The East Asian studies major builds on two pillars: rigorous language training that takes students beyond the third year in Chinese, Japanese or Korean, and diverse content courses that allow students to explore themes from ancient Chinese philosophy to Japanese anime to Korean women’s history. Its interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to provide a balance between broad-based knowledge of the region and deeper expertise in the languages and cultures of one or more of the region’s territories.
The goal is for our students to gain proficiency with the challenging linguistic and analytical tools needed to conduct conscientious research, as well as to learn about the critical and theoretical models through which the region’s history and culture are interpreted. The core of this training is developed through guided coursework, of which language classes form a central part, and substantial independent work completed under the close auspices of faculty advisers.
East Asia is a complex and important area of the world from the dawn of history to the present day. Princeton’s Department of East Asian Studies, one of the oldest and most highly regarded in the country, provides students with unique opportunities to learn about the history, literature, and culture of East Asia of the past three thousand years, and to understand the roles East Asia continues to play in the modern and contemporary world.
The career paths of our undergraduate majors and minors are diverse and exciting, ranging from jobs in finance and legal occupations to NGOs, the State Department, and continued graduate level study on East Asia. We strive to train our students to become experts on East Asia, an experience that allows them to excel at any career path they choose.
Students interested in studying the region are encouraged to enroll in one or more of the regularly offered gateway courses which provide a comprehensive introduction to East Asia in a specific regional and disciplinary perspective:
- HIS/EAS 207: History of East Asia to 1800
- HIS/EAS 208: East Asia since 1800
- EAS 211 Manga: Visual Culture in Modern Japan (Brian Steininger)
- EAS 216 Writing and Culture of Premodern Korea (Ksenia Chizhova)
- EAS 218 The Origins of Japanese Culture and Civilization (Tom Conlan)
- EAS 225 Japanese Society and Culture (Amy Borovoy)
- EAS 232 Introduction to Chinese Literature (Anna Shields, Martin Kern)
- EAS 231 Chinese Martial Arts Classics: Fiction, Film, Fact (Paize Keulemans)
- HUM/EAS 233 East Asian Humanities I: The Classical Foundations
- HUM/EAS 234 East Asian Humanities II: Traditions and Transformations
- EAS 279 Qin & the Beginnings of Empire in China (Trenton Wilson)
- EAS 280 Nomadic Empires (Xin Wen)
A.B. sophomores preparing to enter junior year must officially declare an intended major prior to selecting courses for the fall semester. Students should consult the Undergraduate Academic Advising website for more information on the major declaration process.
Students considering majoring in East Asian studies should begin language study as soon as possible to ensure that they can fulfill departmental prerequisites and that they are on track to meet all departmental requirements. Prospective majors are encouraged to make an appointment with the EAS director of undergraduate studies and also should plan to attend the EAS Open House, held each spring term during sophomore declaration period.
QUESTIONS? Contact undergraduate program administrator Anna Lovett ([email protected]) for more information.
- One year of language study in one East Asian language
- One 200-level EAS course
EAS concentrators must attain language proficiency through the third year in one East Asian language.
Departmental Course Requirements
Eight departmental courses fulfilling the following requirements:
Six EAS-prefix courses, which must include:
- The junior seminar (EAS 300) as an introductory methods survey course, generally taken fall of junior year
- Two of the following transnational courses:
- History of East Asia to 1800 (HIS/EAS 207)
- East Asia since 1800 (HIS/EAS 208)
- Contemporary East Asia (EAS 229)
- East Asian Humanities I: The Classical Foundations (HUM/EAS/COM 233)
- East Asian Humanities II: Tradition and Transformations (HUM/EAS/COM 234)
- At least one course on premodern East Asia
Two additional courses, which may be:
- EAS courses, including courses cross-listed with EAS
- Cognate courses approved by the director of undergraduate studies
- Language courses at or above the 300 level (after the three-year proficiency requirement is fulfilled)
- Any courses in a second East Asian language
A single course may not be used to satisfy two requirements, with the exception of HIS 207 and HUM 233. Either course may be used to satisfy both the premodern and transnational requirements, however, the course will only count towards one of the six required EAS-prefix departmental courses.
EAS majors are required to complete two junior independent works and one senior thesis. The independent work that majors 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. Students should consult the EAS Guide to Independent Work for more information.
Fall & Spring Junior Independent Works
In the fall term of their junior year, EAS majors participate in the departmental junior seminar (EAS 300) and also write the first of two junior papers under the supervision of the director of undergraduate studies. In the spring term, EAS students write a second junior papers under the supervision of an appropriate faculty member.
Each EAS major prepares a senior thesis in consultation with an appropriate member of the faculty. The senior thesis represents the culmination of the undergraduate curriculum. It 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. Following submission of the final thesis draft, EAS seniors participate in a an oral defense of their thesis, which is counts towards the senior departmental examination grade.
Scholarship aid is available for senior thesis research abroad. Students should review funding opportunities listed in the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE), and may also want to consult the websites of the Program in East Asian Studies (EAP) and the Office of the Dean of the College (ODOC) for further information.
The Department of East Asian Studies grades undergraduate course work according to the following guidelines.
- The A range reflects outstanding work of research and analysis in East Asian studies. The work shows originality in conceiving the topic and an ability to develop the argument in a well-organized and elegant manner. It demonstrates that the writer has conducted a close and critical reading of the relevant texts, grappled with the issues raised in the course itself, synthesized the readings, discussions, and lectures, and formulated a perceptive, independent argument. An A grade reflects clarity of expression, sensitivity to regional, cultural, and historical contexts, and is supported by a well-chosen variety of primary and secondary materials.
- The B range designates good work, demonstrating many aspects of A-level work but falls short in either the organization or clarity of its writing, the formulation and presentation of its argument, or the quality of research. Some papers or exams in this category are superior efforts that demonstrate insight and solid command of the material, while others give evidence of independent and original thought without maximizing that potential. The lower end of this range is represented by work that shows familiarity with the material but comes up short through some weaknesses in writing, organization, argument, or use of evidence.
- Course and independent work in the C range reflects poor treatment of a subject, offering little more than a summary of ideas and information having to do with a chosen topic. C-grade work does not respond to the assignment adequately, suffers from frequent factual errors, unclear writing, poor organization, or inadequate primary research, or presents some combination of these problems.
- The D range designates seriously deficient work with severe flaws in the writer’s understanding of the subject of the course, command of the materials, and modes of argumentation.
- F papers do not meet the minimal requirements of the department.
Grades General Standards Detailed Standards Subject to a curve
Outstanding: meets the highest standards
- Attends all classes
- Actively participates in all classes
- Submits all assignments on time with outstanding quality
- Much higher than average scores on all quizzes
- Much higher than average scores on all written exams
- Excellent command of the spoken language on oral exams
Good: meets superior standards
- Attends almost all classes
- Actively participates in almost all classes
- Submits almost all assignments on time with good quality
- Slightly higher than average scores on most quizzes
- Good command of the spoken language on oral exams
Acceptable: meets basic standards
- Attends most classes
- Participates in most classes
- Submits most assignments on time with acceptable quality
- Average or slightly below average scores on most quizzes
- Average or slightly below average scores on written exams
- Adequate command of the spoken language on oral exams
- Falls short in most of the evaluation criteria for C range
- Less than 75% attendance
- Falls short in almost all of the evaluation criteria for the course
The Department of East Asian Studies grades all independent work according to the following rubric, which is made available to all majors in the EAS Guide to Independent Work.
- The A range reflects outstanding work of research and analysis in East Asian studies. The work shows originality in conceiving the topic and an ability to develop the argument in a well-organized and elegant manner. It demonstrates that the writer has conducted a close and critical reading of the relevant texts, grappled with the issues raised across them, and formulated a perceptive, independent argument. An A-level thesis reflects clarity of expression, sensitivity to regional, cultural, and historical contexts, and is supported by a well-chosen variety of primary materials.
- The B range designates work that demonstrates many aspects of A-level work but falls short in either the organization or clarity of its writing, the formulation and presentation of its argument, or the quality of research. Some papers in this category are solid works that contain flashes of insight, while others give evidence of independent thought without maximizing that potential. The lower end of this range is represented by work that comes up short through some weaknesses in writing, organization, argument, or use of evidence.
- Independent work in the C range reflects poor treatment of a subject. Offering little more than a summary of ideas and information having to do with a chosen topic, the work here is comparatively insensitive to historical and cultural context and lacks complexity and insight. C-level papers often suffer from inadequate primary research.
- The D range designates seriously deficient work with severe flaws in the writer’s command of research materials and modes of argumentation.
- F-level papers do not meet the minimal requirements of research in the department.
- ODOC - Undergraduate Academic Advising
- McGraw Center Learning Program
- Office of Undergraduate Research
- Student Activity Funding Engine (SAFE)
- Program in East Asian Studies (EAP)
- Study Abroad Advising