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Majoring in Asian American Studies

To receive a major in Asian American Studies students must complete 14 distinct courses and an immersion project.

12 distinct courses in Asian American Studies:

Two related courses:

Freshman seminars cannot count towards the major. Courses may not be double counted toward another major or minor.

Immersion Project:

The immersion component is designed to encourage either advanced research or in-depth community engagement and can be fulfilled by completing one of the following options. No more than two of the required 14 courses may be taken up by the Immersion Project. Note that choices A-C require a faculty sponsor or advisor drawn from among the Program faculty

(including affiliate faculty). All Immersion Projects must be approved in advance by the major advisor, DUS, or Program Director.

  1. Senior thesis in Asian American Studies (requires a thesis advisor, may qualify for Honors)
  2. Independently proposed research project (requires a project advisor)
  3. Independently proposed internship at an Asian American community organization or other non-profit working on Asian American issues (requires a project advisor and must include a strong academic component with research and substantive written work)
  4. SESP 299-1, 2 Service Learning Capstone Research Project if it relates to Asian American communities and issues
  5. Study abroad courses on Asian diaspora
  6. Chicago Field Studies, in a field related to Asian American Studies

Asian American Studies Courses for the Major

Core courses (Choose 2):

Introductory Level (Choose 4):

The core courses can also be taken as introductory courses.

Introductory Topics Courses: May be taken more than once if topics are different.

Upper Level (Choose 6):

Advanced Topics Courses: May be taken more than once if topics are different.

Ethnic Studies Courses (Choose 2)

A variety of academic units offer courses with Ethnic Studies content that may fulfill this requirement. Such units include the African American Studies Department, the Latina and Latino Studies Program, History, American Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Psychology, Anthropology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, English, Spanish and Portuguese, French and Italian, Comparative Literature, Jewish Studies, Legal Studies, etc. All courses taken for this requirement must be approved by the major advisor, DUS, or Program Director.

How to Declare a Major in Asian American Studies

First, take a look at the requirements. Then talk with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) about your plans, fill out the Declaration of Major form and the appropriate worksheet (please download pdf below). The major/minor declaration forms and instructions can be found under “Forms and Processes here:

The DUS is responsible for approving and signing all Declaration of Major forms, all transfer credits, study abroad approvals and credit evaluation/transfer and, most importantly, all petitions to graduate. All Northwestern undergraduates who are interested in the major or who want to talk about Asian American Studies are encouraged to meet with the DUS. Email for an appointment. 

This worksheet can help you plan for a major in Asian American Studies. It’s a great way to take stock of where you are before you meet with the DUS to talk about your interest in the major.

The DUS for Asian American Studies is:

Prof. Shalini Shankar]


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