This article reports an investigative study of teaching oral English to English minor undergraduates in a university in China. Surveys were administered to twenty-two Chinese English minor undergraduates at the beginning and end of an oral English communication course in 2017. The results show that participants perceived gaps in their vocabulary and grammar knowledge, and in soft skills as barriers to learning oral English. The perceived challenges include developing accuracy and fluency in speaking, having free discussion in English in class, speaking English in a large class, talking on various topics, and maintaining use of English during class. The study found preferences for specific topic areas such as culture, and current affairs; a need for a variety of approaches, including the use of multimedia resources, group and pair work and various speaking practices; more spoken English learning information, resources, practices and activities; and systematic guidance. This study has implications for theory and practice in oral English communication teaching for China as it provides empirical evidence for understanding English minor undergraduates’ English oral communication learning.