(Offered within the Department of Asian Studies)

Chinese puts you in touch with 1.3 billion people and with a culture still vital after more than 3,000 years. Already the second-largest economy in the world, with an annual economic growth rate more than double that of the U.S., China is also a nuclear-armed military power playing an increasingly large role in Asia. Our country critically needs proficient speakers of Chinese, not only in government service, but also in business, law, journalism, and technology. But with few exceptions, Americans visit China unable to speak the language. St. Olaf has taught Chinese since 1973 and is one of only a few colleges in the Midwest that offers four years of language study, an active study abroad program, and a broad selection of related courses in art, economics, history, literature, philosophy, politics and religion.

The Chinese Major

To fulfill a Chinese major, students will demonstrate both linguistic and cultural competence.

For linguistic and language skills, the Chinese language major students will possess proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing at the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Intermediate-High level or above as well as metalinguistic and intercultural awareness of the use of Chinese language in different social milieus.

Regarding cultural knowledge, students will have the ability to analyze, interpret, and critique various discourses and cultural productions such as literature, art, history, religion, philosophy, and politics in both social-cultural and global-contemporary contexts.

Intended Learning Outcomes of the Major

Special Programs

Since 1984, St. Olaf has had a sister-school relationship with East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, China, a city that has been the focus of China’s trade and cultural exchange with the West for 150 years. Students with two years of study of Chinese language are encouraged to spend either the fall semester or spring semester on either our Term in China program in Shanghai or at one of the institutions affiliated with our Term in Taiwan program.