The Concentration

Language Study

The concentration requires students to demonstrate basic proficiency in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. For the purposes of the concentration, proficiency is determined to be consistent with successful completion of the Department’s third-year course sequence in either Chinese, Japanese or Korean (0500-0600), or its equivalent. Native speakers of these languages may demonstrate competency such that language courses may be unnecessary. Department language instructors may also determine that course work completed at one of the language-intensive study abroad programs attended by our undergraduates is comparable to courses offered at Brown. Up to three upper level (700-999) language courses may count as electives for concentration credit.

Note that we do not equate completion of third-year Chinese, Japanese, or Korean with fluency in these languages. Rather, we believe that students who have demonstrated the skills associated with third-year Chinese, Japanese, or Korean have acquired a foundational understanding of the languages’ grammar, vocabularies, and conversational patterns, such that they are able to make themselves understood in everyday situations, and to understand both spoken and written communication. For the purposes of the concentration, language courses through the third-year are treated as an accompanying requirement.



The concentration requires that students complete a total of eight electives tied to their course of study, which may be defined in linguistic, chronological, thematic or cultural terms. EAST Independent Studies and GISPsdo not automatically count toward concentration credit. Students should choose their courses with the following three requirements in mind:

  • EAST Requirement: At least three of the eight electives must be East Asian Studies (EAST) courses at all levels or Chinese (CHIN),  Japanese (JAPN), or Korean (KREA) courses at the 1000-level and above.
  • Breadth Requirement: At least one of the eight electives must focus on an East Asian country or culture other than those associated with the language the student is using to satisfy the concentration’s language requirement. A concentrator studying Chinese, for example, must choose at least one course that focuses on Korea and/or Japan.
  • Senior Seminar Requirement: At least one of the eight elective courses must be an advanced research seminar, taken in the senior year. 

Concentrators should confirm with the Director of Undergraduate Studies whether a particular East Asia-related course is eligible for concentration credit. 


Advanced Research Seminars

The research seminar provides students with the opportunity to develop a project or paper focusing on one or more of their areas of inquiry within the concentration. Students are strongly encouraged to find ways to incorporate the use of Chinese, Japanese or Korean language materials in their research and learning in these courses. Courses falling into this advanced research category include the East Asian Studies 1950 series as well as designated seminars offered by faculty in such departments as History, Religious Studies, and Comparative Literature, among others. Please contact EAS for questions about specific courses and concentration credit. Students wishing to add courses to that list must submit their requests in writing to the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the start of the semester.


Double Concentrations

Students who are interested in developing a double concentration, including East Asian Studies as one of the two concentrations, should bear in mind that normally no more than two courses may be double-counted toward satisfying either of the two concentration programs involved.