Asian Studies BA China Studies

Program Purpose

Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary major in which students develop language competence and an understanding of the literature, humanities, history, politics, economics, geography, and social conditions in East Asia generally with a more in-depth knowledge of China, Japan or Korea. The major is designed to serve students interested in working in the private sector, government, or non-profit organizations, as well as preparing for graduate studies primarily in professional programs. It also aims to have students develop critical thinking, perceptive reading and competent writing skills that will assist students in career choices and prepare them to be lifelong students. This statement of purpose aligns with Brigham Young University's Mission Statement by enabling students to think clearly and communicate effectively, while learning more about another region of the world.

Curricular Structure

Program MAP:

Catalog Description: The Asian Studies major is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for careers and advanced study in the specialized field of Asia not provided by a major in one department. In the program, students acquire working competence in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or another approved Asian language, a broad knowledge of Asian civilization, and a more specialized knowledge with a specific country focus. The Asian Studies major is useful to those contemplating careers in academic areas, private industry, or government service. Inernational business and government services are particularly interested in persons who have a strong background in Asian Studies.

As evident from the attached Asian Studies Map Sheet, the Asian Studies curriculum is designed to meet stated Asian Studies program goals by requiring each student to complete specific courses relating to Asia in general in specific disciplines. Each student will acquire specific research and study methods unique to the study of Asia. Those skills involve various disciplines, but are specific to Asia. In addition, each student will become familiar with the recent history of Asian civilization, the Asian literary tradition, and Asian international relations and politics.

Each student is required to select a specific area within Asia (China, Japan, Korea, or other area approved by the program coordinator) in which to specialize by developing competence in the language of that area, and a more in-depth knowledge of its history. After completing the language component, students should be able to converse intelligently in the language of the area, and to read and write on a level permitting primary research in the area. Elective coureses allow students to further develop knowledge of her/his area of emphasis, or to further expand knowledge of Asia in general.

The curriculum encourages students to seek opportunities to study or work (through an internship program) in the country of emphasis and allows students to apply credit obtained through internship courses to the major or minor.

Learning Outcomes

Factual Knowledge

Demonstrate general factual knowledge of the literature, humanities, history, politics, economics, geography, and social conditions of East Asia.  The courses that are the foundation for this knowledge are the core coures in the major: Asian 200, Intro to Asin Studies: Methods and Materials; Asin 342, Asian Literary Traditions; History 231, Introduction to East Asian History; IHum 240, Introduction to the Humanities of Asia; and either Poli 348, Government and Politics of Asia or Poli 385, International Relations of Asia.

Courses that Contribute: ASIAN 200 ASIAN 342 ASIAN 495 IAS 301
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence
Language Proficiency

Communicate in Chinese (Mandarine) at the "intermediate" level according to ACTFL proficiency guidelines-i.e. "handle successfully a variety of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straightforward social situations . . . limited to those predictable and concrete exchanges necessary for survival." Comprehend "simple, sentence-length speech . . . in a variety of basic personal and social contexts." Read "short, non-complex texts that convey basic information and deal with basic personal and social topics."

Courses that Contribute: None
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Human knowledge
Effective Writing

Demonstrate effective writing skills by completing a research paper on a major East Asian topic.

Courses that Contribute: ASIAN 200 ASIAN 342 IAS 301
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence
Research Philosophies and Methodologies

Understanding basic research philosophies and methodologies associated with research in the social science and humanities.

Courses that Contribute: ASIAN 200 ASIAN 342 ASIAN 495
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence

Evidence of Learning

Most formal assessment occurs in the individual courses using examinations, papers, oral presentations, projects, etc. Successful completion of the program course work is the most obvious and direct measure of learning available to the Asian Studies program.

Direct Measures

  1. Review capstone papers. Each year capstone papers will be reviewed and evaluated using a rubric that focuses on the clarity of writing, engagement with the existing literature, quality of the research methodology and design, and grammar and style issues. A copy of all capstone papers are kept on file in the Asian Studies Coordinator's office. This will provide a measure for learning outcomes 1, 3, and 4.
  2. Collect Oral Proficiency Exams results. This will provide a measure for learning outcome 2.
  3. A comprehensive exam for Asian Studies majors is taken as part of Asian 495, the Capstone Course.  This exam covers material from the core courses for the major.

Indirect Measures

  1. All graduating seniors are required to complete a written survey.These are collected by the Kennedy Center Advisement Office when students apply for graduation. They allow students to offer self-reflective comments on their learning process and education experiences at BYU. This provides an indirect measure for all learning outcomes.
  2. An exit interview is conducted by the department coordinator with all students participating in ASIAN 495 (capstone course). This allows the students an opportunity to reflect on their education at BYU, offer suggestions on how the Asian Studies program might be improved, and provide a forum for other types of information associated with their education they might wish to discuss. This provides an indirect measure for all learning outcomes.

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, no faculty members are directly assigned to the Asian Studies program (rather each is a member of another academic department ) and the majority of course offerings are provided by other departments such as Asian and Near Eastern Languages, History and Political Science. Due to theinter-disciplinary  nature of the program, most course evaluation and faculty assessment is conducted by the faculty home departments.