Why Major or Concentrate in East Asian Studies?
In today’s world, we cannot understand global challenges—from climate change to religious persecution—without learning about the histories and cultures of Asia. Columbia University has one of the strongest East Asian programs in the world, with faculty whose research ranges across China, Tibet, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Our course offerings span the humanities and the social sciences, from history and literature to film and economics, and we encourage students to work comparatively, across regions and disciplines. Columbia offers summer, semester, and yearlong study abroad opportunities in Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul, Kyoto, and other cities.
Students come to the study of East Asia from many different angles and for many different reasons. Whatever a student’s background or initial motivation, and wherever her particular disciplinary interest lies—literature, political science, history, economics, religion, art history, film and visual culture, philosophy, anthropology, or sociology—EAS majors and concentrators can find stimulating courses in these subject areas, discovering along the way new interests and passions. EAS majors and concentrators study at least one East Asian language. The study of these languages is foundational to the study of East Asia and sheds light on both the remote past and the global 21st century. At Columbia, our language classes are small, our teachers outstanding, and the excitement sparked in the classroom can have lifelong consequences.
Majoring or concentrating in East Asian Studies will widen your understanding of human experience and prepare you for distinctive leadership roles in a variety of professions. Careers that our students have pursued include business, the arts, law, diplomacy, academia, medicine, journalism, fashion, and food. Whichever path you choose to follow, your background in East Asian Studies will help you embrace a future in which the Americas and East Asia will be all the more implicated in our social and cultural lives.
The Department offers a major and a concentration for Columbia College and General Studies students, as well as a minor for SEAS students. Students enrolled at Columbia College, SEAS, Barnard, and the School of General Studies may apply for early admission to the M.A. program in East Asian Languages and Cultures and begin their M.A. coursework in their senior year while completing their undergraduate degree.
Students interested in studying East Asia or an East Asian language during their time at Columbia are encouraged to speak with our Director of Undergraduate Studies.