During the early stage of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language in China, it mainly focused on the short-term Chinese training courses which were a kind of non-degree program. Since the end of 1970s, aiming at international students, the 4-year Undergraduate Programs for Teaching Chinese as a Second Language discipline such as Chinese Language and Chinese Language & Culture were set up for the purpose of cultivating Chinese teachers, translators/ interpreters, Chinese research talents and language and culture professionals for the general purpose. In June, 1983, Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language was officially established as a discipline, which was initiated by experts and scholars from All China Association for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. In December 1984, Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language was formally listed in China Discipline and Specialty List. Since then, Chinese colleges, centers for studies of Chinese as a Second Language, Language teaching and research institutes and etc. were established in many Chinese universities. Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language programs at master degree level was set up and these universities began to recruit foreign graduate students to study Contemporary Chinese. At the end of 1990s, Teaching Chinese as a Second Language program for master degree and Curriculum & Teaching Methodology and Linguistics and Applied Linguistics for doctor degree were also set up.
To meet the various requirements of overseas students from different countries, Chinese universities make an unrelenting effort to enrich Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language both in contents and approaches, such as setting up formal degree programs for overseas students and Chinese continuing education programs for advanced Chinese learners, and coming up with detailed stipulations for foreign students who prepare to take part in Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) in order to pave the way for them to take the entrance examination of Chinese common colleges and universities and accomplish their degree programs. For those non-degree program foreign students, Chinese universities offer them pre-professional Chinese education, Chinese crash course and short-term or long- term Chinese continuing programs. In addition, the university also runs various forms of classes on cultural studies, such as Chinese calligraphy and painting, Qigong, Taijiquan or social practical activities such as tour to factories, villages and schools can also be arranged to cater to the special needs of short-term Chinese language learners for Chinese and Chinese culture.