Asian Studies Major

Learning Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Students will achieve Intermediate Low Oral Proficiency in an Asian language (by ACTFL standards).

Learning Outcome 1.1: Students will be able to communicate effectively in an Asian language

Goal 2: Students will explore Asia's importance in the world through interdisciplinary investigation of the histories, political systems, economies, cultures, and societies of Asia.

Learning Outcome 2.1: Students will be able to apply a variety of tools, methods, and perspectives to investigate and interpret important aspects of the history, politics, geography, economics and culture of contemporary Asian societies.

Goal 3: Students will conduct research about Asia, evaluate data generated by multiple methodologies, and present their findings effectively.

Learning Outcome 3.1: Students will be able to produce cogent, well-organized, and thoroughly researched written and oral presentations on important aspects of East or South Asian language, history, politics, culture and society that display familiarity with the scholarly conventions of the respective disciplines.

The traditional undergraduate programs include 40 courses distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive, and
  3. Writing Intensive. Overlay requirements are part of the forty-course requirement.

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses. Six courses

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses

Asian Studies majors are required to take three integrated learning courses. Two of these courses must be Area Studies courses dealing with areas outside Asia. A third course must focus on methodology.

GEP Electives

Major Concentration

The core of the Asian Studies program is the major. The Asian Studies major requires the following:

  • Intermediate language competency in an Asian language
  • HIS 208 Historical Introduction to Asia
  • Eight electives courses
  • A Senior Seminar in Asian Studies

Foundational Heritage

HIS 208Historical Intro to Asian Civ3

This course provides a broad overview of Asia, and will emphasize the fundamental background on which students will build in their later courses, including the basic linguistic, geographic, cultural, religious, and historical trends that have shaped East and South Asia.

Electives and Concentration

Students must complete a minimum of seven elective courses, reflective of their geographical area of concentration and exclusive of language courses at or below the intermediate level.

Geographic concentration: students must complete a geographical focus, with four elective classes in one of two geographical concentrations:

  • East Asia or
  • South Asia.

This requirement may also be satisfied by at least one semester of study abroad in the area of concentration.

To insure interdisciplinary breadth, elective courses must be selected from at least four different departments. In addition, electives must be distributed to ensure breadth of study, with at least one course taken from each of three categories:

  • Art (e.g., Asian Cinemas), Literature (e.g. Literature of South Asia) and Language (e.g., Japanese Film and Culture)
  • Philosophy and Theology and Religious Studies (e.g., Mahayana Buddhism)
  • Social Sciences (e.g., Asian Economies; Japanese Politics) and Business

To insure geographical breadth at least two elective courses must be taken outside the student’s concentration (whether East Asia or South Asia).

Area Studies Courses

These classes, which parallel the interdisciplinary nature of the major, afford students the opportunity to explore other major Area Studies fields (Africana Studies, Latin American Studies) taught at SJU. This component complements the major by exposing students to comparative perspectives on history, culture, politics and economics, broadening their understanding of the world and of the place of Asia within it. Note that some of these courses have pre-requisites. These two courses should be selected from any two of the following areas:

Africana Studies (includes but is not limited to)
ECN 460African Economies3
ENG 482Literature & Culture3
HIS 210Historical Intro to Mod.Africa3
HIS 211Historical Intro Pre-ModAfrica3
HIS 343African Ethnicities3
POL 335Comp Pols of MENA3
REL 271African & Caribbean Religions3
Latin American Studies (includes but is not limited to)
HIS 203Historical Intro to Latin Am3
HIS 303History of Modern Mexico3
HIS 304Social Protest in Latin Am His3
THE 356Liberation & Pol Theologies3

Methodology Course

Asian Studies majors must also take a methodology course. Students will select from a menu of courses designed to introduce them to fundamentals of social science theory. The intent of this course will be to equip students with analytic tools that they may make use of in their Asian Studies courses. Note that some of these courses have pre-requisites. This course may be selected from the following:

Select one of the following:
Introductory Economics Micro
Introductory Economics Macro
Economic Statistics
International Trade
International Macroeconomics
Postcolonial Studies
The Environment
Environ Theory & Ethics Sem
Introduction to Statistics
Intro to Comparative Politics
Introduction to Global Politcs
Intro to Political Thought
Democratic Theory
Politics, Ideology, & Film
Women, Gender & World Politics
International Human Rights
Global Political Economy
Theories of Internat Relations
Ethics in Interntionl Affairs
Classical Sociological Theory

Senior Seminar in Asian Studies

The senior experience is designed to enable students to synthesize what they have learned during their time at SJU, and will typically take the form of a research seminar and/or thesis. The expectation is that these papers would be nominated to be presented at the Greater Philadelphia Asian Studies consortium conference each spring.

Language Requirement

All majors are required to attain intermediate language competency in their area of concentration. The language requirement may be satisfied in one of three ways.

  1. Two sequential intermediate classes (200-level) in the same Asian language (each course consisting of a minimum of three semester credit hours) at SJU or another US institution.
  2. Language examination confirming intermediate-level competency
  3. One semester language intensive study-abroad experience.

This requirement is seen as a minimum. The program encourages majors to attain fluency in an Asian language. Ideally, students will augment language study at SJU with an immersion experience of a semester or more. Part of the program’s endowment will be dedicated to funding student needs for study abroad.

For languages not offered at SJU (Hindi, Urdu, Korean, etc.), the program will help interested students find appropriate instruction at other institutions or abroad, unless and until SJU is able to offer these languages on campus.

Study Abroad

The Asian Studies program considers experience in Asia to be an essential means of understanding. All Asian Studies majors are expected to spend at least one term (fall, spring, or summer) in a study-abroad program in Asia. There are currently approved programs in China, Japan, and India. This requirement can frequently be met through programs with existing ties to SJU, including The Beijing Center (operated by a consortium of Jesuit universities) and Sofia University in Tokyo, as well as summer programs.