A major in Asian Studies is a rewarding one, for the growing global importance of
Asia means increasing career opportunities in law, business,government, journalism, arts and education for students who choose Asian Studies.
Asian Studies encompasses the geographical areas of East Asia, South Asia, and
Southeast Asia and offers courses in most of the disciplines of the social sciences
and the humanities. Asian Studies courses through the 4400-level are taught in
English and are open to all students in the university. Some of these courses
may be counted toward majors in other departments.
Over a dozen Asian languages are taught at Cornell,with IMPAC (Intensive Mandarin Program at Cornell) providing
intensive language work in Chinese during the summer for students who wish to attain fluency quickly.
To become an Asian Studies major, applicants must first successfully receive a minimum grade of B in at least two Asia content courses. These may include one
language course, but writing seminars do not fulfill the requirement. Applications to major in Asian Studies must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies.
The major must be declared no later than the second semester of the junior year. Admission to the major after the start of the seventh semester will be by petition only.
Completion of the major requires 30 credits at the 2200 level and beyond with a minimum grade of B (S/U not accepted), including:
1 course at the 3300 level.
1 course at the 4400 level.
A maximum of 6 credits of language study beyond those required for proficiency may be used.
At least 1 course from two of the Asian Studies course categories (RL, SC, LL).
Demonstration of 2-year proficiency in an Asian Language:
Testing into and completing the second semester of the 2nd year of that language
Obtaining a 2-year proficiency test result
Testing into a language course beyond the 2200 level.
Writing an exit statement at the time of the application to graduate to the advisor and the DUS evaluating what was gained by choosing an Asian Studies major.
The majors can choose an additional major (double major) in another discipline. Courses taken to complete a double major also fulfill the normal requirement for elective units.
Because the field is so vast, each major works closely with a faculty advisor to design an academic program which
meets individual interests, abilities, and career goals. Students in their senior year are encouraged to take at least one course at the 4400-level or above,
depending on their interests and proficiency.
In addition to course work, there are many extracurricular activities related
to Asia. These include an annual Japanese film series, a Gamelan group, clubs
in most of the martial arts of Asia, student societies for most of the Asian
nations, visiting lecturers and performing groups, and arts exhibitions. There
are numerous Asians studying and teaching on the Cornell campus, and the visits
of Asian scholars, diplomats, journalists and performers provide students with
additional opportunities to meet people from the cultures they are studying. We encourage
majors to become familiar with the activities of the East, South, and Southeast Asia Programs on campus.
If you are interested in the major as presented and have completed the prerequisite
courses, you should:
Obtain a "Major in Asian Studies" application from the Asian Studies
Office, 350 Rockefeller Hall. (Please note the narrative component of the application.)
Based on your interests, select and obtain the agreement of a Department of Asian Studies faculty member who is
willing to serve as the major advisor. Have your intended advisor sign the Major in Asian Studies
Schedule an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Asian
Studies Department, Professor Jane Marie Law,
Bring the application form and a copy of your current Cornell transcript to the meeting
with Professor Jane Marie Law. (The informal transcript that is available to you through "student center" is acceptable.)
Return the approved forms to the Asian Studies Department Office, 350 Rockefeller Hall.
Completion of the major
At the time of the application to graduate, the student is required to provide a written statement to the advisor and the DUS evaluating what was gained by choosing an Asian Studies Major.
To be eligible for honors in Asian Studies, students must have a cumulative grade
average of 3.7 in all Asian Studies courses and
must successfully complete an honors essay during their senior year. Students who
wish to be considered for honors should apply to the Director of Undergraduate
Studies during the second term of their junior year. The application must include
an outline of the proposed project and the endorsement of a supervisor chosen from
the Asian Studies faculty. During the first term of the senior year, the student
does research for the essay in conjunction with an appropriate Asian Studies
course or Asian Studies 4401. By the end of the first semester, the student must
present a detailed outline of the honors essay and have it approved by the project supervisor
and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The student is then eligible for Asian Studies 4402, the honors course
that entails the writing of the essay. At the end of the senior year, the student
has an oral examination with at least two faculty members covering both the
honors essay and the student's area of concentration. Check out titles of recent Honors Theses. See the
Honors Page for details.
For those students desiring to accelerate their acquisition
of Chinese, Cornell offers a full-time, intensive summer language program: IMPAC (Intensive Mandarin
Program At Cornell). For further details on the program, please see the