Chinese 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’.

Why Chinese Studies?

China is one of the richest continuous cultures in the world with more than 5000 years history. The studies of Chinese civilisations offer insights into China’s fascinating past and challenging present. It helps us to thoroughly comprehend what makes it long-lasting and how it functions in Chinese society – in both China and the myriad Chinese diasporas in the Asia-Pacific region and across the world, including Australia. Currently Mandarin is spoken by more than 1 billion people around the world, representing about one fifth of the global population. It is one of the world’s most commonly used languages, only second to English. The studies of Chinese culture and language can help us to bridge the culture gap, make our communication more effective and open many opportunities for us in a globalised world. In recent years, China has become the second largest economy in the world whose future importance for Australia is hard to over-estimate. China’s current level of investment in research and development in the tertiary sector indicates that Chinese 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.

Language Placement Test

Why Chinese Studies at Melbourne?

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 Chinese language study 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 is informed by staff research in a wide variety of different fields, including language teaching and many aspects of contemporary and traditional China. One area of strong concentration is research on Regional Cultures and Linguistics, and the sociological study of contemporary China and overseas Chinese.

Students come to us with a great variety of linguistic skills and backgrounds, and 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 Chinese Economic Documents, which provide students with experience in applying their 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.

How can I study Chinese Studies?

Undergraduate students can study Chinese Studies as:

*Please note: Students who undertake a major in Chinese Studies from the beginners level must complete ten Chinese subjects taken as Arts discipline subjects.

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.

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

See the full list of subjects in the Handbook

Where can Chinese Studies take me?

Learning Chinese can open up many interesting employment opportunities – both domestically and abroad, and with the myriad commercial organisations and public institutions that work in the increasingly globalised space that operate alongside and share ties with China and other countries with significant Chinese-speaking communities. Expertise in Chinese language can enhance employment opportunities in government, diplomacy, commerce, education, and cultural affairs.

2023-2024  Chinese In-Country Intensive Study Program

Program period: 27 December 2023 - 24 January 2024

This is an intensive Chinese language program in China. 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 Section of the Asia Institute together with the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Fudan University. A member of the staff of the Chinese Section will accompany the students to Shanghai and remain at Fudan University for the 10 days of the subject.

For further information, please visit here.

Meet our Chinese Studies staff

Our academics are leading researchers, and dedicated teachers.

Tutor in Chinese Studies (Teaching Periodic)