About the Program

The Asian Studies Program provides courses on Asian cultures, civilizations, and societies, in a broad range that includes East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, as electives for all students. The underlying assumption of all aspects of the Asian Studies Program is that the vast region labeled “Asia” is complex and diverse and that varied Asian peoples and institutions have greatly influenced, and continue to influence, human experience throughout the world. Faculty members with Asian language and area expertise are members of many different departments, and the Asian Studies Program brings together courses from multiple departments and programs for interdisciplinary engagement. In the subsidiary program of Asian Languages and Cultures (see below), students may major or minor in Japanese or Chinese. The program also offers the university’s unique Pacific Rim Study Abroad Program (see below).

The Asian Studies Program offers an Interdisciplinary Minor in Asian Studies.  Students in the minor who demonstrate academic excellence and complete a one-semester senior thesis will achieve the added designation of Robert Trimble Distinguished Asia Scholar.

  1. Students who graduate with the Interdisciplinary Minor in Asian Studies will be able to:
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the cultural traditions and contemporary societies of Asia, and understand those cultures and societies within the Asian and world contexts;
  3. Analyze, understand, and discuss coherently difficult texts about those Asian cultures and societies;
  4. Formulate abstract ideas and write logically and clearly in English about those Asian cultures;
  5. Make informed judgments about a world of many cultures and about their own society as viewed by others.

Subsidiary programs

Asian Languages and Cultures Program

The Asian Languages and Cultures Program offers majors and minors grounded in a strong foundation of language and draws on the broad range of culture courses offered by the Asian Studies faculty. The program offers two majors and two minors, as well as Chinese and Japanese language courses that fulfill requirements toward the Asian Studies designation and meet the university's foreign language requirement. For information on major requirements, see the Asian Languages and Cultures section of this bulletin.

Pacific Rim Study Abroad Program

The Pacific Rim Study Abroad Program (Pac Rim) is scheduled every three years (next in Asia 2020-2021), and offers a full academic year of courses taught at different locations in Asia. Approximately 25 students participate in the program through a process of formal application; selection is by the university's Study Abroad Selection Committee. Participants prepare in advance of the scheduled study-travel year by passing specified prerequisite courses in the Asian Studies Program and a non-credit course taught by the Pac Rim Directors.

Additional opportunities

In addition to Asian Languages and Cultures and Pac Rim, the Asian Studies Program offers special opportunities for all students, including Charles Garnet Trimble Scholarships for continuing upper division students seeking the designation or majoring in Japanese or Chinese, and Trimble scholarship grants for study abroad in Asia. Furthermore, the program provides a context for the Miki Fellowship for a postgraduate year in Japan and offers a postgraduate English-instructorship at Hwa Nan Women's College in Fuzhou, China. For students seeking the distinguished designation, Trimble summer research grants for travel prior to writing the senior thesis are also available.

The Asian Studies Colloquium is a co-curricular series of presentations by guest speakers, special films, and other cultural events to promote campus awareness of, and knowledge about, Asia. Meetings and events occur on an irregular basis and are open to the entire university community and especially to students enrolled in courses listed under the Asian Studies Program. For information, see the Director of the Asian Studies Program.