The curriculum does not offer introductory Chinese; students in the program generally have studied at least one year of Chinese.
Oral interviews and written examinations during orientation will determine placement in one of four levels. Students should indicate on their application forms the level to which they think they are best suited. However, this information is used for planning purposes only; final placement is at the discretion of the Princeton in Beijing faculty on the basis of the placement examination and subsequent work. Enrollment in the program implies consent to abide by the judgment of the Princeton in Beijing faculty with regard to level placement.
CHI 105C and 107C: Using the fluency-through-accuracy approach, students work on developing a strong foundation for the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). The material in A New China (C.P. Chou, et al., Princeton University Press) gradually moves from daily conversational content to texts that have substantial content from the real world, covering issues especially relevant to American students studying in China. Texts provide deeper insight into the Chinese way of life and the intricacies involved in being a resident of China.
This level is suitable for those students who have had one year of college Chinese prior to attending, and do not speak Mandarin as a heritage language.
CHI 303C and 304C (non-heritage speakers) or CHI 305C and 306C (heritage speakers): The Third Year curriculum is designed to further improve the four basic language skills -- listening, speaking, reading, and writing -- while at the same time introducing students to the complex fabric that makes up modern China. Through All Things Considered (C. P. Chou, Yan Xia and Meow Hui Goh, Princeton University Press) and Eyes on China (C.P. Chou, Jincheng Liu, and Xin Zou, Princeton University Press), students learn the vocabulary needed to discuss the modern societies of America and China and the issues that face people in those societies today, as presented in the official Chinese media.
This level is normally suitable for those students who have had two years of college Chinese prior to attending, or who have taken one year of an accelerated program meant for heritage speakers.
CHI 403C and 404C (non-heritage speakers) or CHI 405C and 406C (heritage speakers):: Students at the Fourth Year level take full advantage of the authentic Chinese language environment. In addition to studying texts such as Anything Goes (Chih-ping Chou et al., Princeton University Press), students study materials available to the Chinese of Beijing, including newspapers, the daily news on TV, and national magazines.
This level is normally suitable for those students who have had three years of college Chinese prior to attending, or who have taken two years of an accelerated program meant for heritage speakers.
CHI 451C and 452C: This course, which is designed to bring students to near-native competence in all aspects of modern Chinese, prepares students for advanced research or employment in a variety of China-related fields. Materials are drawn from modern Chinese literature, film, and intellectual history, and include readings on contemporary issues as well. Textbooks normally include China's Development and Dilemmas (C.P. Chou, Yongtao Zhang, and Yunjun Zhou, Cheng & Tsui), and materials selected on current social and political issues. A component in classical Chinese can be added if warranted by student need.
This level is normally suitable for those students who have had four years of college Chinese prior to attending, or who have taken three years of an accelerated program meant for heritage speakers.