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Why Major in Asian Studies?
Studying and gaining understanding of the history, language, culture, economy and politics of Asia can not only provide an enlightening perspective on a fascinating region of the world, it can also prepare you for countless rewarding career opportunities. Belmont’s Asian Studies major or minor integrates many different academic disciplines and perspectives into a holistic sense of Asian culture and society. With many different courses and experiences available on campus and through a robust Study Abroad program, students are able to focus on both the modern and traditional history and literature of Asian cultures and societies, contemporary Asian politics, economic links between Asia and the rest of the world, and global philosophical, ethical and religious issues.
Pursuing Asian Studies will change the way you see the world as well as how you imagine your role in it. Consider this:
- Asia comprises 60 percent of the world's population.
- The world’s second (China) and third (Japan) leading economies are in Asia.
- Asian nations will be in the vanguard of economic, political and especially technological changes in the coming decades. This has profound implications for U.S. trade and foreign policies.
- Asia is the source for some of the world's most significant and long-lasting philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas.
Graduates with a major or minor in Asian Studies will be prepared to pursue many diverse careers in an era of globalization, such as international business, government service, education and research. Through Belmont's Office of Study Abroad (OSA) and other exchange and direct enroll partners, Asian Studies majors and minors have a variety of options to explore Asia, as well as pursue foreign language study, through full immersion in the culture.
What You'll Learn?
- Intercultural awareness through study abroad opportunities
- Modern and traditional history and literature of Asian cultures and societies
- Contemporary Asian politics
- Economic links between Asia and the rest of the world
- Global philosophical, ethical and religious issues.
- Foreign Correspondent/Journalist
- International Consultant
- International Analyst
- International Business/Marketing/Finance
"It would be difficult to overstate how much Belmont's phenomenal Asian Studies program helped prepare me for the trajectory I've followed since graduation. Following my time at Belmont, I pursued graduate studies in Shanghai working in a cross-cultural capacity for the dynamic Chinese startup that would unicorn into today's TikTok. I then transitioned to divinity school at Yale and now a PhD program at Harvard with a focus on Chinese religions. These opportunities simply would not have been available to me without the solid foundation laid in my time at Belmont."
- Ryan Pino, Asian Studies, PhD Student, Harvard University
"There is a lot of focus on the cultural aspects of the program and plenty of opportunities to become culturally enriched. As an Asian American, it has been wonderful to learn more about my Asian, specifically Chinese, heritage and stay connected with my culture while I study my major in college."
-Abigail Blackburn, 2026, Spring Hill, TN
The Asian Studies major leads to a bachelor of arts. It requires 128 hours of coursework:
- BELL core requirements: 53 hours
- Major requirements (including area studies and infused courses): 30 hours
- Minor requirements: 18 hours
- General electives: 27 hours
Courses You'll Take
- ASN 2000 Asia for the Humanities
This course approaches the study of one of the cultures of Asia from the standpoint of the Humanities. Course content and instructor varies.
- ASN 2010 Asia For the Social Sciences
This course approaches the study of one of the cultures of Asia from the standpoint of the Social Sciences. Course content and instructor varies.
- ART 4630 Asian Art & Architecture
This course will provide a survey of the arts of Asia including India, Korea, China and Japan. Through a study of the historical and religious context of works of architecture, sculpture and painting, the course will attempt to discover the themes that unify the artistic traditions of Asia and those the set them apart and will cover topics including the development of images of the Buddha in India, landscape painting in China and Japan and Japanese woodblock prints.
- ASN 1950-ASN 3950 Study Abroad in Asia
Study in a foreign country in Asia. Individual course titles and locations are assigned for each course taken. See Studies Abroad program for details. Required of Asian Studies majors.
- ECO 4400 International Economics
An examination of the special problems and issues surrounding the economic interaction of sovereign nations. Topics include gains from trade, patterns of trade, balance of payments, determination of exchange rates, free trade and protectionism, international capital markets and issues in international policy coordination.
- ENL 3810 Folklore Studies
This course examines folklore methodologies and genres. Seminar topics may include ethnographic research (fieldwork) and the study of folk groups; folk narratives (fairy tales, legends, etc.); folk ballads and poetry; customs and rituals; folklore and literature.
- HIS 1700 The Samurai and their World
This course is a survey of the origins, history and legacy of the samurai of Japan and their place in Japanese society and politics. It begins with the establishment of warrior rule in medieval Japan then continues through the bloody civil wars of the sixteenth century to pacification during the Tokugawa period. The course also examines the effect of modernization on the samurai as a class and how their ideals lived on and were spread to the entire population in the 20th century. Finally, the course assesses the samurais’ appeal in popular culture in Japan and the world today.
- HIS 1800 Survey of East Asian History
This course is a survey of the history of China and Japan that examines the societies, cultures and politics of these countries from the ancient world to the present.
- HIS 3540 Modern China
The course begins with the creation of the Qing dynasty in 1644 and continues to the present day focusing on the period 1790 to present. These years encompass China’s decline in the nineteenth century, the destruction of the Qing Dynasty, the creation of the Chinese Republic, the rise of the Chinese Communist Party, war with Japan and civil war. Finally, the course will look at Mao Zedong and his policies, as well as China’s resurgence as a regional and world power in the 1980s and 1990s.
- HIS 3700 History of Central Asia
A survey of central Asian history from antiquity to the present, focusing on patterns of sedentary-nomadic relations and the rise and fall of the great nomadic steppe empires, including the Scythians, Huns and Mongols. Other topics include Tibetan history and the impact of Russian and Chinese partition of the region in recent centuries.
- HIS 4800 The Vietnam War
An examination of the history of international conflict in Vietnam from 1944-1975. After an introduction to Vietnam’s colonial history, the course surveys the Vietnamese attempts to throw off French colonial rule from 1944-1954, Chinese and United States efforts to preserve spheres of influence in Vietnam from the 1950’s until 1975, and the efforts by the Vietnamese to resist and co opt these efforts in their own interests. This course may fulfill the history major requirement in either United States or World History, but not both.
- HIS 4820 History of Modern Japan
An examination of the history of Japan as it undergoes social, cultural, economic and political change from the end of its relative isolation to becoming a world power. The course covers the impact of modernization and westernization on Japanese society and culture, the quest for an East Asian empire that led to a devastating war in the Pacific and national regeneration into an international economic power. This course is cross-listed with HIS 6820.
- HUM 1500 Asian Humanities: The World of Asia
This class will introduce the undergraduate to the exciting world of Asia. The course will deal with both the ancient and modern eras, as it surveys the history, culture, religion, state and society of India, China and Japan, approaching the subject in an interdisciplinary way, focused on the humanities.
- HUM 3500 Topics in Asian Culture
This course, which may vary by topic at each offering, will study special topics related to the culture, arts and philosophies of the countries of Asia, past and present. Repeatable twice with different topics.
- PHI 4070 Eastern Philosophical Traditions
This course provides a study of selected philosophies of Asia especially the complex and multi-layered systems of Hinduism and Buddhism. The course emphasizes an in-depth understanding of selected traditions through the study of primary texts supported by secondary readings in the relevant scholarly literature.
- PHI 4080 Philosophies of China
This course is an overview of the thinkers and movements which have shaped philosophical reflection in China from classical to the modern period. Texts and thinkers which are studied in the course vary with each offering. Sometimes the focus is on classical texts (Yi Jing; the Zhongyong; Laozi; Lun Yu; Zhuangzi; the Mengzi; the Xunzi; Zhu Xi), and other times it is on contemporary work (e.g., Boston Confucianism and the New Confucians), still other emphases are tradition directed: Confucian tradition; Taoist tradition; Buddhist tradition; Contemporary Social Philosophy in China.
- PSC 3430 Politics of Asia
This course examines political, economic and cultural factors shaping governmental institutions and processes in the nations of modern Asia, with heaviest emphasis given to the emergence of China.
- REL 4310 History of Religion in America
A survey of the history of American religion from colonial beginnings in the New World to contemporary religious expressions that explores the interaction of American culture and religious faith.
- Chinese Cultural Association: This association aims to broaden Belmont's horizons by promoting awareness of Chinese culture. They have speakers on Chinese government, economics and history, as well as celebrate Chinese culture through food, festivals and fun! In doing so, this organization humanizes the United States' global competitor and create more cultural awareness and tolerance.
- Japanese Culture Club: The JCC welcomes any and all student who may be interested in Japanese Culture to join in the exploration of the Land of the Rising Sun! They have weekly meetings that focus on learning about and discussing a specific topic of Japanese Culture, from traditional sports to pop culture. On top of weekly meetings, they also host a myriad of activities throughout the year, ranging from the annual Halloween party in the fall to World Culture Fest in the Spring!
- Asian American Association: The purpose of the Asian American Association is to create a space for Belmont folks to explore and celebrate Asian culture. Everyone is welcome regardless of race or ethnicity. This is a social club, so feel free to bring friends and ideas to contribute to the conversation! Activities include movies, games, food and socializing.
- South Asian and Middle Eastern Association: This association is open to all students of all backgrounds & identities. Their goal is to combat stereotypes and misconceptions, learning to appreciate and celebrate the differences that lie in all of us, while also revealing the humanness that connects all people, the same blood that runs through all of our veins -- promoting equality for all BECAUSE of our differences (not despite them). They hope to specifically celebrate the cultures and religions, as well as address the misconceptions that pertain to the South Asian and Middle Eastern regions and define our purpose and presence within the Belmont community.
Hong Kong Baptist University (Exchange Partner): Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong Baptist University has around 6,600 students studying as full-time undergraduates. English is the medium of instruction for formal classroom teaching, apart from Chinese-related subjects, combining broad-based liberal education with academic and professional vigor.
AREA OF STUDY: Arts, Business, Chinese Medicine, Communication, Science, Social Sciences and Visual Arts
Lingnan University (Exchange Partner): Hong Kong, China
As the only liberal arts university in Hong Kong, Lingnan University has 2,700 students. Most classes are taught in English and Cantonese is the city language. Students have the option of taking Mandarin Chinese classes.
AREA OF STUDY: Accounting, Chinese Language, Finance, Humanities, Management, Marketing, International Business, Languages, Visual Arts, Economics, Political Science, Sociology
East China Normal University (Exchange Partner) Shanghai, China
ECNU in Shanghai is a Chinese Ministry of Education Class A Double First Class University and is one of the most prestigious universities in China. It offers a wide range of courses in English, as well as in Chinese language. Attending ECNU also means living in one of the truly great global cities of the world.
AREA OF STUDY: Extensive array of courses in English, and also an ideal place to improve your Chinese language from beginner to advanced levels.
Tokyo Christian University (Direct Enroll): Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Christian University is the premier evangelical university in Japan. Students will enroll at the East Asia Institute (EAI) at TCU. For students majoring or minoring in Asian Studies, all coursework can count towards those degree programs.
AREA OF STUDY: Japanese Language and Culture, Japanese Studies, Humanities, Social Sciences, Biblical Studies, Theological Studies and Christian Ministry and Field Education
Seinan Gakuin University (Exchange Partner): Fukuoka City, Japan
Seinan Gakuin University is a Christian university in Fukuoka, Japan, consistently ranked as one of the leading private universities in Japan. Its long-established exchange program accepts international students from partner institutions around the world.
AREA OF STUDY: Course content concentrates on Japan, including Japanese Language, Culture, History, Tradition, Business and Politics
Sogang University (Exchange Partner): Seoul, South Korea
Sogang University is the only Jesuit higher education institution in Korea and is one of the most prestigious universities in Korea.
AREA OF STUDY: Korean language and literature, Humanities, Social Science, Chinese Culture, Japanese Culture, Economics, Business, Art and Technology