Academic program

The Chinese major is built around a structured sequence of instruction in language skills leading to competency in spoken and written Mandarin, with classical Chinese taught at the advanced level. Emphasis is placed on familiarizing students with the rich cultural heritage of China's 4,000-year history, which is transmitted and embodied by the native language of more than one billion people. The program strongly recommends that majors spend their junior year on a departmentally recognized study-abroad program in mainland China or Taiwan.

Major Requirements

The major consists of a minimum of twelve courses that must include:

1) Language:
a) CHI 101–102. Beginning Chinese I and II.
CHI 201–202. Intermediate Chinese I and II.
CHI 301–302. Upper-Level Modern Chinese I and II.

b) One course at the 400-level from among the following:
CHI 401. Advanced Chinese I.
CHI 402. Advanced Chinese II.
CHI 415. Readings in Classical Chinese.
CHI 401 and/or 402 may be used in fulfillment of either this requirement or (a) above but not both.

Students with previous experience in Chinese who begin their study of Chinese at Bates at the 201 level or above may fulfill the seven-language-course requirement by taking all available Chinese language courses offered through the Bates program, transferring in one or two Advanced Placement credits (with a score of four or five), and by taking additional language courses from a college-approved Chinese language program (normally during the fall, winter, or summer of their junior year). Students enrolled in college-approved study-abroad programs may earn up to two Bates language credits per semester of study.

Students who enter at the 401 level and have difficulty completing seven Chinese language courses during their time at Bates should consider electing the Chinese track of the East Asian studies major. Students who enter at the 401 level and specifically want to major in Chinese, but find that they are one or two language credits short of the seven-language course requirement may in rare circumstances (for example, if they have taken all available Chinese courses in our program, and if personal circumstances prevent them from taking additional language courses elsewhere) petition the program chair to allow one or two elective Chinese courses to substitute for the remaining language course(s).

2) Literature and Culture:
a) AS/CI 207. Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation.

b) Two courses from among the following:
AS/CI 223. Communism, Capitalism, and Cannibalism: New and Emerging Voices in Chinese Literature.
AS/CI 225. Art and Politics in China.
CHI 415. Readings in Classical Chinese, also may be used to fulfill part of this requirement if not being used toward fulfillment of requirement (1b) above.
CHI s21. Chinese Language, Culture, Health, and Chinese Traditional Medicine.
CHI s23. Science Fiction from China: From the Rabbit in the Moon to the Three-Body Problem and Beyond.
Any first-year seminar on China.

Students may also apply, at most, one of the following courses toward the fulfillment of this requirement:

AS/HI 110. East Asia between Tradition and Modernity.
AS/HI 171. China and Its Cultures.
AV/AS 234. Chinese Arts and Visual Culture.
AV/AS 246. Visual Narratives: Storytelling in East Asian Art.
INDS 266. Environmental History of China.
AS/HI 274. China in Revolution.
AS/HI 301S. Environmental History of China.
AS/RE 348. Epics of Asia: Myth and Religion.
AS/HI s15. Sport, Gender, and the Body in Modern China.

3) Thesis Sequence:
a) ASIA 320. Individual and Society in East Asia.

b) CHI 457 or CHI 458. Senior Thesis. Students are expected to utilize some source materials in Chinese in conducting research for the thesis. Qualified students may elect to write the thesis in Chinese.

Courses Taken Abroad

Students may petition the program to have courses taken in their study-abroad program applied toward the fulfillment of requirements (1a) (up to two credits per semester of study) and (2b) above.

Pass/Fail Grading Option

Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the Chinese major.

Advanced Placement

Students who receive a score of four on the Chinese Advanced Placement examination may receive credit for CHI 102. Those who have received a score of five may receive credit for CHI 201 and an unspecified credit that counts toward the Chinese major.


A minor requires seven courses, six of which must be Chinese language courses. At least one of the seven courses must involve the study of literature or culture. A student may petition to have up to three comparable courses, completed at other institutions in the United States or abroad, apply toward the minor.

Pass/Fail Grading Option

Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the minor in Chinese.