The East Asian Studies program is an interdisciplinary program with a focus on East Asia, particularly China and Japan. The significance of this region cannot be understated: East Asia plays a critical role in global political, economic, and cultural affairs, affecting the US government, military, corporations, non-governmental organizations and ordinary citizens in ways both obvious (the price of raw materials; the US military's presence in South Korea) and not (the influence of Japanese films on Hollywood). Students who study East Asian Studies as a major or who take courses in the department as part of other majors are exposed to a wide range of perspectives on this region, including anthropological, artistic, literary, political and historical. The East Asian Study major strongly emphasizes the importance of language study as a critical gateway to deeper understanding of the region.

Additional information can be found for Chinese and Japanese advising.  

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

EASN 101, Introduction to East Asia, or HIST 120

In addition, HIST 120 and most 200-level EASN topics courses are open to first-year students and all fulfill major and Global Diversity requirements. Students concerned about the level of difficulty should check with the instructors of specific courses.

Each East Asian Studies major must complete either CHIN 231, 232, Advanced Chinese or JPNS 231, 232, Advanced Japanese. Students interested in majoring in East Asian Studies should begin the language sequence in either Chinese or Japanese as early as possible (see Chinese and Japanese language section below). Students might also consider a summer course (when offered) in China (EASN 207, China Practicum) or Japan (EASN 208, Japan Practicum) between their first and sophomore years.

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: East Asian Studies.

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Humanities (Division I B):
EASN 201 & 203, Chinese Literature
EASN 202 & 203, Japanese Literature
EASN 205, Topics in East Asian Humanities
EASN 205, Soap, Sparkle, and Pop
EASN 205, War and Peace: Korean War in Transnational Context
EASN 205, Tale of Two Cities: Beijing and Shanghai in Literature and Film

Arts (Division I A):
EASN 204, Topics in East Asian Cinema
EASN 205, Visual Cultures of Modern China
EASN 205, The Japanese Woodblock Print
EASN 205, Introduction to the Art of Asia

Social Sciences (Division II):
EASN 206, Topics in East Asian Society

EASN 206 China's Foreign Relations

EASN 206, History of Modern Japan
EASN 206, Medicine and the Body in East Asia
EASN 236/ANTH 236, Japanese Society
EASN 259, Law, Politics, and Society in Asia
EAS310/POSC390, Interpreting the Chinese Cultural Revolution

EASN 205, Chinese Approaches to the Environment, Traditional to Contemporary
EASN 206, Asian Urban Ecology
EASN 206, Looking Across the Pacific: Japanese and American Environmental History
EASN 206, Six East Asian Cities
EASN 206, US/China Relations
EASN 305, Nature and the Environment in Japanese Literature and Film
EASN 306, The Politics of Environmental Protection in Asia

Global Diversity:
EASN 101, Introduction to East Asia
EASN 201 & 203, Chinese Literature
EASN 202 & 203, Japanese Literature
EASN 205, Electives in East Asian Humanities
EASN 206, Electives in East Asian Society (Social Sciences)

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The EAS major is designed to ensure a strong foundation in East Asian languages and cultures for on-campus course work and study abroad. To that end, at least four semesters of either Chinese or Japanese (through CHIN 232 or JPNS 232) is required. Students who enter the college with prior instruction in or knowledge of Chinese or Japanese may test out of this requirement or enroll in higher level language courses suitable to their needs. EAS offers four levels of language instruction, from elementary to the advanced. Two of the electives required for the major can be advanced language courses (beyond the intermediate level). The purpose of strong language preparation and achievement is to prepare students for the option of spending one or two semesters abroad, normally during their junior year. Most students take this option at our partner institutions: Peking University in China and Nanzan University or Akita International University in Japan.

Students normally begin their major with Introduction to East Asia (EASN 101 or HIST 120) and a selection of 200-level courses during their first and sophomore years while they are taking Japanese or Chinese. EAS also offers a range of 300-level courses designed to prepare students for the research and independent study at the core of the department’s capstone Senior Research course (EASN 490), offered in the spring of a student’s senior year. Students are also required to take electives in both the humanities (including at least one literature course) and social sciences and gain a more regional understanding of East Asia by taking at least one course on an East Asia country that is not the focus of their language instruction. Here is a guide to the kinds of suggested courses a typical EAS major takes during the four years:

First and Sophomore Years
Chinese or Japanese language courses through 202
HIST 120 (for EASN majors)
At least two 200-level courses in the humanities and/or social sciences

Junior Year
Study abroad for one or two semesters in Japan or China
Additional 200-level electives and requirements
300-level course if on campus during the spring semester

Senior Year
300-level course during the fall semester (if not already taken)
Complete 200-level courses in line with plans for completing the major requirements
Complete EASN 480 in the fall in preparation for the EASN 490 research seminar in the spring

For information regarding the suggested guidelines, please feel free to contact the chair of EAS or any member of the department.


Honors within the major is determined by the quality of the senior thesis, which must display outstanding writing and analytical skills, and mastery of the research subject and its context. In addition to the written thesis, honors in East Asian Studies takes into account GPA within the major, overall GPA, the oral presentation of the thesis project, and the fielding of questions, but is neither precluded nor guaranteed by them. On the basis of a composite of these factors, the East Asian Studies faculty may decide to award honors to deserving students. Students interested in honors are encouraged to talk to their advisors no later than fall pause of their senior year for guidance to help them craft a thesis project able to meet the standards. Students who receive honors will be notified via email on the Thursday before graduation.

Additional Remarks

Related activities: East Asian Studies offers films and lectures that are coordinated with the core courses, but which are open to the entire community, often in cooperation with the participating departments.

Other events include field trips, food preparation, and celebrating various Asian holidays and festivals. EAS also supports club activities and Clarke Forum events.


The East Asian Studies Department supports the Aesthetic Club (includes the Japanese tea ceremony and Bonsai, and Ikebana arrangement) and is affiliated with the Chinese Student and Scholar Association and Asian Pacific Association. Link: and Face book:

The Majors Committee plays an active role in the work of the East Asian Studies department. Committee members help organize and promote a wide variety of departmental programs and events. They also meet with and help to evaluate job candidates, and gather information and advise the department when faculty are being considered for contract renewal, tenure, and promotion.