About Us

Mission of the Chinese Language Program

The mission of the Chinese Language Program is to provide Chinese learning opportunities for members of the Penn community so that each learner becomes proficient in Chinese language,  more knowledgeable on Chinese culture, and personally more accepting in the current multilingual and globalized  environment.    The chief goal of the beginning- and intermediate-level courses is to develop learners’ functional skills so that learners are able to communicate with native speakers and comprehend written texts with the help of dictionaries. The chief goal of the advanced language courses is to educate bilingual-bicultural management talents for the business and government sectors, as well as to build modern Chinese and classic Chinese foundation for graduate and professional schools.

Information for Chinese Requirement & SAT

Learning a foreign language and culture is considered an important aspect of Penn’s education. The College of Arts and Science requires students to take four semesters of beginning-level foreign language courses in order to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Because of students’ varying background and experience, there are five ways to fulfill the Chinese requirement.

(1) Passing the proficiency exam offered in the beginning of the fall semester
(2) Completion of Beginning Chinese (011, 012, 111, 112) 
(3) Completion of Intensive Beginning Chinese (021, 022)
(4) Completion of Beginning Reading and Writing Chinese (031, 032) 
(5) Completion of any Chinese course that is above the 200-level 

Freshmen who have taken SAT II Chinese and AP Chinese are required to take the Penn internal placemen/proficiency exam during the new-student orientation week. SAT II Chinese and AP Chinese scores cannot be automatically converted to Penn credit or standing. The Penn placement exam includes grammar, reading, writing, translation and an oral interview. This exam allows the faculty to assess a student’s four language skills and provide accurate placement advice, helping students to excel in Chinese language. If the exam results indicate proficiency equivalent to Penn Chinese 112, 032 or 022, the foreign language requirement is fulfilled. Usually, students who learned Chinese well in high school are placed at Chinese 111 and 021. Heritage speakers who learned Chinese at Sunday Chinese schools and use Mandarin at home are usually placed at Chin 031 or 032. But some students who learned Chinese at high schools may be required to take Beginning Chinese I (Chin 011) due to the lack of a solid Chinese foundation.

Department Office:

847 Williams Hall, 255 S.36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: 215-898-7466; Fax: 215-573-9617
Last updated on 7/3/2019 by Chih-jen Lee