Skip to main content

Majors & Minors

Major in East Asian Studies

The East Asian studies (EST) major is an interdisciplinary approach to the languages, deep history, and rich culture of this important part of the world.

Students begin their study of East Asia by taking three introductory courses, arranged historically, on the literature, history, religions, visual culture, and other foundational aspects of the region. For their advanced-level work, students choose four courses from a wide variety of offerings dealing with China, Japan, and Korea. These courses complement their understanding of East Asian history and culture through specialized material covering topics such as Chinese society after Mao; the two Koreas; the culture of Zen; anime; and women and religion in East Asia.

Study Abroad

Students who major in East Asian studies are strongly encouraged to study abroad and should ideally do so prior to their senior year. East Asian studies faculty advisors will determine major requirements fulfilled by study abroad courses on a case-by-case basis.

Students may need to work with specific departments regarding course equivalencies, especially for any course being used to satisfy language requirements. Please secure course approvals prior to departure.

Division

The East Asian studies major can be used to fulfill either the humanities (H) or social sciences (S) divisional requirement.

In instances where students are waived from the language requirement (with EST faculty advisor approval) and substitute other course(s) in its place, the substitute course(s) will follow the divisional designation of the parent department of the substitute course(s). The substitute courses may be included in determining the divisional area of the major.

Not including EST 391W and two intermediate-level or above language courses required by the major, the remaining seven courses determine the divisional area of the major. Students who complete four or more courses in a particular division will satisfy the division. Students who complete at least four courses (out of the seven courses) in the humanities (H) will fulfill the humanities divisional requirement. Students who complete at least four (out of the seven courses) in the social sciences (S) will fulfill the social sciences divisional requirement.

Courses will be assessed according to the parent department of the course. For example:

Humanities (H)

Social Sciences (S)

Modern Languages and Cultures
(CHIN, JPNS, KORE)

Anthropology (ANTH)

Religion (RELC)

History (HIST)

Requirements

Students in this major study Chinese, Japanese, or Korean for at least two full years, and they must take classes in at least three departments in order to achieve a broad and deep understanding of East Asia.

Note: For the purposes of this major, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean courses do not count as separate departments. Cross-listed courses will be considered according to the parent department of the course.

Prerequisites

Students must take one year of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language courses prior to declaring the East Asian studies major. Traditionally, students take one of the following sequences or the equivalent:

  • CHIN 101: Elementary Chinese I and CHIN 102: Elementary Chinese II
  • JPNS 101: Elementary Japanese I and JPNS 102: Elementary Japanese II
  • KORE 101: Elementary Korean I and KORE 102: Elementary Korean II

Note: Only two language courses can count toward the requirement for the major. Students who place out of the language requirement entirely must still complete a total of ten courses for the major.

Foundational Survey Courses (Three Courses)

Students must take three foundational survey courses, one each from the A, B, and C groups.

Group A: Pre-modern East Asia

  • CHIN 214: Dream of the Red Chamber
  • CHIN 216: Writing Discontentment
  • CHIN 219: Monsters, Ghosts, Fairies, and Gods
  • HIST 142: Traditional China
  • JPNS 210: Traditional Japanese Literature and Culture
  • JPNS 217: Traditional Japanese Literature
  • RELC 105: Asian Search for Self
  • RELC 106: From Confucius to Zen
  • RELC 174: Chinese Religions

Group B: Modern East Asia

  • CHIN 217: 20th-Century Literatures of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan
  • HIST 143: Modern China
  • HIST 145: Modern Japan
  • HIST 342W: Rich China, Poor China 
  • JPNS 211: Modern Japanese Literature in Translation
  • JPNS 214: Atomic Creatures: Godzilla [?]
  • JPNS 219/JPNS 219W: Tourist Japan
  • JPNS 254: The Rises and Falls of Modern Japanese Literature

Group C: Contemporary East Asia

  • ANTH 257: Chinese Society after Mao
  • CHIN 222: Gender, Sexuality, and Desire in 20th-Century Chinese Literature
  • CHIN 223: Memory, Meaning, and Forging New Futures in Post-Mao Literature
  • JPNS 293: Life and Anime
  • RELC 175: Religion and Chinese Society

Advanced Language (Two Courses)

This may include one of the following sequences or the equivalent:

  • CHIN 151: Intermediate Chinese I and CHIN 152: Intermediate Chinese II
  • JPNS 151: Intermediate Japanese I and JPNS 152: Intermediate Japanese II
  • KORE 151: Intermediate Korean I and KORE 152: Intermediate Korean II

Note: Only two language courses can count toward the requirement for the major. Students who place out of the language requirement entirely must still complete a total of ten courses for the major.

Capstone (One Course)

EST 391W: EST Advanced Studies is designed as a capstone experience. Students should contact their East Asian studies faculty advisor to discuss an appropriate instructor for the capstone experience. This capstone course will be counted as neutral for the purposes of the East Asian studies major and requires an independent study course form to register for the course.

Electives (Four Courses)

The same course cannot be used both as a foundation core course and an elective course.

Sample list of available electives:

  • ANTH 257: Chinese Society after Mao*
  • CHIN 214: Dream of the Red Chamber*
  • CHIN 216: Writing Discontentment*
  • CHIN 217: Survey on 20th-Century Literatures of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan*
  • CHIN 219: Monsters, Ghosts, Fairies, and Gods*
  • CHIN 222: Gender, Sexuality, and Desire in 20th-Century Chinese Literature*
  • CHIN 223: Memory, Meaning, and Forging New Futures in Post-Mao Literature*
  • HIST 245: Tibet: History and Myth
  • HIST 247/247W: The Korean War
  • HIST 248/248W: The Samurai
  • HIST 340W: Modernity through East Asian Eyes
  • HIST 342W: Rich China, Poor China*
  • JPNS 210W: Traditional Japanese Literature and Culture*
  • JPNS 214: Atomic Creatures: Godzilla*
  • JPNS 219/219W: Tourist Japan
  • JPNS 274: Modern Japanese Women Writers
  • JPNS 285: Akira Kurosawa
  • JPNS 294: Hayao Miyazaki and Planet Ghibli

*Courses that appear both as foundational courses and elective courses.

Upper-Level Writing Requirement

Students are required to take two upper-level writing courses. East Asian studies majors will fulfill one of these courses through their capstone but will need to take one additional upper-level writing course.  

Upper-level writing courses must be numbered 200-level or above and have will typically have a “W” designation.

Upper-level writing courses should be selected in consultation with an East Asian studies faculty advisor. A notation should be made on the student’s major declaration form indicating the second course that is being used to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.