Skip to main content

LS1490 Chinese Studies and the Basics of Chinese for Engineers 7.5 credits

NB: LS1490 will be replaced by LS1491, starting from the autumn 2021. 

This course gives you a broad introduction to China's language, society and culture, with an emphasis on modern spoken Chinese and contemporary conditions. The course is suitable for those who want to learn the basics of the language and may already be planning exchange studies in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore. It is also suitable for anyone who wants to acquire a better understanding of an interesting and increasingly important part of the world.

This course is a prerequisite for the next course in Chinese, LS1492 Chinese A1 for engineers. If you have prior knowledge from elsewhere - contact KTH Language and Communication for a compulsory placement test. Contact information can be found on our homepage:

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus LS1490 (Autumn 2019–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Chinese studies

The factual part of the course gives an introduction to China and Chinese culture, stretching from geography, history, religion and philosophy to the societal system of today, demography, and other central themes and phenomena. The aim is to provide knowledge of how China and Chinese culture have developed in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of current political events, processes of change and technical development, as well as increase the ability of successful communication across cultural borders.


After an overview of pronunciation, the transcription system pinyin, grammar, and the history, principles and art of the Chinese characters, students learn common sentence patterns and words. Writing exercises are mainly done by hand, but also on a computer/mobile. The practical language exercises are focused on everyday spoken Standard Chinese (Mandarin/Putonghua). The course contains about 130 characters.

Intended learning outcomes

The intended learning outcomes for the linguistic part of course refer mainly to the level A1 according to CEFR, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and aim to strengthen the student's global competence.

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

Chinese Studies
• account for relevant perspectives on China's culture and society as a concept and as an object of study
• present basic facts about development and circumstances in China's history and present-day China
• display in-depth knowledge within a specialised field in China's history or present-day China
• find and present credible and substantial facts about relevant Chinese phenomena
• present an understanding of how cultural patterns influence communication


• identify tones and syllables in slow and very clearly spoken Standard Chinese
• understand and use certain simple sentence patterns in speech and writing
• identify real and lexical radicals in simplified or traditional characters
• write Chinese characters by hand and with a computer/mobile phone
• read aloud familiar texts written with pinyin or characters
• participate in limited, simple conversations

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Basic university qualification. Applicant to the course should not have prior knowledge in Chinese.

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


No information inserted


Course literature will be announced before the start of the course.
Recommended reference literature and electronic resources will be listed in the course information or in a similar way.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • KONA - Assessment, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • LEXA - Continuous Assessment, 6.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

The examiner determines, in consultation with the KTH coordinator for support to students with disabilities (Funka), possible customized examination for students with any documented and permanent functional disability. The examiner may offer a different type of exam for re-examination of individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

All examination parts passed
75% attendance

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Profile picture Björn Kjellgren

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web LS1490

Offered by

ITM/Learning in Engineering Sciences

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

First cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Björn Kjellgren (