Chinese

Learn Chinese

Join the 1.4 billion people who speak Chinese worldwide. Gain fluency in language use, both oral and written.

Which Chinese language course should I take?

Students with no background in the language may enroll themselves into the relevant introductory course.

Students who have some background in Chinese should contact the course instructor for a placement interview if they are enrolling in a Chinese course for the first time.

Students who have transferred from a college or a university and took Chinese in their prior institution should take the next level course.

* We reserve the right to move students to more proficiency-appropriate courses or to unenroll students when there is no appropriate course for them.

Chinese language stream options

There are two streams for studying Chinese at SFU: Non-heritage and heritage streams.

Non-heritage stream

The non-heritage stream is for students who do not have any prior experience in the language.

Non-Heritage Stream

CHIN100 / CHIN 180*

  • CHIN 100 is designed for learners who have zero background in Mandarin Chinese and who will learn Mandarin as a foreign language.
  • Native speakers (Mandarin or any other dialect), students who received their secondary school education in a Chinese-speaking environment, or students who have taken Beginner Mandarin in secondary school will not be permitted to take CHIN 100 and 101.

CHIN101 / CHIN 181*

  • For students who have minimum experience in Mandarin Chinese (1 course or equivalent). Students who have taken more than one course should consult the department for a placement.

CHIN200 / CHIN280*

  • For students who have taken CHIN100 & 101, CHIN 180 & 181 or equivalent. Students who have taken more than two Chinese courses should consult the department for a placement.

CHIN201 / CHIN281*

  • For students who have taken CHIN100 & 101 & 200, CHIN 180 &181 & 280 or equivalent. Students who have taken more than three Chinese courses should consult the department for a placement.

CHIN300

  • For the students who have taken CHIN100, 101, 200 & 201, CHIN180, 181, 280, 281 or equivalent. Students who have taken more than four Chinese courses should consult the department for a placement.

* CHIN180, 181, 280 and 281 are intensive courses lasting six weeks each. CHIN180 and CHIN181 are offered consecutively in the fall semester, and CHIN280 and CHIN281 in the spring semester.

Heritage stream

The heritage stream is designed for students who have some knowledge in the language from living in a Chinese-speaking environment. Students who can read and write Chinese but have little knowledge in Mandarin speaking can consider the CHIN151-152-153 track. Students who can understand and speak Chinese (Mandarin and/or a dialect of Chinese) but have little or no knowledge in written Chinese should consider the CHIN190-191-290-291 track. Before enrolling in any courses in the heritage stream for the first time, students will need to attend a placement interview with the course instructor. 

Heritage Stream

  • Before enrolling in CHIN 151, 152, 153, 182, 190, 191, 290 or 291 for the first time, students will need to attend a placement interview with the course instructor.
  • Students who can listen and speak Chinese, but have little or no knowledge of written Chinese should take heritage Mandarin courses: CHIN 190, 191, 290 and 291.

CHIN151

  • Designed for students who can read in Chinese (either simplified or traditional Chinese) but have not learned Mandarin Chinese formally before. These students usually speak a dialect of Chinese other than Mandarin, such as Cantonese. Students who have taken Mandarin in high school should consider a higher level.

CHIN152

  • For students who can read in Chinese but speak Mandarin with a strong foreign accent that is likely to cause communication problems. Students who have learned Mandarin for one course or equivalent are considered.
  • Students who read and write Chinese but speak a dialect other than Mandarin should take CHIN 151 or CHIN 152.

CHIN153

  • Designed for students who can read comfortably in Chinese but speak Mandarin with minor accents and an informal, colloquial vocabulary. Students who have learned Mandarin for two courses or equivalent are considered.

CHIN190

  • Designed for students who can communicate orally in Chinese (Mandarin and/or a dialect of Chinese) on everyday subjects, but have no or limited reading and writing skills. Students who have taken any Chinese courses should consult the department for a placement.

CHIN191

  • Designed for students who can communicate orally in Chinese (Mandarin and/or a dialect of Chinese) on everyday subjects, but have basic reading and writing skills. Students who have taken any Chinese courses should consult the department for a placement.

CHIN290

  • Designed for students who can communicate orally in Chinese (Mandarin and/or a dialect of Chinese) on everyday subjects, but have elementary level of reading and writing skills. Students who have taken any Chinese courses should consult the department for a placement.

CHIN291

  • Designed for students who can communicate orally in Chinese (Mandarin and/or a dialect of Chinese) on everyday subjects, but have intermediate level of reading and writing skills. Students who have taken any Chinese courses should consult the department for a placement.

CHIN330 / CHIN390

  • Designed for students who can understand, speak, read and write in Mandarin Chinese at a high intermediate level with a minimum vocabulary size of 1,000 words.

Students who are unsure about their level or background in the Mandarin Chinese language should contact the course instructor before enrolling in a CHIN course.

Chinese language placement guide

If this is your first time taking a Chinese language course (CHIN) at SFU or if you do not have the prerequisites for a language course, you must complete a placement interview. We require this because we want to ensure that you are enrolled in the course that is appropriate to your levels and needs. Please arrange your placement interview before registration.

Students are expected to provide true information about their language background and language learning experiences to the best of their knowledge. Concealing your knowledge of the language and/or providing false information are considered academic dishonesty and can be recorded on the your academic record. For more information, read SFU's academic integrity page.

Placement process

Based on their prior knowledge in Mandarin Chinese, students can consult the course sequence map to select a course that is close to your level and of your interests. After that, they can find out the dates and time of the placement interview sessions on the department’s website. Placement dates will be posted in late Feb, late June, late October before each registration period. The student can then attend the interview drop-in session of that course bringing their SFU ID, SFU advising transcript and a copy of the high school transcript. After the placement, the instructor will notify the student whether they are qualified to take a particular course or make an alternative course recommendation.

Placement interviews

CHIN 100, 101, 200, 201
Instructor: Bilie Ng | Email: billie@sfu.ca

CHIN 180, 181, 190, 191, 280, 281, 290, 291, 390
Instructor: Cynthia Xie | Email: cxie@sfu.ca

CHIN 151,152, 153, 300, 330
Instructor: Jia Fei | Email: jia_fei@sfu.ca

How to progress in your Chinese course studies

Non-Heritage Stream Q & A

I already took CHIN 100, can I take CHIN 180?

You should take CHIN 101. In the case that you’d like to compact your study in 6 weeks, you can take CHIN 181. Please note, CHIN 181 is offered only in the 2nd half of the semester, i.e. usually from the 8th week of the semester.

I already took CHIN 101, can I take CHIN 190 or CHIN 191?

No, you should take CHIN 200.

I already took CHIN 180 and CHIN 181, can I take CHIN 200?

Yes.

Heritage stream Q & A

I already took CHIN 190, can I take CHIN 200?

No, you should take CHIN 191.

I already took CHIN 291/390, can I take CHIN 151/152/153?

It depends on your reading level and your knowledge in Mandarin phonetics. You need to take a placement interview to find out.

I already took CHIN 291, can I take CHIN 330?

If you achieve B and above in CHIN 291 and your reading is strong, you can take CHIN 330. You will still need to take a placement interview to gain permission to enrol the course.

I already took CHIN 291, can I take CHIN 390?

If you achieved B and above in CHIN 291, you can take CHIN 390. Otherwise, you can still take it if you want to challenge yourself.

I already took CHIN 390, can I take CHIN 151?

Yes, you can.

I already took CHIN 390, can I take CHIN 330?

You probably can but will need to take a placement interview to gain permission to enrol.

Put your course work towards a certificate.

Chinese certificate →

Chinese courses - Fall 2020

CHIN 100 - Mandarin Chinese I

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
CHIN 100 D100 Billie Ng
Tu, Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby
CHIN 100 D200 Billie Ng
Mo, We 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby
CHIN 100 D300 Billie Ng
Mo, We 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby

CHIN 101 - Mandarin Chinese II

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
CHIN 101 D100 Billie Ng
Tu, Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby
CHIN 101 D200 Billie Ng
Tu, Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby

CHIN 180 - Intensive Mandarin Chinese for Beginners I

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
CHIN 180 D100 Cynthia Xie
Tu 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM
Fr 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby

CHIN 181 - Intensive Mandarin Chinese for Beginners II

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
CHIN 181 D100 Cynthia Xie
Tu 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM
Fr 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby

CHIN 190 - Heritage Mandarin Chinese I

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
CHIN 190 D100 Cynthia Xie
Tu 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby

CHIN 200 - Mandarin Chinese III

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
CHIN 200 D100 Billie Ng
Mo, We 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby

Even more Chinese courses

Interested in knowing what other Chinese courses you can take in future semesters? See our full course offering on SFU's Student Services website.