Independent Work

Independent Work in the Department of East Asian Studies

The independent work that concentrators complete is vital to the overall intellectual goals of the Department of East Asian Studies. These projects encourage students to pursue their individual interests with the methodological skills developed through their coursework. EAS defines itself by its subject matter, not disciplinary approach or mode of inquiry. Students are encouraged to experiment and explore a wide range of methods and approaches to guide their research, selecting those most suitable to the question they are posing. While there is great flexibility for concentrators in terms of chronology, geography, and methodology, they in all cases should first identify a truly exciting research question and strive to formulate an argument in the process of answering that question.

Junior Year: In the fall term the student participates in the departmental Junior Seminar (EAS 300), taught by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. While studying effective research, interpretation, and writing methods for independent work in the seminar, the student writes the first junior paper. In the spring, the student writes a second junior independent work under the supervision of an appropriate faculty member. Each junior paper is 20-25 pages. At the end of the junior year, the student begins to draft a proposal for the senior thesis.

Senior Year: Each student prepares a senior thesis in consultation with an appropriate member of the faculty. The senior thesis represents the culmination of the undergraduate curriculum. The senior thesis should be 60-100 pages (or around 25,000 words of text excluding footnotes), and should be an original contribution to scholarship on East Asia, based at least in part on source materials in the student's language of specialization.