Asian Studies, BA

Explore Asian studies major at Seattle University. Gain cultural and language skills for Asia-oriented careers in business, education, social justice and more.

About this Program

Multidisciplinary Program for Essential Cultural Knowledge and Language Skills

Asian studies has become one of the most exciting programs on campus. It is a multidisciplinary program designed for students interested in careers or graduate work in fields where the knowledge of Asia and the ability to communicate in Asian languages are essential. 

In our multidisciplinary Asian studies major, you will enjoy a great range of courses offered by academic departments throughout the college. 

Students concentrate on a wide range of thought-provoking courses on Asia in the humanities and social sciences. Our classes range from arts, anthropology, history and psychology to business and political science.

Many students have chosen to double major or minor in another discipline, such as business, political science or international studies.

All students are able to acquire basic proficiency in an Asian language through two years of college-level study.  Popular languages include Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

You have the option of taking language classes here at Seattle University, transfer classes from other universities or waive your language requirement through placement tests.

Asian Studies Degree at a Glance

Learn how this degree from the Asian Studies Program will contribute to your career goals. Then, explore course requirements and see how impactful a Seattle University degree can be.

Your major in Asian studies will prepare you to undertake entry-level professional jobs in the realm of Asian commerce, communication or social justice work, or continue on to advanced studies of Asian and international studies in a variety of disciplines. The Asian studies major at Seattle University prepares students to pursue Asia-oriented careers in fields such as international business, communications, development, education, government, law, non-governmental organizations and various services to the community.

Add a minor in Asian studies and broaden your impact and complement your major. To earn a minor degree, you’ll need to study Japanese or Chinese in addition to completing several classes in modern Asian studies. The Asian studies minor helps students learn important skills that will be of use in international communications, business, education, government and law, as well as various community services.

Acquire and demonstrate a basic understanding of the meaning of "Asia" in its relations to the world through various disciplinary frameworks, approaches, and perspectives from the humanities and social sciences.

Acquire basic proficiency in an Asian language through two years of college-level study as measured by the following criteria consistent with the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines at this level:

  • Listening: Engage in listening tasks such as understanding highly contextualized messages and information conveyed in simple speeches on familiar or everyday topics
  • Reading: Understand information conveyed in simple, predictable, loosely connected texts and start to have the basic knowledge in vocabulary and grammar to get information from more organized discourses on subjects beyond everyday and social topics
  • Speaking: Converse about familiar topics on everyday life with learned material and handle frequently seen survival situations with sentence-level language that can be understood by interlocutors who are accustomed to speeches produced by non-native learners at this level
  • Writing: Meet practical writing needs, such as simple messages and personal letters, have the ability to produce simple discourses for descriptive or expository purposes, and have basic knowledge in applying rhetorical devices to express meaning that is comprehensible to those accustomed to the writing of non-natives

Use library databases and other sources to find appropriate information and evaluate critically the probable quality of sources about Asia.

Critically interpret and analyze important issues related to societies and sub-regions of Asia through discipline-appropriate languages and methods.

Carry out a research project grounded in scholarly literature of appropriate disciplines as measured by successful completion of a senior capstone paper:

  • Outline, conduct, organize, and critically and creatively articulate appropriate analysis of the chosen subject
  • Use English (and an Asian language) to access primary or secondary sources for the research project
  • Communicate the analysis and research findings in discipline-appropriate writing and an oral presentation

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.

Support for Your Success

A information session at Seattle University

Pathways to Professional Formation

The College of Arts & Sciences is committed to helping you through your lifetime journey of professional formation and discernment. We offer opportunities to deepen and broaden your understanding of your professional identity.

Renowned scholar Peter Lee

Lectureship with World-Renowned Asian Studies Scholars

Every year we bring in an internationally recognized scholar from around the world to give a lecture on a research topic that is at the forefront of Asian studies. This lectureship has drawn a large audience and international recognition. Students have the opportunity to interact closely with the endowed speaker while he or she is on campus.

Student sitting during an adivising session

Arts & Sciences Advising Center

Our advising center is dedicated to your holistic academic and professional through academic advising and promotion of academic excellence. We work to solve problems, provide navigational guidance and build connections.

Featured Faculty

  • Ming Feng
    Ming Feng

    Associate Teaching Professor, Chinese
    Associate Professor, Asian Studies Program

  • Naomi Kasumi
    Naomi Kasumi

    Professor, Design
    Director, Design Program
    Associate Appointment, Asian Studies.

  • Yitan Li, PhD
    Yitan Li, PhD

    Professor and Chair, Political Science
    Director, Asian Studies

  • Harriet Phinney, PhD
    Harriet Phinney, PhD

    Associate Professor, Anthropology and Sociology
    Associate Appointment, Asian Studies Program

  • Tom Taylor, PhD
    Tom Taylor, PhD

    Associate Professor, History
    Affiliated with International Studies

  • Jason Wirth, PhD
    Jason Wirth, PhD

    Professor and Department Chair, Philosophy
    Associate Appointment, Film Studies

  • Enyu Zhang, PhD
    Enyu Zhang, PhD

    Associate Professor, International Studies
    Affiliated faculty and former director, Asian Studies

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