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Chinese Program

Why Study Chinese?

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

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.

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.

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.

Lastly, 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 campus and, in turn, provides our students with a solid foundation in Chinese language and culture.  

Chinese Placement Test Information

Anyone who has previous experience with Chinese (through study, using it at home, etc.), but has never taken a Chinese course at the University of Michigan, must take the Chinese placement test in order to take any Chinese language course or place out of language requirements at the university.

The Chinese placement test serves both “place-in” and “place-out” purposes. It has two sections: written and oral. The time given for the written section is 90 minutes, while the oral section usually takes about 15 minutes. The written section has two types of questions. The first type is multiple choice questions designed to test your vocabulary and grammar. You must be able to read Chinese characters in order to answer this type of question. The second type of question is translation from English to Chinese. You will be asked to handwrite Chinese characters for the sentences. You may only use Pinyin in your answer if you don’t know how to write the Chinese characters. We provide both simplified and traditional character versions of the test, and you may request either version. The test contains questions from the elementary to advanced levels, in order to assess your proficiency level. It is perfectly normal that some questions may be beyond your current level in Chinese. Click here to see the test format and sample questions. If you want to review basic vocabulary and grammar to prepare for the test, we suggest that you review the Chinese textbook series Integrated Chinese (Level 1 and Level 2).

The test results will be recorded on your Wolverine Access student record within 10 business days following the test. Test results will not be sent to you separately via email unless you request them via email. The placement test result will tell you into which Chinese course you were placed. This placement result is not simply a recommendation. You must register for Chinese classes according to your placement. You cannot register for a course that is lower in level than the course in which you are placed, nor can you register for a course that is higher in level than the course in which you are placed. If you want to request your placement test result before it is posted, or petition the placement test result, please contact Dr. Kening Li, Director of the Chinese Language Program, via email (

Please note that your placement test result does not guarantee a space in the class. You need to register for the class yourself based on the test result. If the class is full, you can contact the relevant instructor to request an override. The instructor reserves the right to approve or reject your request.

A placement test 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 or AP scores as placement reference. 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 Language Courses

Chinese Language Courses

ASIANLAN 100: Accelerated Elementary Chinese (for students with some Chinese language background but not enough to be placed into ASIANLAN 102)

ASIANLAN 101: First Year Chinese I

ASIANLAN 102: First Year Chinese II

ASIANLAN 108: Chinese Calligraphy

ASIANLAN 201: Second Year Chinese I

ASIANLAN 202: Second Year Chinese II (Completion of this course with a grade of C- or better fulfills the LSA Language Requirement)

ASIANLAN 301: Third Year Chinese I

ASIANLAN 302: Third Year Chinese II

ASIANLAN 305: Intermediate Spoken Chinese I

ASIANLAN 306: Intermediate Spoken Chinese II

ASIANLAN 401: Advanced Spoken Chinese I

ASIANLAN 402: Advanced Spoken Chinese II

ASIANLAN 403: Introduction to Chinese Linguistics

ASIANLAN 405: Business Chinese I

ASIANLAN 406: Business Chinese II

ASIANLAN 407: Advanced Chinese Reading and Writing I

ASIANLAN 408: Advanced Chinese Reading and Writing II

ASIANLAN 409: Classical Chinese in Modern Context

ASIANLAN 410: Media Chinese

ASIANLAN 445: Chinese Language Pedagogy

Heritage Learner Track

ASIANLAN 104: First Year Chinese for Heritage Speakers

ASIANLAN 204: Second Year Chinese for Heritage Speakers (Completion of this course with a grade of C- or better fulfills the LSA Language Requirement)

ASIANLAN 304: Third Year Chinese for Heritage Speakers

Summer Language Institute Intensive Chinese Courses

ASIANLAN 103: Intensive First Year Chinese

ASIANLAN 203: Intensive Second Year Chinese (Completion of this course with a grade of C- or better fulfills the LSA Language Requirement)

For more information on the Summer Language Institute at the University of Michigan, please visit

Chinese Language Program Activities

Chinese Tables: Get together with your Chinese teachers and Chinese-studying peers and practice Chinese in a casual and relaxing setting.

Annual Chinese New Year Celebration: A fun party to celebrate Chinese New Year with delicious Chinese food and New Year games.

Please contact Dr. Kening Li, the Director of the Chinese Language Program, for more information (

Chinese Learning Tools

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 year and second year Chinese courses, 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.

In addition, the University of Michigan's Language Resource Center offers many resources and services for U-M students.