Asian Languages and Civilizations

Undergraduate students may choose to major in either Chinese or Japanese. In either case they receive a thorough grounding in the modern language, an introduction to the classical language and literature, and a broad familiarity with the literary and cultural history of the selected area. 

Before registering for specific courses, students should consult with a departmental advisor concerning appropriate placement in language classes. Also, students interested in Chinese or Japanese are encouraged to broaden their career options through a double major, combining either language with another field of interest. Recent graduates have found positions in such fields as government service, international business, and secondary-school teaching; others have gone on to graduate study in Chinese or Japanese.

Course codes for these programs are EALC, ARAB, CHIN, FRSI, HIND, INDO, JPNS, KREN, and TBTN. 

Bachelor's Degree Program(s)

Undergraduate Study in Asian Languages and Civilizations

Bachelor of Arts in Chinese

The undergraduate degree in Chinese emphasizes knowledge and awareness of:

  • Chinese literary history, focusing on selected canonical or widely recognized works;
  • the historical and cultural contexts in which particular works were written;
  • critical approaches to the study of Chinese language and civilization; and 
  • the challenges, deficiencies, and possible gains inherent in the process of translating from one language to another.

In addition, students completing the degree in Chinese are expected to acquire the ability and skills to:

  • read modern Chinese at a level at which critical literary analysis can be performed;
  • read classical Chinese, with the aid of appropriate reference works, at the level at which the text may begin to be appreciated for its literary value;
  • speak and comprehend Mandarin sufficient for all situations in daily life and for a basic level of academic conversation;
  • analyze and interpret literary texts in terms of style, structure, character, themes, and use of allusion; and
  • communicate such interpretations competently in standard written English.

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below. CHIN 1010, 1020, and 2110 do not count toward the maximum of 45 credits in the major department.

Chinese Language and Literature Track

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below, including 30 credit hours of courses in Chinese language and literature above CHIN 2110. CHIN 2120 or its equivalent is the prerequisite to upper-division courses required for the major. At least 25 credit hours must be in upper-division courses.

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours 

  • CHIN 2120 Intermediate Chinese 2—5 
  • CHIN 3110 and 3120 Advanced Chinese 1 and 2—10
  • CHIN 4210 Introduction to Classical Chinese—4
  • CHIN 4220 Readings in Classical Chinese—4
  • Additional credit hours selected from the following courses:
    CHIN 3311 The Dao and the World in Medieval China—3
    CHIN 3321 Culture and Literature of Ancient China—3
    CHIN 3331 Culture and Literature of Late Imperial China—3
    CHIN 3341 Literature and Popular Culture in Modern China—3
    CHIN 3342 Literary Culture in Contemporary China—3 
    CHIN 3351 Reality and Dream in Traditional Chinese Fiction—3
    CHIN 3361 Women and the Supernatural in Chinese Literature—3
    CHIN 3371 Topics in Chinese Film—3
    CHIN 4110 Readings in Modern Chinese 1—3
    CHIN 4120 Readings in Modern Chinese 2—3
    CHIN 4300 Open Topics—3
    CHIN 4750 Daoism—3
    CHIN 4900 Independent Study—1-3
    CHIN 4950 Honors Thesis—3

Chinese Language and Civilization Track

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours 

  • Requires successful completion of 30 credit hours, apportioned as follows:
    CHIN 2120 Intermediate Chinese 2—5
    CHIN 3110 and 3120 Advanced Chinese 1 and 2 or CHIN 4210 and 4220 Introduction to Classical Chinese and Readings in Classical Chinese—8-10
  • The remaining 15 or 17 credits may be chosen from other CHIN courses, excluding only language courses numbered below 2120. Six of these remaining hours may be satisfied by courses focusing wholly or substantially on China offered in other departments, subject to approval by the undergraduate advisor in Chinese.
  • Of the 30 credit hours presented for the degree, at least 18 must be at the upper division.

Graduating in Four Years with a BA in Chinese

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress in Chinese, students should meet the following requirements:

  • Declare the major in the first semester.
  • Students wishing to major in Chinese and who have no prior knowledge of the language should begin the required major courses no later than the sophomore year.
  • Students must consult with a major advisor to determine adequate progress toward completion of the major.

Minor Program in Chinese

The minor program in Chinese requires successful completion of 18 credit hours, including CHIN 3110/3120 and at least one additional 3-credit upper-division course in the program. All language course work applied to the minor must be completed with a grade of C or better; all other course work must be completed with a grade of C- or better. Pass/fail work will not apply to the minor. Of the 18 hours to be counted toward the minor, no more that 9 hours (including a maximum of 6 upper-division hours) may be transfer credits from other universities in this country or abroad. For more information, see the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations undergraduate advisor.

Bachelor of Arts in Japanese

The undergraduate degree in Japanese emphasizes knowledge and awareness of:

  • the outlines of the history of Japanese literature from the Nara period to the present;
  • the outlines of Japanese historical and cultural development; and 
  • appropriate research strategies for Japanese language, literature, and culture.

In addition, students completing the degree in Japanese are expected to acquire the ability and skills to:

  • speak and comprehend Japanese sufficiently for daily life;
  • read, interpret, and analyze modern written texts; 
  • compose letters and simple compositions;
  • use cultural awareness and understanding to function appropriately in a range of social situations; and
  • communicate the results of research in English. 

In addition, students target one or more of the following goals:

  • read and comprehend classical Japanese, with the aid of appropriate reference works;
  • translate a range of Japanese texts into English; and
  • understand and analyze the structure of the Japanese language and communication patterns in Japanese.

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below. JPNS 1010, 1020, and 2110 do not count towards the maximum of 45 credits in the major department.

Japanese Language and Literature Track

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below, including 30 credit hours of courses in Japanese language and literature above JPNS 2110. JPNS 2120 or its equivalent is the prerequisite to upper-division language courses required for the major. At least 25 credit hours must be at the upper-division level. 

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours 

  • JPNS 2120 Intermediate Japanese—5
  • JPNS 3110 and 3120 Advanced Japanese 1 and 2—10
  • JPNS 4110 and 4120 Advanced Readings in Modern Japanese 1 and 2 or JPNS 4210 and 4220 Contemporary Japanese 1 and 2—6
  • Additional credit hours selected from the following courses:
    JPNS 3441 Language and Japanese Society—3
    JPNS 3811 Love, Death, and Desire: Classical Japanese Literature in Translation—3
    JPNS 3821 Monsters. Monks, and Mayhem: Medieval Japanese Literature in Translation—3
    JPNS 3831 The Floating World of Play and Passion: Early Modern Japanese Literature in Translation—3
    JPNS 3841 Tradition and Transgression: Modern Japanese Literature in Translation—3
    JPNS 4030 Japanese Syntax—3
    JPNS 4070 Second Language Acquisition in Japanese—3
    JPNS 4080 Kanji in Japanese—3 
    JPNS 4210 and 4220 Contemporary Japanese 1 and 2—6
    JPNS 4310 and 4320 Classical Japanese 1 and 2—6
    JPNS 4300 Open Topics—3
    JPNS 4900 Independent Study—1-3
    JPNS 4950 Honors Thesis—3

Japanese Language and Civilization Track

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours 

  • Requires successful completion of 30 credit hours, apportioned as follows:
    JPNS 2120 Intermediate Japanese—5
    JPNS 3110 and 3120 Advanced Japanese 1 and 2—10
  • The remaining 15 credits may be chosen from other JPNS courses, excluding only language courses numbered below 2120. Six of these remaining credit hours may be satisfied by courses focusing wholly or substantially on Japan offered in other departments, subject to approval by the undergraduate advisor in Japanese. 
  • Of the 30 credit hours presented for the degree, at least 18 must be at the upper-division level.

Graduating in Four Years with a BA in Japanese

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress in Japanese, students should meet the following requirements:

  • Declare the major in the first semester.
  • Students wishing to major in Japanese and who have no prior knowledge of the language should begin the required major courses no later than the sophomore year.
  • Students must consult with a major advisor to determine adequate progress toward completion of the major.

Minor Program in Japanese

The minor program in Japanese requires successful completion of 18 credit hours, including JPNS 3110/3120 and at least one additional 3-credit upper-division course in the program. All language course work applied to the minor must be completed with a grade of C or better; all other course work must be completed with a grade of C- or better. Pass/fail work will not apply to the minor. Of the 18 hours to be counted toward the minor, no more that 9 hours (including a maximum of 6 upper-division hours) may be transfer credits from other universities in this country or abroad. For more information, see the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations undergraduate advisor.

Courses Taught in English

The department offers several courses in translation. These courses require no previous study of the language, history, or culture of the area involved and are open to all interested students, whether majors in this department or not. They provide excellent introductions to Chinese or Japanese literary and cultural history. 

CHIN 1051 is a core curriculum course in the area of literature and the arts that focuses on the great books of China, both ancient and modern. CHIN 2441 and CHIN 3371 concentrate on film and culture. CHIN 3311, 3321, 3331, and 3341 concentrate, respectively, on medieval, ancient, late imperial, and modern Chinese culture. CHIN 3351 and 3361 are devoted to issues in fiction and on women and the supernatural. CHIN 4750 (cross-listed with RLST) focuses on the historical development of Daoism.

CHIN 1012 provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature, religion, and art of China. JPNS 1012 provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature, religion, and art of Japan. Both of these are core curriculum courses in the area of human diversity.

JPNS 1051 is a core curriculum course in the area of literature and the arts focusing on both ancient and modern great books of Japan. JPNS 2441 focuses on film and culture, JPNS 3441 explores language and society. JPNS 3811, 3821, 3831, and 3841 focus, respectively, on classical, medieval, early modern, and modern Japanese literature. 

Study Abroad

The department strongly recommends that all majors participate in study abroad. The University of Colorado is affiliated with study abroad programs based at Beijing, Nanjing, and East China Normal Universities in China; National Chengchi University in Taiwan; and the department has exchange programs with Kansai Gaidai, Sophia University, and Akita International University in Japan. Consult a departmental advisor. For further information, contact the Office of International Education. Note, however, that not more than 20 transfer credit hours from universities in the United States or abroad may count toward the major in Chinese or Japanese.

Concurrent Bachelor's/Master's Program

BA/MA in Asian Languages and Civilizations, Language and Literature Track

The concurrent BA/MA degree program in Asian Languages and Civilizations language and literature tracks offers a challenging and focused academic experience for exceptional students who demonstrate the ability to express their ideas clearly, both orally and in written form, using standard English. Highly motivated students who are accepted into the program begin graduate work no later than the senior year and earn both the BA and MA in five years. Students must have a minimum 3.25 GPA for all courses taken at CU-Boulder and should have completed all MAPS and core requirements by the end of the sophomore year. An application and three letters of recommendation indicating strong potential for advanced intensive study are also required, one of which must be from a full-time member of the Chinese/Japanese faculty; these must be submitted by September 1 of the junior year. Applications will be reviewed by the graduate faculty in Chinese or Japanese. For specific requirements, please contact the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations undergraduate advisor.

BA/MSIB Program (Bachelor of Arts in Chinese or Japanese/Master of International Business)

The Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, in conjunction with the Business School at the University of Colorado Denver, offers a degree track in either Japanese or Chinese leading to accelerated admission to the UC Denver MSIB program. Students complete the standard requirements for the Japanese or Chinese major and a block of basic courses in Boulder Leeds School of Business. These courses, along with Japanese or Chinese language and culture requirements, are counted by the UC Denver Business School, allowing ALC graduates to complete the MSIB on an accelerated schedule. ALC students are also given special consideration for fellowship funding at UC Denver. 

Graduate Degree Program(s)

Graduate Study in Asian Languages and Civilizations

Applicants to the graduate program in Asian Languages  and Civilizations (Chinese or Japanese emphasis) should have successfully completed the equivalent of the undergraduate major in Chinese or Japanese language and literature with advanced competence in modern Chinese or Japanese, an introduction to classical Chinese or Japanese, an understanding of the interrelationship of Chinese or Japanese language and society, and a familiarity with the history, major writers, and works of Chinese or Japanese literature. Foreign applicants must submit results from a TOEFL exam, with 560 being the minimum acceptable score.

Master’s Program

The MA may be pursued in one of four different tracks: Chinese language and literature, Japanese language and literature, Chinese language and civilization, and Japanese language and civilization. All entering students must take either CHIN 5010 or JPNS 5010 at the earliest opportunity. Students employed as teaching assistants also must take CHIN/JPNS 5020 Methods of Teaching Asian Languages. Selection of courses beyond these is made in consultation with the graduate advisor. Minimum requirements for graduation include a total of 24 hours of course work numbered 5000 or above, plus a thesis of 6 credit hours, or 30 hours of course work without a thesis. If deemed appropriate by the student’s graduate committee, up to three courses (9 credit hours) taken outside the department may be included in the graduate curriculum.

PhD Program

Prerequsites. The PhD in Asian Languages and Civilizations offers specializations in Chinese or Japanese with concentrations in literary and/or cultural studies of either the premodern or modern periods. Academic preparation is expected in both classical and modern language. The department will evaluate all applications for admission based on previous academic achievements and on the quality of the writing sample. 

All international students whose native language is not English must score at least 620 (paper-based test) or 260 (computer-based test) or 105 (internet-based test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to be considered for admission. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores are not mandatory for admission. However, applicants wishing to be considered for competitive university fellowships will be strongly encouraged to take the GRE general test and submit the scores.

Language Requirement. In addition to the requirements of the University of Colorado Graduate School for regular degree students, the department requires all entering students to have superior proficiency in the target language and broad general knowledge of the literary and cultural traditions of their region of concentration.

General Requirements. The PhD in Asian Languages and Civilizations will require a minimum of 45 credit hours in graduate courses numbered 5000 or above in Chinese or Japanese; some graduate or advanced undergraduate course work from related fields may also be included, in accordance with Graduate School rules. Some course work completed for the MA degree at CU or other similarly rigorous institutions may count toward the 45 credit hours required. PhD students may transfer to the department up to 21 hours of acceptable graduate-level credit. All PhD students must take at least 24 credit hours of graduate course work at the University of Colorado Boulder in addition to 30 credit hours of dissertation work beyond the course work required.

Dual Degree Programs

MA in Asian Languages and Civilizations with MA in either History or Religious Studies 

The Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations also participates in a dual master’s program with the Departments of History and Religious Studies. Students interested in exploring this option should contact the department for specific requirements.

Certificate Program

Certificate in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

The region commonly referred to as the Middle East includes over 20 Arabic speaking countries, as well as Iran, Turkey, and Israel, and spans Southwest Asia and North Africa. A culturally, religiously, and linguistically diverse region, the Middle East today is one of the most geopolitically critical regions in the world. It is the birthplace of the three major monotheistic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; the home of medieval Islamic civilizations;and home to rich literary, architectural, and religious traditions. Islam, a monotheistic faith that began in the Arabian Peninsula in the 7thcentury, is today practiced by over one billion people and is diversely expressed through a vast geographic, linguistic, and cultural terrain, from West Africa to East Asia. The Certificate in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies provides students the opportunity to formally explore the cultural, political, and religious diversity of the Middle East and the Islamic worlds. 

Students currently pursuing the requirements of the MEIS Certificate or interested in doing so should complete the Statement of Intent form. Students who have completed the requirements for the MEIS certificate and are graduating in December or May must complete the Program of Study form and the Certificate Completion form and submit them to the office of the certificate director, Haytham Bahoora, 215 Humanities, two months prior to the end of the semester.

Requirements

The certificate requires a total of 19 credit hours to include both language and content courses.

  • One year of either Arabic or Farsi language. Only language courses beginning at the intermediate level (2000 level) will count toward fulfilling certificate credit hour requirements. Advanced Arabic language courses can also fulfill content course requirements. In addition to Arabic or Farsi, students are encouraged to study another Middle Eastern language, such as Hebrew or Turkish (although Turkish is not currently offered at CU, there may be a possibility for interested students to study Turkish through DILS—Direct Independent Language Study).   
  • Students must complete 9 additional credit hours (three upper-division courses), at least one of which must be a course designated ARAB. These 9 credit hours may be selected from the list of approved content courses and are to be completed with a grade of C- or better. 
  • As a certificate program with a focus on Islamic studies, at least one of the three content courses must have a specific focus on Islam and the Islamic world.
  • Students should also consult with the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Certificate advisor annually and must fulfill the requirements for a BA or BS degree in an established major in a school or college of the CU-Boulder.

For a list of approved courses, see the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations website alc.colorado.edu.

Certificate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations

South Asia—comprising India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Tibet—has emerged as a key center of economic, political, and cultural power in the 21st century. South Asia in ancient times drove the economy of Central and Southeast Asia, exported a cosmopolitan Sanskrit literary culture, and was the spiritual home of Hinduism and Buddhism. South Asia in medieval times was a major hub of global trade and the pride of a wide-ranging Persianate civilization. Its Mughal Empire was far more populous and wealthy than the Ottomans and Safavids combined. South Asia today is home to over 100 officially recognized languages and most of the world’s major religious traditions. With some 500 million speakers, Hindi-Urdu is one of the most popular languages in the world, alongside Mandarin, English, and Spanish. Hindi-Urdu boasts thriving contemporary literary and media cultures, and—with Bollywood—the world’s largest and most influential film industry.

In the 21st century, international companies and government agencies are searching for employees with language skills in Hindi-Urdu and a broad understanding of South Asia. The Certificate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations is designed to help prepare CU students for these emerging careers.

Requirements

The certificate requires a total of 19 credit hours to include both language and content courses.

  • A fundamental component of the certificate is the study of Hindi-Urdu. Students must complete at least one year of Hindi-Urdu language courses beyond the beginning level (language course hours will count toward the certificate beginning only at level 2010), earning a grade of C or better. No other languages will count towards the certificate.
  • Students must complete 9 additional credit hours (three upper-division courses), at least one of which must be a course designated HIND. These 9 credit hours may be selected from the list of approved content courses and are to be completed with a grade of C- or better. 
  • Students should also consult with the South Asian Languages and Civilizations Certificate advisor annually, and must fulfill the requirements for a BA or BS degree in an established major in a school or college of CU-Boulder.

For a list of approved courses, see the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations website alc.colorado.edu.