What is Asian Languages & Literature?
Through literary, linguistic, and cultural analysis, students in the Department of Asian Languages & Literature explore Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Sanskrit, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and more. They study how language is used in media ranging from classical literature to modern pop culture, learning to read, write, and converse through careful and extensive interactions with their language or languages of choice. They investigate the traditions within a language, the perspectives and attitudes it carries, and the cultural context that enriches it. Beyond learning how to proficiently speak a language, they learn the ins and outs of how it works. In doing so, they discover how to use a language clearly, persuasively, and powerfully.
Why study Asian Languages & Literature with us?
- Powerful knowledge: Students deeply engage with the language they study, from pre-modern texts to modern media, so they expertly use it as global citizens.
- Enhanced skills: Our students often pair their major with another field of study, and their in-demand skills help them succeed across the globe in diverse fields.
- Remarkable resources: From extensive libraries to intensive study abroad opportunities, students find extraordinary assets to build their expertise.
- An ideal location: As a prominent Pacific Rim city, Seattle has strong connections to Asian economies and cultures. The city’s diversity reflects these ties, creating unique opportunities on campus and beyond.
- Close community: Many courses in our department offer small class sizes where it is easy to build connections with professors and peers.
- Renowned scholarship: Our professors are top researchers, active in their fields and covering less commonly taught, critical fields.
What programs do we offer for undergraduates?
- Majors: Asian Languages and Cultures, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South Asian Languages
- Minors: Asian Languages and Cultures, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, South Asian Languages, Vietnamese
- Resources & Opportunities: departmental honors program, study abroad options, teaching internships, department events, co-curricular clubs, and more.
- Career Preparation: As multilingual professionals with in-demand skills, our alumni find an advantage entering business and nonprofit work, STEM fields, and more across the globe.
How do you major in Asian Languages & Cultures, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or South Asian Languages?
Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and South Asian Languages are minimum requirement majors. That means as long as you meet certain prerequisites, you can be admitted to the major. The Asian Languages and Cultures major is an open major, meaning that students in good academic standing may declare the major at any time, without fulfilling requirements stated here.
Prospective students who are not yet accepted to UW do not need to apply to this department directly. We do not have a "Direct to Major" or "Direct to College" pathway. Students interested in becoming AL&L majors can apply as pre-majors in the Humanities, and then apply for the major they are most interested in after taking some language classes.