East Asian Languages & Cultures Major & Minor

The Bi-College Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures is housed at both Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Our mission is to foster learning about East Asia through rigorous language study and through deep and exploratory engagement with prominent themes and sources from East Asian countries.

Curriculum & Courses

EALC offers up to five years of instruction in Chinese and Japanese language and an array of courses on East Asian culture taught in English, including such topics as religion, visual culture, film, gender, history, and literature. The Major seeks to train students in language, guide them through a curriculum that situates East Asian culture within global discourses, and nurture their skills in critical thinking, research, and writing. The two language programs, Chinese and Japanese, are central and foremost in this effort. Minors are offered in each of the languages. There is also a Minor in EALC. (See details on the requirements of the Major and the three Minor tracks below.) Many students choose to study abroad in China or Japan during the school year or during the summer to enrich their knowledge and experience; alumni have pursued a wide variety of fields after graduation, both in East Asia and in the United States. Students also take advantage of offerings on East Asia at Swarthmore and Penn; such courses may be applied to credit towards the major or minor.

  • EALC Major Requirements - Twelve Courses

    Two introductory courses, Major Seminar, Capstone

    • EALC B131 Chinese Civilization (Can be replaced with alternate 100-level course on China)
    • EALC H132 Japanese Civilization (Can be replaced with alternate 100-level course on Japan)
    • EALC B200 Methods and Approaches to East Asian Cultures*
    • Senior Thesis (Fall of senior year)

    Two Terms of Intermediate/Advanced Language

    • Two terms of Japanese or Chinese at third year level or above

    Students who enter the major having satisfied the requirement through assessment and approval by the respective Chinese or Japanese language directors should discuss this requirement with the major advisor.

    Six Electives

    • Two must be 300 level EALC courses
    • The rest (four) can be chosen from 200 or 300 level EALC courses (a 100-level EALC course may be substituted with permission), of which up to TWO can be chosen from CNSE or JNSE courses and non-EALC courses approved by the major advisor.

    Requirements for Honors

    The departmental faculty awards honors on the basis of superior performance in two areas: coursework in major-related courses (including language classes), and the senior thesis. The faculty requires a minimum 3.7 average in major-related coursework to consider a student for honors.

    Senior Prizes

    Graduating Seniors in EALC are eligible for the “Margaret Mayeda Petersson Prize,” which recognizes a spirit of engagement and enthusiasm through the major and the thesis project. EALC-sponsored Prizes

    Graduating Seniors from any department who have studied Chinese are eligible for the “Hu Shih Prize in Chinese” which recognizes excellence and dedication in the study of the Chinese language.

  • Minor Requirements

    Chinese and Japanese Minor Requirements

    The Chinese language and Japanese language minors both require six language courses. Students  must take at least four language courses in our Bi-Co programs, and can take at most two at the  Quaker Consortium or our approved off-campus domestic or Study Abroad programs.  Candidates for the Minor are approved in consultation with the language program directors.  Students who receive above 3.0 in all language classes and complete at least one year of advanced level are eligible to receive a certification of ability in Chinese or Japanese based on  their level of achievement in the four skill areas of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

    East Asian Languages and Cultures Minor Requirements

    The EALC minor requires six courses taken in the EALC department, including language  courses. The mix must include EALC 200 and one 300- level course. (BiCo co-chairs serve as  advisors.)


Associated Programs and Concentrations

Research & Outreach

EALC majors produce a thesis, a work of original research, on a topic that falls within an EALC faculty member’s area of expertise. By the close of junior year, each student prepares a thesis proposal. That summer, many conduct primary research while studying abroad. Students focus on writing during the fall of senior year and submit a final draft early in the spring. The Department’s senior seminar course, which combines group sessions and one-on-one meetings with faculty advisors, offers our majors critical guidance and support as they produce this capstone work.

After Graduation

EALC majors graduate having honed general communication and analytical skills as well those specific to comprehending and thriving in China and Japan. Prepared to enter graduate programs in East Asian Studies or related areas, they are also equipped to enter a range of careers in China and Japan and those in the U.S. that require a deep understanding of East Asian culture and its languages.

Keep Exploring

More Programs

Check out our other academic offerings:

Get in Touch

Join the Mailing List or search for events in your area.

You can find detailed instructions and information on the Application Instructions page. If you need to contact us directly, please send an email to admission@haverford.edu.

Contact Us