Wheaton students in the Classes of 2015 and 2016 may declare the Asian Studies major; students entering beginning with the Class of 2017 may propose an Independent Major in Asian Studies, in consultation with the program’s coordinator.
The major in Asian Studies consists of 10 courses. With the advice and approval of a student’s major advisor (either the Coordinator of Asian Studies or another participating member of the Asian Studies faculty), the student is expected to develop a coherent and well-balanced program. Majors should achieve a broad familiarity with Asian cultures and a more specialized knowledge of at least one of three areas: East Asia, South Asia or West Asia (the Middle East). In addition to their geographical concentrations, a few examples of particular topics on which our Asian Studies majors have focused in recent years are: human rights in Tibet, illness and culture in Taiwan, Buddhist architecture, the 1965 Coup in Indonesia, Taiwanese-PRC relations and the position of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia.
Out of the 10 courses required for the major, the student must take two courses at the 300 level and a capstone course at the 400 level. The capstone requirement for the major may be fulfilled either by (a) a senior seminar offered in a discipline appropriate to the student’s program, or (b) an independent research project that results in a senior research paper, pursued under the guidance of a member of the Asian Studies faculty. In either case, the student should discuss the capstone options with his/her major advisor as early as possible, and must have a plan in place, agreed upon by the major advisor, by the end of the junior year.
The study of Asian languages is highly encouraged by the Asian Studies faculty, although language study is not a requirement for the major or minor. As of Spring 2009, instruction in Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Arabic (introductory and intermediate) is offered at Wheaton. Additional study of Asian languages is available to Wheaton students through an agreement with Brown University. The faculty recommends that students interested in learning an Asian language consult the coordinator about the various opportunities available. Courses in Asian languages beyond Wheaton’s two-semester language requirement may be counted toward the Asian Studies major or minor. Majors considering graduate school should begin study of an Asian language as early as possible in their undergraduate career.
Students are urged to take advantage of junior year abroad (JYA) opportunities available in Asia. Many of Wheaton’s Asian Studies majors spend a semester or year in China, Japan, India and other Asian countries through Wheaton’s affiliation with excellent programs such as the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) and the School for International Training (SIT). The faculty in Asian Studies and the staff of the Center for Global Education can offer guidance on such opportunities.
CHIN 101 Elementary Chinese I (does not count toward Major/Minor)
CHIN 102 Elementary Chinese II (does not count toward Major/Minor)
CHIN 201 Intermediate Chinese I
CHIN 202 Intermediate Chinese II
JAPN 101 Elementary Japanese I (does not count towards Major/Minor)
JAPN 102 Elementary Japanese II (does not count towards Major/Minor)
JAPN 201 Intermediate Japanese I
JAPN 202 Intermediate Japanese II
REL 102 Introduction to the Study of World Religions
REL 108 Engaged Buddhism
REL 109 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
REL 212 Sacred Texts of Asia
REL 230 Mysticism and Spirituality
REL 316 Islam: Faith and Practice
REL 325 Hinduism: Thought and Action
REL 326 Buddhism: Thought and Action