Major Requirements

The major in Asian Languages and Cultures is designed to reflect the following learning goals:

  1. Proficiency in a major Asian language and familiarity with the literature and humanistic culture of Asia. Training in literature, film, gender studies, and cultural studies will make our students adept at textual interpretation and critical thinking in relation to one or more particular Asian cultures and across different cultural contexts. Students will work with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and individual advisers to develop their course of study.
  2. In addition to the four core linguistic skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing an Asian language at third-year proficiency at least), students acquire the cultural literacy necessary for effective communication and sophisticated understanding of at least one cultural sphere or region of Asia.

Students majoring in Asian Languages and Cultures select individualized concentrations to provide focus and depth to their course of study. They will complete language study courses as well as courses in literature and culture in the chosen concentration. Once department offerings are more robust, the requirement will become more detailed: for example, 4 courses at the 200 level and 4 courses at the 300 level, at least one of which must use materials in the original language. While we strongly encourage students to spend time abroad, we limit the number of courses that will count towards meeting the major and minor requirements.

Major in Asian Languages and Cultures


111-3 or 115-3 or equivalent proficiency

Department Courses (14 units)
  • 6 Language courses
    • 3 quarters of second-year language study
    • 3 quarters of third year language study
    • Students may apply for (but are not guaranteed) language credit towards the major for courses taken while studying abroad by consulting with the DUS and their advisor, ideally BEFORE their study abroad sojourn.
    • With department’s permission, near-native or native speakers of the language may take 6 literature and culture courses in substitution for the language course requirement, or else 6 courses in another Asian language. The determination of the native speaker’s linguistic level will be assessed by the language program coordinators.
  • 7 200- and 300-level DALC literature and culture courses.
    • At least 5 of the 8 literature and culture courses must fall within the concentration.
    • At least 2 courses must examine a literary/cultural topic outside the student’s concentration.
    • Courses must be chosen in consultation with the department adviser and/or Director of Undergraduate Studies.
    • With the department’s permission, up to 2 courses taken while studying abroad may be counted toward this requirement.
    • Majors returning from a study abroad program must enroll in at least 1 300-level culture course in the department.
  • ALC 397 Fall Senior Seminar. Topics vary. This seminar satisfies the ALC major comprehensive assessment. In this seminar students learn the tools and techniques needed for research and for writing sustained scholarly essays by engaging seriously with sources in an Asian language. By the end of the Fall quarter, senior seminar students will present their work at a student conference. Each student will prepare a brief (10-15 minute) oral presentation based on his or her seminar research paper, and will also prepare a brief (3-5 page) written commentary on the paper. The presentation should highlight the research question, the sources and methods of investigation, and the overall conclusion. Students will give their presentations on a day designated by the department, and with faculty and junior and senior majors in attendance.
  • Prerequisite: consent of program advisor.
Related Courses (3 units)

3 related courses in departments such as Art History, Comparative Literary Studies, History, Linguistics, Religious Studies, Radio/Television/Film, and Theatre.

  • At least 1 core methods class in literary or cultural studies, such as English 298, or relevant classes in Comparative Literary Studies or film studies.
  • Courses must be chosen in consultation with one’s advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  • With department permission, students may count up to 2 courses on the literary, and/or cultural traditions of Asia taken while study abroad. Students should consult with the department adviser and the Director of Undergraduate Studies before going abroad. In general, students will not be permitted to count more than 2 courses for this and the literature and the culture requirement combined.