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Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

The Chinese major is offered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and includes courses in the language, culture, literature and linguistics of China. Students studying Chinese progress from an elementary working knowledge of the language to oral and written fluency. Once students are familiar with basic patterns of pronunciation and language structure, they are introduced gradually to the unique writing system of the language. The rich body of Chinese literature is first studied in English translation; as students progress in the major and develop their language skills, they continue their readings in Chinese. 

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in Chinese within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students should contact the undergraduate studies director in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and in Arts and Sciences Advising.

Chinese majors are required to design their programs from courses in language, culture, literature and linguistics. Majors must complete at least 33 credit hours in Chinese and Chinese-related work. Programs should be planned in consultation with an academic advisor assigned by the undergraduate studies director. 

Prerequisite courses include Chinese 1101 through 1103 or 2141 and Chinese 2231 or 2232. These courses do not apply toward the major. Additional electives and general education requirements totaling 121 hours are required by the College of Arts and Sciences for graduation.

Success in Chinese requires a commitment to daily preparation and a willingness on the part of the student to communicate in a variety of scenarios and contexts provided in class. In addition, students may consider and plan for a study abroad program as soon as they have decided to major in Chinese.

Students interested in studying abroad during their junior or senior year can get specific information about various programs from their coordinating advisor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.

The following are some study abroad programs:

  • China: Minority Cultures on the Southwest Frontiers (two weeks following spring semester)
  • China Global gateway Study Abroad Progam
  • Intensive Language Study in Suzhou, PRC
  • capstone study abroad at various Chinese universities and internships for advanced students

For more information regarding any of the programs listed above, refer to the Office of International Affairs.

Chinese is applicable in a variety of settings in the United States and abroad. Mastery of Chinese allows students to consider careers in such fields as education, government, international trade, banking, print or electronic media, tourism, or art. Many employers are eager to hire graduates who are fluent in Chinese because their businesses interact with Chinese speakers.

Careers in which Chinese is the primary emphasis include teaching Chinese at all levels; interpreting and translating for the United Nations, government, or for private and public organizations; and a variety of positions in the travel and tourism industry at home or abroad such as flight attendant, travel agent and tour guide.

Careers in which proficiency in Chinese is a good secondary tool include banking and finance, business, sales, export purchasing, foreign market analysis, journalism, foreign correspondence, science and research, library science, hotel management, publishing, radio broadcasting, and teaching English in China to employees in corporations abroad.

All who study Chinese find that the experience sharpens their understanding of language in general and makes them more attentive to nuance in their native languages, thus helping them exercise a greater amount of control over their own lives, no matter what their eventual fields of interest or occupations.

Ohio State graduates with Chinese language majors have chosen jobs such as buyer for Unishops Inc., trade specialist for the Ohio Department of Development, international traffic analyst for Firestone Tire and Rubber, and president of Imex International Inc.

Beginning salaries depend on candidates’ skills and experience and whether Chinese is of primary or secondary importance in daily job performance. Chinese language graduates find their marketable skills considerably enriched by their humanities education.

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There are several tracks to study Chinese language at Ohio State, including the regular track, the intensive track and individualized instruction track. A summer, intensive course in first-level Chinese is also available. Qualified undergraduate students can also take courses in the Chinese Flagship Program of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, an MA program for the advanced study of Chinese that prepares for work in Chinese related careers.

Interested in a business career?

Check out the Business Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a career in business.