East Asian Studies is a strong and vibrant program at UC Davis. Our faculty research and teach across the disciplines from the Humanities and Social Sciences to the various other sciences. Disciplines include Anthropology, Art History, Agriculture and Plant Sciences, Geology, History, Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Literature, Nutrition and more. The EAS program actively sponsors and promotes lectures by visiting and campus experts, colloquia, symposia, and workshops addressing the concerns of the research community. These events are free and open to the public as we recognize that they can enrich the lives and affect the choices made by people in our larger region. Understanding East Asia today requires knowledge and appreciation of the forces that have shaped its diverse cultures and societies. It offers us a perspective on the diversity of human achievements and is key to understanding the region.
Undergraduate study of East Asia at UC Davis is not concentrated in a single department. The major draws faculty from many disciplines, including anthropology, history, sociology, economics, political science, religion, languages, and literature.
The UC Davis program recognizes that East Asian studies majors often come to the University with little or no background in Asian cultures, and that the career possibilities are exceptionally varied. To meet these two problems, the program offers a background core of basic courses in East Asian history, humanities, social sciences, and languages, plus a wide range of more advanced and specialized courses from which student and advisor tailor an individualized program of study.
Students majoring in other fields, such as literature, economics, history, international relations, even agricultural sciences may find courses in East Asian studies relevant to their particular career goals or academic interests. Also a number of students have undertaken double majors, combining East Asian studies with another area of study. The faculty are as eager to introduce some appreciation of East Asia to future textile engineers, doctors, and agronomists, as they are to train Asian specialists.
Study abroad is strongly supported and encouraged to help ensure students understand a language and culture other than their own. Also, UC Davis offers opportunities for Summer Abroad internships in East Asia.
A number of students decide to double major, combining East Asian studies with another area of study. Students majoring in other fields such as literature (such as Chinese and Japanese), economics, history, communication, international relations, sociology and even various agricultural sciences (such as international agricultural development) often find East Asian studies relevant to their particular career goals or academic interests. We’re especially interested in introducing appreciation of East Asia to future economists, lawyers, artists, business executives, doctors and agronomists.
What Can I Do with a Degree in East Asian Studies?
An undergraduate East Asian Studies degree has many advantages that will help prepare students in a variety of different career areas.
East Asian studies explores a vibrant region that contains the second and third largest world economies, some of the longest lasting civilizations, and more than a quarter of the world’s population.
Understanding East Asia today requires knowledge and appreciation of the cultural orientations, traditional practices and social forces that have shaped its diverse cultures and societies. The East Asian Studies Program delves into the depth, breadth and diversity of human achievements to gain this understanding.
Our faculty research and teach across the disciplines including anthropology, art history, communication, economics, history, languages, literature, psychology, political science and sociology. Students will discover a flexible educational path, and because the major is interdisciplinary, they can tailor their degree to their interests and needs.
New skills will widen career horizons
Students develop skills that are vital for their careers and postgraduate education, such as effective communication, social interaction and presentation. More importantly, however, the diverse social and cultural structure and history of the East Asian region opens up students’ horizons, sheds light on new perspectives, cultivates problem-solving skills and nurtures critical reasoning.
Our alumni fondly remember their experiences in the East Asian Studies Program. One alumnus remarked:
East Asian studies gave me a chance to make lasting friendships and connections with people around the world who are interested in and pursuing careers in this field.
Another alumna recalls:
Experiences in East Asian studies benefited me by further developing my research skills and intellectual curiosity. Personally, I learned that I really did not know my own Japanese culture and history when I thought/assumed I did. You can learn so much about yourself and about your own country when you are able to see them objectively. East Asian studies helped me realize this.
Preparation for international work and study
UC Davis graduates in our major are well prepared for careers that involve working with East Asian affairs as well as for graduate studies in any aspect of the East Asian economy, culture and society. Common career choices include journalism, international business, government service, teaching and social services.