Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies

The Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies helps students to gain a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and cross-national understanding of Asia. While the Center for the Study of Asia (BUCSA) is housed in the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, students in any Boston University graduate or professional program who fulfill the requirements outlined below, in addition to the requirements of their degree programs, can earn the certificate. Typically, no additional coursework is required because courses completed for the Asian Studies Certificate usually also fulfill course requirements toward the student’s degree program.

Courses with substantial Asian content from any of Boston University’s schools may be used toward the certificate, with approval from the BUCSA director.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the history, politics, religions, and/or arts of historical or contemporary Asia.
  • Demonstrate reading proficiency at the intermediate range in at least one language prevalent in Asia.
  • Demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives on the growth and development of society in one or more Asian societies, including observations and critiques that have been developed within a given society or polity.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the commonalities and differences across the geographically dispersed societies and civilizations of Asia.


A list of preapproved courses can be found on the certificate program’s website.

To receive the certificate, students must:

  • Successfully complete at least 16 credit hours of coursework primarily focused on Asia, with a minimum grade of B in each course.
  • Concentration requirement: At least 12 of the 16 credits must focus on a subregional or substantive area (e.g., East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia; comparative government, cultural/archaeological preservation, Buddhism).
  • Include courses from at least two departments or schools.
  • Include no more than 4 credit hours of coursework in directed study or research, except with written permission of the director of BUCSA.
  • Complete a significant piece of research on Asia, such as an MA or MFA thesis, doctoral dissertation, or two substantial research papers in graduate-level seminars.
  • Demonstrate reading knowledge of an Asian language relevant to the course of study. This is demonstrated by passing the language proficiency test of the student’s own department where it is required. For students in schools or departments that do not offer language proficiency testing, BUCSA will arrange an assessment of reading proficiency.
  • Receive approval of completion from the director of BUCSA and the student’s academic advisor. Students are expected to consult with the BUCSA director at the beginning of their studies in order to ensure that their planned courses will fulfill the goals of the certificate program.