With a fruitful history spanning ages, ancient cultures, views, and religions, Asia has been booming economically and culturally for ages. East Asia has over 21% of the world’s population and is today’s hub of global trade. What is most alluring though, is the importance of East Asia with the world, with the People’s Republic Of China being the second biggest economic power in the world, with Japan’s economic dilemmas and demographic problems and the split Korean peninsula, Asia is pivotal on the global scale.

The most exciting to you as a student would probably be the collaboration work abroad with students from all kinds of cultures and ethnicities, as well as said major being a very interesting choice for students wishing to work and travel outside of their country.

In this article, we talk about some of the world’s best schools for Asian studies.

Top Asian Studies Schools in the World

1. Stanford University

Stanford University has the leading Asian studies program in the United States, and even possibly the world, rivaling universities such as University of Cambridge and Harvard University. Stanford University was historically the first university to give quality and comprehensive studies on east Asian languages molding early Chinese-American diplomacy and relations from way back.

With its Center Of Asian Studies, known as CEAS, as well as its proximity to the east Asian coast, Stanford has taught many great scholars and had a great impact on the world. Studying at Stanford will for sure allow you to travel, meet new ethnicities, and get engulfed in cultural aspects you never imagined.

2. University of Cambridge

Arguably Europe’s most prestigious university has one of the world’s most in-depth Asian studies programs. University of Cambridge is among the best Asian studies schools as it has a long history of being the United Kingdom’s way of understanding Asian culture. Cambridge’s great minds have the best ways of engulfing you into Asia’s unique cultures, spanning from Morocco up to Japan. Cambridge’s program gives you a unique opportunity to choose between the middle east and the far east Asian countries, with the choice of mastering a language. The Master’s program is unique for the choice of the student, having the possibility to further deepen your understanding of the culture’s ideas and problems.

3. Harvard University

Harvard University, as the most world-renowned university, has a great Asian studies program. It’s the best place to study on the east coast, offering amazing travel opportunities where you can immerse yourself in the culture you are studying as well as find work to fund some of your expenses. Extensive language courses are offered, as well as area courses you can finish that count for area course credit. No wonder Harvard is among the top Asian studies schools.

So far, Harvard is the best place to study to branch your career further abroad. The university has gone to the stretch of letting you make your own program to some extent.

4. Yale University

Yale University, being an Ivy League school, has no exception in what the title offers. In the East Asian Studies program, undergraduates have their studies towards a region or an area in Asia to better focus their work on social studies as well as language and humanities. Yale’s program is amazing for students to further their studies in business or other professional careers where East Asian Studies are necessary or even essential.

5. Columbia University

Columbia University is recognized as one of the best Asian studies schools in the world. At Columbia, students get a high-end education giving them perspective and opportunity in all fields of Asian culture, from economy, history, literature to philosophy, sociology, and religion. Having the best staff on board, they offer extensive learning in Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and even Tibetan languages.

Most interesting about Columbia though is its extensive program for studying abroad. These programs specialize in the further career interests of the student. Some options are:

  • The Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies – A program that offers students learning in Kyoto, Japan immersing them into the Japanese culture and honing their skills in the Japanese language.
  • Columbia Summer in Beijing: Chinese Language Program – The summer program given to Columbia students that want to further understand the Chinese languages, with direct involvement in Beijing.
  • Columbia Summer in Shanghai: Business Chinese – Likely the best of the bunch, the program that helps the students learn cultural behaviors and linguistic styles used in multicultural business atmospheres which is amazing for those who plan to take post-graduate studies in the field of economy.

6. Princeton University

The East Asian Studies program at Princeton University is one of the oldest in the United States. Having 52 full-time professors and a world-renowned East Asian Library, Princeton is a great place to follow your Asian Studies ambitions. Being one of the Ivy Leagues, it has the same quality in education and is an exciting place to continue your postgraduate education into fields such as economics, sociology, and other studies stemming from East Asian studies. Princeton is lower than the other big universities in the U.S due to the lack of travel opportunities and direct experience with the cultures of Asia.

7. California State University Long Beach

California State University Long Beach is an excellent institution for Asian Studies. With multiple campuses to learn on and its relative proximity to East Asia, it gives many opportunities for students to apply for the major. Long Beach has a great location for students, while its staff offers an exciting and rigorous learning environment. The most important part that places California State University on this list is due to having the lowest tuition in the United States, allowing many students to both learn and explore different cultures abroad.

FAQs about Studying Asian Studies

Is Asian Studies a good degree?

Asian studies are quite a unique and intriguing direction for students that leads to a very prospective career, so in its essence Asian studies can be considered a very good degree that equips students with knowledge in the liberal arts that can prepare students for a career in areas such as education, sociology, and historical studies.


We hope that you found this article on the best Asian studies schools in the world informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students so you can learn more about studying abroad!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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