The Department of Asian Languages & Cultures at UW-Madison is student-centered and driven by research that is integrated into the classroom. With thematic foci in Asian languages, linguistics and literature, Asian cultural studies, religions of Asia, and critical issues in contemporary Asia, we aim to teach students how to recognize and critically analyze the realities of past and present “Asia” as a region that is crucial to the global flows of people, materials, and ideas through its own rich complexity with deep interconnection across multiple domains. For more information please review our Department Overview.
Undergraduate Majors in the College of Letters and Science
Undergraduates can choose from three majors, each has a different set of prerequisites and requirements. Students with prior experience in an Asian language will be required to take a placement evaluation at UW-Madison prior to enrollment.
Asian Languages and Cultures
This major includes multiple named options, including: East Asian Studies, South Asian Studies, and Southeast Asian Studies, as well as a non-region-specific or Trans Asian option. The most up-to-date information about the Requirements and Learning Outcomes are made to Guide.
The Chinese program offers students a range of courses and activities which impart an understanding of the culture and civilization of China. With the completion of three basic years of the language, students will be prepared to handle various types of colloquial Chinese. Most majors pursue advanced studies in Chinese linguistics or literature, while others combine an interest in China with a degree in business, education, engineering or journalism. The most up-to-date information about the Requirements and Learning Outcomes are made to Guide.
The Japanese program offers students a range of courses and activities which impart an understanding of the culture and civilization of Japan. With the completion of the four basic years of the language, students will be prepared to handle various types of colloquial Japanese. Most of our majors pursue advanced studies in Japanese linguistics or literature, while others combine an interest in Japan with a degree in business, engineering, history, or international studies. The most up-to-date information about the Requirements and Learning Outcomes are made to Guide.
Undergraduate Certificates in the College of Letters and Science
These certificates (similar to undergraduate minors or concentrations) are designed to provide a credential in targeted language training for students majoring in another field of study.
Beyond the Classroom
In addition to their course work students are encouraged to explore opportunities to use their language of study outside of the classroom.
Join a residential learning community! Consider applying to live in the International Learning Community (ILC) located in Adams Hall, clusters of rooms are devoted to language immersion. Our department and faculty co-sponsor the Nihongo Hausu (Japanese House), and Zhongwen Tiandi (Chinese House).
First year students, consider a First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs), which are clusters of (usually) three UW courses, linked together to explore a common theme, and offered to incoming freshman who attend these classes together as a cohort.
A great place to start is the International Internship Program office that is dedicated to create internships around the world specifically for UW-Madison students. Or the UW-Madison International Academic Programs (aka Study Abroad) office that advises and manages UW Signature Programs, Exchange & Affiliate Programs throughout Asia!
Check the Language Institute events and opportunities that focus on world languages and developing skills for putting languages to use in careers.
There are several other campus resources for finding internships, such as Handshake and your Career Services Office in your School or College.
If you have questions about our programs and are exploring your options; or you are ready to declare a major or certificate, please make an appointment to meet with Rachel Weiss, Undergraduate Advisor:
Office: 1244 Van Hise Hall
Schedule: advising appointment via Starfish.
Phone: (608) 890-0138