Program Description

This dynamic program is designed to serve a wide range of students, from business and management majors who hope someday to conduct business in Asia to Asian Americans who wish to explore their histories, cultures, and the relationships of their communities to U.S. society. The Certificate is open to all UMass Amherst undergrad students, regardless of major.

You must complete a total of 22 credits in both Asian Studies and Asian American Studies courses -- two required courses, at least two courses in both concentration areas, then you choose one of the two as your concentration and take two more courses in that area.

Specific Requirements


  1. Regardless of which concentration you choose, you must take BOTH of the following required courses:
    1. Asian Studies 397B -- Bridging Asia & Asian America Colloquium (2 Credits)
    2. Asian Studies 491A -- Senior Seminar (3 Credits)

  1. Regardless of which concentration you choose, you must take at least:
    1. 6 credits in Asian Studies courses
    2. 6 credits in Asian American Studies courses

  1. 6 additional credits in your chosen concentration, either:
    1. Asian Studies courses
    2. Asian American Studies courses

Choosing a Concentration & Other Options

Students will eventually choose one of two concentrations: (1) Asian Studies, which focuses on studies of East, South, and Southeast Asia; or (2) Asian American Studies, which emphasizes Asian American histories, cultures, and politics. The requirements for the two tracks are as follows:


Asian Dragon

  1. Students are required to take 22 credits total to obtain a certificate in either track.
  2. Students must complete at least 6 credits in Asian Studies courses and 6 credits in Asian American Studies courses.
  3. No pass/fail option is available in Certificate courses; a minimum grade of C is needed in each Certificate course.
  4. Students in either concentration must complete the following two required courses:
    1. Asian Studies 397B ('Bridging Asia & Asian America Colloquium'): A one-semester, two-credit colloquium course featuring guest speakers, film screenings, small group activites, class discussions, and student-designed projects focused on the intersections between Asian and Asian American Studies across diverse topics such as immigration, assimilation, ethnic identity, popular culture, etc.
    2. Asian Studies 491A ('Senior Seminar'): A one-semester seminar capstone/thesis course (three credits) meant for students nearing the completion of the Certificate. This course basically functions like an independent study course in which students undertake a research project in Asian and/or Asian American Studies, under the guidance of, and regular consultation with, a faculty advisor.


Eligible courses that are maked as "Asian Studies" from the Current Courses listings:

  1. Students must cover at least two different cultural heritages (i.e., China, Japan, Viet Nam, etc.);
  2. No more than 12 credits may be taken in any one department;
  3. No more than 6 credits (or two courses) of language courses may count toward the 22 total credits required for the Certificate.


Eligible courses that are maked as "Asian American Studies" from the Current Courses listings:

  1. The Asian American Studies concentration requires that you take at least one of the following courses:

    • English 204, "Introduction to Asian American Literature"
    • History 253, "Asian-Pacific American History, 1850-Present"
    • Sociology 240, "The Asian American Experience"
    • Sociology 326, "Asian Americans in Media and Popular Culture"
    • Sociology 330, "Asian Americans and Inequalities"


Students also have the option of completing the Certificate with both concentrations (Asian Studies and Asian American Studies) by taking the two required courses, four Asian Studies courses, and four Asian American Studies courses.

Finally, with approval from the Program Director, students may substitute courses from the Five Colleges and/or study abroad to count toward the Certificate.