Is it possible to study Mandarin as a second language here in a university or college to gain a degree (starting from scratch) and if so does anyone have any details?
No. There is a graduate program in teaching Chinese as a second language at Shita, but you wouldn’t be able to start from scratch. I’ve also never heard of such a program anywhere else either.
Well, I’m sure Shida would LOVE you if you signed up for the MTC or whatever they call it these days, stick to their classes for a couple of years, eventually take the test to get into Shida as a grad student, and then study Chinese literature, or even as an undergrad in the Chinese department. It’s certainly possible (and you’d have a much better chance of getting in if you’d obediently gone through their whole program) but it would sure take awhile. It would be tough, too. On the whole, I’d strongly recommend you think about a nice field like engineering.
I estimate it would take about 20 years.