The Asian Studies major affords students the opportunity to study Asia from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on courses and faculty from various departments in the College of Humanities, Arts and social Sciences. The program is built around training in the East, Southeast, and South Asian languages, but courses cover many aspects of East Asian history, literature, and cultures. Other courses cover the cultures and experiences of Asian Americans and Asian diaspora communities.
Two areas of focus are open to Asian Studies majors; East Asian Studies and Comparative Asian Studies. The East Asian Studies option focuses on China, Japan, or Korea and the languages, histories, literatures, cultures, art, and religions of the region. The Comparative Asian Studies option allows students to take a broader perspective by developing a comparative, interdisciplinary approach to the study of different geographical and cultural areas of Asia and Asian America. Both options lead to a Bachelor of Arts Degree, the Asian Studies program also offers an approved subject matter preparation program for the Multiple Subject teaching credential. Students who complete such a program are exempt from subject matter examinations when applying for a teaching credential program.
The faculty is widely accomplished. Faculty members have excellent publications records and a wide range of research projects, ranging from Indonesian dance to printing in Imperial China. The Asian Studies program is particularly strong in literary and cultural studies. It has successfully obtained funding from the Japan Foundation and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for teaching the languages and literature of those cultures.
Student activities are coordinated through the Asian Pacific Student Programs office and include specific activity clubs for various Asian and Asian Pacific American groups.
Asian Studies majors are well prepared to go on to graduate study or to pursue a career in any of the walks of life that require a background in Asian materials, including business, government, and international affairs. Program majors and joint majors have gone to study in Asian history and literature, library science, medicine, and biochemistry.