About the Major

Department/Program Description.

The College of East Asian Studies (CEAS) challenges students to understand China, Japan, and Korea through the rigors of language study and the analytical tools of various academic disciplines. This process demands both broad exposure to different subjects and a focused perspective on a particular feature of the East Asian landscape. Japan, China, and Korea are related yet distinctive civilizations. Each has its own traditions and patterns of development. These traditions have played an important role in the development of culture around the globe and remain formative influences today.

Students interested in East Asian studies will be guided by the expectations for liberal learning at Wesleyan and by the college's interdisciplinary approach. Language, premodern history and culture, and the sophomore Proseminar provide the common core of our program. The Proseminar exposes students to a wide variety of intellectual approaches to East Asian studies and thereby provides a foundation for students to focus in more depth in particular areas.

All classes counting toward credit for the major or the minor must be taken for a letter grade.

Admission to the Major.

Prospective majors are urged to start their language and premodern core courses early in their Wesleyan careers. This will leave more time for study abroad and for more meaningful work in the concentration of the students' choice. To help students chart their way, the college faculty has designed the concentrations listed below. Admission to the college is via application during the Spring semester of a student's first year. Sophomores or above may petition to the CEAS chair for admission; petitions will typically be granted as long as the student has a clear path to completing the major's requirements. Apply to the CEAS major here:  http://goo.gl/forms/43KTtx0kso.

Major Requirements.

Majoring in the College of East Asian Studies requires seven courses. These include three core courses plus four in a concentration. Other requirements include language courses, study abroad, and a senior capstone project. 

Core Courses: Each CEAS major is expected to take our interdisciplinary Proseminar (CEAS 201) in his or her sophomore year, as well as one survey course on traditional Chinese culture or history and one survey course on traditional Japanese history and culture (these can be taken at any time; a similar course on Korea can be substituted for either of these core survey courses). The goal is to ensure that each CEAS major is firmly anchored in the classical texts and key events that shaped the developmenet of East Asian cultures before the 19th century. Details on the courses that count for the core courses are available at http://www.wesleyan.edu/ceas/majoring/core.html.  

Concentrations: Each CEAS major must choose one of the six concentrations listed below. Our goal is to ensure that each major's course of study has methodological coherence in a specific area of study. Course offerings for each concentration may vary in some years according to faculty on campus. Details on the courses that count for the concentrations are available at http://www.wesleyan.edu/ceas/majoring/concentrations.html.

  • Art history and art
  • Language, literature, and film
  • Music
  • History
  • Philosophy and religion
  • Political economy

Study Abroad.

All CEAS majors are required to study abroad to develop their language competency and acquire a more concrete grasp of a specific East Asian cultural context. This requirement may be fulfilled through a semester or, preferably, one year in an approved program. For more information, please see http://www.wesleyan.edu/ceas/majoring/studyabroad.html.

Questions about study abroad should be addressed to Prof. Xiaomiao Zhu (China), Prof. Naho Maruta  (Japan), or Prof. Hyejoo Back (Korea).

Capstone Experience.

All majors must complete a written or (with approval) creative project during their senior year. This should involve the use of East Asian language materials to the extent that the students' preparation permits. There are several ways in which this requirement can be fulfilled:

  • Write a substantial essay, focusing on East Asia, as assigned in a regular class. The instructor must approve of this project and may suggest revisions as needed. Similarly, faculty approval is required also for a creative project done in the context of a class or as a tutorial. If the class instructor is not a CEAS faculty member, the essay or the creative arts project must be approved by the student's CEAS advisor. Please note that this class can simultaneously fulfill other requirements.
  • Write a one-semester senior essay in a tutorial, preferably given by a CEAS faculty member. The tutorial may be for a full credit or for 0.5 credit.
  • Write a senior thesis, typically in a two-semester tutorial with a CEAS faculty member.
  • Furthermore, each student will be expected to present his or her research at a poster presentation toward the end of the Spring semester of the senior year. This presentation is in addition to and apart from the actual research project. 
Language Requirement.

CEAS majors are expected to reach a minimum of advanced-level (third-year) competency in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. Majors who are native speakers of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean are expected to study another East Asian language. All students need to maintain a grade of B or above by the time they reach advanced-level competency. All students must take a minimum of four semesters of East Asian language courses; this may mean being required to take language classes beyond the advanced level. Evaluation of an individual student's language competence will be undertaken by the relevant language coordinator, who will also determine how language courses not taken at Wesleyan count toward this requirement.

Questions about Chinese should be addressed to the Chinese Language and Co-curriculum Coordinator, Prof. Xiaomiao Zhu. Questions about Japanese should be addressed to the Japanese Language and Co-curriculum Coordinator, Prof. Naho Maruta. Questions about Korean should be addressed to Prof. Hyejoo Back.