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Asian Studies is divided into two concentrations:

  • East Asian Studies
  • Southeast Asian Studies

Concentration in East Asian Studies

The Asian studies major with an East Asian studies concentration encompasses China, Japan, and Korea—Pacific Rim nations characterized by rich cultural heritages, critical geopolitical positions and rapidly expanding economies. East Asia plays a central role in world politics and the global economy, and the importance of this region will increase in the 21st century.

This concentration is for undergraduates who are interested in a wide range of careers (business, public service, law, teaching, research, etc.) and who seek a focused yet multidisciplinary education with solid grounding in East Asian language and civilization. Students interested in the major should begin language study as early as possible.

Concentration in Southeast Asian Studies

The  Asian studies major with a Southeast Asian concentration is an undergraduate major in the College of Letters & Science, providing a comprehensive foundation in Southeast Asian language and area studies. It includes Burma (Myanmar), Brunei, Cambodia (Kampuchea), East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Students are required to take a minimum of four semesters of a Southeast Asian language, and complete a minimum of thirty credits of Southeast Asian area studies coursework. The area studies courses must be taken in at least two academic disciplines, including courses in Southeast Asian humanities and social sciences. Students may opt to prepare a 6-credit senior thesis.

Concentration in Southeast Asian Studies

Declaring the Major

The major should be declared no later than the beginning of the junior year. (All L&S students must declare a major by the time they have earned 86 degree credits.) Students with no previous language training or proficiency should consider beginning language study during their sophomore year, since language course sequences begin only once per year during the fall semester. Students interested in Southeast Asia are encouraged to consult with the undergraduate advisor (mmcullin@wisc.edu) at any time from the freshman year onward to discuss the program.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language

Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include one 3+ credit course in the biological sciences; must include one 3+ credit course in the physical sciences
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.

Requirements for the Major 

The Asian studies majors requires that students concentrate in one of two options: East Asian Studies or Southeast Asian Studies.  Students must declare one (and only one) of these concentrations. Both concentrations require 30 credits.

Concentration in East Asian Studies 1

Fourth Unit of Language—choose one:8-12
Third Semester Chinese
and Fourth Semester Chinese
Third Semester Japanese
and Fourth Semester Japanese
Third Semester Korean
and Fourth Semester Korean
Third Semester Modern Tibetan
and Fourth Semester Modern Tibetan
Humanities: 8 credits must be concentrated in a single SUBJECT8
Survey of Asian Art
Early Chinese Art: From Antiquity to the Tenth Century
Chinese Painting
Arts of Japan
Topics in Asian Art
Japanese Ceramics and Allied Arts
Art and Religious Practice in Medieval Japan
Proseminar in Japanese Art
Proseminar in Chinese Art
Introduction to East Asian Civilizations
Humanities Topics in East Asian Studies
Senior Thesis
Senior Thesis
Genres of Asian Religious Writing
Introduction to Japanese Culture and Civilization
Kendo: Integration of Martial Arts and Liberal Arts
Humanities Topics in East Asian Studies (Korean Culture)
Introduction to Buddhism
Introduction to Taoism
Survey of Chinese Literature
Survey of Chinese Literature
Survey of Japanese Literature
Survey of Japanese Literature
Chinese Painting
Language in Japanese Society
Introduction to Confucianism
Japanese Poetic Tradition
Topics in Chinese Literature
Manga.
Anime
Topics in East Asian Visual Cultures
Popular Culture and Film in Twentieth-Century China
Readings in Modern Japanese Literature
Readings in Modern Japanese Literature
Readings in Classical Japanese Literature
Readings in Classical Japanese Literature
History of the Chinese Language
History of the Chinese Language
History of Chinese Literature
History of Chinese Literature
Literary Studies in Chinese Fiction
Introduction to East Asian History: China
Introduction to East Asian History: Japan
Explorations in Third World History (H) (China, Japan, Korea)
Korean History, 1945 to present
Chinese Economic and Business History: From Silk to iPhones
Social and Intellectual History of China, 589 AD-1919
History of Modern China, 1800-1949
History of the Peoples Republic of China, 1949 to the Present
Samurai: History and Image
Pearl Harbor & Hiroshima: Japan, the US & The Crisis in Asia
Reading Seminar in History
International Learning Community Seminar (China, East Asia, Japan, Korea, Tibet)
Survey of Chinese Literature in Translation
Survey of Chinese Literature in Translation
Survey of Japanese Literature in Translation
Survey of Japanese Literature in Translation
Modern Japanese Fiction
Classical Japanese Prose in Translation
Topics in Japanese Literature
Topics in Korean Literature
Introduction to Asian Performance
Fundamentals of Asian Stage Discipline
The Theatres of China and Japan
Social Science: 8 credits must be concentrated in a single SUBJECT8
The International Agricultural Economy
Economic Problems of Developing Areas
Topics in Archaeology (East Asia, Southeast Asia)
Topics in Ethnology
Introduction to the Anthropology of Japan
Social Studies Topics in East Asian Studies
Economic Problems of Developing Areas
Basic Technical Japanese I
Basic Technical Japanese II
Intermediate Technical Japanese I
Intermediate Technical Japanese II
Introduction to Human Geography
Human Geography of Southeast Asia
Development and Environment in Southeast Asia
History of Southeast Asia to 1800
History of Southeast Asia Since 1800
Mass Communication in Developing Nations
Special Topics in Political Science (East Asia, Southeast Asia)
Introduction to East Asian Civilizations
China in World Politics
Politics of Japan
Politics of Revolution
Food, Culture, and Society
1

Courses counted toward humanities may not also count toward social science, and vice versa. However, humanities and social science courses may count toward the concentration requirement if taken in a single SUBJECT. 

2

 Students can also fulfill the East Asian language requirement with the following courses: ChineseE ASIAN 301 Fifth Semester Chinese, E ASIAN 302 Sixth Semester Chinese, E ASIAN 321 First Year Classical Chinese, E ASIAN 322 First Year Classical Chinese, E ASIAN 333 Chinese Conversation, E ASIAN 341 Classical Chinese for Non-Majors, E ASIAN 342 Classical Chinese for Non-Majors, E ASIAN 401 Seventh Semester Chinese, E ASIAN 402 Eighth Semester Chinese, E ASIAN 379 Business Chinese, E ASIAN 631 History of the Chinese Language; JapaneseE ASIAN 303 Fifth Semester Japanese, E ASIAN 304 Sixth Semester Japanese, E ASIAN 323 First Year Classical Japanese, E ASIAN/​E P D  330 Basic Technical Japanese I, E ASIAN/​E P D  332 Basic Technical Japanese II, E ASIAN 335 Intermediate Japanese Conversation, E ASIAN/​E P D  374 Intermediate Technical Japanese I, E ASIAN 403 Seventh Semester Japanese, E ASIAN 404 Eighth Semester Japanese, E ASIAN/​E P D  601 Japanese for Business and Industry.

Concentration in Southeast Asian Studies 1

Fourth Unit of a Southeast Asian Language -Choose One:
Third Semester Asian Language
and Fourth Semester Asian Language
Third Semester Burmese
and Fourth Semester Burmese
Third Semester Filipino
and Fourth Semester Filipino
Third Semester Hmong
and Fourth Semester Hmong
Third Semester Indonesian
and Fourth Semester Indonesian
Third Semester Javanese
and Fourth Semester Javanese
Third Semester Khmer
and Fourth Semester Khmer
Third Semester Lao
and Fourth Semester Lao
Third Semester Thai
and Fourth Semester Thai
Third Semester Vietnamese
and Fourth Semester Vietnamese
Humanities: 8 Credits must be concentrated in a single SUBJECT8
Asian American History: Movement and Dislocation
Asian American History: Settlement and National Belonging
Contemporary Political Discourse
Javanese Performance Repertory
Asian American History: Movement and Dislocation
Asian American History: Settlement and National Belonging
Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines
Southeast Asian Refugees of the "Cold" War
The Vietnam Wars
Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asian History
History of Southeast Asia to 1800
History of Southeast Asia Since 1800
Advanced Seminar in History (Southeast Asia)
Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines
Topics in Languages and Cultures of Asia (Southeast Asia)
Introduction to Buddhism
Cities of Asia
Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asian History
Introduction to Sufism (Islamic Mysticism)
History of Southeast Asia to 1800
History of Southeast Asia Since 1800
Religion, Colonialism & Modernity in Southeast Asia
Fifth Semester Burmese
Sixth Semester Burmese
Fifth Semester Filipino
Sixth Semester Filipino
Fifth Semester Hmong
Sixth Semester Hmong
Fifth Semester Indonesian
Sixth Semester Indonesian
Fifth Semester Khmer
Sixth Semester Khmer
Fifth Semester Lao
Sixth Semester Lao
Fifth Semester Vietnamese
Sixth Semester Vietnamese
Islam: Religion and Culture
Proseminar: Studies in Religions of Asia
Social Science: 8 Credits must be concentrated in a single SUBJECT8
Special Topics (Southeast Asia)
Economic Growth and Development in Southeast Asia
Topics in Archaeology (Archaeology of East and Southeast Asia)
Topics in Ethnology (Peoples & Cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia; Art in Island Southeast Asia)
Southeast Asian Refugees of the "Cold" War
Special Topics in Rhetoric and Public Address
Economic Growth and Development in Southeast Asia
Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines
Human Geography of Southeast Asia
Development and Environment in Southeast Asia
Special Topics in Geography
Globalization, Poverty and Development
Politics of Southeast Asia
Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines
1

Courses counted toward humanities may not also count towards social science, and vice versa.  However, humanities and social science courses may count toward the concentration requirement if taken in a single SUBJECT. 

Residence and quality of work

2.000 GPA in all E A STDS and major courses

2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence 2

15 credits in E A STDS, taken on the UW–Madison campus


2

Courses in the major numbered 300 through 699 are considered upper level.

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Asian Studies Major in consultation with the Asian Studies undergraduate advisor.

Honors in Asian Studies Major Requirements

To earn a B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Asian Studies students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
  • Earn a 3.500 GPA in all E A STDS courses, and all courses accepted in the major
  • Complete 3 credits E A STDS at the intermediate or advanced level with a grade of B or better
  • Complete a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis in E A STDS 681 Senior Honors Thesis and E A STDS 682 Senior Honors Thesis, for a total of 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Academic Advising

Students interested in Southeast Asia are encouraged to consult with the undergraduate advisor (mmcullin@wisc.edu) at any time from the freshman year onward to discuss the program.

Career Information

Students are encouraged to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with the L&S Career Services office to help you leverage the academic skills learned in your major and liberal arts degree, explore and try out different career paths, participate in internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers).

Letters & Science graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important to us that our students are career ready at the time of graduation, and we are committed to your success.

CAREER RESOURCES

Concentration in East Asian Studies

China Core Faculty:

Professors Curtin, Dong, Eichenseher, Friedman, Irish, Manion, Murray, Nienhauser, Pan

Associate Professors Huntington, Huang, Merli, Sheehan, Zhang, Zhou

Assistant Professor Meulenbeld, Yang

Japan Core Faculty:

Professors Davis, McGloin, Mori, Ohnuki-Tierney, Phillips, Young

Associate Professors D'Etcheverry, Furumoto, Geyer,  Kern, Leheny, Mori, Raymo, Thal

Assistant Professor  Ridgeley

Korea Core Faculty:

Professor Sutton; Assistant Professors Kim, Ohnesorge

Undergraduate advisor:

Michael Cullinane

Concentration in Southeast Asian Studies

Professors Bowie, Cowell, Coxhead, Gade, Gunther, Hansen (director), Macken, A. McCoy, Olds, Rafferty, Sidel, Winichakul, Zhou

Associate Professor Nobles

Assistant Professors Baird, Choy, Ho, Kim

Faculty Associates Barnard, Cullinane, M McCoy 

Librarian Ashmun

Undergraduate advisor:

Michael Cullinane