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Majoring in Asian American Studies

Students majoring in Asian American studies must complete 14 courses and an immersion project.

Students must also complete the Undergraduate Registration Requirement and the degree requirements of their home school.

Program Courses (12 units)
2 core courses chosen from:
Introduction to Asian American Studies
Introduction to Asian American History
Global Asians
Introduction to Asian American Literature
4 introductory electives 1
6 advanced electives 2
Related Courses (2 units)
2 Ethnic Studies courses in disciplines other than Asian American Studies that explicitly focus on race and ethnicity in the United States. Contact DUS for course approval and application toward your major requirement (it is not automatic). First-year seminar courses do not count toward the major.
All 200-level program courses (ASIAN_AM) count toward this requirement, but a course may not be counted toward both this requirement and the 2-course core.
All 300-level program courses (ASIAN_AM) count toward this requirement.

Related Courses (2 units):

* All 200-level program courses (ASIAN_AM) count toward this requirement, but a course may not be counted toward both this requirement and the 2-course core.
** All 300-level program courses (ASIAN_AM) count toward this requirement.

Immersion project

The Immersion Project can either be: 1) An advanced research proposed by the student; or 2) An in-depth community engagement in the form of a internship or substantial volunteer work, and subsequent supervised reading and writing. Both require students to complete ASIAN_AM 392-0 Seminar in Asian American Studies – Capstone Seminar in their senior year, plus an independent study if needed. Juniors wishing to take the Capstone Seminar to develop a research project may be repeat it for credit as seniors, with the expectation that they will further their work on the Immersion Project.

Honors in Asian American Studies

 To qualify for honors, a student must demonstrate consistently high performance in the major and complete a major research project during the senior year, selecting a thesis adviser from among core and affiliated faculty. Students whose theses and grades meet program criteria are recommended to the college for graduation with honors. For more information see the director of undergraduate studies or program director.  Also see Honors in the Major.

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