Mandarin Chinese is the most widely-spoken language in the world and the third most spoken language in the U.S. As an official language of China, Taiwan, and Singapore, its economic and geopolitical importance grows annually, and Chinese scientific, scholarly, literary, and artistic contributions are recognized globally. Learning Chinese offers a gateway to cultures and histories spanning millennia and continents, and prepares students to participate in MIT-China programs and our IAP-in-Shenzhen class.

Chinese Studies at MIT offers two distinct tracks: Regular and Streamlined. The Regular track is for first-time learners, while Streamlined subjects are geared to students with some level of spoken Chinese competency without equivalent literacy. Both the Regular and Streamlined tracks employ innovative pedagogical methods, including multimedia projects to integrate language and culture learning that grow student proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Language for special purposes subjects, including 21G.120 Business Chinese, prepare students to use Chinese after they leave MIT. Chinese Studies also incorporates a focus on Chinese cultural studies through classes taught in English, and addressing topics from Chinese history, to modern society, literature, film and global immigration.

Subjects in Chinese Studies may be applied to the Chinese Concentration and minor programs, and the major, minor and Concentration in Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies. Learn more about the Chinese Concentration and minor program requirements at the Academic Programs page. Information on Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies programs is available through SHASS. Advisors for these programs are below. Students uncertain what level of Chinese language to take should refer to placement information. Information on transfer credit is available here.

Chinese Concentration: Haohsiang Liao
Chinese Minor: Tristan Brown
Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies Concentration/Minor/Major: Sana Aiyar
Global Languages Chinese Studies group: Tong Chen | Panpan Gao | Min-Min Liang | Haohsiang Liao | Kang Zhou | Baoli Yang | Yang Yang

Fall 2024

21G.101/151 Chinese I (Regular)
21G.103 Chinese III (Regular)
21G.105 Chinese V (Regular)
21G.107/157 Chinese I (Streamlined)
21G.109 Chinese III (Streamlined)
21G.111 Chinese Calligraphy
21G.113 Chinese V (Streamlined)
21G.121 Chinese for Professional Communication
21G.041 Foundations of East Asian Literature and Culture: From Confucius to the Beats
21G.043/133 From Yellow Peril to Model Minority: Asian American History to 1968
21G.044/195 Classics of Chinese Literature in Translation
21H.151 Dynastic China
21H.186 Nature and Environment in China
21T.241 China on the Stage

IAP 2025

21G.101/151 Chinese I (Regular)
21G.111 Chinese Calligraphy
21G.S04 Special Subject: IAP Chinese Abroad
21G.S05 Special Subject: IAP Chinese Abroad

21G.S04 IAP Chinese Abroad – Intermediate
This class consolidates the foundations of Chinese and continues developing students’ skills in aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Through immersion and site visits to Buddhist temples, cultural sites, and historical attractions, students gain a deeper understanding of the local community and culture. Moreover, students will be paired with language partners to practice conversational Chinese through social interactive learning and work on mini projects that cater to their academic interests.

21G.S05 IAP Chinese Abroad – Advanced
This class develops students’ advanced skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing through various topics related to history, culture, and social aspects of the chosen study abroad site. It aims to enhance students’ language proficiency and advance their understanding of Chinese culture and society. Students will be paired with language partners to engage in conversations that inspire and explore their interests on mini projects.