Contact Us
Department of East Asian Studies
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899
Phone: (610) 526-5332
FAX: (610) 526-7479

Haverford College
Founders 123
370 Lancaster Avenue
Haverford, PA 19041
Phone: (610) 795-1756

Program Requirements and Opportunities

The information listed below is a direct excerpt from the 2014-15 Course Catalog.

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare her major before the end of her sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

2013-14 Catalog
2012-13 Catalog
2011-12 Catalog
2010-11 Catalog

Students may complete a major in East Asian Studies, a minor in Chinese language or Japanese language, or a (non-language) minor in East Asian Studies.

The Bi-College Department of East Asian Studies (EAS) links rigorous language training to the study of East Asian culture and society. In addition to our intensive programs in Chinese and Japanese languages, the departmental faculty offers courses in East Asian philosophy, linguistics, literature, religion, social and intellectual history. The East Asian Studies program also incorporates courses by affiliated Bi-College faculty on East Asian anthropology, cities, economics, philosophy, and sociology, as well as additional courses on East Asian culture and society by faculty at Swarthmore.

The intellectual orientation of the East Asian Studies Department is primarily historical and text-based; that is, we focus on East Asia's rich cultural traditions as a way to understand its present, through the study of primary sources (in translation and in the vernacular) and scholarly books and articles. All students wishing to specialize in this humanistic approach to the study of China, Japan, and (with special approval) Korea are encouraged to consider the East Asian Studies major.

But we also work closely with affiliated faculty in the Bi-Co and Tri-Co community who approach East Asia from the perspective of such social science disciplines as Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Sociology, and the Growth and Structure of Cities, as well as with faculty in History, Music, Religion, and Philosophy. EAS majors are encouraged to take advantage of these programs to supplement their EAS coursework. Please consult the course guide, online or in print, for details on this year's offerings.

Major Requirements

  • Completion of at least the third-year level of (Mandarin) Chinese or Japanese (i.e. 101-102). Students who entered college with native fluency in one East Asian language (including Korean) must complete this requirement with another East Asian language.
  • EAST 200B (Major Seminar: Methods and Approaches to East Asian Studies), which highlights the emergence of East Asia as a coherent cultural region and introduces students to basic bibliographic skills and research approaches.
  • Five additional courses in East Asian cultures, as follows: one 100-level Introduction (from among EAST 120, 129, 131, or 132); two 200-level courses; and two 300-level seminars.
  • A senior seminar (EAST 398, 399, culminating in the completion of a senior thesis early in the spring semester.)

Minor Requirements

The Department of East Asian Studies offers minors in both Chinese and Japanese. The requirement is six courses in either language, through at least the third year level and with at least a 3.0 course grade in each semester. The department also offers a minor in East Asian Studies, requiring any six courses in EAS exclusive of languages but including cross-listed courses taught in other departments. Of the six courses taken in fulfillment of the EAS non-language minor, at least two must be at the 200 level and at least one must be at the 300 level.

Language Placement Tests

Placement tests for first-time students at all levels are conducted in the week before classes start in the fall semester. To qualify for third-year language courses students need to finish Second-year courses with a score of 3.0 or above in all four areas of training: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In the event that students do not meet the minimum grade at the conclusion of Second-year language study, they must consult with the director of the respective language program and work out a summer study plan that may include taking summer courses or studying on their own under supervision. They must take a placement test before starting Third-year language study in the fall. (Similarly, students who finish Third-year with a score of less than 3.0 in any of the four areas must also take a placement exam before entering Fourth-year.)

Requirements for Honors

Honors in East Asian studies will be awarded by the departmental faculty on the basis of superior performance in two areas: coursework in major-related courses (including language classes), and the senior thesis. A 3.7 average in major-related coursework is considered the minimum necessary for consideration for honors.

Study Abroad

The East Asian Studies Department strongly recommends study abroad to maximize language proficiency and cultural familiarity. Formal approval is required by the study abroad advisor prior to the student's travel. Without this approval, credit for courses taken abroad will not be accepted by the East Asian studies department. Also, since procedures for study abroad are different for Bryn Mawr and Haverford, students should contact the relevant deans at their own colleges. Students majoring in EAS are discouraged from studying abroad during the spring of their junior year, since the Methods and Approaches Seminar EAST200, meets then and it is best to take it as a junior. Minors and other students may go abroad fall or spring semester or for the whole year.
If studying abroad is not practical, students may consider attending certain intensive summer schools approved by the East Asian studies department. These plans must be worked out in concert with the program's study abroad advisor and the student's dean.

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East Asian Languages

The East Asian Studies Department welcomes students who wish to combine their interests in East Asian languages with the study of an East Asian culture. These students are urged to consult the Co-Chair of East Asian studies on either campus, who will advise them on creating individual plans of study in appropriate departments.


The Bi-Co Chinese Program offers five years of instruction in Mandarin Chinese. In addition to First-Year, Second-Year, and Third-Year Chinese, we offer Advanced Chinese, which is a two-year, four-course series, covering topics such as food, music, and language in Chinese culture, as well as other contemporary topics. This curricular design maximizes our teaching resources to meet the needs of our students who, in increasing numbers, either arrive at college with multiple years of Chinese in secondary schools or who have accelerated their Chinese training by studying abroad in their junior year. We also offer a year-long course for those who have facility in speaking Chinese, but have had no or limited training in reading and writing (CNSE007-008). Upon completing CNSE007-008, this group of students will continue their training in Second-Year Chinese.

The faculty in our program are seasoned and hard-working professionals dedicated to providing rigorous training in all four areas of Chinese language studies--speaking, listening, reading, and writing, in a caring and individually tailored environment. (Both First-Year and Second-Year Chinese have mandatory weekly one-on-one sessions between students and their teachers.) We take pride in our students, as our students take pride in their achievements. One indication of their level of proficiency is that we have trained true beginners (students with no prior training or knowledge of Chinese when they enter our program) who, in their senior year, can serve as peer tutors to our lower level students in various aspects of Chinese learning.

The Bi-Co Chinese program is nested within the Bi-Co East Asian Studies Department. We serve EAS majors, Chinese minors, and any student who wishes to study the Chinese language. The Chinese minor is robust with many students coming from other departments, such as Economics, History, Linguistics, Anthropology, Growth and Structure of Cities, Psychology, Sociology, and other majors. We have students from the Natural Science departments in our classes and we would like to welcome more such students into our Minor.

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Chinese Minor

Students who major in any discipline may minor in Chinese. A Chinese minor must do the following:

Take six semesters of Chinese language courses in our program.

Receive a minimum grade of 3.0 for each course.

Attain the minimum proficiency level of Third-Year Chinese upon completion.

Language credits from the approved Study-Abroad programs such as CET are acceptable if prior approval by the director of the Chinese program is obtained. Students who have prior knowledge of the language and are placed into Second-Year or higher level Chinese courses when they enter college still have enough courses to take to complete the minor requirement, since our Advanced Chinese series can be repeated for credits as topics vary from semester to semester.

Study Abroad

Our approved Study Abroad program is CET, which has a language program in four cities in China: Beijing, which also has a Chinese Studies program, Harbin, Shanghai, and Kunming. CET is well-known for its language pledge and its rigorous implementation of this requirement. Our students have a strong reputation at CET for honoring their language pledge and therefore benefiting enormously from this practice. Other highly regarded and rigorous study abroad programs in other Chinese speaking regions might be considered but prior approval by the director of the program is required.


The East Asian Studies Program welcomes students who wish to combine their interests in East Asian languages with the study of an East Asian culture. These students are urged to consult the Co-Chair of East Asian studies on either campus, who will advise them on creating individual plans of study in appropriate departments.

The Japanese Language Program offers a full undergraduate curriculum of courses in Modern Japanese. Students who will combine language study with focused work on East Asian society and culture may wish to consider the major in East Asian Studies. Information about specific study abroad opportunities can be obtained from the director.

College Foreign Language Requirement

The College's foreign language requirement may be satisfied by completing JNSE 003 and 004 with an average grade of at least 2.0 or with a grade of 2.0 or better in JNSE 004.

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