Asian Studies

Graduate Program HeadErica Brindley
Program CodeASIA
Campus(es)University Park
Degrees ConferredDual-Title
The Graduate Faculty


Students electing this program through their primary graduate programs will earn a Ph.D. in (graduate program name) and Asian Studies. The following graduate programs offer dual-title degrees in Asian Studies: Applied Linguistics, Art History, Comparative Literature, History, and Political Science.

The primary objective of the dual-title degree program in Asian Studies is to engage critically and substantively with the teaching, research, and scholarship of Asia, a diverse area with a population of some 4.5 billion. The program integrates knowledge and methodology across disciplines through partnerships with the departments of History, Political Science, Comparative Literature, and Applied. Graduate students are trained in such a way that they are equipped to represent, understand, analyze, and appraise the crucial and current scholarly issues in Asian Studies in the context of their disciplinary foci. The program aims to produce doctoral graduates with a competitive advantage for employment that relates to Asia in academia and other professional fields.

Admission Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Students must apply and be admitted to their primary graduate program and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the Asian Studies dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Asian Studies dual-title program. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Asian Studies prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Applicants should have a junior/senior cumulative average of a 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) and appropriate course background. Prospective students seeking admission to the dual-title degree program will write a statement of purpose that addresses the ways in which their research and professional goals will reflect an interest in interdisciplinary and Asian Studies-related research.

Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

To qualify for a dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the primary graduate program in which they are enrolled. In addition, they must satisfy the degree requirements for the dual-title in Asian Studies, listed below. The requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. include Asia-related coursework, Asia-related components to the qualifying and comprehensive exams, strong all-skills proficiency in one Asian language and either two-years' college study (or equivalent) of another Asian language or else an alternative proficiency appropriate to the student's field; and the completion of an Asian Studies-related dissertation.

Course work: 15 credits of Asia-related coursework at the 400 or 500 level. At least 9 of these 15 credits will be from ASIA 501 and ASIA 502, and (depending on students' home department’s requirements) ad hoc 597 seminars on individual topics. The remainder of the credits may come from Asian Studies or from the student's primary graduate program, as approved by the student's doctoral adviser and the Asian Studies program director of graduate studies.

Language requirement: Students will show strong all-skills proficiency in one Asian language and either two years' college study (or equivalent) of another Asian language or else an alternative proficiency appropriate to the student's field.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Asian Studies program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both the primary graduate degree program and Asian Studies. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of an Asian Studies dual-title doctoral degree student must include at least one member of the Asian Studies Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Asian Studies, the member of the committee representing Asian Studies must be appointed as co-chair. The Asian Studies representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in both their primary graduate program and Asian Studies. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.


A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Asian Studies (ASIA) Course List

Learning Outcomes

  1. Knowledge about Asia. Graduates will demonstrate (a) an integrated understanding of the history of and current developments in theories and methods of studying Asia, (b) the ability to use such theories and methods in their research and/or practice, and (c) substantial knowledge concerning their area of specialization concerning Asia.
  2. Critical Thinking. Graduates will demonstrate (a) critical thinking skills in the evaluation and critique of research in their specific area of specialization, (b) the ability to identify questions and solve issues in scholarly and professional environments, and (c) competence in formulating one’s own scholarly opinions based on the integration of knowledge from diverse sources
  3. Communication. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to (a) communicate effectively in scholarly and professional environments, (b) defend their ideas to others in research and practice, and (c) disseminate their knowledge and skills to enhance awareness to groups beyond their areas of specialization
  4. Research Skills. Students will demonstrate the ability to (a) critically analyze and integrate diverse research findings (b) systematically identify and frame research questions, design a research question, analyze the resulting data, and draw appropriate and interesting conclusions that contribute to current scholarly debates in their fields, and (c) organize their findings in written format, and/or present the findings in academic presentations or professional meetings
  5. Diversity and Ethical Considerations. Students will demonstrate (a) an awareness of, and ability to work professionally with diverse individuals, groups, and communities, who represent various cultural and personal backgrounds and characteristics, (b) knowledge and application of ethical principles related to the responsible conduct of research, as well as to professional activities with individuals, groups, and organizations


Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Erica Fox Brindley
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Ran Zwigenberg
Program Contact

William Whitesmith
438 Burrowes Building
University Park PA 16802
(814) 863-3522

Program Website View