The objective of a major in Chinese languages and literatures is to develop advanced language skills and to provide an introduction to the literary and cultural traditions of China. Oral proficiency is emphasized along with literary. Upper-division classes develop analytical skills thought the critical study of literary texts.
To foster an awareness and understanding of Chinese cultures, departmental courses are often interdisciplinary in approach, introducing historical background, social, philosophical, political issues and other cultural concerns. Students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of China by taking courses in other disciplines in the Asian studies program. Many students of Chinese majors study for a semester or more in China; opportunities include programs in Beijing and Hangzhou.