May 19, 2024  
2023 - 2024 College Catalog 
2023 - 2024 College Catalog

Asian Studies, BA

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The cultures of Asia are among the world’s oldest and most enduring, and they also play an increasingly important role in modern-world affairs. Emigrant peoples of Asia have reshaped the cultures of the rest of the world in profound ways, expanding what is thought of as Asia beyond national and continental boundaries to include diaspora cultures in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Africa. Asia’s many distinct and interrelated civilizations are thus both ancient, dating to the Neolithic era, and widespread, geographically spanning the globe. The economic and political centers of Asia include the two most populous nations in the world and two of the three largest economies in the world. Thus, Asian Studies challenges students to explore some of the most influential and widespread cultures on the globe.

Because of this wide-ranging historical and geographic scope, Asian Studies must employ an interdisciplinary approach. The core requirement for the major in Asian Studies is a team-taught, interdisciplinary course, which offers students an opportunity to explore the breadth of disciplinary approaches to this study area. Further Asian Studies courses may be found in the departments of political science, economics, history, English, international languages and cultures, philosophy and religious studies, art history and theater, film and media studies. This “area studies” approach demands that students take an active and conscious part in designing their major in Asian Studies.

The Asian Studies faculty strongly recommends that students anchor their study of Asia in language study and study abroad. In addition to Chinese language offerings on-campus, St. Mary’s offers study-abroad programs at Fudan University in Shanghai, China; Lingnan University in Hong Kong, China; Akita University in Japan; and Kerala University in India. Students may pursue the study of other Asian languages through study-abroad programs in other Asian countries, or students may choose to attend language programs at other universities and colleges in the U.S. No study of Asia and its cultures is complete without the study of an Asian language.

In addition to broadening student horizons in the liberal arts, Asian Studies provides excellent preparation for a future career in the U.S. Foreign Service, the United Nations, international non-governmental organizations, multi-national business, and advanced academic studies.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate basic competency in an Asian language.
  • Effectively examine the changing nature of socio-economic and cultural experiences in Asia.
  • Analyze the role of Asia and its significance in the global community using methodologies from various academic disciplines.
  • Create a defensible argument in oral and written communication.

Degree Requirements

General College Requirements

General College requirements including the following requirements to satisfy the major.

To complete a major in the cross-disciplinary study area in Asian Studies, a student must satisfy the following requirements, designed to establish the breadth and depth of knowledge consistent with the goals of the Asian Studies study area.

Required Courses

Required Courses. At least 44 credit hours in Asian Studies cross-listed courses, as specified in a., b., c., and d., below. A grade of C- or better must be received in each course of the major and the cumulative grade-point average used to satisfy the major must be at least 2.00. Courses taken for credit/no credit may not be used as required courses.

At Least Eight Credit Hours in an Asian Language

to be completed in one of the following ways:

  • Complete   Credit Hours: 4 AND
  • Credit Hours: 4

  • Any Asian language at another college or university.
  • Study abroad in an Asian country that includes intensive language study. Note: the Asian Studies coordinator must approve program.
  • Demonstrate at least second-semester college-level proficiency in an Asian language. Note: students who major in Asian Studies are strongly encouraged to pursue additional coursework in Asian languages.

Additional Elective Courses:

24 credit hours in at least three separate disciplines of which 20 credit hours must be from any 300-400 level Asian Studies courses. Note: students fulfilling a major in Chinese Language (ILCC) may not use ILCC credit hours of Chinese language to fulfill this requirement.

Courses taken for the major should form a cohesive program and be selected in consultation with a faculty adviser from Asian Studies.

St. Mary’s Project

St. Mary’s Project: eight credit hours. Note: Students who complete an interdisciplinary SMP of which only four credit hours consist in ASIA 493 /ASIA 494  must complete four credit hours chosen from any 300-400 level Asian Studies courses in addition to requirements above. Students who complete an SMP entirely outside of ASIA 493 /ASIA 494  must complete eight credit hours chosen from any 300-400 level Asian Studies courses in addition to requirements above.

Students preparing to begin their St. Mary’s Projects should submit a proposal to the program coordinator in the spring of their junior year. Proposal deadlines and procedures will be announced each spring. Students wishing to begin their SMP mid-year should submit a proposal to the program coordinator prior to the last week of scheduled classes in the fall semester.

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