Photograph of a blue and white Chinese bowl

"Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace." — Confucius

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • Various levels
  • 2 hours a week
  • Timetabled 18:00 - 20:00
  • 20 weeks: October to March
  • Fees from £230 to £420
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
Booking link

Learning a new language is one of the most rewarding activities you can do. Not only does it open up new possibilities for travel and employment, but it can lead to new insights into cultures from all over the world.

Learning a language is enjoyable too, with new friendships formed at our classes bringing together people from a wide variety of backgrounds with a shared interest in the language you are studying.

With our expert tutors on hand to guide you, you will soon find yourself developing new language skills that will open up a world of possibilities.

Chinese (Mandarin) Evening Classes Timetable
-- 18:00 - 20:00 -- 18:00 - 20:00
  Chinese (Mandarin) Beginners
Rong Guo
Online course [NOW FULL]
  Chinese (Mandarin) Post-Beginners
Teri Terigele
Online course
      Chinese (Mandarin) Lower Intermediate
Fei Wang
Online course

Course delivery

This is a live-taught online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course delivery'.

Attendance certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Chinese Mandarin course descriptions


Mandarin Chinese imageThis 20-week Beginners course for students with no prior knowledge of the language aims to provide students with a thorough grounding in the sounds of Mandarin Chinese, as well as some basic speech patterns that will equip them to deal with everyday situations.

Topics covered include basic greetings, the family, likes and dislikes, food, and shopping.

The focus of the course will be on speaking and listening, but students will be also taught the rudiments of Chinese script, after which they can choose whether to continue learning Chinese characters or concentrate on learning the language through the medium of Romanized Chinese.


Mandarin Chinese imageThis 20-week Post-Beginners course is intended for students who have taken our Beginners course (or similar), have mastered the four tones, can already handle simple structures and who now wish to immerse themselves in studying the language in earnest.

After revision of basic structures, students will move on to study grammatical structures of greater complexity and a wider range of speech patterns.

While students can expect to develop their oral and listening skills, to this will now be added the study of Chinese script. However, those students not wishing to develop reading skills can still follow the course using the pinyin book.

Lower Intermediate

Mandarin Chinese imageThis Lower Intermediate course is designed for students who have a good grounding in Mandarin Chinese and wish to tackle more complicated structures.

The students’ ability and previous knowledge permitting, the course objectives may include consolidating basic Mandarin Chinese structures such as ba sentences and the passive bei, expanding students’ existing knowledge by widening their vocabulary. Should these areas be covered, students can expect by the end of the course to have enhanced their confidence in using and understanding the target language and to be able to express themselves in Chinese with greater sophistication and subtlety.

In order to foster aural comprehension skills, the tutor will make extensive use of the target language throughout the class. Students will be able to follow the course in either Chinese characters or pinyin.

By the end of the course, students can expect to have mastered most of the basic speech patterns and grammatical structures of Mandarin. Throughout the course, oral and listening skills will be further developed. Those students who wish to may further extend their knowledge of Chinese characters. Students can expect significantly to increase their confidence in communicating accurately and effectively with native speakers of Chinese.

Higher Intermediate

Mandarin Chinese imageStudents entering our Higher Intermediate course designed for students who have already acquired a reasonable fluency in the language will have already completed all the lessons up to Lesson 14 of the text book or will be able to demonstrate that they have reached an equivalent level. This includes being able to use –le and –guo to talk about past events and experiences, and also being able to use verb complements (resultative, potential, etc.) with confidence.

The course is available in both Romanized (Pinyin) and character versions.

By the end of the course, students can expect to have improved their Chinese skills to a point at which they can use more sophisticated vocabulary and structures and, if so desired, to have increased their knowledge of script still further.

Course Information

Course Materials

Students are advised not to buy any course books before the start of the course. Progress through the course and textbook will depend on the group dynamics of the class.

Mandarin Chinese Beginners

  • Colloquial Chinese by P.C. T’ung and D. E. Pollard

An accompanying character text is available: Character Text for Colloquial Chinese (Simplified or Traditional Version). The teacher may supplement the main course book with other materials. Students who come from linguistic backgrounds in which Chinese characters are commonly used may also find it helpful to use the character text.

Mandarin Chinese Post-Beginners (Course TBC)

  • Colloquial Chinese by P.C. T’ung and D. E. Pollard

For students who choose to study script there is an accompanying Character Text for Colloquial Chinese (Simplified Version). The teacher may supplement the course book with additional material.

Mandarin Chinese Lower Intermediate

  • Colloquial Chinese by P.C. T’ung and D. E. Pollard

The teacher may supplement the textbook with other materials. Please listen to further announcements in class.

Mandarin Chinese Higher Intermediate

  • Colloquial Chinese by P.C. T’ung and D.E. Pollard (Routledge, 1982)

This will be used at the beginning of the first term. The teacher then moves on to using supplementary materials (TBA).

Level advice

Choosing the right language level is very important and we aim to make the process of deciding which is the right course level for you as simple as possible.

If you are a complete beginner you should, of course, enrol on a Beginner's Course.

If you have some experience in the language you wish to study please first review our course descriptions to try to identify the course level which should be most suitable for you. Especially if you are out of practice in a language, or have been out of formal education for a while, please be reasonably sure and realistic about your level of proficiency prior to proceeding with enrolment.

Contact details for course-level advice: Dr Ruth Herd (Mandarin Chinese Coordinator),

Your Tutor

All tutors on our language programmes are native speakers with a great deal of experience in teaching languages to beginners and the more advanced. Tutor contact details are provided in the programme pack which will be emailed to you just prior to the start of term.

Contact details for questions relating to your tutor's background or teaching qualifications: Dr Ruth Herd (Mandarin Chinese Coordinator),

Course Delivery: Live Online Taught Courses

All our online courses are taught live which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you must be able to attend the online session at the time stated for the course description.

All times stated are British Standard Time.

To take part you will need a computer, or laptop, or tablet computer, connected to the Internet. The device you use will also need to have a camera, microphone and speakers. Most devices now have these built in, but if not you might have to buy them from a computer shop and to connect them to your device.


This course will use Zoom as its online delivery method. Zoom is very easy to use and you do not need to set up a Zoom account to use it. Near the date of your first online session you will be sent an email with a web address (or URL) that will allow you to access the course. This is called the Course Link. All you need do is click on the Course Link in the email and you will be asked to enter your name. This is the name that will be seen by your tutor and other students in the class.

Once you have entered your name you might be asked to enter a password to enter the class. The password will be included in the email sent to you. Once you enter the password you will either be taken directly into the class, or asked to wait in a virtual waiting room until the tutor is ready to let you into the class.

We have also produced a Handy Guide to Zoom [pdf] which gives you basic information on how to use it.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 40  20  £420    (≡£10.50 per hour)
£250    (≡£6.25 per hour)
£330 (≡£8.25 per hour)
All fee rates quoted and due are for the whole 2-term course. Part-payments are not possible. Equivalent to hourly rate is for comparison guidance only.

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
  • Staff of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should contact before completing the online enrolment form

Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the Terms and Conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer School
 40  20 18 Oct - 18 Dec 2021 (9 weeks)*  PLUS 10 Jan - 26 Mar 2022 (11 weeks) n/a n/a
* Followed by the Christmas break

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 2nd August 2021

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
  • The following email notifications are sent:
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working daysPlease treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

  • Questions regarding the content and teaching of your course should be sent to Dr Ruth Herd (Mandarin Chinese Coordinator) at
  • Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator,