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Major Requirements

If you have questions or would like to declare the major, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

The Asian Languages and Cultures Major is designed for students who wish to combine proficiency in an Asian language (Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, Japanese, or Korean) with rigorous training in the humanistic study of an Asian culture or cultures (China, Japan, Korea, South Asia, or comparative). In addition to the four core linguistic skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) in an Asian language up to third-year proficiency, students will acquire the cultural literacy necessary for effective communication and sophisticated understanding of at least one cultural sphere or region of Asia. The humanities component of the major is designed to introduce students to advanced methods of critical reading and viewing, interpretation, and academic writing through training in literary studies, film and media studies, gender studies, and cultural studies, among other approaches. While most of our majors focus on one Asian language and area of focus, the major is also designed to accommodate students who wish to work comparatively within or between regions. For example, students may combine the study of Korean and Japanese language and culture or explore colonial and post-colonial experiences in East and South Asia. Students interested in the comparative track will work closely with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to develop a coherent course of study. The requirements are as follows:

Major in Asian Languages and Cultures


For students focusing on a single language/area, a first year of language courses or equivalent proficiency is required. For students working comparatively, there are no prerequisites.

Department Courses (15 units)

Students may apply for (but are not guaranteed) language credit towards the major for courses taken while studying abroad. Pending departmental review of relevant course materials and the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, up to 2 humanities courses taken while studying abroad may also be counted toward the major. Students who plan to study abroad should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before leaving Northwestern.