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April 22
OFF the GRID:
Asian Inspiration & Entrepreneurship more info »
Bridging the Pacific bridge and city at night
Ship and skyline
Entering a Japanese temple through round door
riverfront market
Japanese temple on the water
chinese market
Shanghai skyline
Korean women in bright dresses
boat vendors
Airport sign with destinations

Program Description

The major in Asian Studies prepares students to meet the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century in the Pacific Rim region. In an era when new forms of global encounters create complex links between places, regions, and peoples, it is vital to understand the interactivity and interdependence between Asia, the Bay Area, and the University. The Asian Studies degree program advances understanding of the increasingly powerful countries of Asia by focusing not only on the structures of society--its histories, laws, economies, and governments--but also on the religious, philosophical, artistic, and intellectual contexts that provide the foundations for these structures. The program also emphasizes the relationship between natural and man-made environments, as well as the University's commitment to social justice, ethics, and human rights.

The major's interdisciplinary emphasis provides a broad overview of Asia as well as an in-depth investigation of themes and topics that extend across a range of Asian societies. Aided by language study, the primary emphasis of the Asian Studies major is on a combination of courses that comprise an in-depth, integrated, and interdisciplinary program. Students may select from courses in Asian Languages and Cultures, Comparative Literature, Economics, Environmental Studies, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, Women Studies, and courses offered in the school of Business and Management.

Gateway Courses

This degree requires completion of forty (40) units of course work, including 12 units of gateway courses and 28 units of electives.

Gateway Courses

The major will require one gateway course in History:
* History 130, East Asian Civilization OR
* History 135, History of South and Southeast Asia

one in Philosophy or Religious Studies:
* Philosophy 220, Asian Philosophy OR
* Religious Studies 366, Religion and Spirituality in Asia

and one in Politics:
* Politics 113, Introduction to International Politics OR
* Politics 369 / Asian Studies 369, Asia Politics, Activism & Justice

for a total of 12 credit hours.

Students are advised to take the gateway courses at the very beginning of their degree program because these courses provide a comprehensive introduction to the two geographical areas (East Asia and South Asia) covered by the major. These gateway courses may "double-count" to meet the University's Core requirements for general education.

Language Requirement

Students who major in Asian studies must complete a minimum of four semesters of either Chinese or Japanese. The fourth-semester of language training required for an Asian Studies degree is considered an elective. The previous three semesters of language study meet the Core requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences and thus are not included in the total number of units required for the Asian Studies major.

Languages must be taken for letter grades and passed with grades of C- or better. Under special circumstances, students may demonstrate an equivalent competence through evaluation and examination by language faculty members. In such cases, students will be strongly encouraged to continue studying the target language at the advanced level.

Electives and Additional Requirements

(28 units)

1. History (4 units): One additional upper-division history course from the possibilities provided in the master list of classes

2. Electives (16 units): Four courses, chosen in consultation with an advisor, will help students focus on and develop intermediate expertise in particular regions, countries, or topics. A multi-disciplinary approach to the student's specific area of interest is strongly encouraged.  A list of sample elective courses can be found here

3. Regional Breadth: From the courses chosen as electives, at least one course must be in an area outside the student's primary focus. For example, if the primary area focus is Japan, the Regional Breadth course should deal with similar themes in China or South Asia. Students will be advised to fulfill this requirement in their senior year.

4. Capstone Project (4 units): The Asian Studies major emphasizes a multi-disciplinary, multiple-country study, which is completed through the Capstone Project in the final year of the major. Students from throughout the major will converge on the study of selected issues and topics, to be determined by the professor (or professors) directing the Capstone project. Faculty will rotate teaching duties for the Capstone, to be offered each spring.

The most recent project topics for 2011 graduates included: A Comparison and Analysis of Two Soto Zen Temples in San Francisco, Anting-Anting: Life Saving Metal, Changes in Sexuality in China, Existential Thought in Present Chinese Culture, Japanese Soft Power Through Video Games, USF and Westbay Filipino Multi-Services Agency, San Francisco: A Philippine Experience.

5. Service Learning / Internship (4 units):  Students will have multiple opportunities to engage in projects that provide service learning. Faculty advisors will work closely with the USF Office of Community Service and Service Learning so as to maximize available resources. The service learning requirement in Asian Studies may overlap with Core requirements for Arts and Sciences.

Internships develop naturally out of the service learning experience and may qualify as a directed study elective. Other intern opportunities may result from a particular class or professor. These will not replace the service learning requirement but may complement it or the student's areas of interest in other ways. All internships must be approved by faculty advisors and may qualify as directed study projects if student and advisor agree in advance upon goals and requirements.