Chinese Major/Minor FAQs


  • I am interested in taking Chinese language classes. How do I know which class is right for me?
  • Anyone who has had significant exposure to the Chinese language (Mandarin, or Cantonese or other dialects) through formal classroom study or living with native speakers is required to take the placement evaluation. If you have never learned the Chinese language in a formal setting or lived with Chinese speakers for a significant period, no placement evaluation is required; just enroll in a Chinese 1 class.

    See the Chinese placement evaluation page for more information.

  • If I cannot get into the language class I want, can I take a higher level for now and take a lower level class later?
  • In most cases, no. This is called "back-tracking" and violates university policy.  

    Chinese: For example, if you have taken CHN 3BL and then take CHN 2BL in a subsequent quarter, the lower class result would become invalid. Similarly, you cannot take CHN 120 (advanced Chinese) and then take 111, 112, or 113 (third-year Chinese) later.  However, CHN 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 140, 160, and literature courses can be taken out of sequence.

    Please contact the Chinese undergraduate advisor for more information.

  • I finished Middle School in China, do I still need to take CHN 111, 112, 113?
  • You need to take a placement evaluation to test out of these courses. Once you test out of these courses, you can take three other upper-division Chinese courses in place of 111, 112, 113.

  • I am interested in majoring in Chinese. What courses do I need to take?
  • You must take 15-30 credit hours of lower-division language courses. This means CHN 1-6 for true beginners, CHN 1BL, 2BL, and 3BL for heritage learners. These are preparatory units.

    You must also take 40 credit hours of upper-division courses. These qualify as "depth subject matter." Among them, CHN 106, 107, 111, 112, 113, 114, and 160 are required. The other 12 credit hours of 3 elective courses are to be chosen from the Chinese language and literature courses offered by EALC. One of the 3 courses must be from 101, 102, 103, 104, or 109G.  For other recommended elective courses in Chinese art history, history, anthropology, religious studies, comparative literature, sociology, Japanese literature, etc., see UCD General Catalog online.

    If you test out of CHN 111-112-113 (or if you do not need these third-year Chinese language courses since you are a native speaker of Chinese), you must take three other upper-division courses in Chinese language and/or literature or other recommended courses. The same policy regarding backtracking applies: You cannot take CHN 115 (classical Chinese II) first and then take CHN 114 (classical Chinese I). You cannot take CHN 114 (classical Chinese) and then take CHN 1-6 later since modern language skills are prerequisite for taking classical language. Heritage learners on the BL track are encouraged to have a good command of modern Chinese before taking classical language.

  • What happens if I place out of two years of Chinese language and into third-year Chinese? Do I still have to take 40 units for the major?
  • Yes, you would still take at least 40 units. Because of your background and abilities, however, more of your courses will be linguistics or literature courses than would be the case for true beginners (who take the CHN 1-6 track) or heritage learners (who take the BL 1-3 track). In addition, your study plan might involve more courses from outside the EALC department. The exact combination of courses, in this case, would depend on the student's individual needs and interests. The major form has a list of recommended non-language lower-division and upper-division courses. 

  • How do I declare Chinese as my Major?
  • You will need to submit a Petition for Change of Major.  The petition should be used whether you are declaring the Chinese major from being undeclared or from another major or for adding Chinese as a double or triple major.  Log into OASIS.   Go to Forms and Petitions, Submit New Form, Select Change of Major.  From this page, you can either change your major or add multiple majors.

    You should pick up and refer to a checklist of "Chinese Major Requirements," available near the Chinese bulletin board on the 2nd floor outside room 211 Sproul Hall.  If you have questions, please visit 211 Sproul Hall to speak with the Japanese and Chinese Major Undergraduate Advisor.  Check the UCD General Catalog for the major requirements and as well as course descriptions in for Japanese and Chinese.

  • I am an economics major and want to declare Chinese as my second major. What should I do?
  • To be eligible to file a petition to declare a Chinese double major, you must first complete through Chinese 2BL or 3 or be placed beyond Chinese 3 with a language placement exam.

    You will need to submit a Petition for Change of Major.  Log into OASIS.   Go to Forms and Petitions, Submit New Form, Select Change of Major.  From this page, you can add multiple majors.

    A student may often overlap between majors by up to 20% (which amounts to about 2 courses depending on the units required for each major). If the two courses needed to declare happen to be overlapping between majors, that is not a problem. The latest date a student can choose a major is the end of the quarter prior to the final quarter before graduation. Many students choose a major in their final quarter and then must postpone their graduation for one quarter. The Office of the Registrar needs the time for the appropriate graduation information.

  • When do I declare Chinese as my second major?
  • If your major is undeclared, you can declare Chinese as your first major at any time while enrolled.  The first major must be declared by the time you reach 90 units.  You can choose Chinese as your second or third major after you have successfully completed one quarter at UC Davis.

  • Are there any advantages to declaring Chinese as a major early?
  • Yes. You should declare as soon as you know you can finish the major requirements before your planned graduation. We can get you on our e-mail list to notify you of major-related activities. It is a good idea to talk to an advisor to plan your courses early, since you may not be able to get into the courses you want, especially in the language courses, and that may delay your graduation. It is important for the department to know the number of students majoring in Chinese to plan accordingly and to offer courses to accommodate all those who wish to take them.

  • I took some courses in EAP. Can they be transferred toward my Chinese or Japanese major or minor?
  • To determine the transferability of the credits from EAP, you must have your department advisor's approval.  You should make an appointment with the advisor to go over the official transcripts, syllabi, and sometimes course material (textbooks, exams, and homework).  Transfer of credits is not automatic.  If the course is a language course, please see Professor Jiao Li (, coordinator of the Chinese language program, or Professor Nobuko Koyama (, coordinator of the Japanese language program for evaluation.

    It is your responsibility to keep all the course materials for evaluation. In case your course materials do not suggest the level of Chinese competence that you assume you have (e.g., you think you can transfer credits for 3rd-year Chinese but your course exam papers and homework only indicate the second level of achievements), you may need to take an evaluation test to ascertain your actual level. To transfer literature courses, please see the faculty or undergraduate advisor.

  • I studied abroad for a year at a university that is not part of the EAP. Can I still have some credits transferred toward the major or minor requirement?
  • You will find many programs for study in China and Japan that are not connected with the UC system. Some of them are quite good and you are welcome to participate in them, but you need to be prepared for complications when you try to get UC credit for them. It is, of course, possible, but the process may be time-consuming and in the end, there is no guarantee your courses will be accepted either for UC credit or the major. The same is true for language courses taken at other schools in this country. Whether transferring from another school in the U.S. or from abroad, contact Undergraduate Admissions to discuss coursework transferability.  If Undergraduate Admissions approves coursework to be added to your academic transcript (this can take several months),  then make an appointment with the faculty advisor to go over the official transcript, syllabi, and sometimes course material (textbooks, exams, and homework) to determine if coursework can be applied toward Chinese or Japanese Major. Approval of credits by Undergraduate Admissions does not automatically mean that you will receive department major approval.  For the minor, you may use up to two approved transferred courses, and the other three must be taken at UC Davis.

    Keep in mind that there are also University "in-residence" and residence requirement.  See links below for additional clarification.  (Note:  UC Davis Summer and Quarter Abroad units are considered "in residence").

    1. You must have been registered for 3 quarters at UC Davis
    2. 35 of your final 45 units must be at UC Davis
    3. 18 upper division units in the major and 27 upper division units overall must be at UC Davis.

  • Can I take courses other than those listed in the catalog as substitutions for the Chinese major or minor?
  • It is your responsibility to take all the required courses and the electives of your choice when they are offered.  You cannot take substitution courses without prior approval by the Chinese advisor.

    A checklist of Chinese Major and Minor requirements is available in Sproul Hall, outside of room 211 on the 2nd floor.

    For more information, see UCD General Catalog, for the minor requirement and course descriptions.

  • Can I take courses required for the major P/NP (pass/non-pass)?
  • Students may take up to two and no more than two (regular, letter-graded) courses for the major on a P/NP basis. (Courses which are only offered on a P/NP basis do not count toward these limits.)


  • I am interested in getting a Chinese minor. What do I need to do?
  • 1. You must complete a total of 20 units in Chinese coursework and you must satisfy the foreign language requirement by completing CHN 6 or CHN 3BL or placing beyond CHN 6 with a placement test.

    2. To complete the 20 unit minor you can choose:  5 Chinese upper division courses OR 4 Chinese upper division courses and 1 Chinese lower division course from CHN 10, 11 or 50.

    3. One of the courses from either option can be from the following approved substitutions:  JPN 101, 102, 103, 104, 105 or 106; ANT 148A, 148B; AHI 163A, 163B; HIS 191A-J; RST 170, 172 or other approved course.

    4. Submitting your minor petition:  Minor petitions must be submitted the quarter before you plan to graduate. Go to OASIS.  Under Forms and Petitions, submit a new form and select Minor Petition.  Once you have entered in all courses you have taken or plan to take to complete the minor, submit the petition.  If you have not completed the courses necessary for the Chinese minor but plan to do so during your last quarter, submit the course(s) you plan to take on your minor petition. 
  • Can I take courses required for the minor P/NP (pass/non-pass)?
  • Students may take up to one and no more than one (regular, letter-graded) courses for the minor on a P/NP basis. (Courses which are only offered on a P/NP basis do not count toward these limits.)