Course Description

This course is designed to help students with no prior background in Mandarin to develop functional communication abilities in all four language skills. Using the standard Hànyu Pinyin phonetic system, a variety of authentic materials, vocabulary and sentence patterns, students will learn to make statements, ask questions, respond to questions and create conversations based upon culturally authentic situations. By the end of this course, students will be able to read and write 250 characters. An online placement test is required.

Other Chinese Courses at Ryerson

About Chinese Courses at Ryerson

Chinese courses at Ryerson focus on teaching basic vocabulary, sentence structure, and pronunciation of standard Mandarin Chinese. Designed for practicality, these courses have two main goals: overcoming psychological fears about learning Chinese, and gaining the confidence required to speak Mandarin. Although students are encouraged to read and write Chinese characters from the first day of classes, the focus of the courses is on practical communicative skills in standard Chinese. Simplified characters will be taught and tested throughout each course, and at higher levels, traditional characters are introduced for recognition. In each course, oral presentations are emphasized.

These degree-credit Chinese courses are professionally related elective courses for the Global Management Studies major within the Bachelor of Commerce program at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. Degree-credit Chinese courses are offered through The Chang School to suit the busy lifestyles of adult learners. To choose an appropriate course level, students are advised to consult the guidelines on the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures website.

Placement Test

All students are required to take the Chinese Placement Test or attend one of our interview/placement assessment sessions prior to enrolling in any course in Chinese. Students must bring the results of this placement test to their first class. These courses are designed for non-native speakers. CCHN 101 and CCHN 201 are lower-level Liberal Studies courses, while students may use CCHN 301 and CCHN 401 either as lower- or upper-level Liberal Studies courses. CCHN 501 and CCHN 601 are both lower-level and upper-level Liberal Studies courses.

Industry Overview

In the next few years, China is poised to become the world’s largest economy, and Mandarin is the official language of the Chinese-speaking world. Here in Canada, Chinese is the third most commonly spoken language. Though Cantonese is commonly heard and spoken in Toronto, many Cantonese speakers learn Mandarin for increased employment opportunities.

Our Students

Many of our students work for universities, banks, and companies doing business in China. Others simply want a challenge, and to gain the personal satisfaction that comes from learning a new language. Our typical student age range is anywhere between 18 and 78. A typical class consists half of non-Chinese Canadians who may speak French, Italian, Russian, Indonesian, or even Korean as a first language. Courses in Mandarin at Ryerson are as suitable for the complete novice as they are for Chinese born in Canada who speak a Chinese dialect such as Cantonese, Hakka, or Hokkien.


”Without the knowledge and competence I gained through Ryerson’s Mandarin classes, I would never have had the confidence to specialize in East Asian Studies, an area of lifelong interest. Now, here I am in the fourth year of my degree, reading classical literature and translating modern short stories on the side. And it all started with Ryerson.”
Norah Creedon, retired Ontario teacher and a specialist in Chinese literature at the University of Toronto

Which Course Should You Take?

CCHN 101 is open to anyone.

If you use a Chinese dialect, such as Cantonese or Hakka, on a daily basis, we recommend that you start with CCHN 201.

Those who wish to enter CCHN 201 or above need to speak some Mandarin and recognize about 250 Chinese characters.

Suitability for CCHN 201 and above will be determined by an Assessment/Placement Evaluation, which can be provided over the phone.

We encourage you to take this assessment before registering for the course. For more specific information about assessments, please email your instructor at jstowe@ryerson.ca.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of Chinese is taught at Ryerson?
Standard Mandarin pronunciation as spoken in Beijing is the standard for all Chinese language instruction at the university level. This is the standard for Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei, as well as for all universities that teach Chinese, such as Harvard, Oxford, and Tokyo University. The CDs that go with our textbooks feature audio that uses standard Beijing pronunciation.

Is Cantonese the same as Mandarin?
Cantonese is the most commonly spoken Chinese dialect in Canada, and it is heard throughout the world. Spoken Cantonese is very different from spoken Mandarin, another Chinese dialect, which is the official spoken language of the People’s Republic of China. Many Cantonese speakers do not understand spoken Mandarin, and most Mandarin speakers do not understand spoken Cantonese. However, Chinese who are literate in written Chinese characters, regardless of their dialect, can communicate with each other through the written form of the language. Thus, anyone who understands Chinese today can understand a Chinese movie in a different dialect if there are subtitles in Chinese characters.

Does Ryerson teach traditional characters or simplified characters?
All textbooks that Ryerson uses to teach Chinese have simplified Chinese characters. However, students who wish to learn traditional characters can be accommodated. Simplified characters are most often used in China and Singapore, while Taiwan and Hong Kong continue to use traditional characters. However, since 1997, when Hong Kong was returned to China, simplified Chinese characters have been seen in Hong Kong. Interestingly, after China opened its doors to global commerce, traditional characters have been seen in China, since a lot of companies from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea have established offices there. For contemporary life in China, one needs to be able to read and write simplified characters, and for research on history, religion, philosophy, etc. before the 1950s, one needs to be able to read traditional characters.

What books are used in the courses?
Ryerson uses both START UP Business Chinese and Integrated Chinese, published by Cheng & Tsui (www.cheng-tsui.com). The first five chapters are covered in CCHN 101 and the next five chapters are covered in CCHN 201. The next level of the text is taught in CCHN 301 and CCHN 401. Additionally, there are CDs for the textbook as well as a workbook and Chinese character workbook. These textbooks are also suitable for students who are serious about learning to read and write Chinese characters.

Will I be able to speak Chinese fluently after taking a course at Ryerson?
According to linguists, it is more difficult to learn Chinese than it is to learn a romance language such as Spanish or French. However, after taking two Chinese Mandarin courses at Ryerson, students can expect to be able to understand some spoken Mandarin and to carry on conversations as well as respond to questions. A student who studies Chinese intensively for a couple of years may reach an intermediate level of fluency in speaking, reading, and writing.

How much time will I need to spend on homework?
We recommend devoting at least five hours per week; some students can put in up to 10 hours per week. Study requirements vary from individual to individual.


All students must take an  interview/placement assessment  before enrolling in this course.


Prerequisite: Placement test required (www.ryerson.ca/llc)
Antirequisite: MDN 101

Course Sections

Class Number
6:00PM to 9:00PM
Sep 14, 2020 to Dec 14, 2020
Contact Hours
  • Online
Delivery Options
Domestic Fee non-credit $635.60 Click here to get more information
International Fee non-credit $0.00 Click here to get more information