Asian Studies/Middle Eastern Studies Courses and Requirements


  1. Familiarity with an Asian/Middle Eastern culture gained through a direct experience of living and learning in it that is evidenced by the record of study abroad (time spent in country, grades, and credit hours passed).
  2. Proficiency in an Asian/Middle Eastern language at an intermediate level or above measured by standardized achievement tests for the target language (where available). The purpose is to allow the individual to access and participate in the subjective self-understanding of an Asian culture.
  3. Academic knowledge of an Asian/Middle Eastern culture that spans more than one disciplinary perspective, indicated by the distribution courses passed in the major and by what is evident to thesis readers. The underlying objective is to engender holistic knowledge of the culture of at least a part of Asia.
  4. The ability to carry out a self-designed research program grounded in academic literature. To help students succeed, we offer a two-semester thesis seminar: the first semester has students deciding on a research topic, compiling a bibliography, reading the pertinent literature, and composing a research question, tentative outline and research schedule; the second semester has students writing the thesis in individual consultation with two faculty members. Two faculty readers will assess the senior thesis for rigor, originality, and attention to detail chiefly in such matters as coherence, academic relevance, and style. We believe the ability to pursue a personal intellectual agenda relating to Asia/the Middle East with academic rigor and a holistic perspective is a core pedagogical objective of the major.