Relief carving from Zuto stupa mound in Nara. Photo by David Lurie.

Relief carving from Zuto stupa mound in Nara. Photo by David Lurie.

East Asian Studies Major

For students following the old EAS Major requirements, please see this page. Students who declared an EAS major before Spring ’17 have the option of following the old or the new requirements.

The Department offers a major for both Columbia College and General Studies students, as well as a minor for SEAS students. All majors, regardless of language of specialization, receive grounding in courses that are East Asia-wide, and that require a serious encounter with the historical past of the region, not just of a single country. That is why all majors must take three foundational courses, dealing with great texts of East Asian traditions, as well as at least two civilization courses (chosen from among China, Japan, Korea, and Tibet).

SEAS and Barnard students interested in East Asian courses should receive advising from their respective school advisors.

For any questions, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Paul Anderer (


Students must meet the following prerequisite prior to declaring the EALAC major:

  • Two years of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Tibetan, or the proficiency equivalent (to be demonstrated by placement examination).

Language Requirement

  • Third-year Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Tibetan (completion of the UN3005-UN3006 level in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean; TIBT UN3611-UN3612 level in Tibetan), or the proficiency equivalent (to be demonstrated by placement examination).  Students of Chinese may also complete UN3003-UN3004 to meet the third year requirement.
  • Students who test out of three years or more of a language must take an additional year of that language or another East Asian language at Columbia in order to satisfy the language requirement.

Introductory Courses

  • AHUM UN1400 “Colloquium on Major Texts” (4 points)
  • Any two of the following four 4-point East Asian Civilization courses: ASCE UN1359 China Civ, ASCE UN1361 Japan Civ, ASCE UN1363 Korea Civ, ASCE UN1365 Tibet Civ.
  • First-year students and sophomores, prior to declaring an East Asian studies major, are strongly urged to take one or more of the introductory courses.

Methodology Course

  • EAAS UN3990 “Approaches to East Asian Studies”

Elective Courses

  • Four elective courses in East Asian studies, to be chosen in consultation with the DUS. Two of these courses must be EALAC or AMEC courses.
  • A second East Asian language (1-year minimum) or one semester of a classical East Asian language may count for one elective course.

Students who wish to write a senior thesis can find information about the Senior Thesis Program here.

Careers for East Asian Studies Majors

Careers that East Asian Studies students have pursued include academia, law, medicine, business, the arts, journalism, and government, and stretch from fashion to food. For more detailed information on career opportunities pursued by EALAC majors, please visit the Center for Career Education.

Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Paul Anderer
Office hours: F 3:00-5:00, or by appointment