Majors & Minors


Immersing yourself in the most widely spoken language in the world is your gateway to the robust culture and dynamic history of a global economic powerhouse.


Francis Mathieu

Associate Professor of French & Chair

Francis Mathieu

Associate Professor of French & Chair

Chinese (Credit: testing |

Considering that the language is spoken natively by approximately 16% of the world’s population (approximately 1.2 billion people), learning Chinese is crucial for maintaining national security, improving economic competitiveness, and achieving environmental and social sustainability across the globe. Taking coursework or minoring in Chinese at Southwestern will enable you to build relationships across borders while broadening your global perspective and preparing you to make significant contributions in a variety of communities and professions.

By learning Chinese, you’ll develop foundational speaking and listening skills that will empower you while traveling or living abroad. You’ll explore the rich culture of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, including its enchanting folklore and literature, complicated history, and engaging philosophies. You’ll have the opportunity to join the millenia-old ranks of artists and practitioners who have put brush and ink to paper in the ancient tradition of calligraphy, a meditative and therapeutic activity that will challenge you and enrich your ways of thinking. And you’ll consider fascinating questions such as

  • Are written languages primarily phonetic (written characters represent sounds) or pictorial (images represent ideas)?
  • How are differences in language and culture related?
  • How does having a broad understanding of culture and language help you develop authentic interpersonal and professional connections?

Fulfilling SU’s Paideia approach to education, students studying Chinese at Southwestern often study abroad in Asia and major or minor in complementary fields, such as international studies, business, communication studies, or political science. By making connections with other disciplines and expanding their communication skills, our alumni have gone on to master’s and doctoral programs in Chinese literature as well as professions as diverse as teaching, business, translation, law, foreign service, intelligence, art, university administration, urban planning, environmental science, and so much more!


Featured Alumni Stories

Shaylee Bushner

Shaylee Bushner, Class of 2013

A love of cultural exchange led Shaylee to the Peace Corps

Read Full Story
Lindsey Waldrop

Lindsey Waldrop, Class of 2010

Studying Chinese leads Lindsey to Ph.D. studies

Read Full Story


Chinese News

Washington, D.C.

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Valentina Olivieri-Puentes ’19 at the Île Saint Honorat in France.

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Hailing from Paraguay, Valentina Olivieri-Puentes ’19 reflects on the international student–athlete experience at Southwestern University.

Photo taken at the Bush Presidential Library during Public Service Institute Weekend during Kellogg's  time as a Bush School Fellow.

A Transformative Undergraduate Experience

Danyale Kellogg ’19 engaged in multiple internships, from the U.S. House of Representatives to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and studied abroad twice during her college career.