The department regularly offers five levels of instruction in Modern Standard Chinese (Mandarin), designed to enable the student to become proficient in aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing, as well as introductory courses in Cantonese, Taiwanese, Classical Chinese, and Chinese linguistics. The department also offers courses on Chinese literature and culture in English translation for students who wish to become acquainted with the major achievements in Chinese literary, intellectual and cultural history.

Students majoring in Chinese are strongly encouraged to study in mainland China or Taiwan during one or both semesters of their junior year, during the summer, or over Winter Study.