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Introducing a Brand New Major: Asian Languages & Culture

Submitted by Elizabeth F Self on October 12, 2018 - 2:03pm
Cherry Blossoms in UW Quad

The Asian Languages and Literature department has recently added a brand new major! The Asian Languages and Culture (AL&C) major will be joining our existing language-specific majors in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and South Asian Languages and Literature. Students will also have the option of minoring in Asian Languages and Culture.

Who is this major for?

  • Transfer students or heritage speakers who might not be able to take a full four years of language (whether because they come in at an advanced level, or because they run out of time.)
  • Students who are interested in designing their own major, from a unique combination of language, culture, linguistics, and literature classes.
  • Students who are passionate about multiple different Asian languages (e.g. Japanese AND Korean, or Korean AND Hindi).
  • Students who are interested primarily in Southeast Asian languages, such as Vietnamese, Indonesian, etc. With the new AL&C major, you can complete a degree with those language classes, complemented by content courses.
  • Students who would like to double major. If four full years of language would make another intensive major impossible, the flexibility of AL&C allows you to nonetheless incorporate your love for an Asian language into your college experience.

If you fall into one of the above categories, Asian Languages and Culture might be the major for you!

In comparison with our traditional language degrees, the Asian Languages and Culture major only requires that you attain at least second-year fluency in one of our languages (15-30 credits). In addition, you can choose from either additional language credits (potentially in a second language), or content courses on literature, linguistics, or culture, to make up the remaining 45 credits required for the major. Exactly which classes and which cultures you focus on is totally up to you! In other words, if you are interested in both Japanese anime and Korean dramas, or if you want to study both Chinese AND Hindi, you can do that here—and you can apply all of those classes towards a degree.

We first introduced the Asian Languages and Culture Major in spring of 2018, and since then, it’s become more and more popular. Quite a few students have already graduated with a major or minor in Asian Languages and Culture, and more are joining the major every day.

If you’re interested in learning more, please click here to check out the exact requirements for the major and here for information on the minor.

If you have any questions about Asian Languages & Culture as a major, or the Asian Languages and Literature department overall, please contact the Undergraduate Adviser, Fei Zhao, at or the Academic Counselor, Elizabeth Self, at