One of the World’s Most Dynamic and Important Regions
Asia is home to more than half the world’s population and some of its fastest-growing economies. It’s an area that grows more important to the world and the global economy every year. The Asian Studies bachelor’s degree program at UNC immerses you in the cultures and languages of this key region, preparing you for a wide range of careers and graduate study programs.
As an Asian Studies major, you’ll become proficient in one or more Asian languages and gain a strong understanding of Asian culture, both past and present. By the time you graduate, you’ll be an attractive candidate for government and private corporate positions involving the Asian continent. At UNC, you also have the opportunity to tailor your Asian Studies degree to fit your specific career and personal interests through elective courses, minors and expansive study abroad options.
Connor Murphy, 2011 graduate
Connor graduated from UNC in 2011 with a minor in both Chinese and Asian Studies. Using his experiences studying at UNC and taking advantage of opportunities to study abroad in both China and Taiwan, he has had many opportunities to use his knowledge and language skills since finishing college. He has worked with a Chinese tour provider and has spent the past four months living, studying, working and traveling across China—further improving his understanding of the Chinese language and gaining invaluable work experience abroad.
Connor says that, “Since studying at UNC, I have traveled and lived across Asia, including China, Tibet, Taiwan and Thailand. Through my experiences I have gathered a network of friends and colleagues that span the globe and have gathered stories and memories that will last a lifetime.”
Exciting Study Abroad Options for Asian Studies Majors
As an Asian Studies major, you’ll have opportunities to study abroad for a summer, a semester, an academic year or participate in a faculty-led shorter program. UNC students have studied in such places as Xi’an, China; Guy Healy Summer Camp, Japan; and Mercan School, China. They have also taken part in semester and yearlong programs in cities including Tokyo, Japan; Taipei, Taiwan; Jochiwon, South Korea; and Bangkok, Thailand.
B.A. in Asian Studies: Liberal Arts Concentration
Students completing this program will have linguistic competence in at least one Asian language and an understanding in Asian cultures, literature, art and history. Students are further encouraged to take on a minor in other subjects that complement their understanding of Asia and enable them to continue on to graduate studies in Asian studies, or to broaden their career prospects.
Asian Studies Minor
Gain a broad-based interdisciplinary understanding of Asian culture through this coordinated program studying language, history, philosophy, art, geography or political science. Adding this minor to a major in another field gives you an added professional qualification. Particularly valuable are the 10 language credit hours of either elementary Chinese or Japanese required to complete this 22-credit minor.
By acquiring a degree of proficiency with the Chinese language and culture, you will set yourself apart from other college graduates and position yourself to begin an interesting career working with organizations and governments that maintain offices in Asia. The 18-credit hour minor will prepare you to work, travel or take advanced studies in the Chinese language.
The Japanese minor gives you an introduction to the culture and civilization of Japan while helping you gain an intermediate spoken and written proficiency in the language. If you have a desire to work with or in Japan, the Japanese minor will be a valuable addition to your professional qualifications.
"When I came to Japan after graduation, knowing the Japanese I knew helped immensely with day-to-day living. In addition, every tidbit I had learned on the history and culture of Japan has proved of immense help in getting to know local people."
-- Jonathan Rasson taught English in the JET program and enrolled in a graduate program at Waseda University in Japan. He studied Japanese at UNC, with a minor in Asian Studies. He participated in Guy Healy English Summer Camp Internship in Japan
The world grows smaller each year as we become more interconnected politically, economically and socially. Our interconnectedness makes your future as an Asian Studies major rich in potential for employment, service and advanced studies at the graduate level.
Consider UNC's B.A. in Asian Studies if you are:
- Curious about Asia and fascinated by its history, languages and relationships with other cultures
- Attracted to the idea of working with Asian communities in the West or living and working in Asia
- How to communicate proficiently in one or more Asian languages
- Interdisciplinary study of all aspects of Asian culture
- How different Asian countries interact with the rest of the world
- Understanding of Asian civilization, both past and present
- Asian Civilization I and II
- Chinese and Japanese Literature
- History of Asian America
- Elementary through Advanced Chinese
- Elementary through Advanced Japanese
- Topics of Modern China
- Contemporary Japan
Michelle Low, Ph.D.
Michelle Low, Ph.D., developed the Chinese program and co-authored the interdisciplinary Asian Studies degree program. She co-founded the Colorado Chinese Language Teachers Consortium (CCLTC), and previously served on the board for Global Village Academy, Fort Collins. In addition to teaching, she is dedicated to helping students gain international experience through Study Abroad.
Low helped to finalize direct study-abroad exchange programs with Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China; and National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan; and also advises for programs in Korea, Japan and Taiwan, as well as summer internships and post-graduate jobs in Asia. She also leads a short-term summer study abroad program to Xi’an China and serves as advisor to the Chinese Culture Club.
In addition to the many study abroad opportunities open to Asian Studies majors, the program also maintains partnerships that create internships for our students. Recent students in the program have taught English in China with Mercan English Schools in Taiyuan, taught English as a camp counselor at Guy Healy USA summer camp in Japan and interned with Access China Tours that specializes in Asian travel and tourism.
An Asian Studies degree is great preparation for an international career in business, law, education or commerce working for either government or non-governmental organizations. Your career opportunities could include:
- Working as a guide in the travel or tourism industry
- Teaching English in Asia
- Serving as a translator or interpreter
- Working with the CIA, FBI or DHS or other intelligence agencies
- Facilitating international trade with Asian countries
- Working with Immigration and Naturalization Services
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