Department/Program Home Page

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 CEAS'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.

Student Learning Goals

The College of East Asian Studies (CEAS) has two mutually reinforcing core missions: to cultivate an outstanding group of students with strong language abilities, wide-ranging knowledge about East Asia, and an area of particular expertise; and to promote knowledge of and engagement with the histories, cultures, and contemporary significances of East Asia across the campus, curriculum, and broader community.

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 student's 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 so long as the student has a clear path to completing the major’s requirements.

Major Requirements

Majoring in the College of East Asian Studies (CEAS) 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. Starting with the class of 2020, only courses taken for a grade may be counted towards the major.

Core courses. Each CEAS major is expected to take our interdisciplinary Proseminar (CEAS201) 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 development of East Asian cultures before the 19th century. Details on the courses that count for the core courses are available at

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

  • Art history and art
  • History
  • Language, literature, and film
  • Music
  • Philosophy and religion
  • Political economy
Admission to the Minor

Upon completion of any College of East Asian Studies (CEAS) course, students may apply to enter the CEAS minor. Students must fill out an online application and then submit a minor declaration via the Minor Declaration Tool in the electronic portfolio.

Minor Requirements

The minor requires completion of any five CEAS courses and intermediate-level competence completed second year in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. Starting with the class of 2020, only courses taken for a grade may be counted towards the minor.

No more than two of the five courses may be language courses. No more than two of the five courses can be performance or studio art courses. No more than one of the five courses can be a study abroad course.

The rule that no more than two of the five courses can be language courses means that students beginning their Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language study at Wesleyan may have to take as many as seven courses to fulfill the minor (because four courses would be required to reach intermediate competence, but only two will count toward the minor).

Note that while the CEAS major requires that native speakers of a Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language must study a different Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language, that does not apply to the minor, so a native speaker of Korean, for example, can pass the intermediate competence standard without taking any language classes and can simply take any five CEAS classes. All students, including native speakers, must contact a language instructor and pass a placement exam in order to certify intermediate competence. Please contact the appropriate language coordinator (Chinese--Zhu, Japanese--Maruta, Korean--Back) immediately, or no later than one year prior to graduation (i.e. Spring of Junior year), if you intend to exercise this option to allow for sufficient time to take additional language if necessary.

To graduate with a minor in CEAS, seniors must complete their minor certification form in their portfolio.

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 one year in an approved program.

For more information, see

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 student's 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 (completed 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 cocurriculum coordinator, Prof. Xiaomiao Zhu. Questions about Japanese should be addressed to the Japanese language and cocurriculum coordinator, Prof. Naho Maruta. Questions about Korean should be addressed to the Korean language and cocurriculum coordinator, Prof. Hyejoo Back.