The Asian Studies major and electives

As the pace of development in Asia quickens, knowledge of the dramatic changes that are taking place there has become an essential asset in a broad spectrum of occupations. The study of Asia, its peoples, cultures, and politics is also of great relevance to academic research and a topic of general interest and fascination. Asian Studies at Monash University (which now incorporates Chinese Studies, Indonesian Studies and Japanese Studies) allows students a flexible study plan with units specific to either countries of interest or study on a regional basis. There are also units which take a broad Asian perspective bringing together a range of ideas both modern and ancient from across Asia.

Asian Studies and Asian Languages

An interest in Asian Studies can also be complimented with the study of an Asian language. This is possible as either electives within the Asian Studies major or as a double major, that is a major in Asian Studies and a major in an Asian language. Alternatively for those already studying an Asian language, one or two units at second or third year level can be taken as electives towards your language major.

Planning your undergraudate studies in Asian Studies

For a major in Asian Studies, you take two six-point units in first year, twelve or eighteen points at second-year level, and eighteen or twenty-four points at third-year level, making a total of forty-eight points.

The minor can consist of a sequence of two units at first and two at second year level, or a sequence of two units at second and a further two at third year level.

Up to three units (18 points) in an Asian language (Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese or Korean) may be counted towards the major or the minor, from beginners to advanced.

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  • Undergraduate information

    For information regarding a major, minor, or individual unit, see the Asian Studies – Undergraduate Area…

Students and seniors connect

Students on an excursion to Melbournes Chinatown. Image courtesy of the Monash Photography Club

Victorian students are taking advantage of a unique opportunity to improve their foreign language skills through regular meetings with migrant seniors whose first language is Chinese, German or Spanish.

Now in its third year, the Connecting younger second language learners and older bilinguals program is led by Dr Marisa Cordella from Monash University’s School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics. Working withDr Hui Huang from the Faculty of Arts,Professor Colette Browning from Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Dr Cordella’s project connects Year 11 and 12 students with ‘language and cultural gurus’.

For more information about this programme, please see the full article and the project Website.


Postgraduate information

Postgraduate study in Asian studies can be carried out purely by research, or by a combination of research and coursework.

For a listing of relevant courses at the Diploma, Masters, and PhD level, see Asian Studies – Postgraduate Area of Study handbook entry.

For inquiries about postgraduate study please contact the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics.


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  • Honours information

    Students looking to pursue further study at the Honours level, see Asian Studies – Honours Area…

Honours information

Students looking to pursue further study at the Honours level, see Asian Studies – Honours Area of Study handbook entry.

For inquiries about honours please contact the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics.

Overview of Honours in Asian Studies

The Honours program in Asian Studies is a one-year full-time course or a part-time program over two years. It is of particular interest to students with an interest in a particular area of Asian studies who may not have completed a major in an Asian Language and thus do not qualify for Honours in a specific language program (for example, heritage/background Asian language speakers, or those with a minor in a language, or those who have concentrated solely on Asian Studies units in their degree).


Honours is a competitive and challenging program and only students who have an adequate research proposal and demonstrated ability in previous studies will be accepted. Students must have a major in Asian Studies and an average of 70 or higher in that major to be considered for inclusion in the program.

The Honours program in Asian Studies is open to students from other universities. For students who do their third year at Monash, it is recommended that students complete ATS3747 – Theory and Research in Asian Studies or a similar unit in research methodology in their third year of study in order to be able to work constructively over the summer period on a literature review and to prepare for any empirically – based research they might wish to undertake during the Honours year.

Upon entry, students should consult with the Program Convenor about the coursework they should undertake during their Honours year.

The Structure of the Program

See the Asian Studies – Honours Area of Study handbook entry for information about the Asian Studies course structure when undertaking an Honours degree of Bachelor of Arts.

The Research-Thesis Component

The thesis should present original research which examines issues relevant to understanding a specific aspect of an Asian society or culture. The Faculty of Arts employs a number of specialists in Asian Studies in a variety of disciplines and areas of research, and one or two of these staff members will be appointed to supervise the Honours research. Prospective students should discuss supervising possibilities with the Convenor of Honours in Asian Studies.

Students are advised to select an area for research and to discuss their vision for the research with a potential supervisor before the summer break, so that background reading can be started before the first semester begins.

Why do Honours in Asian Studies?

  • to extend further one’s knowledge and skills relevant to working in Asia or in contact with persons having an Asian background;
  • to acquire a four-year degree, with advanced skills in research and report writing, skills which are highly valued in a variety of employment situations;
  • to gain a greater appreciation for Asian studies and a fuller understanding of the issues present in the field;
  • to expand expertise in the discipline area in which research is conducted;
  • to gain entry into various postgraduate programs.

Further information:

Further information about Honours is available from the School’s Honours page.

If you would like more information on Honours in Asian Studies, contact the Honours Coordinator for the Section of Asian Languages and Studies:

Dr Shani Tobias
Japanese studies, room W429
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Email: Shani.Tobias@monash.edu

For general information on Honours in the Faculty of Arts:

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Home – introduction

Most students who are studying an Asian language have a keen interest in the region where that language is spoken. If you are taking one of the four Asian languages taught at Monash it is a great advantage to do some units which allow you to learn about the country of the language you are studying.

Because the Asian Studies subjects are done entirely IN ENGLISH, you can study the issues at greater depth and at your current intellectual level. The Asian Studies major is interdisciplinary, exposing you to a variety of academic approaches. It is an excellent preparation for Honours and for Postgraduate study in Asia.

Asian studies enables students to study specific issues across a range of Asian countries, cultures and societies and provides a broad comparative perspective across these areas of study. The interdisciplinary major is available to all students and has a particular relevance for those studying an Asian language.