Chinese at Waikato involves the study of Modern Standard Chinese (Mandarin) and the history, culture and society of ancient and present day China.

Why study Chinese?

China ("Zhongguo" – the Central Kingdom) has a civilisation that spans 4,000 years, the longest unbroken civilisation in the world. It was the centre of East Asian culture for many centuries, exerting a strong influence on its immediate neighbours, including Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

Over the last several decades China has achieved the highest economic growth rate in the world. According to World Bank and IMF estimates, in terms of real size of its economy, China now ranks second internationally. It's home to one fifth of the world's population and is poised to become a massive world force.

As part of the Asia Pacific region, New Zealand has substantial links with the countries of Chinese-speaking Asia, with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan included among New Zealand's top ten trading partners. There is a large Chinese immigrant community in New Zealand and large numbers of Chinese tourists visit.

An understanding of this emerging modern power and its language is an invaluable tool, whether you are studying Chinese language and culture out of interest or for career reasons.

Enrolment into the PGCert, PGDip, BA(Hons) and MA in Chinese will be suspended from 2022.

At undergraduate (Bachelors) level, a Chinese specialisation is offered through a major in International Languages and Cultures.

Career Opportunities

  • Diplomat
  • Hospitality Operator
  • International Lawyer
  • Tour Guide
  • Translator or Interpreter
  • Travel Agent
  • Teacher


Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Subject Requirements

Chinese is available as a specialisation within the International Languages and Cultures major for the BA and the BGS, and as a minor within other undergraduate degrees, or as a minor in any other degree, subject to academic approval of the Division in which the student is enrolled.

The language acquisition papers are designed primarily for learners of Modern Standard Chinese as a foreign or second language. Students with prior knowledge of Chinese must consult with the programme convenor before enrolling in language acquisition papers. The papers in Chinese history, culture and society are taught in English and are also available to non-language students.

International Languages and Cultures major with a specialisation in Chinese
International Languages and Cultures is available as a major for the BA and the BGS, and may also be taken as a second major or as a minor within other undergraduate degrees. A major in International Languages and Cultures with a specialisation in Chinese requires a total of 135 points and students must complete CHINE131CHINE231CHINE232CHINE331 and CHINE332.

For more information about subject requirements please refer to the Catalogue of Papers for the most up to date information.

Chinese in other majors
To complete a minor in Chinese, students must complete CHINE231, CHINE232, and two other papers in Chinese or International Languages and Cultures.

The point of entry into the Chinese programme depends on previous experience. Students with little or no previous experience will start with CHINE131. Students with 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Chinese, or good results in NCEA Level 2 Chinese should start from CHINE232. Students who are uncertain about where to start should contact the Convenor of Chinese.

If you have any questions and need more advice contact one of our friendly student advisors phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4080 or email:

Please note: For all graduate subject requirements check the information provided in the papers section above.

Chinese papers


General and Undergraduate Enquiries

Graduate and Postgraduate Enquiries