The 21st century has been called the “Asian Century”: indeed, many of the world's most pressing issues cannot be understood without a grasp of the histories, cultures, and languages of Asia. Asia is home to over half of the world's population. China, Japan, and India are three of the world’s top economies. For decades Asian countries have been leaders in global manufacturing, and Asian universities are renowned centers for literary studies and scientific innovation. Fifty percent of the declared nuclear-weapon states are also in the region. Simply put, Asia matters a great deal.
The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures offers a wide variety of courses on East, South, and Southeast Asia taught by faculty who are specialists in their regions and disciplines. Whether you are taking your first step toward learning about Asia or you bring some background experience, an ALC major will expand your ability to think and work across cultural and linguistic boundaries. Majors may opt to study Asia in a transnational and transhistorical perspective or in a more focused course of study by choosing one of our named options in East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
To take advantage of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures’ many relationships with other departments and program units across campus, students may choose to double major or enhance their studies in ALC with one of the certificates offered at the university, such as the Certificate in Global Health, the Certificate in Health and the Humanities, or those offered by the area studies centers.
This major is interdisciplinary and offers a wealth of options. Careful planning and consultation with the ALC undergraduate advisor is especially important.
The East Asian Studies named option offers a multidisciplinary range of courses that explore the diverse and vibrant cultures, arts, histories, political systems, and literatures of China, Japan, Korea and Tibet. Students in the East Asian option can study Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Tibetan language and linguistics; and explore Chinese ghost stories and classical Chinese literature or poetry; Korean cinema and pop culture; classical Japanese fiction; early modern comedic narratives, manga, anime, and counterculture.
The South Asian Studies named option offers a multidisciplinary range of courses that explore the diverse and vibrant cultures, arts, histories, political systems, and literatures of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. Students in the South Asian option can study Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan, or Urdu language; the roots of Yoga; methods of Buddhist philosophy and meditation; South Asian religion and politics in the past and present of the Indian subcontinent; and medical history in South Asia.
The Southest Asian Studies named option offers a multidisciplinary range of courses that explore the diverse and vibrant cultures, arts, histories, political systems, and literatures of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Students in the Southeast Asian option can study Burmese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Khmer, Thai, and Vietnamese language; Human rights in Thailand; literature of the region; and history and politics in Southeast Asia.
Students who who have prior experience in a language that is offered during the academic year must take a placement test before enrolling in a language course beyond the first-semester level. For information about the placement test and test dates, please visit the department website.
To declare the major, students must meet with the undergraduate advisor to review the requirements and discuss course options. Students may declare the major prior to completing the requisite language courses (1st and 2nd semester).
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|| |
* 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 Science (B.S.)
Students pursuing a bachelor of science 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 Science DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
|Mathematics||Two (2) 3+ credits of intermediate/advanced level MATH, COMP SCI, STAT |
Limit one each: COMP SCI, STAT
|Foreign Language||Complete the third unit of a foreign language |
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
|L&S Breadth|| |
|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 86th 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. Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non-L&S-degree-seeking candidates:
- Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
- Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
- Music (Bachelor of Music)
- Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)
Requirements for the Major
Students must take 32 credits as follows: 2
|ASIAN 100||(Gateway to Asia) 1||3-4|
|or ASIAN 300|
Intermediate Language Coursework
Complete one pair of courses (8 credits):2
|East Asian languages|
& ASIALANG 202
& ASIALANG 204
& ASIALANG 206
& ASIALANG 236
|South Asian languages|
& ASIALANG 234
& ASIALANG 238
& ASIALANG 236
& ASIALANG 240
& ASIALANG 242
|Southeast Asian languages|
& ASIALANG 244
& ASIALANG 230
& ASIALANG 224
& ASIALANG 226
& ASIALANG 228
& ASIALANG 246
& ASIALANG 232
|Complete 9 credits from the following course options:|
|ART HIST 203||3-4|
|ART HIST 305||3|
|ART HIST 307||3|
|ART HIST 308||3|
|ART HIST 371||3-4|
|ART HIST 372||3-4|
|ART HIST 373||3|
|ART HIST 375||3-4|
|ART HIST 411||3-4|
|ART HIST 475||3|
|ART HIST 478||(Asian Studies Topic required)||3|
|COM ARTS 310||(Asian Studies Topic required)||3|
|COM ARTS 470||(Asian Studies Topic required)||3|
|ENVIR ST 356||3-4|
|FOLKLORE 467||(Asian Studies Topic required)||3|
|or ASIAN 352|
|or ASIAN 353|
|Complete 9 credits from the following course options:|
|A A E 473||3|
|ANTHRO 310||(Asian Studies Topic required)||3|
|ANTHRO 330||(Asian Studies Topic required)||3-4|
|ANTHRO 350||(Asian Studies Topic required)||3-4|
|ANTHRO 352||(Asian Studies Topic required)||3|
|POP HLTH 640||1|
|POP HLTH 644||1|
|POP HLTH 645||1-6|
|POLI SCI 322||3-4|
|POLI SCI 323||3-4|
|POLI SCI 324||3-4|
|POLI SCI 327||3|
|POLI SCI 328||3-4|
|POLI SCI 346||3-4|
|Complete one course for at least 3 credits:|
Residence and Quality of Work
- 2.000 GPA in all ASIAN, ASIALANG, and approved courses for the major
- 2.000 GPA in 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence3
- 15 credits in the major, taken in residence
Honors in the Major
Honors in the Major is not currently available for this major.
For the Introductory Course, students declaring at the Jr., or Sr., standing may take this requirement at the ASIAN 300 level. Please note the topic for the required course is "Gateway to Asia." Other ASIAN 300 topics will not count.
Students who test above 4th semester language must still complete a minimum of 32 credits in the major. These students may complete another language sequence or other coursework as approved by the advisor.
Intermediate and Advanced level major courses are upper-level.
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.|
- Broad regional grounding: Understand the variation within and similarities across Asia with reference to historical and contemporary cultural connections (people, societies, languages, literatures, religions, and cultural genres).
- Multidisciplinarity: Become familiar and proficient with multiple perspectives scholars use to study Asia and use them as resources in their own self-reflective thinking.
- Depth of knowledge: Employ relevant theoretical and methodological approaches to arrive at informed understandings of key issues involving the environment, human rights, cultural practices, structures of power, etc. based on an understanding of the social and cultural ties within Asia as well as between Asia and the rest of the globe.
- Analytical skills: Critically examine taken-for-granted notions and stereotypes and to inquire into the process of their construction. They will also be able to read, analyze and explain the significance of Asian texts and artifacts (literary, cultural, historical, and popular culture).
- Language and cultural competence: Manage basic everyday communication needs in at least one Asian language; understand the relationship between language and culture; and understand how to study a new language and culture and how to advance their proficiency as life-long learners.
Sample Four-Year Plan
This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.
|Communication A||3||Quantitative Reasoning A||3-4|
|Foreign Language||4||Biological Science Breadth||3|
|ASIAN 100 or ASIAN 300 (Required Introductory Course)||3-4||Ethnic Studies||4|
|Major Breadth: Humanities||3-4||Foreign Language Course||4|
|Quantitative Reasoning B||3||Science Breadth||3|
|Physical Science Breadth||3||Communication B||3-4|
|Intermediate Language Course||4||Intermediate Language Course||4|
|Major Breadth: Humanities||3-4||Major Breadth: Social Science||3-4|
|Literature Breadth||3||Literature Breadth||3|
|Science Breadth||3||Major Breadth: Social Science Course||3-4|
|Social Science Breadth||4||ASIAN 699 (Optional)||3|
|Major Breadth: Social Science Course||3-4||Capstone Course (Major Requirement)||3-4|
|ASIAN 681 or ASIAN 691 (Optional)||3||ASIAN 682 or ASIAN 692 (Optional)||3|
|Total Credits 120|
1244 Van Hise Hall
Schedule an advising appointment in Starfish. You can access Starfish from you MyUW dashboard.
Rachel is the advisor for the undergraduate majors and certificates in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. She is happy to meet with students as they explore the degree options, prepare for study abroad or advance through their four-year plans.
INTERNATIONAL DIRECTIONS ADVISING
The Language Institute provides academic and career advising to undergraduate students interested in languages and international area studies. The International Directions advisor provides academic and career advising to undergraduate students who are interested in languages and international area studies. Learn more.
L&S career resources
SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, 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). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.
SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career.
Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.
- Set up a career advising appointment
- INTER-LS 210 L&S Career Development: Taking Initiative (1 credit, targeted to first- and second-year students)—for more information, see Inter-LS 210: Career Development, Taking Initiative
- INTER-LS 215 Communicating About Careers (3 credits, fulfills Com B General Education Requirement)
- Learn how we’re transforming career preparation: L&S Career Initiative
Asian Languages and Cultures is home to nearly twenty faculty whose research and teaching specialities cover a wide range of topics, including traditional medicine in India; the Hinduist roots of yoga; diversifying contemporary mindfulness practice with insights from Tibetan Buddhism; human rights in Thailand; Chinese ghost stories, traditional poetics and philology; sociolinguistics and discourse analysis of the Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian languages; analysis of classical Japanese tale fiction, early modern comedic narratives, manga, anime, and Japanese counterculture. Visit our faculty pages for more information on areas of expertise, current research, teaching and publications.
Erlin Barnard email@example.com
Fields of Study: Language Pedagogy; Materials Development; Second Language Acquisition
Gudrun Bühnemann firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of Study: Sanskrit language and literature; Buddhism in India and Nepal; Hinduism; Tantrism and Yoga Studies
Anthony Cerulli email@example.com
Fields of Study: Hinduism; Religion in South Asia; Medical Humanities; History of Medicine in India; Sanskrit Language and Literature; Kerala History and Culture
Charo D'Etcheverry firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of Study: Classical Japanese literature (especially court fiction and its reception and early kabuki)
Anatoly Detwyler email@example.com
Fields of Study: Modern Chinese literature and history, comparative new media, information studies
John D. Dunne firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of Study: Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice; Religious Studies; Cognitive Science of Religion; Contemplative Science
Naomi Geyer email@example.com
Fields of Study: Japanese Language, Language Pedagogy, Pragmatics
Tyrell Haberkorn firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of Study: Violence, Human Rights, Sovereignty, Arbitrary Detention, Land Rights, Agrarian Struggle, Historiographies of Repression, Gender Studies, Socialism, Dissident Literature, Southeast Asia (Thailand).
Rania Huntington email@example.com
Fields of Study: Ming and Qing narrative and drama, literature of the weird and supernatural, memory in literature, depiction of women in literature
Seunggon Jeong firstname.lastname@example.org
Field of Study: Korean language
Adam L. Kern email@example.com
Fields of Study: The popular literature, culture, poetry, theater, and visual culture of early modern unto modern Japan (1600-1900). Transcultural comics in Japan (manga, kibyôshi, etc) and beyond.
Hieyoon Kim Hieyoon.firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of Study: Cinema; Media activism; Cultural Studies; History of Modern and Contemporary Korea
Byung-jin Lim email@example.com
Fields of Study: Korean Language and Linguistics, Second/Foreign Language Acquisition, Computer-Mediated Communication, Korean Language Textbook Development
Junko Mori firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of Study: Japanese Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Conversation Analysis, Sociolinguistics
Takako Nakakubo email@example.com
Fields of Study: Second Language Acquisition of Japanese, Japanese Pedagogy, Learning Strategies
William Nienhauser firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of Study: Early traditional fiction and history; early poetry (especially Du Fu and Tao Qian)
Steve Ridgely email@example.com
Fields of Study: Modern Japanese literature, Cultural Theory, Transasian Studies
Hongming Zhang firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of Study: Chinese linguistics; syntax-phonology interface; prosodic phonology; poetic prosody; history of Chinese language; teaching Chinese as a second language
Tianlu Zhang email@example.com
Fields of Study: Chinese language
Weihua Zhu firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of Study: Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics, Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition
Students in the ALC department academic programs are encouraged to become engaged in undergraduate research. There are numerous programs that provide research opportunities for undergraduates at UW–Madison including:
- Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowships
- McNair Scholars
- Summer Research Programs
- Undergraduate Research Scholars
- The Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowship Program
WISCONSIN SUMMER LANGUAGE INSTITUTES
Each summer around 200 undergraduate students, graduate students, professionals, and others come to UW–Madison to study a language at the Wisconsin Intensive Summer Language Institutes (WISLI). WISLI is host to five summer language institutes which offer high-quality courses in 30 less commonly taught languages:
Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Language Immersion Institute (APTLII)
Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI)
South Asia Summer Language Institute (SASLI)
Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI)
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is ranked #2 for semester-long study abroad participation among all US institutions, and #16 among all US universities and colleges for total students studying abroad, according to the 2018 Open Doors Report. There are nearly 60 study abroad opportunities across Asia. Approved UW–Madison programs will allow students to receive residents credit while abroad. With pre-planning, students may also fulfill major requirements on academic programs abroad, however careful planning and discussion with your advisor are key. For more information about programs, application process, and fees, visit: International Academic Programs.
Students may also gain career and professional experience through various internship opportunities abroad. To review opportunities, application process, and fees, visit: International Internship Programs.
Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships
Center for East Asian Studies FLAS Coordinator: Laurie Dennis, email@example.com, 325 Ingraham Hall
Center for South Asian FLAS Coordinator: Sarah Beckham, firstname.lastname@example.org, 203 Ingraham
Center for Southeast Asian Studies FLAS Coordinator: Michael Cullinane, email@example.com, 207 Ingraham
FLAS fellowships are funded by the US Department of Education and administered by the UW–Madison's National Resource Centers to assist students in acquiring foreign language and either area or international studies competencies. FLAS awards are only available for specific languages, and are contingent on federal funding. Please direct any questions to the FLAS Coordinator of your chosen language.
Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applications by students in professional fields are encouraged. Preference will be given to applicants with a high level of academic ability and with previous language training. Academic Year and Summer FLAS awards are two separate competitions requiring two separate and complete applications.
This is the primary campus-wide portal for applicants, current students, and everyone looking for scholarship opportunities on campus.
Undergraduate Academic Awards Office
We help UW–Madison undergraduates and recent graduates pursue nationally competitive scholarships and campus-wide awards for research, service, and leadership—activities at the heart of the Wisconsin Experience. We can help you:
- Find scholarship opportunities that match your goals and interests
- Navigate the scholarship application process
- Review scholarship essays
- Prepare for national scholarship interviews
Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss which opportunities are right for you.
These scholarships provide up to $20,000 to US undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to US interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded. (Full list of preferred countries) Additionally, all programs must include formal study of an appropriate foreign language. (Full list of preferred languages). Undergraduates with questions about the Boren Scholarship should contact Matt Geisler, Associate Director of International Academic Programs.
The CLS program is part of the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is a fully-funded overseas intensive language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and to build relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.
The fourteen CLS languages are: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu.
The CLS Program seeks participants with diverse interests, from a wide variety of fields of study, backgrounds, and career paths, with the purpose of representing the full diversity of the United States. Thus, students from all academic disciplines, including business, engineering, law, medicine, science, social sciences, arts and humanities, are encouraged to apply.
The Gilman Scholarship Program is an undergraduate grant program for US citizens of limited financial means to enable them to study abroad, thereby internationalizing their outlook and better preparing them to assume significant roles in the increasingly global economy.