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Learning Goals

The Asian Studies Program offers an undergraduate major and minor. These rigorous but flexible interdisciplinary curricula promote specialized knowledge regarding the history, politics, cultural expression, and societies of East, South, and/or Southeast Asia, diverse and dynamic regions that play ever more prominent roles on the global stage. The Asian Studies major* combines substantial training in a relevant language – Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, or Korean – and a stimulating, well-rounded mix of History, Humanities, and Social Science courses related to Asia. Students are thus exposed to a wide range of disciplinary approaches to the study of Asia, including Anthropology, Art History, History, Language and Literature, Political Science, and Religious Studies. Besides being interdisciplinary, ASIAN STUDIES emphasizes a broad temporal scope, allowing students to cultivate interests from ancient times to the present.

As a regional studies program, ASIAN STUDIES encourages participation in global learning, offering non-Euro-America-centric approaches to History, the Humanities, and the Social Sciences. Students sharpen their critical skills regarding the production of knowledge beyond “Western”, i.e., Euro-American, traditions; they also have a vantage point for critically reexamining the development and influence of “Western” ideas and institutions, especially those that have influenced Asia. While understanding Asia (or, more precisely, East, South, and/or Southeast Asia) in its own context is a primary goal, the major allows students to cultivate a deep appreciation for the transcultural and transnational flow of people and ideas within Asia and between Asia and the rest of the world.

Core Skills

ASIAN STUDIES majors are expected to achieve the following skills: 


ASIAN STUDIES majors are expected to acquire the following types of knowledge (encompassing a range of disciplines):

Social Awareness

ASIAN STUDIES majors should:

Upon Graduating 

ASIAN STUDIES majors will be prepared to:

* The learning goals discussed here explicitly relate to the ASIAN STUDIES major; most of these points are also true for the ASIAN STUDIES minor, albeit to a lesser extent, given the lower number of courses required for the minor.

Some of these learning outcomes were inspired by examples at other institutions, including the East Asian Studies Program at Brandeis University and the Asian Languages and Literatures Department at Pomona College. Back to top