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For specific information related to your program or area of interest

Including how to apply, please visit the following pages:

Undergraduate Programs Information

Major or minor in Asian Studies.

Graduate Programs Information

Including: Master of Arts in Asian Studies, Master’s in Asian International Affairs, and Graduate Certificates in Asian Studies.

Student Testimonials

Christina Geisse

The Asian Studies Program was incredible because most professors were undertaking their own research, passionate about their subject of study, and enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge with students. It felt fresh and profound at the same time. Inspiring! 

Christina Geisse
Kim Sluchansky

I was able to delve deep and focus on the areas of Asian Studies that truly interested me, and therefore gained a much more thorough and developed understanding of my fields of interest, which are applicable to my current career path. Also, the professors are extremely helpful and want their students to succeed. They were very supportive both while I was at UH and after I graduated.

Undergraduate Programs

BA in Asian Studies

The undergraduate program in Asian studies is designed for students desiring a liberal arts education and a broad background in traditional and contemporary Asian cultures. You can declare a major or minor in Asian Studies.

What does it have to offer you?


Asian Studies (ASAN) is concerned with the people and countries in the broad arc of Asia extending from Afghanistan in the west to China, Japan and Korea in the east and including the Philippines and other islands and peninsulas of Southeast Asia to the south. Most students focus on one of the following countries and regions: China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. All students are encouraged to study the language of that country or region up to and beyond the second-year level.


Choose from a broad background in traditional and contemporary Asian cultures, emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach. You can take not only Asian Studies courses, but also other Asia-related courses in other departments: anthropology, art, economics, geography, history, linguistics, literature, music, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology, theater and dance, and urban and regional planning.


Create a unique program of study tailored to your particular interests. The undergraduate advisor will assist you to design your program with a wide array of Asian Studies and Asia-related courses. For instance, you may concentrate on Japan by taking courses in the arts and humanities. Or you may study Southeast Asia with a focus on the social sciences.


Participate in study abroad programs to enhance your language skills and immerse yourself in the cultures of your interest. The University of Hawai’i at Manoa Study Abroad Center sponsors several study abroad programs in Asia and makes it easy to earn UHM credits. Other programs for studying in Asian countries can be arranged with the assistance of the faculty and the Asian Studies Advisor. These courses may also be used to fulfill your degree requirements.

Learning Objectives

The Asian Studies undergraduate program provides the students with a broad interdisciplinary approach to Asian nations and cultures. Upon receiving an Asian Studies degree, a student will be able to:

Demonstrate College-Level Fluency

Demonstrate college-level fluency in reading, writing, speaking at basic and intermediate levels in at least 1 Asian language.

Demonstrate an Understanding

Demonstrate an understanding of the interrelationship of economy, politics, literature, religion, the arts, and history in Asia.

  • Demonstrate understanding of major themes in Asian history and cultural development.
  • Be able to explain the ways in which global forces have shaped contemporary Asian societies and the approaches to studying them.
  • Be able to explain the diversity, richness and changing nature of Asian world views.

Demonstrate an Advanced Understanding

Demonstrate an advanced understanding of at least two Asian countries or regions.

Find and Evaluate Sources

Find and evaluate sources of information about Asia.

  • Be able to use the library to find appropriate sources of information for research.
  • Be able to evaluate the probable quality of sources found on the web.

Conduct and Communicate Research

Conduct and communicate research findings.

  • Analyze and interpret specific issues through research.
  • Outline, organize and present research.
  • Design and deliver a presentation that communicates key research finding.

Gain a Greater Appreciation

Gain a greater appreciation of the variety of human experience.

  • Be open to different and creative ways of seeing the world.
  • Foster a spirit of inquiry so that received information is never accepted uncritically.

Bachelor’s Degree Requirements

Students seeking a BA in Asian studies must meet all the requirements for admission established by CALL and UH Manoa.

Asian studies is normally declared as a major at the end of the sophomore year or beginning of the junior year though students may apply for admission to the program at any time. The formal declaration is made through the school’s Student Academic Services Office.

Program Requirements

  • Earn at least a 2.0 GPA (C average) for all UH Manoa registered courses.
  • Register for all required courses (core, major, minor, and certificates) for a letter grade.
  • Earn a grade of C (not C-) or better in each course applied to the major, minor, and certificate requirements.
  • 45 upper division credits (courses numbered 300 and above).

Major Requirements

  • Total of at least 30 credit hours of Asia-related course work.
  • This must include ASAN 201 and 202, 310 and 312, and three additional credit hours of ASAN courses at the 300 or 400 level.
  • Two years of an Asian language (excluding conversation or aural comprehension courses), or demonstration of the equivalent level. This will not be counted in the 30 required credits of Asia-related work. Two years of a foreign language is a General Education requirement.

Courses taken to satisfy General Education Core requirements may not be applied to the major, and vice versa.

The 15 credits of Asia-related coursework beyond the 5 required ASAN classes should be chosen from the list of acceptable Asian Studies electives.

Language study beyond the required level may count toward the major and is encouraged for Asian studies majors.

Information on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet can be found here.

OPTIONAL Capstone Project for Asian Studies Majors

Asian Studies majors may choose to undertake a capstone project, although this is not required. Capstone projects are developed in consultation with an Asian Studies faculty mentor, and usually take the form of an article-length paper and public presentation, or a portfolio of artistic or technical work plus a shorter paper and public presentation. Students who wish to do a capstone should begin planning when they choose Asian Studies as their major.  Working with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is encouraged. See three sample capstone sequences at the link below:

Asian Studies Undergraduate Capstone Sample Options

Minor Requirements

There are no required courses for acceptance into the Asian Studies minor program. Attendance in ASAN 201-202 (Introduction to Asian Studies) is recommended.

Students must complete 15 credit hours including:

  • ASAN 310 Asian Humanities or 312 Contemporary Asian Civilization (3 credits).
  • ASAN courses numbered 300 and above (minimum 6 credits).
  • Asia-related courses in disciplines other than the major field numbered 300 and above (maximum 6 credits).

It is possible to focus on one particular country or region, such as China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Southeast Asia, or South Asia.

The Asian studies undergraduate advisor will identify Asia-related courses in various disciplines and assist in planning schedules and preparing minor forms. Also, please consult the list of acceptable Asian Studies electives.

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