Study the most spoken language in the world

With nearly a billion speakers, Chinese is far and away the language spoken by the most people on earth. The ability to speak this language has never been more valuable, as growing interest in China is matched only by its growing influence. From the increased openness reflected in the recent Olympic Games to phenomenal growth and productivity and enhanced economic prosperity, China will continue to be a powerful world wide force for decades to come.

The Chinese Field of Study offers Franklin & Marshall students excellent opportunities to learn the Chinese language, study its history, and experience the beautiful and unique Chinese culture.

In this program, students will receive intensive language training in the classroom, and the learning experience will be greatly enhanced by after-class activities such as individual sessions with instructors, culture-related activities, field studies, and opportunities for study abroad.

With a very low student-faculty ratio, students enjoy optimum opportunities to develop and practice their speaking, writing, and listening skills. Faculty recommend two consecutive years of study to develop fluency and to obtain a solid understanding of the history and culture of China.

Additional Course Information 

To Declare an Area Studies Minor

A Chinese Language Area Studies minor consists of six courses, a combination of language courses and content courses. No more than four of these courses can be Chinese language courses, from point of placement. Additionally, at least two of the courses for the minor should be 300-400 level courses. Courses can be taken through the Chinese program, other departments at F&M, and international programs. Students should consult with the Program Director of Chinese to formulate their educational plan for the minor. 

Please refer to the table below for a list of regularly offered China/Chinese-related courses. Additional courses may be approved by the Directors of the International Studies Program and Chinese Language Program.  Please download the worksheet below the table to start the minor declaration process.

chinese courses


  • I took Professor Cable's anthropology course abroad in China! We visited Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu and Tibet. This is a stop in the mountains on our way to the Mt. Everest Base Camp. The prayer flags behind me have prayers printed on them for good luck and protection. In the Buddhism belief, as the wind blows through the flags, the prayers are being said. Tibet was breathtaking and I hope to return one day!
Individual sessions

Students will have an opportunity to meet with one of their instructors every week to practice conversations and receive help with their course work.

Field studies

Periodic field trips to Chinese communities nearby will be organized for students to practice what they have learned in classrooms and experience the Chinese American culture.

Study abroad

Each summer, interested students will have an opportunity to travel to China and enjoy the luxury of learning Chinese in an immersion environment. This program will allow students to have first-hand experiences with Chinese history and culture and the language used in real life. It will also help students enhance their real-world communication skills and gain a better understanding and appreciation of the Chinese history and culture. Depending on demand and resources, 1-year  study abroad programs in China may also be arranged for students who have completed two years of Chinese coursework at F&M.

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