Asian Studies Undergraduate Programs

Learn more about each of our programs: BA in Asian Studies, Minor in Asian Studies


Concentrations: East Asian, South Asian, Chinese Language, Japanese Language

East Asian Track - Majoring in the East Asia concentration in Asian studies provides a foundation of knowledge in civilizations of East Asia, as well as the scholarly practice of Asian Studies. The program of study provides students with a multidisciplinary education in the language, culture, art, anthropology, geography, history, philosophy, political science, and sociology of East Asia. View requirements and course descriptions:

Minor in Asian Studies - A minor in Asian studies supplements an undergraduate education with an understanding of Asian languages, cultures, and literature. This multidisciplinary approach can round out a student's education while adding value to his or her undergraduate degree. View requirements and course descriptions:

Why Study Asia?

  • Asia's great civilizations: like those of India, China and Japan, have made great contributions to the world civilization. Asia is also the home of several major religions in the world, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shintoism.
  • Asians are an increasingly important segment of American society. Immigrants from Asian countries are the fastest growing group in the US today.
  • Asia has about 60 percent of the world's population with different historical traditions, cultures and religions. Three of the four most populated countries of the world are in Asia: China, India, and Indonesia.
  • U.S. trade with Asia was twice that with Europe in 1996. During the 19th century, the world economy's center shifted westward from Europe to North America. During the 20th century, the world economy's center has gradually moved from North America to the Asia-Pacific. A huge number of U.S. corporations conduct business in Asia today.
  • During the past four decades, most of the Asian economies have grown more rapidly and more consistently than any other group of economies in the world. According to Mahbubani (1998), it took the British 58 years (from 1780) and the United States 47 years (from 1839) to double their economic output. But in Asia, it took Japan 33 years (from the 1880s), Indonesia 17 years, South Korea 11 years and China 10 years to double their economic output. As a result, Asia's share of the World Gross National Product increased from 4% in 1960, to 25% in 1990, and to 33% in 2000.
  • The rapid economic and social development in Asia is important to the United States. For example, in 1984, U.S. trade across the Pacific surpassed U.S. trade across the Atlantic. In 1994, One-third of U.S. exports were to East Asia. U.S. merchandise trade to APEC countries constituted 60% of total U.S. exports. More than 80% of the $154 billion U.S. global trade deficit was with APEC countries, mostly Japan and China. In 1996, the United States' overall trade with Asia stood at $570 billion which is more than twice of the $270 billion trade with Europe. In the 21st century, the importance of Asia is likely to increase continuously and their economies are likely to continue outperforming any other economies in the world. Currently, the second and the third biggest economies are in Asia.
  • There are three important nuclear weapon states in Asia (India, Pakistan, and China).
  • Three of the major wars of the 20th century in which the United States was involved were in Asia: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Today, a new war on terrorism in Afghanistan is not complete yet.
  • When economies developed rapidly, Asian societies have also changed fundamentally in the past half a century. These fundamental changes included rapid democratization in politics, substantial improvements in living standards, revitalization of the traditional Asian culture, and increased cooperation among the Asian nations. The rapid change and development in Asia and its close relationship with the United States, pose new challenges as well as opportunities for the younger generation of Americans. Many corporations will need more and more employees who understand Asia and Asian development.
  • Asia formerly considered a production market, has now become a primary market for U.S. products and services. By the year 2005, Asia will become the economic powerhouse of the world trade. There are over 2.5 billion people in Asia, more than half under the age of 30, constituting a phenomenal buying power.
  • More than 95 percent of the world population located outside of the United States and about 60 percent are in Asia. When the world becomes globalized, we need to understand people outside of the United States and in Asia.

Careers in Asian Studies

A comprehensive interdisciplinary program, Asian Studies provides a foundation for careers and for graduate studies, preparing citizens for a world in which Asia plays an increasingly central role. Students acquire working competence in Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Korean, or another approved Asian language.

Resources about Asia

  • Asia Insights: Tsunami Disaster ( information about General Tsunami Summit, Conferences, Regional responses and analyses, International responses and analyses, and relevant books about Tsunami.Includes information about General Tsunami Summit, Conferences, Regional responses and analyses, International responses and analyses, and relevant books about Tsunami.
  • Electranic Reserves ( Includes "Confucius and the analects", "Satyagraha: Gandhi's approach to peacemaking", and"Moksha, the fourth end of man."
  • Resources on Asia ( This website of the UCLA Center for East Asian Studies provides comprehensive resources on Asian, including Statistical Information on Asia, Asian Studies Journals, Asia via the Web, etc. 
  • Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library ( The web site offers comprehensive online information sources about Asia and individual regions and countries of Asia.
  • Online World Atlas ( Consists of political and physical world atlas. 
  • Library of Congress Country Studies ( The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world and examines the interrelationships of those systems and the ways they are shaped by cultural factors. Please note that some information contained in the Country Studies is rather dated.
  • New York Times - Asia Section ( Covers news on Asia Pacific area.
  • Washington Post - Asia/Pacific Section (
  • Time Asia ( The web site of the magazine Time devoted to Asia.
  • Far Eastern Economic Review (
  • Asia Society ( Provides a forum for building awareness of the more than thirty countries broadly defined as the Asia-Pacific region - the area from Japan to Iran, and from Central Asia to New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.
  • Asia Times ( A resourceful web site in Thailand.
  • AsiaSource ( AsiaSource is an online resource developed by the Asia Society to provide information about the cultural, economic, social, historical, and political dimensions of Asia.
  • AskAsia ( A web site of the Asian Society.

Fellowships in Language and Foreign Travel

  • Fulbright-Hays application links ( The Worlds of Work in a Global Age: Meeting Challenges of Teaching India for the 21st Century - A Fulbright-Hays Group Travel Abroad Program, 2005-2006 William Paterson University of New Jersey
  • National Security Fellowships ( National Security Agency sponsors a program that provides up to $8000 per year for college students at all levels to travel abroad and study foreign languages, especially non-European languages. Students who are interested in learning Asian languages by studying in an Asian country can apply for the grant.

Program Learning Outcomes

Mission Statement 
The mission of the Asian Studies Program is to offer a BA degree, Minors, and a wide variety of courses giving undergraduates the opportunity to learn about the arts, cultures, economies, geography, history, languages, politics, and societies of Asia.  A comprehensive interdisciplinary program, Asian Studies provides a foundation for careers and for graduate studies, preparing individuals to be citizens of a world in which Asia plays an increasingly central role. The Asian Studies program is integral to the University's mission to internationalize the curriculum and strives to enable students to develop cultural and linguistic proficiency. William Paterson’s Asian Studies program has impressive strengths in China, Japan, and South Asia. An independent program housed in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, working closely with the Department of Languages & Cultures, Asian Studies benefits from faculty expertise in programs and departments throughout the University. 

Asian Studies – BA Student Learning Outcomes 

  • Demonstrate the ability to read and converse minimally at a second-year level of proficiency in an Asian language, depending on Track.
  • Show general familiarity with the histories, societies, cultures, literatures, and geography of Asia in general and of a specific geographic and cultural sub-region of Asia, either East Asia (including China, Japan, and Korea) or South Asia (including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka).
  • Demonstrate awareness and familiarity with different disciplinary approaches to the study of Asia, such as historical, political, cultural, geographic, social, and or linguistic perspectives on the region.
  • Critically analyze Asia's role in relation to the U.S. and the world.

Asian Studies - Goals 

  • Students acquire broad knowledge of Asian civilizations and specialized knowledge, breadth and depth in the study of a particular region: East Asia or South Asia. 
  • Students acquire the ability to integrate historical, cultural, political, economic, and geographic information through a broad exposure to multiple disciplinary perspectives on the region. 
  • Students develop a broad understanding of the impact that Asia, in its many diverse manifestations, has had and is having on the U.S. and the world.