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Chinese Program

Why Study Chinese?

First, Chinese is spoken by over 1.2 billion people, making it the most widely spoken language in the world!

Second, China plays a major role in world affairs. As China has opened up to the West, there are growing opportunities for employment in all areas. So China is important for your career.

Third, traditional Chinese culture, from Confucianism and Chan Buddhism to martial arts and Chinese cuisine, has an enormous influence on East and Southeast Asian nations. Chinese culture has also greatly inspired the western world.

Fourth, learning Chinese is an extraordinary and agreeable experience through which you can immerse yourself in a different culture. Unlike most languages, Chinese has a unique ideographic writing system, which provides visual comprehensibility. The grammatical structure of Chinese is not only logical, but also pragmatic, related to the particular way of Chinese thinking. Knowledge of the written language opens up the culture of one of the world's oldest civilizations.

Last, but not the least, our University has one of the largest and most established Chinese language programs in North America. Our quality Chinese language education enjoys strong support from well-developed China studies programs and resources on the campus and, in turn, provides our students with a solid foundation in Chinese language and culture.  

Chinese Language Exam Information

The Chinese placement test serves both “place-in” and “place-out” purposes. It has two sections: written and oral. The time limit for the written part is 90 minutes, while the oral part usually takes 20 minutes.

We provide both simplified and traditional character versions and you may write either versions in the test. This exam is for evaluationg your current Chinese language proficiency level, so you don't need to do any special preparation for the test. But if you feel your current state does not reflect your true proficiency level, feel free to do any preparation as you can.

The test results will be recorded on your Wolverine Access student record within approximately 10 business days after the test. Test results will not be sent to you separately via emaial unless they request it via email. 

Please note that placement does not guarantee a space in the class. Therefore, you are strongly advised to contact the relevant instructor for an override.

A placement result is valid for one year. You cannot retake the test within a 4 month period.

At the present time, we do not provide the HSK test, nor does UM accept HSK and AP scores.

For information about upcoming test dates and registration, visit the Placement and Proficiency Tests page on the ALC website or go directly to the registration page here.

Chinese Textbooks and Software in Use

The Chinese Language Program has partnered with Clavis Sinica to offer customized Chinese learning software to students in Chinese language classes at the University of Michigan. In First- and Second-Year Chinese, students use a mobile app called the "Xiezi Chinese Character Trainer" to help them learn to write the characters introduced in each textbook lesson. Second- and Third-Year students have access to a web-based Audiotext Reader applet that helps them develop their Chinese reading, speaking, and oral comprehension skills while studying assigned reading passages from each textbook unit.

Please find more resources here.