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Asian Studies

Program Requirements

1) Culture Courses

The ASM requires two lower-division courses and four upper-division courses. Of these six courses, only two can be taken in one’s major, and only three can be taken in the same department. This distribution insures the interdisciplinary nature of the minor. As with those courses satisfying the World Culture core requirement, courses that meet ASM requirements must have at least 60 percent of their course material focused on Asian culture.

2) Language Courses 

Students are required to complete the third course of a first-year college-level sequence in an Asian language. At this time, SCU offers language sequences in both Japanese and Chinese (Mandarin). Native speakers of Asian languages or non-native speakers with previous introductory work equivalent to the third course of the first-year college-level may challenge this requirement by taking a proficiency examination offered by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. A score of four or five on the Advanced Placement examination in Japanese or Chinese also fulfills the language requirement.

A year of introductory Chinese or Japanese will not make you fluent in either language. Of course, for most people, three years of language courses will not bring fluency either. However, an introductory year will give you the basic vocabulary and sentence patterns to engage comfortably in simple, straightforward conversations with native speakers both here and abroad. In addition, you will learn to read the most commonly used words that regularly are seen in signs and names. Beyond these modest but substantive linguistic achievements, you will find the first year of language study a fascinating way to experience fundamental dimensions of an Asian culture.

3) Field Project

The field project is meant to be an opportunity for you to design your own experience of Asian culture outside the classroom. Ideally it should expose you to the language you have studied and invite you to use it as best you are able. The ASM director can help you think through the type of project best suited to your abilities and interests. The field project involves a minimum of fifteen hours working or volunteering at an Asia-related venue that fits your interests. It can be approached in various ways:

a) Internship or Volunteer Work in a Study Abroad Program

You can plan a field project to dovetail with one of the many study abroad programs in Asia, even if you are just beginning your language study. You should consult the ASM director beforehand to help you design something that will work effectively with the particular program and locale you have in mind. The International Programs Office can help you locate a suitable program. Some programs, such as the IES program in Tokyo and the Jesuit Center in Beijing, already are committed to placing students in "field settings."

b) Internship or Volunteer Work in a Local Asian Community

Asian culture is not only found "over there;" it also is here. The Bay Area is home to many communities that retain strong linguistic links with Asia. You can design a project that explores an issue or question in one of these local neighborhoods. The ASM director can suggest a number of community activities or sites. The Arrupe Center offers a number of placements where some Asian language ability can be used and you can interact with people from local Asian communities, such as the Yu-Ai Kai Senior Center in Japantown (Japanese) or the John XXIII Neighborhood Center in San José (Chinese and Vietnamese).

c) Independent Study Course

You can design a more ambitious project as part of an independent study course by enrolling in ASIA 195. Working with a faculty sponsor, you can earn units by working on a major academic project that demonstrates evidence of regular contact with an Asian-speaking community or people, as well as analytic or reflective interpretation of this experience. The completed project may take the form of a research paper, survey, biography, or work of art.

4) Optional Study Abroad

The ASM encourages but does require study abroad in an Asian country. The International Programs Office can help you explore the many opportunities available to live, study, and work in the country of your choice.