2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
    May 30, 2024  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Asian Studies Major

Asian Studies Overview

Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary program that straddles the social sciences, humanities, arts, and business. At Clark, students who major in Asian Studies develop not only their analytical skills; they also gain in-depth knowledge concerning the history, politics, and culture of different Asian countries. Students are required to develop linguistic proficiency in an Asian language, usually either Chinese or Japanese. Our core program faculty includes experts on China, Japan, mainland Southeast Asia, and South Asia. The program reflects the growing importance of Asia, rising public interest in Asia, and the undeniably central role of Asia in the world economy and in world affairs today.

For more information, please visit the Asian Studies Department’s website.

Major Requirements

Students majoring in Asian Studies are expected to take 12 courses, at least four of which will be completed in one of Clark’s study-abroad programs in Asia. Of the 12 courses, at least five must be at the 200-level. Students may specialize in China, Japan, or more broadly across Asia (including East, South, and Southeast Asia).

Language Requirement

Students are required to gain a functional level of literacy in the language of their area of specialization. Students specializing in China or Japan must complete at least the equivalent of advanced Chinese or Japanese at Clark plus at least one semester in China or Japan as part of Clark’s Study Abroad Program. A student studying Southeast Asia is required to study a major Southeast Asian language, either through locally available instructors or as part of a Study Abroad Program. Asian language courses above the beginning level (101-102) can be counted as part of the required 12 courses for the major. Students specializing in China or Japan must take at least three courses on countries or regions of Asia different from their country of specialization.

This language requirement can be fullfilled at Clark by taking:

CHIN 103 - Intermediate Chinese I   & CHIN 104 - Intermediate Chinese II  


JAPN 103 - Intermediate Japanese   & JAPN 104 - Intermediate Japanese II  

Complementary Minor or Second Major

Since Asian Studies is interdisciplinary by definition, we require that all students majoring in Asian Studies also fulfill a minor (or a second major) in an established department that is closely related to the student’s area of interest. This is to ensure that Clark Asian Studies majors also have basic competence in an established discipline, which will improve their chances for employment, admission to post-graduate programs, and/or other international career opportunities.

Five Electives

Students must take five electives from these options.  A minimum of four of these courses must be at the 200-level. (Directed study projects under the supervision of an Asian Studies faculty member in their area of interest or specialization may be taken. Students need to individually approach faculty members to consult on their research and study plans.)

Note: Students may be able to count CHIN 101 or CHIN 102 if they fulfilled the launguage requirement in Japanese or may be able to count JAPN 101 or 102 if they fulfilled the language requirement in Chinese.


Study Abroad

Asian Studies majors are required to take at least one semester of study abroad in any of the following four programs:

  • Kansai Gaidai University near Osaka, Japan,
  • CET Language Program in Beijing, China,
  • CET Internship Program in Shanghai, China, or
  • CET in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Interested students should inquire with the Study Abroad and Study Away Programs office about the language prerequisites and availability of each program.

Capstone Requirement

The Asian Studies capstone serves as the major’s intellectual culmination, integrating the student’s area of specialization with a disciplinary interest. Students may fulfill the capstone requirement in several ways, as determined in consultation with the student’s adviser. A 200-level course may be designated as the capstone, with a research paper or project in which the student connects theory and methodology presented in the course to a specific issue in the student’s area of specialization; a Directed Study project may also serve as a capstone; and for double majors, a joint capstone, with permission of program heads of both majors, may also fulfil the requirement. For students in the Honors program, the honors thesis serves as the capstone. As an interdisciplinary major, Asian Studies strives to be open to students’ capstone proposals, and we encourage early and regular consultation with the student’s adviser.

Honors Program (Optional)

To be eligible, students must:

  • Have a 3.5 GPA in Asian Studies and a 3.3 overall GPA;
  • Submit a detailed research proposal to the Director of Asian Studies by April 1st of the Spring Semester of their Junior Year and a letter from a potential Honors Thesis advisor in support of your application;
  • Complete two semesters of Honors 297;
  • Complete an oral defense (with first and second readers); and
  • Present on Academic Spree Day.

Asian Studies Faculty


Claire Gullander-Drolet, Ph.D.
Lex Jing Lu, Ph.D.
Ken MacLean, Ph.D., Director
Joanne Qu, Ph.D.
Suzanne Scoggins, Ph.D.
Alice Valentine, M.A.


Yuko Aoyama, Ph.D.
Sarah Buie, M.F.A.
C. Wesley DeMarco, Ph.D.
Jude Fernando, Ph.D.
Betsy P. Huang, Ph.D.
Stephen M. Levin, Ph.D.
Douglas Little, Ph.D.
Shelly Tenenbaum, Ph.D.