East Asian Studies

The East Asian Studies (EAS) secondary field allows students whose primary concentration is not EAS to obtain an in-depth knowledge of one or more aspects of the culture and societies of East Asia (China, Korea, Japan). Students will select, in consultation with an academic adviser, a coherent set of classes from the rich offerings of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC) and other departments at Harvard that offer classes on East Asian topics. 

Students are not required to focus on a specific area, but suggested paths within the secondary field of East Asian Studies include: Modern and Contemporary East Asian Studies, Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, Chinese History, Japanese History, Korean History, Chinese Literature and Arts, Japanese Literature and Arts, Korean Literature and Arts, and East Asian Buddhism. 

REQUIREMENTS: 6 courses (24 credits) 

  1. EAS 97ab: Introduction to East Asian Civilizations (Sophomore Tutorial, spring). 
  2. One introductory course from the list below: 
    1. Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 35: Korea Indigenous 
    2. Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 36: Buddhism and Japanese Culture 
    3. Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 39: Old Tales for New Times: The Appropriation of Folklore in Modern and Contemporary China 
    4. Culture and Belief 11: Medicine and the Body in East Asia and in Europe 
    5. Culture and Belief 33: Introduction to the Study of East Asian Religions 
    6. Culture and Belief 40: Popular Culture in Modern China 
    7. Ethical Reasoning 25: Confucian Humanism: Self-Cultivation and Moral Community 
    8. Ethical Reasoning 18: Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory 
    9. General Education 1136 Power and Civilization: China (formerly SW 12) 
    10. History 1023 Japan in Asia and the World (formerly SW 13) 
    11. General Education 1100 The Two Koreas in the Modern World (formerly SW 27), Societies of the World 37: The Chinese Overseas 
    12. Societies of the World 45: Beyond the Great Wall: China and its Nomadic Frontier 
    13. Or another general survey course concerning East Asian history with the written permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies 
  3. At least one, but preferably two, 100-level courses offered by EALC. 100-level language courses do not satisfy this requirement, but students may apply to substitute a 100-level class with an East Asia emphasis offered by another department at Harvard. 
  4. The remaining courses can be selected from any subjects related to East Asia to make a total of six courses for secondary field credit. 
  5. Please note: Up to two classes in an East Asian language may count toward the required six courses. The secondary field does not, however, require any language courses. 


Courses for the secondary field may be offered by EALC or by other departments at Harvard, as long as the emphasis of the course is clearly on an East Asian subject. Courses offered in other departments that are taught by EALC faculty automatically count for credit for the secondary field, as do courses that are cross-listed in the EALC course search in courses.my.harvard.edu. Others must be approved by the department. 

General Education courses on East Asia can be counted for secondary field credit. Relevant Harvard Summer School courses and study abroad courses may be counted with permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

All courses must be letter-graded, with the exception of one Freshman Seminar related to an East Asian subject and one course that may be taken Pass/Fail with special written permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies. EAS 97ab may not be taken Pass/Fail. 

Students who are primarily interested in enhancing their language skills in one of the East Asian Languages—Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese—should consider a language citation. Information on language citations can be obtained by emailing eal@fas.harvard.edu


Those students interested in a secondary field in East Asian Studies should contact the EAS Undergraduate Office at eas@fas.harvard.edu or by calling 617-495-8365.