Chinese Language Courses

Considering taking Chinese now or in the future at the UW?

The earlier you can get a placement the better — even if you don't plan to enroll right away.

All modern Chinese language courses at UW require add codes. We regret that non-matriculated students will not be admitted into modern Chinese language classes at the first- through third-year level, with the exception of Summer courses [see Summer Quarter instructions below]. In addition, auditors are not permitted.

How do I get an add code?

  • For information on registering for Summer Quarter Chinese courses, see below.
  • If you are already enrolled in a Chinese language course at UW, or have already been interviewed and placed in a Chinese language course, you can get an add code directly from an instructor.
  • If you are not currently enrolled in a Chinese language course at UW, you will need to be placed into an appropriate language class. This usually requires taking the on-line Chinese evaluation questionnaire, which is open at limited times.

Still have questions? See the FAQ below.

Do you want to satisfy the UW foreign language requirement without taking a class?

The department offers a proficiency test every quarter. Passing the proficiency test satisfies the foreign language requirement. It is not necessary to be placed into a language class.

What other courses are available in Chinese besides modern language?

The department also regularly offers courses in Classical Chinese (CHIN 451-453, open to students with advanced ability in the modern language), in the history of Chinese literature (CHIN 461-463), and in Chinese linguistics (CHIN 342/442). All these courses are taught in English and satisfy major and minor requirements in Chinese. See the course catalog for course descriptions and details on prerequisites.

Frequently Asked Questions

1 Q: I am currently taking Chinese and am going to study abroad. Can I get an add code now for the course I want to take when I return?

A: No. Because study abroad programs vary in quality, it is not possible to determine in advance which class will be appropriate when you return. Speak to your current instructor about your plans so that a space can be reserved for you. When you return, take the on-line survey in order to be placed into an appropriate class.

2 Q: I just transferred to UW. I took first-year Chinese at another school, and my credits have transferred over. Can I get an add code for second-year Chinese?

A: Not necessarily. Some schools do not cover as much material in first-year Chinese as the UW does. You should take the on-line survey in order to be appropriately placed. Depending on the result, you may need to retake some or all of the first-year Chinese sequence here.

3 Q: I went through an interview last year and was placed in a Chinese course. I want to take that course now, but I have lost the piece of paper with my placement result. What should I do?

A: Send an email to We probably have a record of your interview result. You do not need to take the survey again.

4 Q: I went through an interview last year and was placed in a Chinese course. I want to take Chinese now, but I probably have forgotten a great deal since I took the last interview. Should I take the survey again?

A: No. See the instructor you were originally referred to in your interview. Explain your situation. If warranted, the instructor will recommend a different course for you.

5 Q: I'm not sure what my level is or when I should start taking Chinese. But I think I belong in a spring quarter class. Should I wait until spring registration starts to take the on-line survey?

A: If you would like to take a Chinese course, take the on-line survey as soon as you can, even if you do not expect to take Chinese next quarter. Once you have been placed in a class. you will have more flexibility to arrange your schedule.

6 Q: The on-line survey opened after registration began, and now I have to wait another week before my placement interview. I'm worried that the class will fill up before I am placed.

A: All students who fill out the on-line survey are dealt with on a first-come, first-served basis. No one who filled out the survey after you did will be given an add code before you. However, some seats may be reserved for students who have been given priority by the language program, and these seats may not be available to students currently going through the placement procedure.

7 Q: I have taken first-year Chinese as a non-UW student in the summer. 
Can I continue with second-year Chinese in the Autumn as a non-matriculated student?

A: No.  Unfortunately, current program policy does not accept non-matriculated students in regular-year modern language courses.

8 Q: I lost my add code.  How do I get another one? 

A: Contact the head instructor for the course. 

9 Q: I have an add code for a course. How can I change to another section?

A: Contact the head instructor for the course.

Special Instructions for Summer Quarter:

Announcement: Please note that summer Chinese language courses cover approximately a year's worth of material in 9 weeks; they are fast-paced and highly demanding. Students should be prepared to attend class every day and devote significant time and effort outside of class to preparing.

Chinese 134 is intended for students with no previous exposure to Chinese. Chinese 138 is for students who speak and understand Mandarin but cannot read or write. Chinese 234 is for students who have completed first-year college level Chinese or the equivalent. An evaluation interview may be conducted to determine if your level is appropriate for one of these courses.


1) The first step is to fill out the on-line application for Summer Quarter and pay the $50 fee:
[$50 fee is non-refundable, and enrollment in any of our classes is not guaranteed after paying the $50 fee. Regular UW students have the first priority for registering for classes. Non-matriculated will only be considered if space is still available at the end of the registration period.]

2) You are required to fill out our on-line Chinese language evaluation questionnaire.  The questionnaire opens a week before Registration Period I for Summer Quarter and remains open for approximately two weeks. It is important that you fill out the questionnaire as soon as possible during its two-week open period, since the classes fill up very quickly. You will need to be a registered Summer Quarter student in order to do this: Chinese Proficiency & Placement for available dates.

After filling out the questionnaire, you may be asked to participate in an interview with an instructor to determine your Chinese level. If your Chinese level is appropriate for one of the available summer courses, you will either be given an "add code" that you can use to register for the class, or you will be placed on a waiting list.

3) Once you have an add code, you may register for the appropriate Chinese language course using the online registration system as specified by the Summer Quarter. Please register as soon as possible after receiving your add code.