Academic Programs

Non-Degree Intensive Language Program

The Chinese School prides itself on dedicated faculty and staff, a rigorous, well-implemented curriculum, a speak-Chinese-only total immersion learning environment, and a low student-teacher ratio. At the end of each eight-week summer session, comparisons of entrance and exit speaking and reading proficiency test results lend clear credibility to this claim.

The eight-week session offers courses in modern Mandarin at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. These courses are designed to help learners of all ages 18 and over to develop and improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The curriculum at all levels also aims to help learners acquire and expand their knowledge of Chinese culture.

Total Immersion

Students are exposed to texts prepared in both traditional and simplified characters, as well as to a variety of vocabulary and usages current in both mainland China and Taiwan. Language learning activities in and outside of class simulate real life situations requiring the use of spoken and written Chinese.

The effectiveness of the environment created by the Language Pledge is amazing. I loved it! I'm already trying to figure out ways to continue using the language when I return to my "normal life."


Each course covers the equivalent of one academic year’s worth of material within the eight-week period, and will meet for about four hours each day for morning classroom lecture, small group drill sessions, and individual one-on-one practice. Students should expect to devote four to six hours to out-of-class homework and study each day. Additionally, the Chinese School students participate in co-curricular activities, such as tai chi, hiking, calligraphy, cooking, and singing, weekly social events, and daily social exchange during meal times, study groups, and free time activities to practice and improve their language skills.

Level 4 students will prepare and present research topics during two poster sessions during the summer.


Classes and co-curricular activities for the eight-week session are scheduled for Monday-Friday, while films, hikes, performances, and social gatherings are scheduled for the weekends.

Class Lecture: 8:00-9:50 am
Group Drill: 10:10 am - 12:00 noon
Individual Practice: 1:30-3:30 pm
Co-curricular Activities: 4:00-5:30 pm

Placement Level

Placement level will be determined by Chinese School teachers based on an online language assessment completed in the Spring prior to campus arrival, and an oral interview done on the first Saturday of the session. Acceptance into the Chinese School does not assume or guarantee placement in a particular level of instruction. Our main goal is to help all students increase their ability to use Chinese as much as possible within an eight-week period. As students come from many different backgrounds and various instructional programs, students may find themselves placed at a level below or above what they may have expected. In enrolling in the Chinese School, you indicate your willingness to accept guidance from the School as to your placement in the course level most appropriate to your needs and current proficiency.

The Middlebury experience was everything I had read about and hoped for. It was rigorous and pushed me to excel to the best of my abilities. I would highly recommend this program for anyone who wants to challenge themselves in an immersive environment. The facilities were all excellent and the instructors were world-class.


We have built into our curriculum an active assessment component which monitors and measures student progress. Low faculty-student ratio ensures each student receives individual attention. Teachers are available every day during office hours, in the dorm and dining hall for individual consulting, feedback, and support. Both teachers and students work diligently as coaches and learners, respectively to ensure that each student's ability to understand, speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese improves dramatically day-by-day throughout the summer.

This is my second trip to Middlebury, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend second level Chinese. I find Middlebury in general to be very well-run and efficient, and it's always an easy existence here  in the midst of intense language acquisition.


The eight-week session of the Middlebury Chinese School is approximately the same as one academic year of college-level language material.  Students who finish the session and meet expectations for class attendance, and completed homework and project assignments, in good academic standing will receive 4 units of credit and a grade, which is transferrable upon request with the Middlebury College registrar (or automatically for Middlebury students). Specifically, our accredited program is divided into four 2-week sections, so students will receive 2 units before the mid-term, and 2 units for the second half of the session for a total of 4 units per summer.

Simplified / Traditional

All instruction and materials will be presented primarily in Simplified Chinese for lecture, drill, weekly homework, grammar and vocab handouts, tests, etc. Traditional characters will also be presented. Students have the option to use either traditional or simplified for their homework, essays or tests.

Quite likely the best academic experience I've had in my life. The teachers, directors, and bilinguals are all excellent; everything was organized extremely well and I was never at a loss for information. I have nothing but good things to say.

Master of Arts Degree Program

The Chinese School graduate-level program focuses specifically on Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. This is designed for current teachers of Chinese or those who wish to teach Chinese.


The Chinese School

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.5520
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
Chinese School
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

Mimi Clark, Assistant Director