Bachelor of Arts in Chinese: Concentration in Chinese Language

 Bachelor of Arts in Chinese: Concentration in Chinese Language

The Concentration in Chinese Language is designed for beginning language learners with little or no background in a Chinese language. The program places emphasis on the building of proficiency in Mandarin Chinese (putonghua/guoyu) and an appreciation and understanding of literature and culture.

Note: Native speakers of Chinese and international students who have completed secondary and/or tertiary education in Chinese language in a Chinese-speaking country are discouraged from choosing this concentration.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts in Chinese: Concentration in Chinese Language:

  1. Language and Linguistics: Students will speak, write and understand the Chinese language. They will also be able to analyze the language in its morphology and syntax.
  2. Culture: Cultural competence is gained through courses dedicated to culture and is further reinforced in the variety of advanced literature courses that students take to complete the major. Students will be familiar with the historical and cultural development of Chinese culture, especially in its international context. They will engage in cultural analysis not only of historical and geographical terms, but also as part of a debate about the very notion of culture.
  3. Literature: Primarily through the study of complex literary texts, students will develop critical thinking by identifying issues and problems associated with their object of study, breaking the problem down to its component parts and critically examining them.
  4. Writing skills: Students should be able to write coherent, engaging, and rigorous critical essays in Chinese that conform to accepted academic standards.

Culminating Experience

Before submitting an application for graduation, candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese must present evidence of having completed a Culminating Experience project. The Culminating Experience project can be completed through one of three options:

  1. Standardized Test:
    The student shall submit evidence of having passed the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL), or the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) for Mandarin Chinese at the appropriate level. The following grade levels are treated as passing:
    • Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK): Level 4 or higher
    • Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL): Level 3 or higher
    • Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI): Advanced low or higher
  2. Writing Portfolio:
    The student shall submit a writing portfolio with evidence of advanced level academic and/or professional writing in both Chinese and English. The portfolio must contain at least one work of Chinese language academic or professional writing developed out of a writing assignment submitted for credit in an upper-division course taught in Chinese, and one work of English language academic or professional writing developed out of a writing assignment accepted for credit in a GWAR course.
  3. Flagship Capstone:
    The Flagship Capstone option is available only to students accepted into the Chinese Flagship Program. Students in the Chinese Flagship Program must choose the Flagship Capstone Option, which consists of a "Capstone Year" abroad, to be implemented once the student has reached proficiency benchmarks set by the Language Flagship and has been recommended by the Council of Chinese Flagship Directors.

Chinese (B.A.): Concentration In Chinese Language — 42 units minimum

Foundational Language (3-15 units)1

CHIN 101First Semester Chinese4
CHIN 102Second Semester Chinese4
CHIN 103Third Semester Chinese4
CHIN 303Intermediate Chinese3

Language Core (15 units)

CHIN 311Conversation and Reading3
CHIN 312Speech and Writing3
CHIN 401Advanced Chinese3
CHIN 501Introduction to Classical Chinese3
or CHIN 502 Readings in Literary Chinese
MLL 325Linguistics for Foreign Languages3

Civilization & Culture (3 units)

Select one from below:3
Chinese Language and Society
China and the West: Cross-Cultural Encounters Through Literature and Art from Middles Ages-Present
The Classic Chinese Novel in Contemporary Pop Culture
Chinese Calligraphy

Media Literacy (3 units)

Select one from below:3
Building Chinese Media Literacy
Media Chinese

Content Course (3 units)

Select one from below:3
From Yellow Music to Mando Pop: The History & Practice of Popular Music in 20th & 21st Century China
Traditional Chinese Culture
Chinese Modern Fiction
Chinese Applied Linguistics
Oratory and Performance in Chinese
Chinese Language and Modern China
Topics in Modern Chinese Language and Literature
Topics in Classical Chinese Language and Literature

Literature in Translation (3 units)

Select one from below:3
Topics in Chinese Language, Literature, and Culture in English
The Poetic Tradition - GWAR
The Narrative Tradition
The Revolutionary Tradition in Modern Chinese Literature - GWAR
Negotiating Chineseness in the Late 20th and 21st Centuries - GWAR
Chinese Civilization

Graduation Writing Requirement (GWAR) (0-3 units)

Select a CHIN GWAR course if one is not selected from the Literature in Translation area above.

Electives (0-12 units)

Additional upper-division CHIN courses as needed to reach a total of 42 units in the major.

Complementary Studies

Required of all candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese are 12 units of Complementary Studies, which must come from courses bearing a prefix other than CHIN, and not cross-listed with CHIN. Complementary Studies for the Chinese major can be satisfied via four possible routes:

  1. 12 units in any foreign language other than Chinese (may include up to 3 units of MLL prefix courses);
  2. 12 units of coursework taken in an approved study abroad program (including CSU Study Abroad, SF State Bilateral, Chinese Flagship, and SLI Translation-Interpretation programs);
  3. 12 units of coursework taken as part of a second major, a minor, or a certificate;
  4. 12 units of coursework in related disciplines with the approval of a Chinese Program advisor.

Related disciplines typically include linguistics, literature, philosophy, history, education, and any aspect of greater China, East Asia, or Asian Americans.

Where a course with a non-CHIN prefix is taken as a core requirement or elective for the Chinese major, the said course may also (double) count towards Complementary Studies only via the Study Abroad option or the second major/minor/certificate option listed above. Students satisfying Complementary Studies through the Foreign Language option are allowed a maximum of 3 units of overlap of MLL-prefix courses between the Chinese major and Complementary Studies units. Students satisfying Complementary Studies through the Related Subjects option are not allowed to double-count major and Complementary Studies units.

(applies to all Chinese degrees, concentrations, and minors): Students are encouraged to study abroad through the International Programs of the California State University and the Bilateral Programs of San Francisco State University. For students opting to study abroad, all study abroad units will count as units in residence and can be used for graduation credit, but no more than half of the units required for the major or minor may be taken outside of the home campus. Flagship Language Concentration students, however, may apply all of their Study Abroad units towards the major.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication I LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Government LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

The following Advanced Placement (AP) scores in Chinese Language and Culture will result in the award of units that can be applied towards the Chinese major/minor. 

  • AP Chinese Score=3 results in award of 4 units to be used towards waiver of CHIN 101 First Semester Chinese.
  • AP Chinese Score=4 results in award of 8 units to be used towards waiver of CHIN 101 First Semester Chinese and CHIN 102 Second Semester Chinese
  • AP Chinese Score=5 results in award of 12 units to be used towards waiver of CHIN 101 First Semester Chinese, CHIN 102 Second Semester Chinese, and CHIN 103 Third Semester Chinese.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

Find the correct roadmap (A, B, C, or D):

  1. Select the row that matches your English Course choice for A2.*
  2. Select the column that matches your QR Category (found at your student center under Math Alert).
  3. Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.

For example, if you are taking ENG 104 as your first English course and your student center math alert says you are QR Category III, you should choose Roadmap D.

Pathway QR Cat I/II QR Cat III/IV
ENG 114 Roadmap A Roadmap C
ENG 104/ENG 105 Roadmap B Roadmap D

*Composition for Multilingual Students: If taking ENG 209 as your first English course, choose the ENG 114 row. If taking ENG 204 for your first English course, choose the ENG 104/ENG 105 row.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All Students Must Meet the Transfer Eligibility Requirements Outlined Below for Admission.

For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units.
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.0 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  • Complete 30-semester units (45-quarter units) of General Education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE Area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE Area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE Area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning (same as CSU GE Area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90-quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a C- or better grade in each basic skills course.