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Answers to frequently asked questions about East Asian Studies

East Asian Studies vs. International Relations

Since international relations is one of the UC Davis' most competitive majors, you must fulfill basic requirements in economics, geography, history, and introductory international relations to be eligible for the program. The undergraduate major in International Relations is an interdisciplinary program focusing on economic, security, environmental, and socio-cultural issues affecting the global community. Four trakcs of study build a level of expertise in each of these areas.

East Asian Studies is a newer major in which you'll gain an understanding of this fascinating region through interdisciplinary studies that combine intensive work in an East Asian language with courses on history, politics and culture of east Asian countries. The East Asian studies program provides an excellent way to integrate language study of an East Asian country with other aspects of the country--hisotry, literature, anthropology, and so on--allowing the student to focus on his or her particular interests.

The difference? International Relations has been around longer and is more well known. It will provide the student with a general international studies background, however if you want to focus exclusively on East Asia, EAS provides a complete educational background for many international careers.

East Asian Studies vs. Japanese or Chinese

The majors in Japanese and Chinese concentrate on the study of language and literature. As a Japanese/Chinese major, you will first build a strong foundation in either language, then cultivate an understanding of the literature and civilization. You will gain perspective and context about Japanese/Chinese culture from classes in history and anthropology.

With East Asian Studies, you may choose to focus on Chinese or Japanese language and culture, although you will be encouraged to study aspects of the culture of each country. You will begin with core courses in East Asian history, humanities, social sciences, and languages. After completing these courses and two years or more of your chosen language, you will choose additional courses focusing on a special field of interest such as anthropology or history.

The difference? Japanese and Chinese focus more on the language and literature, whereas EAS has a broader focus which will provide a background suitable for many fields, incorporating courses from political science, economics, history, sociology, and anthropology.