Chinese Department


Chinese Major

The Chinese major is intended for students who wish to develop an advanced level of proficiency with the Chinese language, a deep understanding of the literary and cultural traditions of classical, modern, and contemporary China, and familiarity with the linguistic tools and methodological approaches used to study them. Over their course of study, Chinese majors are trained to pursue critical inquiry into topics of their own interest, and to design and undertake intellectual projects of various degrees of complexity from inception through completion, culminating in the Senior Thesis. More detail about the Chinese Major can be found under Learning Outcomes


  1. A minimum of five units at the 300 and 400 levels, including one unit of third-year Chinese, one unit of classical Chinese, and one unit of either classical Chinese literature or modern and contemporary Chinese literature.
  2. Humanities 231 and 232—Foundations of Chinese Civilization.
  3. A minimum of one unit in Chinese history, Chinese art history, Chinese anthropology, or Chinese religious thought, to be taken in the relevant departments.
  4. Chinese 470—thesis.
Recommended but not required
  1. An additional unit in Chinese history, Chinese art history, Chinese anthropology, or Chinese religious thought.
  2. Religion 157—The Idea Systems of Chinese Religions.
  3. Any other Asia-related course that the college may offer.

All Chinese majors must also meet divisional and college requirements. Download the Major Planner for Chinese (pre-2019 distribution requirements / 2019- distributions requirements) from the Office of the Registrar.

Life Beyond Reed for Chinese Majors 

Zhang-Qi-Shang-you.jpgAfter graduation, Chinese majors have gone on to find employment in fields in which knowledge of Chinese language and culture have been crucial. In recent years, this has included becoming: an agent for Chinese artists and writers who also represents Hollywood in China; a diplomat representing the International Red Cross; a field scientist for the World Health Organization stationed in China addressing issues of AIDS and SARS; a high-level banker stationed in Hong Kong; and an executive at Nike working in global operations. Other alumni have continued on to graduate programs at schools such as Princeton, Harvard, University of California Berkeley, University of Chicago, Nanjing University, and National Taiwan University. Many more have gone on to pursue non-Chinese related interests but continue to maintain a lifelong appreciation for and interest in Chinese language and culture.