Language courses

The first, most indispensable step in learning anything of importance about a country, culture, or area is learning something about the languages spoken there. Whether you're interested in history, philosophy, religion, literature, gender or class issues, international relations, business practices—if you want to understand anything beyond the most shallow level, there's no better way than by studying a second or third language.

You'll learn new ways of thinking about yourself and the world around you; you'll learn new ways of expressing yourself with clarity, civility, and respect; and you'll learn new ways of learning from the new people whom you'll meet.

Our language instructors are dedicated, patient, and caring. Some of the best instructors at UVic will guide and inspire you to develop your skills in Chinese and Japanese, every step of the way.

Our first- and second-year courses are intensive, 3.0 unit immersion courses that will accelerate your abilities to communicate. We focus on speaking, listening, reading, and writing, to give you the foundational skills you need.

Even though these courses teach you the basics, that doesn't mean you will only be able to express basic ideas! You'll be able to talk about yourself, your family and friends, your likes, your studies, and your goals—and, more importantly, you'll be able to listen as new friends tell you about their lives, studies, and dreams.

Our third- and fourth-year courses will bring you to the upper-intermediate level. You'll be able to write essays about the subjects that matter to you, and to read short stories and news articles in their original languages. Not only that, but you'll be able to motivate yourself to meet the new challenges you'll be excited to accomplish.

And don't forget—after the second-year level, you'll be able to participate in exchanges, language-immersion field schools, and other study-abroad opportunities. Each one of these will bring you experiences you've never imagined!

We offer courses in three Asian languages: Chinese, Indonesian, and Japanese. (Please note that for administrative reasons, we have temporarily suspended regular courses in Indonesian. Students may still study this language by special arrangement with the instructor.)

We believe that starting with the appropriate level is the key to success in any language studies.  If you do not know which course to start, please contact our placement coordinator for each language (Chinese, Indonesian, and Japanese). You can also contact our program advisors for any other questions on language programs.


Course number Course title
PAAS 118 Intensive Beginner Modern Chinese I (formerly PAAS 110) (outline)
PAAS 218 Intensive Beginner Chinese II (formerly PAAS 111)
PAAS 318 Intermediate Chinese  (formerly PAAS 210 and 211) (outline)
PAAS 410 Advanced Mandarin for Native Speakers of Chinese
PAAS 411 Directed Readings in Chinese Language
PAAS 412 Understanding Chinese Media (formerly PAAS 310)
PAAS 413 Effective Communication in Chinese (formerly PAAS 311) (outline)
PAAS 418 Classical Chinese Prose (formerly PAAS 312)
PAAS 459 Directed Readings in Chinese Linguistics



Course number Course title
PAAS 138 Intensive Beginner Japanese I (formerly PAAS 130) (outline)
PAAS 238 Intensive Beginner Japanese II (formerly PAAS 131) (outline)
PAAS 338 Intermediate Japanese (formerly PAAS 230) (outline)
PAAS 340 Integrative Intermediate Japanese (formerly PAAS 330)
PAAS 341

Advanced Readings in Japanese I (formerly PAAS 331)

PAAS 342 Advanced Readings in JapaneseII (formerly PAAS 332)
PAAS 343 Advanced Comprehension and Conversation in Japanese (formerly PAAS 333)
PAAS 344 Advanced Composition in Japanese (formerly PAAS 334)
PAAS 345 Japanese through Popular Culture(formerly PAAS 336)
PAAS 430 Seminar in Modern Japanese Literature
PAAS 432 Directed Readings in Japanese
PAAS 485 Seminar in Japanese Language, Literature and Culture