Two smiling students covered in colorful pigments during Holi

Department of Asian Languages & Literature

Student selects a book from the stacks in a library

Explore the connections between East and West from the College’s vantage point on the Pacific Rim.

Over half the world’s population lives in Asia, home to many of the oldest and most vibrant cultures in human history. The Department of Asian Languages and Literature provides instruction in 11 Asian languages: Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Sanskrit, Telugu, Urdu, and Vietnamese. The curriculum emphasizes linguistic, textual and literary analysis, and examines the roles of these languages within the cultures they serve. Programs also include intensive summer study in Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

Visit Department Site View Factsheet
Detail shot of a work of art with gold Japanese calligraphy and an illustrated Buddha, disciples and deer
Top-down view of a student reviewing and taking notes on Asian periodicals


Graduates of Asian Languages & Literature programs pursue careers in academia, business, government, journalism, law and other professions, using their cultural and linguistic expertise to foster understanding between Asia and the rest of the world. Every spring, the department hosts a career panel to help undergraduates learn how to leverage their language skills into careers and connect with potential employers.

Career Paths

Job titles of recent Asian Languages & Literature graduates:

  • Attorney
  • Budget/fiscal analyst
  • Business development manager
  • Data analyst
  • Medical interpreter
  • Program manager
  • Operations supervisor
  • Professor
  • Software engineer
Detail shot of historical Asian language artifact

Apply your studies abroad

The department encourages its undergraduate majors and minors, graduate students and other language students to take advantage of the many study abroad opportunities available in Asia. During their time abroad, students can achieve advanced language competency and experience the cultural context in which Asian languages are used. In past years, students from across the University participated in study programs in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

More About Study Abroad

Find Yourself in Asian Languages & Literature

Explore the languages, literature and culture of East, Southeast, Central, and South Asia.

Department of Asian Languages & Literature Stories

Andrew Glass headshot

Ancient Languages, New Technology

His knowledge of ancient languages led Andrew Glass (2006) to a specialized technology job at Microsoft. 

Professor Emeritus Michael Shapiro

The Humanities Get Personal

A new online course introduces students to the humanities through A&S faculty's personal stories and favorite artifacts.

Cherry Blossoms

Playing Favorites

Faculty across the College recommend a favorite book related to their field.