Skip to Content

Asian Studies Program

Home > Asian Studies Major

Asian Studies Major

Program of Study

Asian Studies Major [New Major F2011-present]

The Asian Studies program provides students a solid foundation in the languages and cultures of Asia. Our curriculum prepares interested individuals to pursue a career within the rapidly developing marketplace that is Asia or to go on to graduate study in an Asia-related topic. The program currently offers a wide variety of courses in the areas of East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Through their teaching and research, the affiliated faculty members promote a better understanding of the Asian experience and Asia’s relationship with the rest of the world, past and present.

The Major in Asian Studies requires a minimum of 36 hours of coursework designed to ensure that graduates have both depth and breadth in their understanding of Asia. Based in the intensive study of a modern Asian language, the program is expanded through courses in the economics, history, politics, religion, sociology, and visual culture of Asia. Students are also required to complete two courses that emphasizes the region of Asia outside of the primary language area to acquire a multifaceted perspective on Asian culture. We strongly recommend that students study abroad in Asia for at least one semester in a Vanderbilt-approved study abroad program.

The Asian Studies Major is divided into programs that emphasize a specific region.


Coursework is distributed as follows:

1. Language/Culture Option (24 hours)

Language coursework must accomplish proficiency through the first semester of third year in at least one Asian language. We encourage students to take more advanced language classes and study abroad, however the first semester of third year (or above) must be taken at Vanderbilt. Specialization courses must be taken at Vanderbilt.

Program A. China

      i. Language (18 hours)

Required Courses: CHIN 241 Advanced Chinese I (or above; must be taken at Vanderbilt)  
Elective Courses: CHIN 202 II; 211–212, 225–226, 231, 242, 251–252, 255–256, 289a–289b.  


  ii. Specialization (6 hours from the following-must be taken at Vanderbilt)

ASIA: 230
HISTORY: 106, 107, 202, 203
HISTORY OF ART: 249, 252


Program B. Japan 

      i. Language (18 hours)

Required Courses: JAPN 241, Third-Year Japanese I (or above; must be taken at Vanderbilt)
Elective Courses: JAPN 202, 211, 212, 241, 242, 251, 252


     ii. Specialization (6 hours from the following)

ASIAN STUDIES: 211, 212, 213W, 240
HISTORY: 108, 109, 188a, 205, 206
HISTORY OF ART: 251, 253


Other Asia-related writing seminars (including First Year writing seminars), selected topics, and advanced seminars may fulfill this category with permission of the director of the Asian Studies Program.


2. Perspectives (6 hours)

Two Asian Studies-approved courses that emphasizes Asia as a region. The courses currently offered that satisfy this requirement are:

ASIAN STUDIES: 200W, 250W, 251
HISTORY: 105, 204, 212a.
HISTORY OF ART: 120, 122, 125, 246, 251.


3. Electives (6 hours)

Two courses selected from the list of Asian Studies Program Approved Courses (listed below)


Double and Triple Majors (from the 2011-2012 undergraduate catalog)

This program permits a student to concentrate in two or three fields, which may or may not be intellectually related. With approval of the departments concerned, the student completes all of the requirements stipulated for the majors. Triple majors require approval of the Administrative Committee.

Each A&S non-interdisciplinary major must include at least 24 credit hours that are being counted solely toward the major . It should be noted that adoption of this rule would apply also to the non-interdisciplinary major for those students who combine such a major with an interdisciplinary major.




ASIA-200W     :   Fashioning the Self: Coming of Age and Asian Modernities

ASIA-233          :   Self-Cultivation in Ancient China

ASIA-240          :   Current Japan-U.S. Relations



CHIN-202        :   Elementary Chinese II

CHIN-212        :   Intermediate Chinese II

CHIN-226        :   Chinese for Heritage Learners II

CHIN-231        :   Calligraphy

CHIN-242        :   Advanced Chinese II

CHIN-252        :   Readings in Modern Chinese Media

CHIN-254        :   Readings in Modern Literary Chinese




HIST-107          :   China from Empire to the People's Republic

HIST-109          :   Modern Japan

HIST-115F-22 :   First-Year Writing Seminar - FYS:Samurai Film

HIST-204          :   Crisis Simulation in East Asia

HIST-211B-01   :   Religion and Politics in South Asia




HART-120        :   Arts of East Asia

HART-245W   :   Art of Buddhist Relic and Reliquary




JAPN-200A      :   Introductory Modern Japanese I

JAPN-202         :   Beginning Modern Japanese II

JAPN-212        :   Second-Year Modern Japanese II

JAPN-232         :   Japanese Through Manga

JAPN-242        :   Third-Year Japanese II




RLST-136          :   Religions of Japan

RLST-137          :   Religions of Tibet and the Himalaya

RLST-181          :   Myth and History in Religious Biography

RLST-249          :   Zen Buddhism

RLST-266          :   Devotional Traditions of South Asia: Hindu, Muslim, Sikh

RLST-275          :   Chinese Religions through Stories





*Certain courses offered in the Rikkyo exchange program and the CIEE program in Japan, China, or Taiwan can also be counted toward the major:

BUSINESS/ECONOMICS: The Japanese Firm in Its Domestic Economic Context; The Japanese Business Firm in Its Global Economic Context; Managing Globalization: Japan in Asia-Pacific Region.

HISTORY: 20th Century Japan and Korea Relations.

HUMANITIES: Traditional Japanese Arts and Culture; Japanese Popular Culture.

POLITICAL SCIENCE: Politics and Policy in Contemporary Japan; Japan's International Relations; Japan in Asia.

SOCIOLOGY/ANTHROPOLOGY: Contemporary Japanese Society: History, Culture, Institutions.