Program in East Asian Studies


  • Director

    • Stephen F. Teiser
  • Executive Committee

    • Amy B. Borovoy
    • Janet Y. Chen
    • Chih-p'ing Chou
    • Steven Chung
    • Thomas Conlan
    • Sheldon M. Garon
    • Thomas W. Hare
    • G. John Ikenberry
    • Martin Kern
    • Pieter C. Keulemans
    • Federico Marcon
    • Willard Peterson
    • Anna M. Shields
    • Stephen F. Teiser
    • Atsuko Ueda
    • Cheng-hua Wang
    • Andrew Watsky
    • Yu Xie

Program Information

The Program in East Asian Studies is an interdepartmental plan of study directed by representatives of the cooperating departments--anthropology, art and archaeology, comparative literature, East Asian studies, economics, history, politics, religion, and sociology--as well as the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. It provides an opportunity for students who plan to major in the humanities, social sciences, or other disciplines to simultaneously pursue the study of East Asian language and culture. The program's purpose is to educate internationally minded men and women with basic competence in an Asian area as well as to enhance the student's understanding of Western civilization through perspectives gained from the study of the non-Western world. The student's work is supervised by the appropriate representative of a cooperating department in consultation with the East Asian studies program director. For the purposes of this program, East Asia is defined as those areas where Chinese, Korean, or Japanese is the dominant language.

Students pursuing the program certificate are encouraged to take advantage of intensive summer language programs and of the numerous opportunities for study or travel in Asia, including an intervening year abroad. A limited amount of scholarship aid for this purpose is available. Applications for summer funding and a list of approved centers in East Asia can be found on the program s website; deadlines usually fall in late December or January. Students contemplating an intervening year of study should aim to complete at least two years' study of the relevant language before the junior year or earlier and should consult with the program director.

Admission to the Program

Students must satisfy the established requirements for admission to one of the cooperating departments, or to some other department with whose plan of study this interdepartmental program may, by special arrangement, be combined. Application materials should be filed in the East Asian studies program office by the senior thesis deadline in early May of the applicant's senior year, but preferably earlier, by the end of the fall semester of the senior year.

Program of Study

Students enrolled in the program must complete eight one-term courses in East Asian studies. At least two of these must be language courses at the second-year level or higher; no more than four of the eight courses may be language courses. Applicable language and cognate courses are listed in the East Asian studies section of this announcement; successful completion of at least one 200-level East Asian studies content course is required. Additional courses, including those taken abroad, may count toward the certificate, but must be approved in advance by the program office.

In addition to the coursework, the student will submit a paper dealing with an area of East Asia, for which the use of East Asian-language sources is strongly recommended. The student may submit the senior thesis or junior paper or substitute another substantial piece of original research that meets the same standards of relevance to East Asia and use of East Asian-language sources. If the junior paper or independent research paper was written for a course, that course cannot count toward the course requirements for the certificate; it must be a ninth course.

Certificate of Proficiency

A student who has met the requirements of the program and of the cooperating department and has maintained satisfactory standing will receive a certificate of proficiency in East Asian studies.

Interested students are advised to contact the program office. For the most-current information, see the program's website.