Chinese Program

Program Coordinator: Chris Wen-chao Li,
Undergraduate Advisers: Chris Wen-Chao Li,; Charles Egan,; Frederik Green,
Graduate Adviser: Chris Wen-Chao Li,
Flagship Program Director: Charles Egan,
Flagship Program Assistant Director: Frederik Green,


Study Chinese at San Francisco State University —  with a vast selection of courses, dedicated full-time faculty and students from all corners of the globe, your experience in cosmopolitan San Francisco promises to be the experience of a lifetime. The Chinese program offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chinese, together with a professionally oriented Chinese Flagship Program and a graduate-level Strategic Language Initiative (SLI) Translation-Interpretation Certificate Program. Explore the different degree options and find out more about studying Chinese at San Francisco State University.

Program Scope

Founded in 1959, the Chinese Program at San Francisco State University provides comprehensive degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. For all major and minor options, the Chinese Program offers electives taught in both English and Chinese which provide insight into one of the world’s oldest civilizations and inspire the student to view the modern world from alternative perspectives. Courses on modern literature and film, taught in Chinese, reflect the dynamic transformations of contemporary Chinese society and culture. Training in the fundamentals of linguistics complements program goals by revealing the underlying structures of language. To prepare students as fully as possible for future challenges, the Chinese Program balances traditional academic offerings with practical courses such as Business Chinese, Media Chinese, and Web Chinese, which equip students with career-related language skills.

The Bachelor of Arts in Chinese is divided into three separate concentrations: Chinese Language, designed for students with little or no background in Chinese language; Chinese Literature and Linguistics, aimed at native and near-native speakers of Chinese language; and Flagship Chinese Language, a federally funded honors program.

The Minor in Chinese Language is designed for beginning language learners, and is focused on the buildup of proficiency in the Modern Standard Language.

The Minor in Chinese Literature and Linguistics, is designed for native and near-native speakers, and requires coursework in advanced language, classical language, linguistics, literature, culture, and oratory.

The Master of Arts in Chinese provides advanced training in the areas of literature, linguistics and pedagogy, building a solid foundation for further study and language-related careers. Many of our M.A. graduates advance to study and research at the doctoral level, and others develop skills for China-related careers, including teaching Chinese as a second language, international business and law, and translation and interpretation.

Chinese Flagship Program

Launched in 2009, the San Francisco State University Chinese Flagship program is an exciting initiative for undergraduate students seeking careers related to China and the Chinese-speaking world. By providing intensive language instruction and cultural training, including dedicated classes and individual tutors for each student, the program works closely with each participant to facilitate mastery and application of the language for long-term success.

The Chinese Flagship program is one of 26 critical language centers and programs funded by The Language Flagship, a component of the National Security Education Program. Through an innovative partnership among the federal government, education and business, The Language Flagship seeks to graduate students who will take their place among the next generation of global professionals.

Highlights of the Chinese Flagship program include:

  • Guided intensive language study, peer tutoring and faculty mentoring at the home campus
  • Summer overseas intensive language immersion in China or Taiwan
  • Language Flagship overseas capstone year in Nanjing or Tianjin, China
  • Language Flagship professional internship in China
  • Scholarship support for overseas study (U.S. citizens only)

For more information please visit the SF State Chinese Flagship website.

Strategic Languages Initiative (SLI) Certificate Program in Chinese-English Translation and Interpretation

The Strategic Language Initiative (SLI) at San Francisco State University, part of the California State University Strategic Language Initiative Consortium, offers a certificate program in Chinese-English Translation and Interpretation, which aims to impart professional translation/interpreting skills and enhance language proficiency in students with advanced-level Chinese proficiency. The program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students with native or near-native proficiency in both Chinese and English language committed to receiving professional translator/interpreter training alongside the pursuit of their course of study.

The program consists of training modules both at the home campus and abroad. To be eligible for the SLI Certificate of Completion, students must:

  1. complete at least 6 units of coursework in translation and/or interpretation on the home campus;
  2. complete (via Study Abroad) 12 units of graduate-level coursework in translation and/or interpretation at the Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation at National Taiwan Normal University;
  3. complete a translation project with the approval of the SLI director; and
  4. achieve superior level or higher in the ACTFL/ILR Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI).

1. Home Campus Coursework (6) – choose from

  • CHIN 411 Media Chinese (3)
  • CHIN 881 Translation (3)
  • CHIN 882 Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpretation (3)
  • CHIN 883 Advanced Translation and Interpretation (3)

2. Study Abroad Coursework (12)

3. Translation Project

  • Prior approval required
  • Project may double as undergraduate Culminating Experience or as one subject test in graduate Culminating Experience

4. Oral Proficiency Interview

  • Must achieve superior level or higher

Note that the SF State  Strategic Language Initiative Certificate Program in Translation and Interpretation is a mid-level translator/interpreter training program which seeks to impart aspects of Chinese-English translation and interpretation theory and techniques to the novice learner. It is not a translator/interpreter certification program; nor is it a credentialing program for teachers of Chinese language and/or translation/interpretation.

Related Resources

Chinese Program Study Abroad

A note regarding study abroad, which applies to all Chinese degrees, concentrations and minors.

Chinese Program FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for the Chinese Program are answered here.

Chinese Program Resources

Chinese Program learning resources, links and references.

Chinese M.A. Program Advancement to Candidacy

Current students can learn more here about the Advancement to Candidacy.