The Department of Asian Studies is thrilled to offer the only university-level, for-credit, comprehensive Cantonese language program at UBC and in Canada.


The Cantonese language program has a range of courses available for all levels. Thanks to the generosity of brothers Alex and Chi Shum Watt, we now offer beginner level courses for those who want to learn basic Cantonese. The program focuses on listening and speaking skills, encouraging students to practice what they’ve learned through class projects. We also offer Cantonese courses for those who are more advanced or consider themselves primarily Mandarin-speakers.

Placement Tests

ALL incoming students who wish to take ANY CNTO courses are required to complete the Chinese placement procedure every session whether you’re a new or continuing student. Students who do not follow the placement procedure will be removed from the course.

For all questions specifically for a Cantonese course (CNTO) please visit the Cantonese Language Program website or email the Cantonese Language Program directly at

We do not offer Cantonese proficiency tests at UBC. If you are a Cantonese speaker and wish to get your language requirement exempt, there are two options for Cantonese speakers to meet the language requirements:

  1. Take CNTO_V 403 and/or CNTO 451_V for credit. These courses are open to speakers of Cantonese and the content is professional use of Cantonese and popular culture respectively.
  2. Take Cantonese Assessments from a third party. A few institutions offer the service at a cost such as:

The exam results can then be sent to the Cantonese Language Program for verification.