Chinese Language and Literature Degree

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What is Chinese Language and Literature?

Chinese Language and Literature is a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary field emphasizing the study of Chinese culture, politics, and history.  The Chinese language is a term used to understand the group of related language varieties forming a branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.

The variations of the Chinese language are often described by first language speakers as dialects of a singular Chinese language, however linguists and scholars understand the diversity within the Chinese language.  Currently, there are over 1.2 billion people who speak Chinese as their first language.

Accredited colleges of all sizes and types offer Chinese-centric degree programs.  Degrees in Chinese literature and associated courses persist in higher education based on relevancy and demand.  Student demand, school support, and faculty passion come together year over year to provide such course offerings.  Chinese classes can be offered in a number of learning domains to help students understand the impact China has on the world and why the influence continues.  Examples of courses you may be able to register for include:  social sciences, history, literature, politics, religion, sociology, humanities, athletics, psychology, art, and technology.

Top Degrees in Chinese Language and Literature

For current or prospective students seeking information about a degree in Chinese, it is important to do your research in advance.  With such a diverse culture with amazingly rich history, the degree program can quite diverse.  Many accredited colleges and universities that offer degrees in Chinese will do so generally or with areas of concentration.  An example of an area of concentration within this field of study includes Chinese literature & linguistics, language, history, international business, politics, and/or flagship Chinese language.

Schools offering degree programs in this field of study will do so, generally, as undergraduate and/or graduate levels.  Undergraduate degrees often will be a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a minor degree while graduate degrees will be found in a course catalog as a Master of Arts (MA) or as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).  Courses you may find in degree programs include the following:

  • Humanities
  • Social Justice
  • Global Perspectives
  • Language & Literature
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Speech & Writing
  • Conversation & Reading
  • Academic Prose
  • Politics
  • Media Literacy
  • Classic Literature
  • Language Change and Dialectic Variation
  • Translating and Interpreting

Educational Requirements for Chinese Literature Studies

The academic requirements for students in this arena will be determined by each individual college.  That being said, it is common for several classes to overlap from school to school.  Classes you will likely be required to take in a Chinese Language and Literature degree include the following:

Schools Other Students Requested Information From:

Employment for Chinese Language Specializations

Graduate and undergraduate students thinking about their future, will need to carefully think through options after college.  Students may leverage the core skills found within a foreign language degree program in their careers.  Alternatively, you will find students that make language proficiency a secondary or tertiary skill.  Possible career options for Chinese language and literature graduates include becoming an interpreter, post secondary teacher, translator, research analyst, political attaché, journalist, curriculum designer, high school teacher, historian, author, supply chain manager, or global market analyst.

Chinese Language & Literature Job Growth

Ultimately, the job growth will vary by industry and job sector.  In other words, graduates in Chinese language and literature that pivot to teaching will see a 13% rise in employment for college professors and 7% for high school teachers over the coming decade per the BLS.  Meanwhile, employment growth for translators is expected to jump 18% during this same reporting period.  As you approach your final few years in college, you will spend more and more time planning for the transition to the work force.  Understand that if you build valuable, transferrable skills that employers desire, you will have far more options than your peers.

Additional Resources for Chinese Language & Literature Students

Resources you may find valuable include national and international associations & organizations.  A list of Chinese American associations can be found here or international associations such as China Today.   Both types of groups, domestic and international, have merit for students and professionals.  Spend the time researching colleges that fit your goals and aspirations below along with groups and memberships to help advance your knowledge and skills.

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Career Summary: Chinese language literature Major




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