Asian Studies

Majors & Courses


The department offers three distinct majors: the major in Chinese and the major in Japanese each requires four years of language study in addition to other coursework; the interdisciplinary Asian Studies major requires at least two years of language study. Details about the majors are found in the Asian Studies General Information section of the Course Catalog. The concentration in International Studies also offers an East Asian Studies track, which requires one year of language study and additional course work.

The department provides a wide range of opportunities to its majors, including teaching assistantships, funding for study abroad, and postgraduate opportunities as well. There is more information under the Endowments and Grants section of this site.

These degrees provide excellent preparation for graduate school in related fields, and for many interesting and important careers in fields such as business, government, journalism, and education. Graduates often teach English in Asia for a year or two after graduation. For more information on job opportunities, students can visit the Office of Career Counseling. The After Graduation section of the Japanese Program site has information on postgraduate opportunities related to Japan.

Students with questions about the Asian Studies major are encouraged to speak with the chair or any member of the department.


The Department offers courses in Chinese and Japanese language as well as courses taught in English on Chinese and Japanese literature and many other areas of Asian Studies, including anthropology, art, economics, history, languages, linguistics, literatures, music, politics, religions, and sociology of China, Japan, and other Asian countries.

For a list of current courses related to Asia, please see the ChineseJapanese, or Asian Studies sections of the Williams online course catalog. This includes many courses in other departments that are cross-listed with us, but it is always a good idea to check other departments (particularly the ones listed above) for relevant courses that may not yet be cross-listed. You can also search the course catalog by keyword, to find courses related to your particular interests, courses taught by a particular Asian Studies faculty member, etc.