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Great Wall of China

Asian Studies

Want to learn Mandarin? Or spend a semester in Beijing? Or learn about Japanese art in the year 1573? Or get an in-depth understanding of Hinduism, one of the most-practiced religions in the history of the world?

Degree Types
Major , Minor
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements
Study Abroad
Experience cultures across Asia with short- or long-term studies

The major or minor in Asian Studies provides a comprehensive, multicultural, and multidisciplinary examination of the history, society, arts, cultural traditions, and contemporary significance of the nations and peoples of Asia, especially India, China, and Japan. In addition to language study (Mandarin Chinese), the program offers a broad range of courses within a variety of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Students in the Asian Studies program will choose from two tracks: Language Track or Non-Language Track. Students are invited to pursue the major, the minor, or individual courses in any of the participating departments.

Future Career Paths

With a firm grasp of Asian culture, you’ll be equipped to explore careers in fields such as:

  • Politics
  • Economics
  • International relations
  • International business
  • Education
  • National security

Distinctive Courses

AST-1141 Japan: Land of the Rising Sun

This study tour of Japan will begin in Osaka and end in Tokyo, with stops at Hiroshima, Himeji, Hakone, Nara, Kyoto, and some smaller places in between, such as Kamakura. The trip focuses on historical sites that are related to Buddhism, Shinto, the Japanese garden, and museums in Kyoto and Tokyo, in addition to several important feudal castles, such as that at Osaka and Himeji. Students will have a week of orientation and preparation time, which will include material on Buddhism and Shinto, and the culture as a whole.

AHY 2227 - History of Chinese Art 960- 1800 A.D.

Concentrating on the arts and architecture of China from the Song (960-1279) to the early Qing (1644-1800) dynasties, with a special focus on painting, this course will include the philosophical, religious, and historical bases for landscape painting and the Buddhist arts of sculpture and architecture.

HIS 2237 - Immortals, Ancestors & Demons

A monkey named Wukong (aka Goku in Dragon Ball and Monkey King in Forbidden Kingdom) accompanies the monk Tripitaka on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India to China.  15 He is able to lift his 17, 000-pound iron cudgel with ease and to travel 34, 000 miles in one somersault. He knows 72 transformations into various shapes of animals and objects, even a clone of himself. He even knows various spells to command wind, to divide water, to conjure vprotective circles against spider spirts, and to freeze humans. Students, using a 16th-century novel Journey to the West, explore (1) the development of popular beliefs (in immortals, oxen demons, hungry ghosts, kitchen god, silkworm goddess, goddess of mercy, spider sprits, ancestors); (2) the boundaries between the seen and unseen realms of divine worlds; (3) a changing society entwined in what have formed/become the history of China. Focusing on Chinese religiosity within its own historical contexts, we examine and explore the knowledge and categorization of “religions” in the field of Chinese studies.

AHY 3306 - Chinese Painting and Calligraphy

Beginning with the earliest known landscape painting in China, this course will address the philosophical and religious background (Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism) and the Principles of Painting as first expressed by Xie He in his preface to the “Ancient Painters Classical Record,” which forms the basis for later painting theory. We will study landscape painting from the Six Dynasties through the Qing Dynasties with emphasis on the relationships between painting, poetry, and calligraphy, and part of the course will be devoted to “hands on” experiments with brushes, ink, and paper. The course will also include a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to study the collection of Chinese painting and calligraphy.

Asian Studies Program Requirements

Special Opportunities

Students outside of Budapest campus.

Phi Sigma Iota - Foreign Language Honor Society

McDaniel College received its Beta Alpha chapter of Phi Sigma Iota in 1990. The International Foreign Language Honor Society was founded in 1922 with the purpose of honoring outstanding achievements of foreign language students. It promotes international communication, helps maximize the understanding of cultural heritage by understanding ourselves and others, and supports scholarly programs nationwide.

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

Picture of a group of students in front of a pagoda in Japan.

Senior selected by Congressional Black Caucus Foundation for first Japan exchange

Alexaundria Leonard of Baltimore was thrilled to be one of only 15 students across the nation selected for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s first Japan exchange program to Tokyo. 

Students walking across campus.

Students travel to China for National Model United Nations Model UN

13 McDaniel students attended the 2018 National Model United Nations China conference. The students represented either Belarus, Chad, or Togo at the conference with the Belarus team receiving an honorable mention delegation award. Junior Mischka Johnson of Westminster, Md., served as head delegate.