One of the most common questions you’re asked as a college student is: “What’s your major?” I always struggled to answer this when visiting my relatives in Taiwan. Nobody taught me how to say “Marketing” in Chinese and for some reason I always forgot to ask. To save you the same embarrassment, we’ve created this list of the most common college majors translated into Chinese:
In case your major is not included in this list, Wikipedia has a more comprehensive list of college majors in Chinese that you can reference. The entire webpage is in Chinese, so you will have to translate it into English first. If you use Google Chrome you can translate the page, find your major, then switch it back to Chinese to learn how to say it in Chinese. https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-cn/学术领域大纲
There are a few ways you might hear someone ask your major. One common way to ask your major in Chinese is 你是什么专业的？(nǐ shì shén me zhuān yè de?) Another way to ask is 你学什么? (nǐ xué shén me?) The difference in meaning between these two questions is very subtle. It’s almost like asking “What is your major?” or “What do you study?”
To answer the question you could respond by saying 我是专业的 (wǒ shì _ zhuān yè de). You could also say 我学___ (wǒ xué) ...followed by your major. Again, the meaning is something like “I’m a _major” or “I study___”
Now that you know these new phrases, you should go try them on one of your Chinese friends or the next Chinese person that you meet! Remember to follow up and ask them the same questions. If they are not a college student, you could ask about their work or what they like to do for fun. To learn these additional phrases, try following the story of Ben, an exchange student in China by going to Du Chinese online learning portal and trying out the lessons on Ben.
How to ask someone their minor in Chinese
To ask someone’s college minor in Chinese you just ask 你辅修什么 (nǐ fǔ xiū shén me?) The proper response is 我辅修___ (wǒ fǔ xiū___)
Besides your major, you may also be asked your year in college. To ask what year you are in college you would say 你大学几年级了？(nǐ dà xué jǐ nián jí le?) Another way to ask is basically a shortened version of that: 你大几了? (nǐ dà jǐ le?)
In the U.S. we would usually reply by saying freshman, sophomore, junior or senior. In Chinese they make it much easier by just saying what year they are in school. The Chinese translations of freshman, sophomore, junior and senior are as follows:
After undergraduate school, you could also go on to earn a master’s 硕士 (shuò shì) or a PhD 博士 (bó shì). When talking about your graduate school majors you can use the same terms that were listed earlier.
If you want to learn to read Chinese well, you should check out our app - Du Chinese. It’s available for free download and gives you assistance to read Chinese with pinyin, audio and translations.