Be purposeful

A campus near a lake
Looking up at the tower of Ira Allen chapel
Engaging classroom lectures
Classroom learning

Mandarin Chinese is an ancient language, but it also the language of the present and the future. 

One fifth of the planet speaks Chinese, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world. Our program emphasizes a deep exposure to Chinese language, literature and civilization, because understanding the culture behind the language is an important element in learning to write and speak Chinese effectively. Employers in business, education, government, finance and many other fields are looking for people who can speak Chinese and operate successfully in a Chinese cultural context.

Major requirements

Beyond the classroom

Chinese students teaching elem students Three University of Vermont seniors recently completed their last few credits by teaching Mandarin to students in a Burlington elementary school. Rutland, Vt., native Ian Reilly on Wednesday taught a class  the word "Miàntiáo," (pronounced: mee-an-tee-ow) or noodles in English. He wriggled his arms in a wave-like gesture and asked the students to repeat after him. He and the other student-teachers Nicholas Palmer and Lily Kim (pictured here) taught the students six words for foods that are eaten in China including: Jiǎozi (gee-ode-zah), or dumplings, in English.

"What I find most interesting is how learning Chinese is connecting the Nepali students with their own culture," said Ying Hu, a Department of Asian Languages and Literature professor at UVM. Hu described how a student, after writing her Chinese name under her English name, also wrote her Nepali name, displaying all three with pride. This summer Hu is continuing the language instruction practicum anthropology professor Emily Manetta began last year.

Manetta's grant-funded pilot program made Mandarin and Japanese available last year to elementary school students at no cost to the district. The UVM students improved their language proficiency through teaching and acquired a marketable skill.

- Photo courtesy of Nicole Higgins DeSmet, Burlington Free Press.


  • International Business
  • Translator/Interpreter
  • Teaching English in China
  • Teaching Chinese in U.S.

Where alumni work

  • Albany Molecular Research, Inc.
  • Columbia University Nursing Program
  • Duvel Moortgat
  • English First
  • IES Abroad (China)
  • Morgan Stainley (Shanghai)
  • Porche A.G. (Shanghai)
  • Saint Johnsbury Academy (Chinese Language Teacher)
  • Small Dogs Electronics
  • TD Ameritrade
  • University of Vermont Medical Center

Graduate Schools

  • Emory University
  • Georgetown University
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Middlebury College
  • Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS)
  • The New School
  • New York University
  • St. Michael's College
  • SUNY at Buffalo
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • SUNY at Stony Brook
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Related Information


Requirements: At least 15 credit hours of Chinese with at least nine of those at or above the 3000-level, including CHIN 3200. Three credits of language study beyond CHIN 3200 may be substituted with three credit hours of Chinese literature at or above the 2000-level. Download the Student Worksheet for Chinese Minor (PDF).

View the UVM catalog requirements for the Chinese minor.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the Program in Chinese  at UVM, Majors should be able to:

  • Speaking/Listening: Understand spoken Chinese/Japanese and express one's opinion concerning a variety of social topics, and be able to conduct an oral presentation in Chinese/Japanese.
  • Reading: Read and comprehend written texts in Chinese/Japanese from a variety of forms and contexts (e.g., newspapers, essay collections, novels).
  • Writing: Express own thoughts and summarize readings in one's own words in written Chinese/Japanese.
  • Literature: Identify and describe major authors, works, features, forms, and styles of Chinese/Japanese literature from premodern and/or modern eras.
  • Analyze and interpret works of Chinese/Japanese poetry, prose, and drama, read both in translation and in the original Chinese/Japanese, using terms appropriate to each genre.
  • Situate and evaluate Chinese/Japanese literature in its social, historical, intellectual, and religious contexts.
  • Research:Use a variety of Chinese/Japanese reference works and sources, including dictionaries and encyclopedias in digital and hardcopy form.
  • Conduct independent research on topics in Chinese/Japanese literature and/or China/Japan related topics, and effectively communicate the results.