Coordinator, Hanmee Kim

Asia stands as the largest and most populous continent. It is the site of diverse and rich cultural and intellectual traditions, as well as political and economic dynamics that have profound global impact. The significance of this region has only become more pronounced in recent decades within our increasingly interdependent and interrelated world.

The Asian Studies certificate equips students to pursue a deeper understanding of this complex and relevant place that is Asia. The certificate has two main objectives:

  1. To pursue an understanding of the history, culture, and social experiences of various communities in the Asian continent on their own terms and within their specific contexts rather than only through the lens of the Anglo-American context.

  2. To appreciate the complexities of Asia as both a place and an idea by exploring distinct communities within this broader category.

To fulfill the first objective, students are required to pursue experiences that would aid in accessing the specific contexts for and perspectives within communities in Asia. They will do so by gaining facility in a modern language indigenous to Asia equivalent to eight hours of college-level study or by participating in an approved study abroad program in a region within the Asian continent. Students are also required to take courses on Asia that substantially incorporate primary and secondary sources and/or voices indigenous to the region of study.

To fulfill the second objective, students are required to study various topics in Asian Studies from multidisciplinary perspectives. Moreover, the different categories of courses applicable to the certificate encourage students to take courses on communities in East, South, and Southeast Asia. Students may appreciate the distinct and unique insights and developments within each region, while also forming understandings of the complex ways in which these various regions connect with one another to shape the larger region as a whole. The “Transpacific Asia” category also allows for a study of how transpacific relations and movements of people and ideas are informing the larger category of Asia.

Students from any major are eligible for the Asian Studies certificate. The Asian Studies certificate would be particularly beneficial for students who are considering careers in foreign service, international business, education, international law, and non-governmental organizations. Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in fields related to Asian Studies would also benefit from this certificate.

Requirements (24 hours):

At least half of the hours for the certificate must be completed in residence at Wheaton. This certificate has a language training/study abroad requirement.

HIST 293Introduction to Asian Studies4
Language Training or Study Abroad Requirement:8
Faculty in a modern language indigenous to Asia (CHIN 101 and CHIN 102)* equivalent to eight hours of college-level study
- OR - An approved study abroad program in Asia. **
Students must fulfill 12-20 credit hours from at least two of the following five categories. Students cannot exceed 12 hours from each category.
1. Language Courses:
CHIN 201Intermediate Mandarin Chinese4
CHIN 302Chinese Through Scripture4
CHIN 331Chinese Conversation4
CHIN 332Chinese Grammar and Composition4
CHIN 335Business Chinese4
CHIN 337Readings of Chinese Culture and Society4
2. East Asia - Humanities:
ENGL 121Japanese Literature and Film4
HIST 102Exploring the Global Past (topic "Rise and Fall of Imperial Japan" OR "Exploring the Korean War")4
HIST 335The Construction of Modern Japan, 1800-19604
HIST 336Modern Korea4
3. East Asia - Social Sciences:
B EC 331International Business4
IR 302Topics in International Politics (topic "Empire")4
IR 347East Asian Politics4
IR 364East Meets West4
IR 367International Law4
PSCI 323Chinese Political Thought4
4. South and Southeast Asia:
ANTH 435Power and Gender in Southeast Asia4
CORE 356AIS: Global Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations4
HNGR 496Internship in Development4-8
5. Transpacific Asia:
CORE 362AIS: Christianity - Asia to America4
PSCI 328Immigration4
SOC 371Asians in America4
Total Credits24

Elective options for the Asian Studies Certificate can include experimental courses, special topics courses that are offered on an occasional basis, and independent studies relevant to Asian Studies. Students must submit a petition to have such courses be approved as elective courses in relevant categories listed above, and the courses will be approved on a case-by-case basis.  Examples of these courses include, but are not limited to, courses in Anthropology on South and Southeast Asia. 

Courses in approved study abroad programs** need to be approved by the coordinator before they can be applied as Elective courses in relevant categories listed above.


Heritage and native speakers may be exempt from this requirement if they can demonstrate Intermediate-level proficiency through a placement exam. Placement exams are available through the Department of Modern and Classical languages or they can advise regarding other options to demonstrate proficiency.


Approved study abroad programs include Wheaton in China, Wheaton in Korea, Tokyo Christian University, Handong University, and HNGR. All other study abroad programs in Asia must be approved by the Director of Study Abroad in Global Program and Studies (GPS) and the Asian Studies coordinator.