Major in Asian Studies

Program Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • articulate fundamental issues and themes for the study and understanding of Asian cultures and societies
  • analyze both a specific region of Asia and an Asia-related topic using interdisciplinary perspectives and methods, including information in either Chinese, Japanese, or Tagalog
  • demonstrate understanding of how topics related to social justice such as human rights, environmental sustainability, and ethical consideration impact both people and policy within Asian societies


40 units

All courses used to satisfy major requirements must be taken for letter grades and passed with grades of C or better.

Gateway Courses (12 UNITS)

Students are advised to take 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.

1 in History, 1 in Philosophy or Religious Studies, and 1 in Politics

  • HIST 130 East Asian Civilizations
    HIST 135 Indian Civilizations
  • PHIL 220 Asian Philosophy
    THRS 366 Religion and Spirituality in Asia
  • POLS 113 Introduction to International Politics
    POLS 359 International Politics of the Asia Pacific Rim

Language Study

Four semesters of either Chinese or Japanese is required for the major. Languages must be taken for letter grades and passed with grades of C- or better.

The first three semesters of language study meet the language requirement for the College of Arts and Sciences and thus are not included in the total number of units required for the Asian Studies major. Under special circumstances, students may demonstrate an equivalent competence in the target languages, or in other Asian languages (such as Hindi) through assessment, evaluation, and examination by language faculty or other qualified staff.

History (4 UNITS)

One additional upper-division history course is required.

Regional Breadth (4 UNITS)

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.

Capstone Project (4 UNITS)

The Asian Studies major is completed through the Capstone Project in the final year of the major. Students will converge on the study of selected issues and topics, to be determined by the professor (or professors) in charge. Topics and themes providing interdisciplinary and inter-regional breadth for all majors in Asian Studies include the following:

Electives (16 UNITS).

Four courses, chosen in consultation with an adviser, will help students focus on and develop intermediate expertise in particular regions, countries, or topics. The Major encourages a multi-disciplinary approach to the student's specific area of interest.

Art and Architecture

  • ART 307 Asian Art
  • ANST 195 FYS Exploring Asian Art in San Francisco

Chinese Studies

  • ANST 342/INTD 342 China Today Summer Immersion
  • CHIN 195-01 Shanghai & San Francisco Tales of Two Cities
  • CHIN 320 Introduction to Chinese Linguistics
  • CHIN 350 Traditional Chinese Culture
  • CHIN 355 Chinese Literature in Translation


  • ECON 283 Economies of Asia


  • HIST 195 (FYS) China Encounter Beyond
  • HIST 270 Sex and Transgression in the Islamic World
  • HIST 381 Modern China Revolution and Modernization
  • HIST 382 Traditional Japan to 1868
  • HIST 383 Modern Japan Since Perry
  • HIST 384 Rise of China Since Mao
  • HIST 386 History of U.S.-China Relations
  • HIST 388 Islamic Empires
  • HIST 387 History of U.S.-Japan Relations

Japanese Studies

  • JAPN 195-01 Reading Osaka from San Francisco
  • JAPN 310 Zen and the Art of Japanese Calligraphy
  • JAPN 350 Japanese Culture
  • JAPN 351 Contemporary Japanese Culture
  • JAPN 355 Japanese Literature in Translation
  • JAPN 357-01 Naturalism in Japanese Literature
  • JAPN 410 Japanese Linguistics

Media Studies

  • MS 318 Indian Cinema
  • MS 409 Global Media

Philippine Studies

  • ANST 195 FYS Filipina Lives and Voices
  • YPSP 205 Barrio Fiesta Introduction
  • YPSP 206 Barrio Fiesta Performance
  • YPSP 222 Philippine Boxing and Culture
  • YPSP 250 Filipino Theology & Music
  • YPSP 260 Filipino American Philippine Culture
  • YPSP 301 Philippine History from Early times to 1900
  • YPSP 310 Philippine History from 1900 to present
  • YPSP 323 Filipino Politics and Justice
  • YPSP 324 Philippines Today Immersion in Manila
  • YPSP 325 Filipino Culture and Society
  • YPSP 333 Boxing and Social Justice
  • YPSP 355 Philippine Theology & Revolutions


  • POLS 346 Government & Politics of South & Southeast Asia
  • POLS 347 Government and Politics of China and East Asia
  • POLS 358 International Relations of South & Southeast Asia
  • POLS 359 International Politics of the Asia Pacific Rim
  • POLS 369 Asian Politics, Activism & Justice
  • POLS 396 Public Administration Internship

Performing Arts

  • MUS 211 Asian Musical Cultures
  • ANST 340 Balinese Culture & Dance


  • SOC 327 Migration and Diversity in East Asia
  • SOC 325 Critical Approaches to Race and Diversity
  • SOC 333 Nationalism and Citizenship

Theology and Religious Studies

  • THRS 307 Exploring Buddhist Himalaya
  • THRS 367 Introduction to Buddhism
  • THRS 367 Introduction to Buddhism Dalai Lama
  • THRS 368 Japanese Religions
  • THRS 371 Hinduism
  • THRS 373 Introduction to Islam
  • THRS 375 Buddhist Paths in Asia and North America
  • THRS 381 Himalayan Religions and Cultures

Sample Curriculum

1st year

  • HIST 130 East Asian Civilizations Gateway course
  • PHIL 220 Asian Philosophy Gateway course

2nd Year

  • Intermediate Language Study: Chinese or Japanese
  • POLS 113 Introduction to International Politics

3rd Year

  • JAPN 310 Zen and the Art of Japanese Calligraphy
  • MS 409 International/Global Media
  • CHIN 355 Chinese Literature in Translation
  • JAPN 355 Japanese Literature in Translation
  • Summer intensive, full semester, or academic year abroad

4th Year

  • HIST 386 History of U.S.-China Relations
  • Internship (2-4)
  • Capstone Project (2-4)

Contact Info

Program in Asian Studies

Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Kalmanovitz Hall 333
(415) 422-5213