About the Program

Since offering its first Chinese language courses in 1957-1958, the Chinese language program in the Department of Asian Studies receives over 2000 individual registrations annually, making it the largest, most comprehensive program for Chinese Studies in North America.

In this video, Ryan Walker, an alumnus of ours, introduces UBC’s Chinese Language Program from a student’s perspective. Let’s hear what he has to say!

It is a fundamental policy of the Chinese Language Program that students be placed in courses appropriate to their existing level of ability so that they can learn and develop their language proficiency to a higher level. To meet the special needs of students of diverse backgrounds, we currently offer two separate tracks on all levels (100-400) of language and literature courses.

Our heritage language courses are designed for students who have a strong background in understanding spoken Chinese but who have weaker skills in reading and writing. Even students who have formal education in a Chinese speaking country/region can find the right level of heritage courses for them.

Our non-heritage language courses are designed for foreign language learners who had NO previous exposure to the Chinese language and who need to develop all four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, in addition to cultural understanding.

Our Literature and Classical Chinese courses with a course number above CHIN450 are designed for advanced language or proficient language users for in-depth and thematic studies in Chinese.

All our 400 level courses are Literature and Classical Chinese courses for advanced language learners (who have either completed the 300 level language courses at UBC or received more than 6 years of formal education (up to Grade 12) in Chinese speaking countries/regions). There are two separate tracks for heritage and non-heritage language learners at the 400 level too.

We also offer special courses for Cantonese speakers who have a high level of Chinese literacy but need to learn how to speak standard Mandarin. (See Course description: Mandarin for Cantonese Speakers ).

Students who wish to take ANY CHIN-titled courses must go through a placement procedure online to obtain a written placement approval for course registration. It is our ultimate mission to serve all our students (both heritage and non-heritage) well by maintaining the highest standards of teaching and learning so as to provide a learning environment that will inspire and enable individuals to grow intellectually, be prepared to live and work in a global environment and achieve personal fulfillment.