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B.A. in Asian Languages & Cultures

Students who earn a B.A. in Asian Languages and Culture can tailor their major within the discipline of Asian Languages and Literature to their interests and goals. They have the flexibility to emphasize language courses and other, non-language courses as desired — ranging from ancient Sanskrit epic poetry to Buddhist literature to Korean pop culture. This makes the degree highly versatile and valuable to combine with the study of another Asian language or culture, courses needed for pre-professional studies, or other disciplines. Alumni, as multilingual professionals with in-demand skills, find an advantage entering business and nonprofit work, STEM fields, graduate programs, and more across the globe.

As part of the degree, students study two years of Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Sanskrit, Urdu, or Vietnamese. Because most introductory language courses are available only in the fall, students should sign up for introductory courses as early as possible in order to fulfill the major’s language requirement. If you have previous experience with one of the degree languages, see the department's information on proficiency exams and placement interviews.

Admissions, Advising & Student Resources

Please see our Undergraduate Programs section for information about applying to the program, career paths, scholarships, and other student resources.

Degree Requirements

The Asian Languages and Culture major requires a total of 60 credits. Complete the following with a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average in courses applied to major requirements. At least 30 credits must be earned at the 300- and/or 400-level. A minimum of 30 credits must be taken in residence through the University of Washington. 

I. Core courses

1) 15 credits Primary Language: Complete second-year level or above in one Asian Language. (Including Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Sanskrit, Urdu, Vietnamese)

2) 5 credits Literature, Culture, Linguistics: Complete one course at the 300- or 400-level from the list of approved courses:

  • ASIAN 323 Buddhist Literature
  • ASIAN 325 Indian Philosophical Literature
  • ASIAN 363 Great Works of Asian Literature
  • ASIAN 401 Introduction to Asian Linguistics
  • ASIAN 404 Writing Systems
  • ASIAN 411 Buddhist Literature
  • ASIAN 494 Ramayana in Comparative Perspective
  • ASIAN 498 Special Topics
  • CHIN 373 Chinese Poetry
  • CHIN 374 Chinese Prose
  • CHIN 380 Pre-Modern Chinese Narrative
  • CHIN 381 Literature in Modern China
  • CHIN 385 Popular Culture in Twentieth-Century China
  • JAPAN 321 Japanese Literature I
  • JAPAN 322 Japanese Literature II
  • JAPAN 325 Introduction to Japanese Film
  • JAPAN 360 Topics in Japanese Culture
  • JAPAN 361 Topics in Japanese Film
  • JAPAN 380 Modernism, Avant-Garde, Contemporary, and Pop Art and Culture in Japan
  • KOREAN 360 Topics in Korean Literature and Culture
  • KOREAN 365 Korean Pop Culture

II. Elective courses

1) 10 credits Literature, Culture, Linguistics: Complete two courses from the approved list of electives

  • ASIAN 203 Literature and Culture of Ancient and Classical India
  • ASIAN 204 Literature and Culture of China from Tradition to Modernity
  • ASIAN 205 Literature and Culture of Japan from Tradition to Modernity
  • ASIAN 206 Literature and Culture of South Asia from Tradition to Modernity
  • ASIAN 207 Special Topics in Literature and Culture of Asia
  • ASIAN 211 Languages and Cultures of China
  • ASIAN 223 Buddhist Literature
  • ASIAN 225 Indian Philosophical Literature
  • ASIAN 263 Great Works of Asian Literature
  • ASIAN 401 Introduction to Asian Linguistics
  • ASIAN 404 Writing Systems
  • ASIAN 411 Buddhist Literature
  • ASIAN 494 Ramayana in Comparative Perspective
  • ASIAN 498 Special Topics
  • CHIN 342 The Chinese Language
  • CHIN 373 Chinese Poetry
  • CHIN 380 Pre-Modern Chinese Narrative
  • CHIN 381 Literature in Modern China
  • CHIN 385 Popular Culture in Twentieth-Century China
  • CHIN 442 The Chinese Language
  • CHIN 443 Structure of Chinese
  • JAPAN 321 Japanese Literature I
  • JAPAN 322 Japanese Literature II
  • JAPAN 325 Introduction to Japanese Film
  • JAPAN 343 Japanese Language in Society
  • JAPAN 360 Topics in Japanese Culture
  • JAPAN 361 Topics in Japanese Film
  • JAPAN 380 Modernism, Avant-Garde, Contemporary, and Pop Art and Culture in Japan
  • JAPAN 431, 432, 433 Readings in Modern Japanese Literature
  • JAPAN 441 The Acquisition of Japanese as a Second or Foreign Language
  • JAPAN 442 Japanese Syntax and Semantics
  • JAPAN 443 Topics in Japanese Sociolinguistics
  • KOREAN 360 Topics in Korean Literature and Culture
  • KOREAN 365 Korean Pop Culture
  • KOREAN 440 Introduction to Korean Linguistics
  • KOREAN 442 Special Topics in Korean Language and Culture

2) 30 Credits Language, Literature, Culture, Linguistics: May include any combination of language and/or disciplinary AL&L courses, subject to meeting the major’s other requirements. 10 credits may be chosen from a unit outside AL&L. See advisor for approved courses.

III. Provisions

1) At least 30 credits must be at 300-400 level
2) Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA for courses applied to the major
3) Minimum 30 credits taken in residence through the UW

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