Asian Studies Major, B.A.–Chinese Concentration

Globally, China occupies a prominent position in many respects. With 1.4 billion inhabitants, it is the most populous country in the world. It spans five time zones, has a surface area roughly the size of the United States, and its economy is projected to become the world’s largest before the end of this decade. China is the place of origin of one of the oldest cultural traditions in the world, with written records dating back more than three thousand years. Many elements of the traditional cultures of neighboring East Asian countries (such as Vietnam, Korea, and Japan) can be traced back to China. Finally, rapid economic development over the past few decades has bolstered China’s political and military aspirations to become a global superpower. A knowledge of Chinese language and culture will enable students to explore the long and complex history of China and better understand China’s role in the 21st century.

The Chinese program offers an extensive array of courses in Chinese (Mandarin) language, premodern and modern Chinese and Sinophone literature, history, philosophy, society, and film. This allows students to satisfy foreign language requirements, major or minor in Chinese, or complete a Chinese track M.A. degree. Students benefit from one of the strongest Chinese language curriculum programs in the country and extensive resources, including advanced courses in Chinese, language-intensive study abroad opportunities, Chinese library resources, the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association, the Chinese Living-Learning Residential Community, the student-led Duke–UNC China Leadership Summit, and the Chinese Language Table. Students who complete this major acquire the linguistic and cultural competence to work in various fields including diplomacy, law, health and STEM fields, finance, business, journalism, non-profit organizations, education, and academia.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Asian studies program, students should be able to:

  • Identify or analyze significant aspects of the target cultures by interpreting texts and media
  • Demonstrate proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in the target language
  • Demonstrate experience in the use of the target language outside the language classroom

Requirements

In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

The concentration in Chinese can be pursued along one of two tracks, depending on the student’s initial Chinese language placement. Both tracks require eight courses. Students whose initial language placement is above CHIN 305 or CHIN 313 should consult the department.

Track A

Core Requirements
At least four language courses above CHIN 204, chosen from:12
Advanced Chinese I
Advanced Chinese II
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Readings in Modern Chinese I
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Readings in Modern Chinese II
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
Chinese History in Chinese
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation
Advanced Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
Chinese Internet Literature
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Writing Chinese (in) America: Advanced Studies of a Foreign Literature from United States Homeland
At least two culture courses (chosen from list below)6
Two more courses that may be from either the language list or the culture list6
Additional Requirements
Chinese through level 4 14
Total Hours28
1

The first three levels of Chinese (CHIN) can count toward the General Education Foundations requirement and have not been included as additional hours for the major.

Culture Courses

ASIA 52IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Food in Chinese Culture3
ASIA 55IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Kung-Fu: The Concept of Heroism in Chinese Culture3
ASIA/WGST 56IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Writing Women in Modern China H3
ASIA 65IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Philosophy on Bamboo: Rethinking Early Chinese Thought3
CHIN 150IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Chinese Civilization3
CHIN 242IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Qin Music3
CHIN 244Introduction to Modern Chinese Culture through Cinema3
CHIN 252IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Chinese Culture through Narrative3
CHIN 253IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Language and Society3
CHIN 255IDEAs in Action General Education logo Bandit or Hero: Outlawry in Chinese Literature and Films3
CHIN 346IDEAs in Action General Education logo History as Fiction or Fiction as History? Early Chinese History in Film and Literature3
CHIN 356IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Environmental Literature3
CHIN 361IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Traditional Theater3
CHIN 367IDEAs in Action General Education logo Illustration and the Animation of Text3
ASIA 453Global Shangri-La: Tibet in the Modern World3
CHIN 463IDEAs in Action General Education logo Narrative Ethics in Modern China3
CHIN 464IDEAs in Action General Education logo The City in Modern Chinese Literature and Film3
CHIN 545IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Science Fiction3
CHIN 551IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Poetry in Translation3
CHIN 552IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Prose in Translation3
CHIN 562IDEAs in Action General Education logo Contemporary Chinese Urban Culture and Arts3
ASIA 692HIDEAs in Action General Education logo Senior Honors Thesis II3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Track B

Core Requirements
At least four language courses above CHIN 212, chosen from:12
Advanced Written Chinese
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
Chinese History in Chinese
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation
Advanced Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
Chinese Internet Literature
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Writing Chinese (in) America: Advanced Studies of a Foreign Literature from United States Homeland
At least two culture courses (chosen from list below)6
Two more courses that may be from either the language list or the culture list6
Additional Requirements
CHIN 111 and CHIN 212 10
Total Hours24
1

The first two courses on track B in Chinese (CHIN 111 and CHIN 212) can count toward the General Education Foundations requirement and have not been included as additional hours for the major.

Culture Courses

ASIA 52IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Food in Chinese Culture3
ASIA 55IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Kung-Fu: The Concept of Heroism in Chinese Culture3
ASIA/WGST 56IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Writing Women in Modern China H3
ASIA 65IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Philosophy on Bamboo: Rethinking Early Chinese Thought3
CHIN 150IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Chinese Civilization3
CHIN 242IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Qin Music3
CHIN 244Introduction to Modern Chinese Culture through Cinema3
CHIN 252IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Chinese Culture through Narrative3
CHIN 253IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Language and Society3
CHIN 255IDEAs in Action General Education logo Bandit or Hero: Outlawry in Chinese Literature and Films3
CHIN 346IDEAs in Action General Education logo History as Fiction or Fiction as History? Early Chinese History in Film and Literature3
CHIN 356IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Environmental Literature3
CHIN 361IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Traditional Theater3
CHIN 367IDEAs in Action General Education logo Illustration and the Animation of Text3
ASIA 453Global Shangri-La: Tibet in the Modern World3
CHIN 463IDEAs in Action General Education logo Narrative Ethics in Modern China3
CHIN 464IDEAs in Action General Education logo The City in Modern Chinese Literature and Film3
CHIN 545IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Science Fiction3
CHIN 551IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Poetry in Translation3
CHIN 552IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Prose in Translation3
CHIN 562IDEAs in Action General Education logo Contemporary Chinese Urban Culture and Arts3
ASIA 692HIDEAs in Action General Education logo Senior Honors Thesis II3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Additional Notes for Both Tracks

Approved language courses taken in UNC–Chapel Hill-sponsored study abroad programs may count in the concentration. However, study abroad courses may not substitute for any of the culture courses, which must be taken in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. No more than one first-year seminar or senior honors thesis course may be included among the culture courses.

Placement credit (PL) may not be used to meet core requirements for the concentration.

With the approval of the associate chair of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, a student may count a course in directed readings (ASIA 496 or CHIN 496) in the concentration in Chinese. To register for ASIA 496 or CHIN 496, a student must obtain the approval of the associate chair and the faculty member who will supervise the project.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans can be used as a guide to identify the courses required to complete the major and other requirements needed for degree completion within the expected eight semesters. The actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Students should meet with their academic advisor to create a degree plan that is specific and unique to their interests. The sample plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UNC–Chapel Hill in the fall term. Some courses may not be offered every term.

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies requires that all students with prior knowledge of Chinese take a placement test. Their beginning language course at UNC is decided by the placement result (not by test credit or transfer credit).  That initial placement also determines which track the student will be on; the Chinese language program has two tracks, A (regular) and B (heritage).

A student’s initial placement is the most important determinant of how long it will take to complete the major. It’s also important to be aware that almost all Chinese language courses are only offered in fall or spring, but not both.

Sample Plan One

This plan is for a student who either is a beginner in Chinese, or has some background but has placed into CHIN 101.

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Major Courses
CHIN 101 Elementary Chinese I (fall only) 4
CHIN 102 Elementary Chinese II (spring only) 4
Major culture course 1 3
Hours 22
Sophomore Year
CHIN 203 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Intermediate Chinese I (fall only) 4
CHIN 204 Intermediate Chinese II (spring only) 4
Major culture course 3
Hours 11
Junior Year
CHIN 305 Advanced Chinese I (fall only) 3
CHIN 306 Advanced Chinese II (spring only) 3
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Senior Year
CHIN 407 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Readings in Modern Chinese I (fall only) 3
CHIN 408 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Readings in Modern Chinese II (spring only) 3
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Total Hours 51
1

Students can also fulfill this requirement by taking a first-year seminar in the major.

Sample Plan Two

This plan is for a student who has placed into CHIN 203.

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Major Courses
CHIN 203 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Intermediate Chinese I (fall only) 4
CHIN 204 Intermediate Chinese II (spring only) 4
Major culture course 1 3
Hours 22
Sophomore Year
CHIN 305 Advanced Chinese I (fall only) 3
CHIN 306 Advanced Chinese II (spring only) 3
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Junior Year
CHIN 407 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Readings in Modern Chinese I (fall only) 3
CHIN 408 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Readings in Modern Chinese II (spring only) 3
Hours 6
Senior Year
Select two courses from the following: 6
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
Major culture course
Hours 6
Total Hours 43
1

Students can also fulfill this requirement by taking a first-year seminar in the major.

Sample Plan Three

This plan is for a student who has placed into CHIN 111 (first course on the heritage track). 

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Major Courses
CHIN 111 Elementary Written Chinese (fall only) 3
CHIN 212 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Intermediate Written Chinese (spring only) 3
Major culture course 1 3
Hours 20
Sophomore Year
CHIN 313 Advanced Written Chinese (fall only) 3
One of the following courses (spring only): 3
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
Chinese History in Chinese
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation
Advanced Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Junior Year
Select two courses from the following list: 6
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
Chinese History in Chinese
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation
Advanced Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
Chinese Internet Literature
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Writing Chinese (in) America: Advanced Studies of a Foreign Literature from United States Homeland
Hours 6
Senior Year
Select two courses from the following list: 6
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
Chinese History in Chinese
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation
Advanced Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
Chinese Internet Literature
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Writing Chinese (in) America: Advanced Studies of a Foreign Literature from United States Homeland
Major culture course
Hours 6
Total Hours 41
1

Students can also fulfill this requirement by taking a first-year seminar in the major.

Sample Plan Four

This plan is for a student who has placed into CHIN 313 (third semester on the heritage track). 

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Major Courses
CHIN 313 Advanced Written Chinese (fall only) 3
One of the following courses (spring): 3
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
Chinese History in Chinese
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation
Advanced Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
Major culture course 1 3
Hours 20
Sophomore Year
Select two courses from the following list: 6
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
Chinese History in Chinese
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation
Advanced Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
Chinese Internet Literature
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Writing Chinese (in) America: Advanced Studies of a Foreign Literature from United States Homeland
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Junior Year
Select one course from the following list: 3
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
Chinese History in Chinese
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation
Advanced Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
Chinese Internet Literature
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Writing Chinese (in) America: Advanced Studies of a Foreign Literature from United States Homeland
Major culture course
Hours 3
Senior Year
Select one course from the following list: 3
Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting
Business Communication in Chinese
Chinese Tea Culture and Its Changing Landscape
Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Classical Chinese
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Philosophers and Their Modern Reincarnation
Advanced Topics in Chinese Literature and Language
Chinese Internet Literature
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Writing Chinese (in) America: Advanced Studies of a Foreign Literature from United States Homeland
Major culture course
Hours 3
Total Hours 35
1

Students can also fulfill this requirement by taking a first-year seminar in the major.

Special Opportunities in Asian Studies

Honors in Asian Studies

A candidate for honors in Asian studies will write a substantial paper under the guidance of a faculty member. While researching and writing the honors paper, the student will enroll in ASIA 691H and ASIA 692H. ASIA 692H may count as one of the interdisciplinary courses for the major; ASIA 691H will count for elective credit only. In the case of the concentrations in Arab cultures, Chinese, Japanese, Korean studies, and South Asian studies, ASIA 692H may count toward the major in the concentration.

A committee composed of at least two faculty members will examine the candidate. To be accepted as an honors candidate, a student must meet the University’s requirement of a minimum overall grade point average of 3.3, secure the consent of a faculty member in the Asian studies field to act as advisor for the project, and submit a proposal to the associate chair of Asian studies for approval.

Departmental Involvement

The department sponsors a variety of cultural events — lectures, film series, performances, and more — as well as social and informational events where students can get to know each other and faculty members in an informal setting. Faculty members in the department serve as advisors to some of the many Asia-related student organizations on campus, such as the Japan Club, Chinese Conversation Club, Hebrew Table, and more.

Languages across the Curriculum

The department participates in the Languages across the Curriculum (LAC) program, offering a one-credit-hour discussion section that is conducted in Arabic, Chinese, or Hindi-Urdu but associated with a variety of courses offered in English, both in Asian studies and in such other departments as history or religious studies. This LAC recitation section offers students the opportunity to use their Arabic, Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, or Korean language skills in a broader intellectual context.

Libraries

The University has rich collections of books and periodicals on Asia in the relevant Asian languages, as well as in English and other Western languages. Experts in the collection development department for Davis Library are available to help students locate the materials they need. The University also has an outstanding collection of Asian films and other audiovisual materials, housed in the Media Resource Center at House Library.

Speaker Series

The department sponsors an annual speaker series. These events include lectures by prominent artists, scholars, and writers and are often cosponsored by other units on campus.

Study Abroad

UNC–Chapel Hill sponsors several study programs (summer, semester, and yearlong) in China, Egypt, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam. Asian studies majors are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities to live and study in an Asian setting; UNC-approved study abroad programs also satisfy the experiential education requirement. For further information on these programs and other study abroad opportunities in Asia, contact the UNC Study Abroad Office.

Undergraduate Research

The department actively encourages undergraduate student research. Through classes, advising, and office hours, faculty members guide students toward defining areas of interest, conceptualizing research questions, identifying sources, and writing academic papers. Students may pursue research through independent studies, the senior honors thesis, and study abroad research opportunities such as the Burch Fellowship. Asian studies students have received a variety of competitive research support and travel awards, won regional contests for undergraduate papers, published papers in academic journals, and presented their work at such events as the Senior Colloquium in Asian Studies and the campuswide Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research in the spring.

Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Visit Program Website

New West 113, CB# 3267

(919) 962-4294

Chinese Program Advisor

Gang Yue

yuegang@email.unc.edu

Chair

Morgan Pitelka

mpitelka@unc.edu

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Robin Visser

rvisser@email.unc.edu

Student Services Specialist

Ash Barnes

wow@unc.edu