The University of Iowa


As a Chinese Major, study abroad will be one of the most important experiences of your academic career. The many differences between Eastern and Western culture along with the difficulty of the Chinese language make study abroad in China an informal requirement of the major.

Many Chinese majors pursue degrees in other fields in order to compete with native speakers in the international job market. If you are considering working abroad after graduation, studying abroad in China will improve your language competency by giving you the opportunity to interact with many native speakers.

Many study abroad programs in China offer language intensive courses that are transferrable for Chinese majors. Depending on your language competency, literature, history, and elective courses may be taken abroad as well.


Chinese National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest

Many study abroad options are available to you. From 8-week summer programs to full-year enrollment at a Chinese university, there are plenty of opportunities to earn credit toward your degree.

Various scholarships are available for Chinese majors wishing to study abroad including the Cheng/Liu Summer Scholarship and Stanley Summer Scholarships. More information about these awards can be found on the Division of World Language's web page.

As a Chinese Major, it is relatively easy to study abroad at any point during your time at the UI. It is recommended that you complete at least 1 year of language study before studying abroad. The better you speak the language, the more options you’ll have in terms of the courses you can take. If you are interested in taking a variety of courses abroad, you might wait until you have completed your second or third year of language study.

Chinese majors may not take General Education courses abroad. The Fulfilling Academic Requirements section of this MAP will aid you in coordinating your study abroad experience with your major’s 4-year graduation plan.

White Cloud Mountain China


Your first year is best spent fulfilling General Education requirements and language prerequisites. If you’re interested in getting a head start on your language study, the summer between your first and second year is a good time to study abroad.


Sophomore year is a good time to study abroad. Most language and culture courses taken abroad will count toward your major—just be sure to get your course list approved by a faculty advisor. Refer to your 4-year graduation plan to ensure you’ll be at the right language level and will earn the required number of hours before your seventh semester begins.


Junior year is also a good time to study abroad. Again, most language and culture courses taken abroad will count toward your major. Depending on your language competency, you might be able to get additional courses approved by your faculty advisor.


Your senior year also works for studying abroad—just double-check that all of your requirements will be met for graduation upon your return.


If you can’t seem to fit study abroad in during the school year, consider a short-term summer program like Iowa in Tianjin! 

Studying abroad in the summer is also a great way to get a head start on the language courses you’ll take during the school year.

Chinese Major Courses

Be sure to review your major requirements before registering for courses abroad. In general, Chinese majors may earn up to 6 credits for language courses taken abroad and 3 credits for culture studies courses. Language prerequisites for entrance into the major may be fulfilled abroad as well. Chinese literature, history, and elective requirements are best fulfilled at the UI, although this restriction is negotiable depending on your language competency.

Brett Burke on the Great Wall of China

General Education and Electives

Because most of the courses offered abroad will be taught in Chinese, general education courses should be fulfilled at the UI.

The courses you take abroad need to be approved by a faculty advisor prior to your departure. Again, the courses you’ll be able to take are dependent on your language competency, so be sure to check with your advisor about this. Helen Shen approves study abroad courses for Chinese Minors.

Iowa in Tianjin, Summer 2012

Direct enrollment is recommended to the extent that your language competency allows.

While we suggest you look at these highlighted programs first, feel free to browse the programs section of the Study Abroad website and consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room.

Iowa in Tianjin (Summer)

The Iowa in Tianjin summer program was developed by the University of Iowa Department of Asian Languages and Literature and the College of International Education (CIE) of Tianjin University of Technology (TUT). This close cooperation has created a program ideally suited to meeting the language needs of University of Iowa students.

This program usually runs June 1 through July 31. 
Last year, the group flight's departure from the U.S. was May 31. Information for group travel will be provided soon after acceptance to the program.

Iowa in Tianjin (Academic Year)

Students will directly enroll in the Tianjin University of Technology. Unlike the summer program, students will be directly enrolled with other international students studying Chinese in Tianjin.

Also unlike the summer program, students will not receive resident credit for their time at Tianjin. As this situation can get complicated, interested students should make an appointment with the study abroad advisor in charge of this region by calling the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353.

CIEE Beijing Intensive Chinese Language

The CIEE Intensive Chinese Language program is designed for students with zero to four semesters of Chinese language study and an interest in China’s ethnic minorities and the Chinese identity. This program is ideal for students majoring in the social sciences with an interest in multi-ethnic China and modern life in Beijing.