The astounding economic growth of China means that the culture and modern society will have an important role in the future of global affairs and careers. The Chinese Major at UCSB will provide you with a thorough grounding in the diversity of Chinese culture and traditions from imperial to modern times. The Chinese language you will learn is the best way to convince your future employers that you stand out from other college graduates who have never learned the language and that you have an inside view of the culture. Being able to read Chinese will keep you abreast of Chinese current events and social attitudes through the online and print world.

A knowledge of one or more languages can be useful in a wide range of careers. For some careers, such as translating, interpreting and language teaching, language skills are one of the main requirements. For other careers a combination of languages and other training, qualifications, or skills may be needed. For example, people with language knowledge and additional experience in technology, law, finance or sales skills are often more competitive for many jobs. Some Chinese Majors may wish to go on to graduate school to obtain a professional degree, such as a journalism degree, a law degree, or Masters of Business Administration. Others may have an academic orientation and may wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree in History, Literature, Religious Studies, Film Studies, Anthropology, and so forth, specializing in China, and preparing for a career as a university professor or research scholar.

Major American corporations in manufacturing, trade, media industries, information technologies, tourism, as well as alternative energy and green industries increasingly have business in China. These will all require employees who know the language and culture. Not only the Federal Government, but also American local and state governments have the need for researchers, cultural ambassadors, legal experts, and educators who understand China and the Chinese language.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like Chinese?

Do you like learning languages? Do you have a particular interest in China, or in East Asia more broadly? Do you like martial arts movies? Do you like reading classic literary works and watching great movies? Are you curious about Buddhism, Daoism, or Confucianism? Are you interested in learning more about Chinese history, society, and culture? If so, you will benefit from being a Chinese major. Students who are interested in learning about Asian societies through their languages and literatures, arts, philosophies, religions, and other cultural and historical expressions would like to study Chinese.

Even if you don’t yet have a special interest in Chinese culture, being a Chinese major will be very valuable if you think you might one day want to work in a field that requires knowledge of languages, or even just an awareness of and sensitivity to cross-cultural issues.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the undergraduate advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

  • Modern Cinema
  • Women’s Literature
  • Classical Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Daoism and Buddhism
  • Religion and Politics
  • Anthropology of China
  • Business
  • Film Studies

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies offers majors in Asian Studies, Chinese, and Japanese, together with coursework in four areas: East Asian cultural studies (involving more than one East Asian country), Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan.  Additionally, the major in Chinese includes concentrations in either Mandarin or Classical Chinese.

To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.

- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.

General Career Information

  1. What Are Some Possible Career Options?

Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be.  The following list provides only a handful of possibilities.  Chinese majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields. Students may wish to consider a double-major in Chinese Studies and another disciplinary field in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Economics, or even Engineering and Natural Sciences. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study options include:

Careers in diplomacy
Public Relations
Foreign Correspondence
Foreign Service
International Business and Trade
Government Service
Tourism and Travel
Visitor and Convention Bureaus
Museum Work
To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
O*Net Online
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.

See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn


Graduate and Professional Schools

Chinese Studies Graduate Programs
A list of U.S. graduate programs in Chinese languages provided by Internationalgraduate.Net.

Chinese Language Study Abroad provides information regarding international educational opportunities.
The most comprehensive source of graduate school information.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Come to the Career Resources Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.

Experience Search Strategies

Asia Employment
Executive job search, resume writing, employment and executive career opportunity in Asia / Middle East.

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers By Majors and Diversity.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Professional Associations

South Asia Journalists Association
Provides a networking and resource forum for journalists of South Asian origin.

American Association for Chinese Studies
AACS is the only academic society in America devoted exclusively to the general area of Chinese studies.

Association for Asian Studies
AAS is the largest society of its kind in the world, it is a scholarly, non-political, non-profit professional association open to all persons interested in Asia.

The Association for Asian Studies

UCSB Resources

UCSB Library - East Asian Languages & Culture: Chinese
The Davidson Library's Chinese Studies guide provides a broad range of information sources to aid in your research.  Only resources accessible through Internet are included in this guide.  All selected databases and websites in this section are in Chinese.  Western language resources of Chinese studies are listed under "East Asian Studies".

UCSB Department of East Asian & Cultural Languages
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies is dedicated to the study of the civilizations of China, Japan and Korea in all their richness and diversity. The Chinese concentration provides opportunities for extensive language training and interdisciplinary coursework, concentrating on the humanistic fields of literature, history, and religious studies.

Career Resource Room

UCSB General Catalog

UCSB Office of Student Life

UCSB Minors