Asian Studies

Image of students in Ying Wang's class

The Asian Studies Program offers four interdisciplinary majors: East Asian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, South Asian Studies, and Asian Studies (transregional). The first three allow students to specialize in the history, languages, cultures, and politics of East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East. The fourth allows them to study the diversity of Asia in a comparative framework. Complementing coursework at Mount Holyoke are extracurricular activities and study abroad programs that broaden and deepen students' understanding of Asia. 

Language study is the core component of the major. We offer four levels of instruction in Chinese, three in Japanese, two in Arabic, one in Korean, and a basic course in Sanskrit. Our students are expected to incorporate the humanities and the social sciences fully into their studies with classes at Mount Holyoke and the other colleges in the Five College Consortium.

On campus, our students experience regional culture at many levels, including language tables and clubs, guest lectures, performing and visual arts, film, festivals, and regional cuisine. These activities are often initiated by and benefit greatly from the diverse student population of Mount Holyoke and particularly the large numbers of students from Asian countries or with an Asian background.

Most of our students spend a semester or a summer in study abroad programs. Mount Holyoke College has affiliated programs or exchanges in China at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, the Beijing Language and Culture University (summer), the University of Hong Kong, China, in Japan at the Associated Kyoto Program (year) and the Japan Women’s University, in South Korea at the Ewha Womans University and the Sookmyung Women's University. Students may also participate in one of the many Mount Holyoke College-approved Middle Eastern or South Asian study abroad programs.

Asian studies majors and minors graduate to pursue careers in fields as varied as education, business, NGOs, journalism, the arts, government service, and graduate study.

What can I do with a major from the Asian Studies Program?