Asian studies

Convenor: Professor Anne McLaren

The countries of Asia are Australia's largest trading partners and are of vital importance to Australia's economic growth and security. For Australians, Asia increasingly defines who we are and our place in the world. A knowledge of Asia is thus a crucial national asset at a time of rapid globalisation and social change. International students wishing to add an Asian competency to their qualifications will find a broad range of subjects taught by experts in the Asian region.

The Asian Studies program at The University of Melbourne is one of the largest in Australia. Asian Studies subjects are taught both within Asia Institute and across the Faculties. This enables the University to offer a comprehensive range of subjects in the rich intellectual, cultural, legal, economic, political and religious traditions of Asia, with a focus on China, Indonesia, Japan, the Middle East and Southeast Asian and Pacific societies.

Asian Studies subjects are normally taught in English and do not require language prerequisites. It is recommended that students majoring in Asian Studies also study an Asian language but this is not compulsory. 

Exchange programs 

Student exchange programs are additionally available to major universities within the Asian region and through the outreach unit, Asialink, the University offers a stimulating program of events and activities with an Asian focus.

Ways to enrol in Asian studies

Optimise your choices

In order to optimise their choices in later years, students considering a major in Asian Studies are encouraged to include several subjects drawn from the following disciplines in their first year:

  • Asia Institute subjects (code 110)
  • History subjects (131)
  • Politics (166)
  • Geography (121)
  • Anthropology (121)

Asian Languages

Students can undertake the study of Asian languages in addition to their major in Asian Studies. Languages available include:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Indonesian
  • Japanese
  • Thai (offered by other institutions to University of Melbourne students)
  • Korean (offered by other institutions to University of Melbourne students)
  • Vietnamese (offered by other institutions to University of Melbourne students)

Students are encouraged to complete one or more of the level 1 subjects listed in the Asian Studies Handbook entry and to examine carefully subject prerequisites for level 2/3 Asian studies subjects.

Requirements for a major

A major in Asian studies usually consists of eight 12.5-point subjects, totalling 100 points. It comprises:
At level 1 (25 points):

  • ASIA10001 Language and Power in Asian Societies OR one level 1 Asia-focused subject OR one Arts Foundation subject; and
  • one subject from any program within the Faculty of Arts

At level 2 (37.5 points):

  • the compulsory level 2 subject CHIN20025 Human Rights in China and East Asia; and
  • two level 2 Asian Studies subjects, with at least one subject from the level 2 core list

At level 3 (37.5 points):

  • the compulsory capstone subject ASIA30002 Identity, Ideology & Nationalism in Asia; and 
  • two level 3 Asian Studies subjects, with at least one subjects from the level 3 core list

A full description of all subjects that contribute to a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies major) is available in the Asian Studies Handbook entry.

The Lionel Phillips Scholarship for Asian studies

Offered by Queen's College, University of Melbourne.

The scholarship is given in honour of Lionel Philips (Arts, 1940) who spent much of his life in Japan working in the Australian diplomatic service. It is awarded to an honours or a post-graduate student who is pursuing a degree in the following areas: (a) Japanese, Chinese or Korean language, history or culture; (b) Australia's relations with Japan, China or Korea; or (c) Business or legal studies focusing on Japan, China or Korea. The scholarship is valued at $15,000 per annum.

General enquiries

Please contact the Arts Student Centre.

Web resources