Chinese Department


Frequently Asked Questions

A succinct overview of the Chinese department program is provided in the For Prospective Students page. Responses to questions about specific departmental practices and policies are listed below.

Do you teach simplified or traditional script?

The Chinese Department at Reed teaches both simplified and traditional script from the beginning.  Students are expected to be able to read both scripts but are required to be able to write just one. In class, you can therefore expect that handouts, exams, quizzes, and other exercises typically will not provide you the same information written in both scripts but rather will alternate between them (e.g., one sentence or paragraph written only in simplified followed by another written only in traditional).

I’m a native speaker. Do I need to take the Chinese Placement Exam?

The Chinese Placement Exam serves the purpose of assessing the language competency of non-native speakers in order to determine which Chinese language course would be most suitable. For students who possess advanced-level or higher in Chinese and would like to register for the CHIN-designated courses in Chinese literature, media, and film, please talk to the instructor of the course.

Can I audit Chinese language courses?

Individuals may audit Chinese language courses at Reed with instructor permission. For information, see “Auditing” in the Reed Guidebook.

Can I take language classes using credit/no credit grading?

Chinese department policy on credit/no credit grading is consistent with that of the college. For more information, see “Credit/no credit grading” in the Guidebook.

What’s the difference between Chin 3xx and LitC 3xx?

All Chinese literature, media, and film courses are cross-listed as Chinand LitC. Students registered under the LitC designation work entirely with English-language materials. Students enrolled in Chin will work with the same materials as those registered in LitC but will also engage with the course topic using Chinese-language materials, most often in the form of an additional weekly meeting in which you read, translate, and discuss Chinese-language materials with the course instructor and fellow classmates.

Can courses I took at a different school count towards the language requirement for a Chinese major or minor?

The Chinese department accepts transfer credits for first- through third-year modern Chinese courses taken at other accredited institutions. Students will still be required to take Reed’s Chinese placement exam in order to determine which language course at Reed would be the best fit.

The Chinese department can also accept transfer credits for upper-level literature, media, and film courses taken at other accredited institutions so long as those courses fulfill the following requirements:

  • Courses must be taught in Chinese literature departments by literature faculty. Exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the chair.
  • Courses may not be introductory-level and/or survey courses. They must require reading of primary and/or secondary source documents (therefore, courses that use only or primarily textbooks are not eligible) and have a substantial written component.
  • Courses taken online must require some kind of participatory element. Examples may include forum or blog posts or virtual discussion sections.
  • Courses may not replicate classes taken at Reed.

Transfer credit forms need to be approved by the department chair. When requesting approval, please provide the following information: Course Number, Title, and Instructor; Reading List (if available) or Syllabus to demonstrate that reading, writing, and participatory elements meet departmental criteria.

More information on transferring credits at Reed

How do I declare a major or minor in Chinese?

To declare a Chinese major, students should complete a Declaration of major form and meet with a Chinese faculty member, who will discuss curricular expectations of majoring in Chinese and sign the form. The department website contains further details on requirements for the Chinese major.

To declare a minor, students should complete the Declaration of Minor form and submit it to the registrar’s office. This form requires approval from both the academic adviser and from a faculty member in the minor field to indicate that the curricular expectations of the minor have been explained and discussed with the student.

Can I major in Chinese and another degree?

Students can choose to double-major, with Chinese as one of those majors. Double majors are relatively rare at Reed as they are required to write two theses, one for each major field. If you are interested in completing a double major with Chinese, please make sure to discuss your plans with a Chinese faculty member as early as possible.

Is there a study abroad requirement?

While study abroad is strongly encouraged, there is no study abroad requirement for the Chinese major. More information about Study Abroad Programs and Resources can be found on the Chinese department website.

What if I still have questions about majoring or minoring in Chinese?

If you have questions, we encourage you to approach the chair of the Chinese department, who will be happy to help.