The goals of the Chinese program are to sharpen the intellectual skills of students and to encourage intellectual growth. The major offers students a broad understanding of the various Chinese speaking cultures around the world. Through language study students come to understand the interconnectedness of people despite different worldviews. The skills students acquire while studying Chinese include greater aptitude in concentration and self-motivation. They learn that rewards of language study are had through guided risk and challenge. As students develop linguistic and cultural proficiency they enjoy deeper conversations with the people of the Chinese-speaking world. With the growing political, economic, and cultural significance of China in the world students who graduate with Chinese have increased earning power. Union alumni have gone on to professional degrees in law, medicine, and teaching, as well as engaged in business and civil service roles that relate to the Chinese speaking world. In addition to the major, students can combine their language study with an Asian Studies major or interdepartmental major.
A minimum of ten courses beyond the 101-level, including three 300 level, two 400 level, and 489 (Senior Project). Students have the option of taking one China-related MLT course for Chinese credit in place of one 400-level course. Majors are expected to participate on the China Term Abroad program and are encouraged to improve their language skills by attending the weekly Chinese Table and participating in other extracurricular activities. In addition, majors are urged to take other courses related to Chinese culture and history in academic fields such as history, philosophy, anthropology, art history, and political science.