Bachelor's Degree in Asian Studies: Program Information

Asian studies programs focus on the histories, cultures and politics of Asian nations and civilizations. Students interested in this major can find a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Asian Studies program at many universities and colleges across the country.

Essential Information

Many schools offer bachelor's degree programs in Asian studies. These are usually broad multidisciplinary programs that give students a look at many areas including Asian literature, art, politics and sociology. Applicants to these programs must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. At some schools, students must complete most of the general education requirements before they are admitted to the Asian studies program. Language requirements usually must be fulfilled by studying an Asian language.

Some programs allow students to choose a field of concentration, such as cultural or political studies. In other programs, students may focus on a particular country or region. Asian American studies may be featured at some schools. Courses vary, depending upon the field of focus, but may include topics such as Buddhism, Russian international relations, Chinese calligraphy or Asian cultures in film. It usually takes four years of study to earn a bachelor's degree.

Graduates may be able to pursue careers in occupation such as translator, researcher or diplomat. Many graduates go on to enroll in master's degree programs in Asian studies.

Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies

Asian studies programs are typically interdisciplinary in nature. Accordingly, coursework and topics may draw upon such fields as literature, philosophy, economics, language, art history, political science, international relations, sociology and anthropology. Some programs also offer concentration options that focus specifically on the political economy of Asia, East Asian languages or cultural studies. Countries of focus may include Korea, Japan, China and Russia. Students are usually required to fulfill foreign language requirements in one of the Asian languages, such as Korean, Japanese or Chinese. At some institutions, Asian studies programs focus on Asian American studies and deal primarily with the experiences of Asian populations in the U.S.

Education Prerequisites

Applicants to an undergraduate program in Asian studies must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some colleges may wait to admit students into the major program until they have completed some of their general education classes or lower division education requirements.

Course Topics

Asian studies programs generally require introductory coursework in economics, history and international relations. Requirements in general education and liberal arts may touch upon mathematics, science, performing arts, humanities and communication. Electives may cover topics in ethnic studies, gender studies or non-Asian region studies. Core topics may include:

  • Chinese politics
  • Chinese calligraphy
  • Imperial China
  • Buddhism
  • International relations of Russia
  • Korean history
  • Japanese foreign policy
  • Japan and the U.S.
  • Japanese literature
  • Asian cultures in film

Popular Career Options

Students with bachelor's degrees in Asian studies often pursue careers related to education, government work, diplomacy and business. Possible titles include the following:

  • Diplomat
  • Language translator and interpreter
  • High school teacher
  • Journalist
  • Researcher
  • Lobbyist

Continuing Education Info

After obtaining their bachelor's degrees, students may choose to pursue graduate studies in Asian studies. Degree options include a Master of Arts in Asian Studies and comparable programs in economics, international relations and comparative politics. Some institutions also offer Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Asian studies.

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