Chinese Placement Guidelines

Placement in a Chinese language class follows the AMES department placement policy

To maximize your learning opportunities and enjoy yourself in a learning community that is conducive to everyone in your class, students who are interested in taking a Chinese language course at Duke have to follow the procedures below for placement.

  1. Refer to both course descriptions and self-placement guidelines when trying to make a decision on self-placement. 
  2. Verify your placement with the instructor who teaches the course into which you self-place by email, or make an appointment before or during the pre-registration period. The final placement decision lies with the instructor.
  3. Students may not enroll in a Chinese course below the level determined by the placement assessment as confirmed by a faculty member in the Chinese Program.

If you have further questions regarding the courses below 100-level, please consult with Professor Tianshu He, the Coordinator of First Year Chinese, at htianshu@duke.edu. If you have questions about the Chinese language curriculum, Duke Study in China program, or further questions regarding the courses above 100-level, please consult the Director of the Chinese Program Professor Carolyn Lee at kslee@duke.edu.

Self-Placement Guidelines

The self-placement guidelines below are divided into two sections: “Placement Guidelines for Regular-Track Curriculum” and “Placement Guidelines for Alternative-Track Curriculum.” Students who receives a score of 4/5 on the AP Chinese exam will automatically pass CHINESE 204 (Intermediate Chinese) and be eligible to take a Chinese course at CHINESE 305 (Advanced Intermediate Chinese) or above. Students who speak a Chinese dialect at home but barely understand Mandarin Chinese may take CHINESE 101 (First-Year Chinese I) in the regular-track curriculum. Please note that students who lived in a Chinese speaking country such as China, Singapore or Taiwan into their teenage years and received schooling higher than the elementary level in any Chinese speaking country are considered to be native speakers. The student who finished secondary school is only eligible for courses at or above CHINESE 455 (Modern Chinese Culture: Narratives of Home and Abroad) to fulfill language requirements.

Placement Guidelines for Regular-Track Curriculum (For students raised in homes where non-Chinese language was spoken)

Enroll in CHINESE 101 (First-Year Chinese I):

  • Students with no or minimal proficiency in Chinese
  • Students who have been exposed to Mandarin Chinese in a high school program but do not think the program was strong

Enroll in CHINESE 102 (First-Year Chinese II):

  • Students who have successfully completed CHINESE 101 (First-Year Chinese I) or its equivalent, or students who studied Chinese for 2-3 years in high school program but do not think the program was strong
  • Students may read and write at least 250-300 Chinese characters

Enroll in CHINESE 203 (Intermediate Chinese):

  • Students who have successfully completed CHINESE 102 (First-Year Chinese II) or its equivalent, or students who studied Chinese for 2-3 years in a very strong high school program
  • Students may read and write at least 550-600 characters

Enroll in CHINESE 204 (Intermediate Chinese):

  • Students who have successfully completed CHINESE 203 (Intermediate Chinese) or its equivalent, or students who had over 3 years of high school Chinese and did well in the courses
  • AP score of 3, or SAT-II score of 520 to 590
  • Students may read and write at least 800-850 characters

Enroll in CHINESE 305 (Advanced Intermediate Chinese):

  • Students who have finished CHINESE 203/204 (Intermediate Chinese) or students who studied Chinese for more than 4 years in a very strong high school program and did very well in the courses
  • Students whose family does not speak Chinese at home and who learned Mandarin Chinese for 2-3 years when they attended international school in a Chinese speaking country
  • AP score of 4 or 5 or SAT-II score of 700 or above
  • Students may read and write at least 950-1000 characters

Enroll in CHINESE 306 (Advanced Chinese II):

  • Students who have successfully completed CHINESE 305 (Advanced Intermediate Chinese) or students who had over 3-4 years of high school Chinese and studied in an immersion Chinese language program in the U.S., China or Taiwan
  • Students may read and write at least 1100-1200 characters

Enroll in CHINESE 371S (Classical Chinese in the Modern Context I):

  • Students who finished CHINESE 407 (Issues in Chinese Language and Society I) or 408 (Issues in Chinese Language and Society II)in regular track curriculum, or their equivalent, are eligible to take this course

Enroll in CHINESE 407S (Issues in Chinese Language and Society I):

  • Students who have finished CHINESE 305/306 (Advanced Intermediate Chinese/Advanced Chinese II) or their equivalent
  • Students who can read simple passages and produce fairly accurate piece of writing on familiar topics
  • Students who learned Mandarin Chinese for 3-4 years when they attended international school in a Chinese speaking country
  • Students may read and write at least 1300-1400 characters

Enroll in CHINESE 408S (Issues in Chinese Language and Society II):

  • Students who have successfully completed CHINESE 407 (Issues in Chinese Language and Society I) or students who can read long texts and produce fairly accurate piece of writing on some complex topics
  • Students who learned Mandarin Chinese more than 5 years when they attended international school in a Chinese speaking country
  • Students may read and write at least 1500-1600 characters
 
Placement Guidelines for Alternative-Track Curriculum (For students raised in homes where Chinese was spoken)

Enroll in CHINESE 371S (Classical Chinese in the Modern Context I):

  • Students who finished CHINESE 333 (Advanced Literacy in Chinese) or 334 (Issues in Modern Chinese) in alternative track curriculum, or their equivalent, are eligible to take this course
  • Students may read and write at least 1300 Chinese characters
  • This is the only course that students can take with another Chinese language course at the same time or out of the sequence

Enroll in CHINESE 131 (Literacy in Chinese I):

  • Students who have been exposed to Chinese at home and can communicate very basic things in Chinese, but reading and writing skills in Chinese are very minimal or almost zero
  • Students may read and write 100 Chinese characters or less

Enroll in CHINESE 232 (Literacy in Chinese II):

  • Students who have successfully completed CHINESE 131 (Literacy in Chinese I) or its equivalent, or students studied Mandarin Chinese in a Chinese community school for more than 2 years
  • Students may read and write at least 300 characters

Enroll in CHINESE 242 (Intensive Literacy in Chinese):

  • Students who studied Mandarin in a Chinese community school for over 6 years and forgot much of it, but are able to accelerate their study in a short time
  • Students may read and write at least 100 characters

Enroll in CHINESE 333 (Advanced Literacy in Chinese):

  • Students who have finished CHINESE 131/232 (Literacy in Chinese I/Literacy in Chinese II) or CHINESE 242 (Intensive Literacy in Chinese) or their equivalent
  •  Students who can read somewhat longer prose of several paragraphs in length and write simple descriptive or narrative texts
  •  Students may read and write at least 600-700 characters

Enroll in CHINESE 334 (Issues in Modern Chinese):

  • Students who have successfully completed CHINESE 333 (Advanced Literacy in Chinese) or its equivalent
  • Students who usually speak Chinese at home and can read short news articles on familiar topics and produce fairly accurate pieces of writing
  • Students may read and write at least 900-1000 characters

Enroll in CHINESE 435S (Selected Readings in Contemporary Chinese Literature I):

  • Students who have finished CHINESE 333/334 (Advanced Literacy in Chinese/Issues in Modern Chinese), CHINESE 371S (Classical Chinese in the Modern Context I) or CHINESE 408S (Issues in Chinese Language and Society II)
  • Students who can read long texts and write reflective essays about them
  • Students who completed elementary school and attended middle school for less than 2 years in a Chinese speaking country

Enroll in CHINESE 436S (Selected Readings in Contemporary Chinese Literature II):

  • Students who have successfully completed CHINESE 435S (Selected Readings in Contemporary Chinese Literature I) or its equivalent
  • Students who can read news articles or simple fictions
  • Students whose Chinese proficiency level is close to that of the Chinese native speakers

Enroll in CHINESE 455/456 (Modern Chinese Culture: Narratives of Home and Abroad/Aspects of Chinese Culture and Society):

  • Students who completed most of elementary and secondary schooling in a Chinese speaking country