New website launched Our new website is here. Find out more

Study Chinese at Otago

Study languages: Make the world your place.

China is the most populous country in the world, with the fastest-growing economy. The Chinese language is the world’s most widely spoken language, used by over one billion people worldwide. Chinese speakers are found not only in China’s mainland, in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, but also in Southeast Asia, and in other countries throughout the world.

The Chinese Programme at Otago offers a broad range of papers on Chinese culture (history, society, literature, cinema, for example) and on the Chinese language from introductory level to advanced level. We also arrange in-country study for students in our partner universities in China.

Ready to enrol?

Get Started

Why study Chinese?

Chinese culture is both rich and far-reaching and today China is the world's biggest trading nation and the second largest economy. As China is an increasingly important business partner of New Zealand, learning Chinese will give you the edge over other candidates for a wide variety of jobs.

Career opportunities

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a major in Chinese language and culture will give you a better chance of  finding jobs in tourism, education, trade, banking, mass media, interpretation / translation, as well as in foreign affairs and other government agencies.

Combining another degree with Chinese as a minor or as a Diploma also increases students' options in the job market. If you want to teach Chinese at primary or secondary school you need to have a BA in Chinese and a qualification in teaching. If you are thinking about a career in diplomacy, you could consider including Chinese in a degree in law, politics, history or geography.

If you are interested in teaching English in mainland China or Taiwan you will find English or linguistics useful subjects to go along with Chinese. A career in media and journalism will also greatly benefit from an additional proficiency in Chinese language. Another attractive option that has become increasingly popular among our students is combining Chinese with a degree in Commerce or Science, which opens up employment opportunities in companies that have links with China.

Background required

You can enrol in our beginner level course (CHIN131) with no previous knowledge of Chinese. If you already have some knowledge of Chinese (e.g. have studied it at high school, lived in China, or have been exposed to Chinese in a family setting), you may be able to enrol in a more advanced course (such as CHIN132 or CHIN231).


Chinese as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree


Five CHIN papers, at least three of which must be above 100-level, including at least one at 300-level.


CHIN papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
CHIN131 2024 Introductory Chinese 1 18 Semester 1
CHIN132 2024 Introductory Chinese 2 18 Semester 2
CHIN231 2024 Intermediate Chinese 1 18 Semester 1
CHIN232 2024 Intermediate Chinese 2 18 Semester 2
CHIN241 2024 Contemporary Chinese Society 18 Semester 1
CHIN242 2024 Screening Chinese Cinemas 18 Not offered in 2024
CHIN243 2024 Reading Chinese Literature in the World 18 Not offered in 2024
CHIN244 2024 Writing China: Texts, Ideas and History 18 Semester 1
CHIN250 2024 Practical Chinese: Chinese/English Translation 18 Semester 2
CHIN334 2024 Advanced Chinese 1 18 Semester 1
CHIN335 2024 Advanced Chinese 2 18 Semester 2
CHIN342 2024 Screening Chinese Cinemas 18 Not offered in 2024
CHIN343 2024 Reading Chinese Literature in the World 18 Not offered in 2024
CHIN344 2024 Writing China: Texts, Ideas and History 18 Semester 1
CHIN441 2024 Advanced Topics in Chinese 20 Semester 1, Semester 2
CHIN451 2024 Studies in Chinese 20 Semester 1, Semester 2
CHIN452 2024 Studies in Chinese 2 20 Semester 1, Semester 2
CHIN490 2024 Dissertation 60 Semester 1, Semester 2
CHIN590 2024 Research Dissertation 60 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

More information

Contact us

School of Arts
Languages and Cultures Programme

Studying at Otago

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2023 Calendar and supplementary material.

Back to top