Asian Studies Major

The Asian Studies major trains students to understand and engage this world, helping them to grasp a civilization with a long and rich history.

The major begins with a basic disciplinary foundation that helps students understand any aspect of international affairs, with coursework in history, political science, economics, and anthropology. At the same time, students begin to develop their language skills, helping them deepen their understanding of the region.


Foundation (3 Credits)

Required: IAFF 2091: East Asia Past and Present

Foreign Language

Students must prove 3rd year proficiency in one of the following modern foreign languages by examination or coursework. If you would like information on the Elliott School foreign language examinations, please contact your academic advisor.
» East Asian Languages and Literatures course descriptions


CHIN 1001, 1002, 2003, 2004, 3105, and 3106


JAPN 1001, 1002, 2003, 2004, 3105, and 3106


KOR 1001, 1002, 2003, 2004, 3105, and 3106

Regional Foundation (3 Credits)

Students must take one course from the lists below to gain an understanding of a region of the world outside of Asia and the United States.

Select One:


IAFF 2093: Africa: Problems and Prospects
IAFF 2190W: Special Topics: *

  • North Africa and the World

IAFF 3189: Special Topics in African Studies:*

  • Transnational Justice in Africa

ANTH 3708: Anthropology of Africa
HIST 3501: Special Topics in African History *
PSC 2381: Comparative Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa
PSC 2482: African International Politics

Europe and Eurasia

IAFF 2094: Europe: International & Domestic Interactions
IAFF 4191W: Research Seminar: Europe
HIST 1121: The War of Ideas in European and International History, 1750–Present
HIST 3101: Special Topics in European History*
HIST 2125: 20th Century Europe
HIST 3126: European Integration: A History
HIST 3168: Divided and United Germany since 1945
HIST 3178: The Making of the Modern Balkans
PSC 2330: Comparative Politics of Western Europe
PSC 2331: Comparative Politics of Central and Eastern Europe

Latin America

IAFF 2090: Latin America: Problems and Promise
IAFF 2190W: Special Topics:*

  • Latin American Populism

IAFF 3187: Special Topics in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies: *

  • Central American and Caribbean Perspectives
  • Political Economy of Latin America

ANTH 3702: Anthropology of Latin America
GEOG 3161: Geography of Latin America
HIST 3701: Special Topics in Latin American History: *

  • Argentina in Global Context
  • Argentina: History & Literature
  • Historical Memory and Human Rights in Chile

HIST 3711: History of Latin America (1820-Present)
PSC 2383: Comparative Politics of Latin America
PSC 2484: International Relations of Latin America

Middle East

IAFF 2040: Basic Topics in International Affairs: *

  • Middle East: An International Affairs Survey

IAFF 2190W: Special Topics: *

  • Arab Politics

IAFF 3188: Special Topics in Middle East Studies: *

  • Political Islam
  • US Policy in the Gulf

IAFF 4191: Research Seminar: Political Islam
ANTH 3707: Anthropology of the Middle East
GEOG 3154: Geography of the Middle East and North Africa
HIST 3801: Special Topics in Middle Eastern History: *

  • Gender and the Middle East

HIST 3811: Middle East in the 20th Century
PSC 2377: Comparative Politics of the Middle East
PSC 2478: International Relations of the Middle East

Academic Advisor Approval required for courses not listed here.

Research Methods (3 Credits)

Students must complete one course pertaining to qualitative or quantitative social science research methods.

  • Credit for only one of the following courses may be applied toward a degree: STAT 10511053, or 1111.
  • STAT courses may not be double-counted between the Math requirement and the Research Methods requirement.

Select One:

IAFF 2040: International Affairs Research Methods
ANTH 3531: Methods in Sociocultural Anthropology
ECON 2123: Introduction to Econometrics
GEOG 2104: Introduction to Cartography/GIS
GEOG 2105: Techniques of Spatial Analysis
PSC 2101: Scope and Methods of Political Science
PSYC 2101: Research Methods in Psychology
PUBH 3131: Epidemiology: Measuring Health and Disease
SOC 2101: Social Research Methods
STAT 1051: Introduction to Business & Economic Statistics
STAT 1053: Introduction to Statistics in Social Science
STAT 1111: Business and Economic Statistics I
STAT 2112: Business and Economic Statistics II

Asian Literature (3 Credits)

Select One:

Other Asian literature courses may be appropriate. Please contact the Program Director if you have any questions.

CHIN 3111: Chinese Literature in Translation (I)
CHIN 3112: Chinese Literature in Translation (II)
JAPN 3111: Japanese Literature in Translation (I)
JAPN 3112: Japanese Literature in Translation (II)
KOR 3111: Korean Literature in Translation (I)
KOR 3112: Korean Literature in Translation (II)

Multi-disciplinary Core (18 Credits)

Other Asia-related courses than those listed below may be appropriate. Please contact the Program Director if you have any questions.

History & Culture (9 Credits)

Select Three:

AH 2190: East Asian Art
AH 2191: South Asian Art
AH 2192: The Art of Southeast Asia
ANTH 3703: Cultures of the Pacific
ANTH 3705: Anthropology of East Asia
ANTH 3709: Japanese Culture through Film (same as JAPN 3162)
CHIN 3136: Chinese Women in Myth, Literature, and Film (same as WSTU 3136)
CHIN 3162: Chinese Culture Through Film
ENGL 1712: Bollywood Cinema
ENGL 3965: Asian American Cultural Studies
FA 1075East Asian Calligraphy
HIST 2305W: Cold War in Asia
HIST 3001: Pre-approved Special Topics Courses
Program Director Approval required for courses not listed here.

  • The Korean War
  • The Cold War in Asia
  • Vietnam: Colonialism, War, Revolution
  • WWII in Asia: History and Legacy
  • Modern Southeast Asian History
  • World War II in Asia
  • WWII in East Asia & the Pacific

HIST 3614W: Writing Modern Chinese History: Gender, Power & Sexuality East Asia
HIST 3035: U.S. and Wars in Indo-China, 1945-1975
HIST 3611: History of Modern China
HIST 3621: History of Modern Japan
HIST 3630: History of Korea
HIST 3640: History of Southeast Asia
HIST 3650: Modern South Asia, 1750–Present
HONR 2175W: Honors Special Topics: Buddhist Philosophy
IAFF 3186: Special Topics in Asian Studies
Program Director Approval required for courses not listed here.

  • Memory & Reconciliation Asia
KOR 3162: Korean Culture through Film
REL 1002: Intro to World Religions: East
REL 2401: Islam
REL 2601: Buddhism
REL 2811: Confucian Literature in East Asia
REL 2814: Religion and Philosophy in East Asia
REL 3481: Women in Islam
REL 2501: Hinduism
REL 3514: Indian Philosophy & Mysticism
REL 2562: Mythologies of India
REL 3405: Shi'ite Islam
REL 3614: Buddhist Philosophy
REL 3821: Religion and Ethics in East Asia
REL 3831: Daoism in East Asia
REL 3832: Myth, Ritual & Popular Religion in China
REL 3989: The Goddess in India & Beyond
REL 3990: Pre-approved Special Topics Courses
Program Director Approval required for courses not listed here.
  • Mahabharata and Pali Buddhism
  • Shamanism in Theory

Political Science/Geography (6 Credits)

Select Two:

GEOG 3165: Geography of South Asia
IAFF 3182: Special Topics in Foreign Policy
Program Director Approval required for courses not listed here.

  • China's Rise & Implications

IAFF 2190W: Special Topics
Program Director Approval required for courses not listed here.

  • US-Asia: Critical Issues

IAFF 3186: Special Topics in Asian Studies
Program Director Approval required for courses not listed here.

  • Indo-Pacific Security Challenges
  • Politics & Conflict South Asia
  • Taiwan: Current Challenges & Future Directions
  • US-China Relations

IAFF 3190: Special Topics in International Affairs
Program Director Approval required for courses not listed here.

  • China and Africa

PSC 2368: Politics of the Two Koreas
PSC 2369: Comparative Politics of South Asia
PSC 2371: Politics and Foreign Policy of China
PSC 2373: Comparative Politics of Southeast Asia
PSC 2374: Politics and Foreign Policy of Japan
PSC 2475: International Relations of East Asia
PSC 2992: Special Topics Courses Pre-Approved by the Program Director.
Permission of Instructor required.
PSC 3192W: Proseminar
Program Director Approval required for courses not listed here.

  • Chinese Foreign Policy
  • Post-Conflict Vietnam

Economics & Development (3 Credits)

Select One:

ECON 2151: Economic Development
ECON 2169: Introduction to the Economy of China
ECON 2170: Introduction to the Economy of Japan
ECON 2198: East Asian Economies
IAFF 3186: Special Topics in Asian Studies
Program Director Approval required for courses not listed here.

  • Development Issues in SE Asia

Select three courses related to Asia (including East, South [India, Pakistan, and surrounding countries], Southeast, and Central Asia) from any discipline and submit a Related Coursework Declaration Form (.pdf) to Academic Advising with the Program Director's signature.



Contact Academic Advising

Academic Advising and Student Services
1957 E Street, NW, Suite 302
Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-3002
Fax: 202-994-9537

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (during the fall & spring semesters)
UNDERGRADUATE Express Advising: Monday - Friday, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
» Schedule an Appointment