Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies

The East Asian Studies program is designed to expose you to a wide range of history, perspective and contemporary challenges relating to East Asia’s societies and culture. Courses offer a full range of instruction in Chinese, Japanese or Korean, helping you create a foundation for a career in government, academics, international relations, international business, journalism, trade, finance, industry, law and diplomacy in the 21st century. With the purpose of broadening, deepening and integrating our students’ understanding of East Asia, the program draws on a wide range of Brandeis faculty in the social sciences, including anthropology, economics, history and politics, and in the humanities and creative arts, including art, music and religion.

Academics and Research

Language Study

Courses offer a full range of language instruction in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, including literature courses. Currently, the program is also offering courses in Korean history and culture.

Research Opportunities

Faculty members from a variety of disciplines are actively engaged with a range of research projects, involving travel and research in various East Asian countries and settings. We welcome research collaboration with students. In addition, a number of our seniors take on a Senior Honors Thesis in which they devote two semesters of their senior year to an in-depth research project with the support of a team of our faculty.

Faculty Excellence

Distinguished Faculty

The East Asian Studies program features strong faculty members who encourage their students’ curiosity and help them to understand East Asian culture from many viewpoints.

  • Professor Aida Yuen Wong was a recipient of the Taiwan Fellowship awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ROC) (2015-16) and conducted research in Taiwan on modern ink painting.

  • Professor Matthew Fraleigh received the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature (2011) and the University of Chicago William F. Sibley Memorial Translation Prize (2012).

  • Professor Yui-Hui Chang is a composer in the Brandeis Music Department. She has won the 2008 Aaron Copland Award, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2009 Radcliffe Institute Fellowship. Currently, she is working on a chamber ensemble piece combining Chinese and Western instruments.

  • Professor Gary H. Jefferson, who is affiliated with the Economics Department and the International Business School, focuses his research on institutions, technology, economic growth and China’s economic transformation. With a grant from the Japanese government, he is evaluating the role of research collaboration in determining the relative quality of patents granted Japanese, Chinese, and U.S. residents.

  • Professor Ralph Thaxton, of the Politics Department, writes on political movements in rural China; his book publications include Salt of the Earth and Force and Contention in Contemporary China.

  • Professor Pu Wang is a recipient of numerous grants for his research and also an award-winning poet. He has been awarded the Helaine and Alvin Chair in Literature.

  • Professor Xing Hang has recently been awarded grants from the Henry Luce and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundations to support his research and has been recognized for his excellence as a teacher at Brandeis.

Clubs, Networking and Study Abroad

Student-Run Clubs

Brandeis has several student clubs to help students gain a better understanding of East Asian cultures. These clubs include the Asian American Students Association, the Japanese Students Association, the Korean Students Association and the Southeast Asia Club. 

Study Abroad

East Asian Studies majors and minors have a wealth of options when it comes to studying abroad. Approved study-abroad sites for majors include China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam. Scholarships are available to help students travel. 

Learn More about Study Abroad

Social Events

Students initiate weekly “language tables” to practice elementary to advanced Chinese and Japanese as well as introductory Korean. Students and faculty members have co-hosted movie nights, sushi-making and dumpling-making parties and other social events to deepen appreciation for East Asian customs and cultures.

Careers and Alumni

Graduate Opportunities

A number of our graduates have pursued advanced degrees at institutions such as Columbia University, Berkeley University, Chicago University, Indiana University and the University of Southern California.

Real Jobs

East Asian Studies alumni have gone on to careers such as:

  • Asia equities analyst at Bloomberg

  • consumer market researcher at The Boston Globe

  • epidemiology research assistant at Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

  • Japanese Consulate

  • assistant language teacher in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program

Distinguished Alumni

Brandeis East Asian Studies graduates include:

  • Roberta Lipson ’76, co-founder and CEO of Chindex, a pioneering medical supply firm that runs hospitals in several Chinese cities. Shortly after graduating from Brandeis, she was employed in China by Sobin Chemical, coordinating marketing and sales of various equipment in China.

  • Tobias Harris ’05, a Japanese politics specialist, has worked for Keiichiro Asao, formerly of the Democratic Party of Japan. Harris has been published in The Wall Street Journal Asia and the Far Eastern Economic Review and has provided commentary for CNBC Asia, Bloomberg, BBC and NPR.

  • Jesse Appell ’12, founder of Laugh Beijing, is a celebrated intercultural comedian and consultant.

  • John Johanas, ’08, is a Game Designer at Tango Gameworks.