Advisor: H. Dong; Readers: M. Wei, P. Zhang)
  • Jake Messick: "China's Forgotten Simplification Scheme: A Cross-Disciplinary Analysis of the Failure of the Second Round of Simplified Chinese Characters" (Advisor: H. Dong; Reader: H. Zhang)
  • Andrew Butt: "Maidens, Matchmakers, and Men: Exploring Gender, Passion, and Morality in a Selection of Feng Menglong’s Short Stories" (Advisor: J. Chaves; Reader: L. Chen)
  • Steven Bernstein: "Bao Zheng: Comparing History with Myth" (Advisor: L. Chen; Readers: H. Dong, M. Wei)
  • Jackson Smith: "Ah Q in the 21st Century: The Presence of New Historicism in the Rereading of The True Story of Ah Q" (Advisor: Q. Zhou; Readers: L. Chen, H. Zhang)
  • Yichen Xie: "The Parrot Cumbered By its Own Flair: A Study on Wen T'ing-Yun and the 'Lowbred' Early Tz'u-Poetry" (Advisor: J. Chaves)
  • Rui Jia Zheng: "Nüshu script: A space for idealism" (Advisor: H. Dong; Reader: L. Chen)
  • Katie Jarrett: "China's language policy and its effect on bilingual Tibetan speakers" (Advisor: H. Dong; Readers: H. Zhang)
  • Andrew Allard: "Linguistic exchanges between Chinese and Khmer from Prehistory to Modern Cambodia" (Advisor: H. Dong)
  • Elizabeth Telford: "A Look at Christianity in China as Portrayed through Wu Li’s Poems on the Seven Deadly Sins" (Advisor: J. Chaves)
  • Mark Schaefer: “Ghosts and Social Critique in Yu Hua’s The Seventh Day” (Advisor: L. Chen; Reader: H. Dong)


Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Undergraduate Programs.

39 credits in major-specificcourses.

Prerequisite courses
CHIN 1001Beginning Chinese I
CHIN 1002Beginning Chinese II
CHIN 2003Intermediate Chinese I
CHIN 2004Intermediate Chinese II
Required for the major
CHIN 3105Intermediate Chinese III
CHIN 3106Intermediate Chinese IV
CHIN 3109Introduction to Classical Chinese I
CHIN 3110Introduction to Classical Chinese II
CHIN 3111Chinese Literature in Translation I
CHIN 3112Chinese Literature in Translation II
CHIN 4107Readings in Modern Chinese I
or CHIN 4108 Readings in Modern Chinese II
CHIN 4121WAdvanced Conversation and Composition I
or CHIN 4122W Advanced Conversation and Composition II
or CHIN 4119W Business Chinese
Three additional upper-level courses (9 credits) in Chinese language and culture, selected from the following list:
CHIN 3116Language Policy of China
CHIN 3123Introduction to Chinese Linguistics
CHIN 3124Introduction to Chinese Linguistics
CHIN 3136WChinese Women in Myth, Literature, and Film
or WGSS 3136W Chinese Women in Myth, Literature, and Film
CHIN 3163Taiwanese Literature and Film
CHIN 3171Poetry of the Tang and Song Periods I
CHIN 3172Poetry of the Tang and Song Periods II
CHIN 3173Chinese Drama and Theatre
CHIN 3175WDream of the Red Chamber
CHIN 4108Readings in Modern Chinese II
CHIN 4119WBusiness Chinese
CHIN 4122WAdvanced Conversation and Composition II
CHIN 4179Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature I
CHIN 4180WTwentieth-Century Chinese Literature II
CHIN 4185Directed Reading I
CHIN 4186WDirected Reading II
CHIN 4198Proseminar: Readings for the Major in Chinese Language and Literature
CHIN 4199Proseminar: Readings for the Major in Chinese Language and Literature
Two additional courses related to China (6 credits), selected from the following:
AH 2190East Asian Art
ANTH 3705Anthropology of East Asia
ANTH 3709Japanese Culture Through Film
or JAPN 3162 Japanese Culture Through Film
EALL 3811Confucian Literature in East Asia
or REL 2811 Confucian Literature in East Asia
EALL 3814Religion and Philosophy in East Asia
or EALL 3814W Religion and Philosophy in East Asia
or REL 2814 Religion and Philosophy in East Asia
EALL 3831Introduction to Daoism
or EALL 3831W Introduction to Daoism
or REL 2831 Introduction to Daoism
ECON 2169Introduction to the Economy of China
HIST 3610Imperial China (Song-Qing)
HIST 3611History of Modern China
HIST 3614Writing Modern Chinese History
or HIST 3614W Writing Modern Chinese History
HIST 3615History of Chinese Communism
IAFF 2091East Asia-Past and Present
JAPN 3111Japanese Literature in Translation I
JAPN 3112Japanese Literature in Translation II
KOR 3111Korean Literature in Translation I
KOR 3112Korean Literature in Translation II
PSC 2370Comparative Politics of China and Northeast Asia
PSC 2371Politics and Foreign Policy of China
PSC 2475International Relations of East Asia
REL 2601Buddhism