FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT IS THE ASIAN & ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES CERTIFICATE?
It's an interdisciplinary collection of courses, totaling 22 credits, that focuses on exposing students to historical and contemporary issues concerning Asian countries and cultures, the Asian American community, the connections between the two, and their connections to the larger international community. After you complete the requirements, you get an official designation on your final transcript and a Certificate with your name on it that you can keep and frame if you wish.


Ganesh board art by Tom Hamlyn

WHY SHOULD I GET THE ASIAN & ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES CERTIFICATE? WHAT GOOD WILL IT DO ME?
As American society becomes more diverse, multicultural, and globalized, and in the context of the cultural and economic emergence of Asian countries such as China and India, the Certificate gives you the opportunity to learn about the interconnections between two similar but unique sets of histories, cultures, and issues -- Asia and Asian America.

With course offerings and faculty specializing in numerous academic disciplines, the Certificate is designed to give students (1) an understanding of different racial/ethnic groups & international issues and (2) interdisciplinary and multi-method research and analytical skills.

In turn, these skills will give you a competitive advantage in both your studies at UMass and in whatever career you enter once you graduate.


HOW IS THIS CERTIFICATE DIFFERENT FROM THE FIVE COLLEGE ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN STUDIES CERTIFICATE?
There are similarities between this Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate here at UMass with the Five College Asian Pacific American Studies Certificate (5CAPASC), but the main differences between the two are:

  • The 5CAPASC is mainly intended for students at the other Five College campuses that don't have their own Asian American Studies-related certificate programs (although UMass students are certainly welcome to participate as well).
  • The 5CAPASC focuses more specifically on Asian Americans, while this Certificate emphasizes the connections between Asia and Asian Americans.
  • Due to the expertise of faculty who teach courses in the 5CAPASC, its strengths tend to be based more in Humanities-related fields and disciplines, while this UMass Certificate is much broader in terms of its strengths and areas of expertise.


WHAT'S INVOLVED IN GETTING THE ASIAN & ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES CERTIFICATE?
You have to complete a total of 22 credits in courses on both Asian- and Asian American-focused courses. You must take at least two courses in both areas, then you choose one of the two as your specialization and take two more courses in that area. Also, you have to take two required courses, regardless of which specialization you choose (Asian Studies 397B, the "Bridging Asia and Asian America" colloquium and Asian Studies 491A, the "Senior Seminar"). Each semester, a list of courses that count toward the certificate can be found at in the Current Courses page.


EIGHT COURSES AND 22 CREDITS SOUND LIKE A LOT OF WORK, DOESN'T IT?
It may look like a lot of work, but many of the courses that count toward the Certificate are ones that you would probably take anyway for your Gen Ed requirement, major, or minor. So you might as well maximize your benefit from taking them.


IS THERE A FORM I NEED TO FILL OUT TO SIGN UP FOR THE CERTIFICATE?
No, there are no enrollment or sign up forms to fill out. You really only need to check with C.N. Le, the Program Director, about which courses you've taken so far and which courses you still need to take in order to meet the requirements. Once you finish your last course (usually AS 491A, the Senior Seminar), Prof. Le submits your name to the Registrar's office to confirm your completion of the Certificate.


DOES THE ASIAN & ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES CERTIFICATE FULFILL THE GLOBAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENT FOR SBS MAJORS?
Yes, but SBS requires that you take at least six credits of foreign language as part of completing the Certificate.


WHO CAN I CONTACT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Call or email Prof. Le, the Program Director at 413-545-4074 or .