Asian Studies


In the Asian Century, the task of understanding the region is vital to the future. Understanding Asia relies on gaining a foundation in the major civilizational traditions, as well as in the issues of contemporary culture and society. In the Asian Studies program we introduce and identify major cultural, historical, social and political trends and issues, including ethnicity and mobility (or diaspora); the major religions and belief systems (particularly Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Islam); other trans-regional trends, including economic and political relationships between Asia and other parts of the world (for example forms of imperialism); major political and social developments and movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and their effects (e.g. nationalism, revolution, military rule, democracy); and mass or popular culture (including topics such as manga and K-Pop).

There are five theme areas that constitute our core concerns or focuses of teaching. These themes are particularly taught in relation to China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Politics, Economics and Environment
History and the Present
Religion and Philosophy
Arts, Culture and Media
Society, Gender and Sexuality

Asian Studies is taught in English, and draws on the cutting-edge research being carried out by academic staff of the program. Language units of study cannot be counted towards the Asian Studies major, however you are strongly encouraged to the study an Asian language in conjunction with Asian Studies units.

Major outline

A major in Asian Studies requires at least 36 senior credit points, including at least 18 credit points from Core units of study of which 6 credit points must be at 3000 level.

Junior units of study (1000 level):
You complete 12 junior credit points before enrolling into senior units of study. Junior units provide essential background knowledge and intellectual skills necessary for a more advanced study of Asia. They pay particular attention to the bases of Asian civilisations, and to the global transformations affecting Asian nations and societies.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level):
A minimum of 18 credit points must to be chosen from core ASNS units of study.

Senior-intermediate (2000 level) units provide a broad basis of knowledge in a particular area, expanding on the content of junior units. They develop sets of skills including critical thinking, analysis and synthesis. You complete at least 12 credit points at 2000 level before enrolling into 3000 level units.

Senior-advanced units (3000 level) provide advanced knowledge drawing on a more theoretical framework to consolidate forms of knowledge and skills developed in previous years. To complete a major in Asian Studies you will need to take at least 6 credit points of core units at 3000 level.

Graduate opportunities

Sydney Arts and Social Sciences graduates work in government departments at all levels, and major private sector consultancies and corporations, locally and overseas. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers a range of subject areas that prepare graduates for careers in administration, education, business research, marketing, media, management consultancy, public relations, gallery and museum curatorship, hospitality and tourism, community and welfare. Our graduates are proficient in research and inquiry, and demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy, and ethical, social and professional understanding, qualities sought after by leading employers all over the world.

Further study for major

Eligible candidates may proceed to an Honours year in the Bachelor of Arts, or apply for admission to a rich postgraduate program in the humanities and social sciences, comprising advanced learning and professional courses. Master degrees include capstone projects ranging from internships with government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas, the gallery and museum sector, and leading media organisations, to opportunities for independent research projects which prepare students for higher degrees by research.

Related subject areas

Chinese Studies, Indonesian Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, Political Economy

Our courses that offer this major

Not available in 2014