Undergraduate Programs

BA in Asian Studies & Minor in Asian Studies and in East Asian Studies

The BA in Asian Studies focuses on East Asia and South Asia, with attention to Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Rim. It provides a broad interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, to deepen understanding of how Asian people, nations, states, regions, and diasporas have developed, functioned, and interacted, and how they view the world and themselves. The major is designed to be flexible, easily tailored to each student’s interests and learning goals, whether those focus on a certain country in the region or on particular transnational issues such as cultural flows, security, or economic development. Asian Studies majors are well prepared for graduate study and for careers in government, local and international non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

The minor in Asian Studies focuses on East Asia and South Asia, with attention to Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Rim. It provides a broad interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, to deepen understanding of how Asian people, nations, states, regions, and diasporas have developed, functioned, and interacted, and how they view the world and themselves. The minor is designed to be flexible, easily tailored to each student’s interest and learning goals, whether these interests center on a certain country in the region or on particular transnational issues such as cultural flows, security, or economic development.

Asian Studies minors secure a strong foundation for further study of or work in government, local and international non-governmental organization, and the private sector in Asia. The minor complements the disciplinary foundation that students cultivate in their major, allowing them a systematic introduction and broad exposure to the region’s culture, politics, and history.

The minor in Asian Studies requires a total of six 4-credit courses, and a 1-credit mini-seminar (CAS AI 101 Introduction to Asian Studies). Two of the six 4-credit courses must be taken in the humanities; another two 4-credit courses must be taken in the social sciences, one of which must be in the history department. These courses must all be completed with a grade of C or higher; at least four courses must be at the 300 level or higher. All courses must be taken on BU’s Charles River Campus or though BU Study Abroad; up to three courses taken at other universities and accepted for BU credit may be counted toward the minor with prior approval by the Pardee School Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students must also possess knowledge of written and spoken Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese (or, where appropriate, another Asian language) through the 212 level or its equivalent, as demonstrated through testing.

The minor in East Asian Studies (EAS)  focuses on China, Japan, and Korea, with attention to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim. It provides an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective in an effort to deepen understanding of how, over time, these societies have dealt with problems common to all humanity, and how they view the world and themselves. The minor can combine courses in anthropology, archaeology, earth & environment, economics, history, history of art & architecture, international relations, political science, religion, sociology, as well as language & literature. Students with a minor in EAS achieve an understanding of the East Asian experience that prepares them for a professional life in or related to East Asia.

The East Asian Studies minor consists of the following requirements: knowledge of written and spoken Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese (or, where appropriate, another Asian language) through the 212 level or its equivalent, as demonstrated through testing; and six courses in East Asian studies, including the two East Asian Core courses in Pre-Modern Heritage and Modern Transformation. At least three of the non-language courses must be taken at Boston University.

Note: The EAS minor is only available to students who are currently registered for it. The Asian Studies minor (detailed above) is an updating of the EAS minor that better reflects the philosophy and capabilities of the Pardee School in Asian Studies.

Take a look at courses currently offered this semester (Search for “Asia,” or other area of interest).

Language & Literature Studies

The College of Arts and Sciences at BU offers a broad range of courses in modern foreign languages through the Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, including

International Relations East Asia Track

In the Pardee School of Global Studies within CAS, students who major in International Relations must choose a regional and a functional track. The Asia regional track prepares students to better understand the international relations and domestic political and economic conditions of this important region.  Asia track courses are focused primarily on Northeast Asia (China, Japan, the Koreas, and Taiwan), but also include offerings on Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. 

Chinese and Japanese Houses

In order to foster language learning on campus, undergraduate students are able to apply to live in themed houses that serve to encourage academic and personal growth by connecting students with shared interests. Two brownstones on Bay State Road host our student language-learning communities in Chinese and Japanese:

  • Chinese House, 172 Bay State Road: 13 residents and one Resident Assistant
  • Japanese House, 206 Bay State Road: 23 students and one Resident Assistant

The houses are not conceived as cultural houses, but as language-learning communities. Students must be majors or minors or, at a minimum, enrolled in MLCL language courses. Native speakers are welcome if they are also taking MLCL classes. Visit the BU Housing Website for Specialty Community Residences for more information and to apply.