Chinese language and studies

China is a 'rising power' in the Western Pacific region whose future importance for Australia is hard to over-estimate. China's current levels of investment in research and development and in the tertiary sector indicate that China is poised to make a very rapid transition to a 'knowledge economy'.


Convenor: Dr Zhou Shaoming

China is a 'rising power' in the western Pacific region whose future importance for Australia is hard to over-estimate. China's current levels of investment in research and development and in the tertiary sector indicate that China is poised to make a very rapid transition to a 'knowledge economy'. This is a matter of direct relevance for the career planning of today's undergraduates.

The University of Melbourne is one of the few universities in Australia to offer students the opportunity to complete a major in Chinese Language, a minor in Chinese language and a minor in Chinese Studies. Undergraduate students may choose to complement their study of the Chinese language with a range of subjects on Chinese culture and society, acquiring not only a solid basis for language competence in later professional life but also the wherewithal for advancing their social and cultural literacy.

Teaching in the Chinese Program is informed by staff research in a wide variety of different fields, including Chinese language teaching and many aspects of contemporary and traditional China. One area of strong concentration is research on Chinese Regional Cultures: we have one member of staff working on the Northwest (Dr Lewis Mayo, whose field is politics and the natural world in Tang-dynasty Dunhuang), one working on North China (Dr Zhou Shaoming, who works on life-cycle rituals in Shandong), and two people working on south China (Dr Du Liping on the marketing of traditional medicines and culturally constructed markets and Assoc. Professor Luo Yongxian on Tai and Sino-Tibetan linguistics). Professor Anne McLaren works on folk performance of the Shanghai hinterland and lower Yangzi delta as well as popular fiction of the Ming-Qing period. Research on Chinese language teaching is pursued by all lecturers who are involved in language teaching. Assoc. Professor Gao Jia pursues a range of topics on the sociology of contemporary China and the overseas Chinese.

Students come to us with a great variety of linguistic skills and backgrounds, and all students are required to attend an interview at the outset of their course. A key feature of the Chinese language program is advanced-level subjects like CHIN20009 Chinese Economic Documents, which provide students with experience in applying their Chinese language skills to areas of major professional interest. Our intention is to encourage students to aim for Chinese-English bilingualism in their professional lives after graduation.

For more information on Career planning please see the Faculty of Art Careers planning web page.

Language Placement Test

Master of Translation

This is a new program offered from 2015 for Mandarin Chinese-English bilinguals. Information on the new program can be found on the Master of Translation web page.

Ways to study Chinese

Undergraduate students can study Chinese as:

Chinese can also be studied through:

At the graduate level, Chinese studies offer courses for:

Chinese can also be a component in an Asian Studies program at either undergraduate or graduate level.

Available subjects

The Asia Institute offers a range of subjects in Chinese Language and Studies. Some examples include:

See the full list of subjects in the Handbook

Chinese LOTE accreditation examination

The Institute holds examinations for LOTE accreditation for prospective teachers of Chinese in February, June and November each year. The examination consists of written and oral components. Further information on how to apply, dates and fees please see the LOTE accreditation exams web page.

Chinese in-country intensive study program

This is an intensive Chinese language program run at Fudan University, Shanghai, from 27 December 2016 to 20 January 2017. Classes will be conducted in the mornings from Monday to Friday. On weekends there will be excursions to places of interest in the surrounding area. In addition students will have the opportunity to engage in activities such as calligraphy and Tai Chi. This program is being organised and run by the Chinese Program of the Asia Institute together with the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Fudan University. A member of the staff of the Chinese Program will accompany the students to Shanghai and remain at Fudan University for the duration of the subject. For more information please download the information booklet (357kb). For any enquiries please email Dr Shaoming Zhou.

Short-term Mandarin study tour in Taiwan - One fee, multiple stops

This is a new incentive designed by Mandarin Language Centres of Ming Chuan University and other three aligned universities, which will suit Australian students, especially Mandarin beginner learners, to study and explore the country during the Summer session. This two-week program features a complete cultural experience from the South to the North of Taiwan by learning Mandarin.

For more information on application guidelines, see the Study Tour website.

In addition, there are a number of language/ degree/ research scholarships which enable Australian students to study and researchers to conduct research in Taiwan.

  • Study in Taiwan
  • Taiwan Fellowship
  • Chinese Taipei APEC Scholarship

For more information please visit the Australian Government Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships Other international scholarships web page.