Ways to Concentrate

    Are you interested in declaring EAS as your concentration, or transferring to EAS from another concentration?  You're in the right place! There are several possible tracks in East Asian Studies, the requirements for which are summarized below (click on the headers for more detail.)  When you're ready to join the concentration, you'll need to take the following steps:

    1. Review the requirements for your desired track, and familiarize yourself with The Logic of Your Plan of Study
       
    2. Meet with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator. Email Naia Poyer to schedule your appointment.
       
    3. Submit a Plan of Study. You can resubmit this form later if your plan of study changes. 
       
    4. When your Plan of Study has been approved, you can officially declare your concentration on my.harvard.
    stylized image of a tree and its roots and branches annotated with career paths and interests
     

    Primary Concentration
    Honors
    (13 courses)

    Primary Concentration
    Non-Honors
    (12 courses)

    Joint Concentration, EAS Secondary
    Language Track
    Honors only
    (9 courses)

    Joint Concentration, EAS Secondary
    Area Track
    Honors only
    (6 courses)

    Joint Concentration in East Asian History
    Honors only
    (14 courses)

    Secondary Field
    (6 courses)

    Tutorials

    EASTD 97ab

    EASTD 98

    EASTD 99

    EASTD 99

    EASTD 97ab

    EASTD 98

    EASTD 97ab

    EASTD 97ab

    EASTD 97ab

    History 97

    History/EASTD 99

    History/EASTD 99

    1 History Research Seminar

    EASTD 97ab

    Area
    Courses

    3-5

    4-6

    2

    5

    4

    4

    (up to 2 can be language courses, 1 must be a 100-level EALC course and 1 a historical survey course)

    Language
    Courses

    4-6

    4-6

    6

    -

    4

    Maximum 2

    Thesis

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    The logic of your plan of study:


    Before filling in the blanks in a plan of study, you should give careful thought to the following. The key to making the EAS concentration a rich academic experience is to construct a coherent program of study. Your choices within each category (language, tutorial, area courses) should suit your interests. Ideally, your courses will also cohere across the three categories, reinforcing and building upon each other.

    You should begin your language studies in your first year if possible, and by no means later than sophomore year. For native English speakers, East Asian languages require more years of study than European languages to reach fluency, and the concentration requirements will bring you to a minimum floor of proficiency, not a ceiling. Many students will wish to gain further language proficiency while in college, either through summer schools or term-time study abroad. To make best use of study abroad, you should have already completed at least two years of language study before going to Asia, so an early start is crucial. And of course, reaching a high level of language proficiency as soon as possible will help you in your advanced area courses, tutorials, and senior thesis, should you choose to write one.

    EAS suggests that all concentrators take at least one course that acts as a history of the region that they plan to focus on ("historical survey" area course) and that covers a relatively broad chronological range. Do not hesitate to consult your Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies for advice on choosing this course.

    Recommended historical survey courses for 2021-22:

    Courses that have counted for historical survey credit in the past include:
    • Chinese Literature 114: Introduction to Premodern Chinese Literature
    • Culture and Belief 33: Introduction to the Study of East Asian Religions
    • East Asian Studies 170: Medicine and the Body in East Asia and in Europe
    • General Education 1091: Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory
    • General Education 1101: The Business of China
    • Government 1280: Government and Politics of China
    • History 1023: Japan in Asia and the World
    • History 1602: Modern China
    • History 1820 (Vietnam)
    • History 1821 (Vietnam)
    • History B-68: America and Vietnam
    • Korean History 111: Traditional Korea
    • Social Studies 98LF: Globalization and the Nation-State
    • Societies of the World 43: Japan's Samurai Revolution

    Tutorials are an important part of the concentration. All sophomores take the sophomore tutorial, EASTD 97ab. The tutorial introduces you to the culture, literature, and society of Korea, Japan, and China in pre-modern and modern times. It gives particular attention to some of the larger themes of East Asian history, and the various analytic disciplines used in studying East Asia today. It also seeks to train students to write clearly and persuasively, and to read and think critically. In their junior year, concentrators choose from among several junior tutorials according to their primary country of interest and the particular topics they wish to pursue. Junior tutorials have the designation EASTD 98; offerings in EAS 98 vary from year to year. Students may substitute another seminar course for EAS 98 with the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

    Choice of area courses should be made with an eye toward relatedness among these courses, and between them, your junior tutorial, and your potential thesis topic. Several General Education courses qualify as area courses, and they offer a good general introduction to concentrators. As noted above, you should take one introductory course, such as a General Education on East Asia, in your first or sophomore year. But we strongly encourage you to go beyond General Education and to take some of the many departmental courses on East Asia to meet your area course requirements. Indeed, Harvard's unique strength in the field of East Asian studies lies above all in the rich array of such courses. They tend to have smaller enrollments than Gen Ed courses and allow you to get to know the faculty better. Taking departmental courses in an area of particular interest in your sophomore or junior year will also help you explore possible topics for a senior honors thesis and get to know potential advisors.

    Space and credit for additional area or language courses can be gained by taking advantage of the flexible line between the language and area course requirements. You can satisfy the language requirement by reaching second or third year proficiency as measured in a placement test, taking advantage of summer study, study abroad, or previous exposure to the language. This does not reduce your overall course requirement in the concentration, but it frees you to either take more advanced language courses or to replace language with additional area courses, or both.

    If you intend to write an honors thesis, you should begin preparations in your junior year. Ask professors in your language and area courses, and your tutorial instructors, for suggestions about possible thesis topics. Explore possible topics in your papers written for tutorial or other courses. Harvard offers several grants to allow students to travel to East Asia in the summer between junior and senior year. By all means apply for these, and consult the EAS office for information. As applications are due in March, you need to begin thinking about topics and writing a proposal early in the spring semester, or before.

    Senior tutorial, EASTD 99, is a full-year course for those seniors writing honors theses. Students work in individual tutorials with a faculty advisor and a tutor. Not all students write theses, and the decision to do so or not is important. By all means consult widely, talking to upperclass students in the concentration, tutors, and faculty members. For those who elect this option, the senior honors thesis is an important and rewarding part of their college experience.