Undergraduate Program

Discover the language, literature and culture of China, Japan and Korea

Our Programs

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures offers undergraduate majors and minors in our three linguistic and cultural traditions, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. A major in one of the languages opens up career opportunities in diplomacy, business, law, journalism, and higher education, in addition to preparation for further study in the relevant languages and cultures. A major entails advanced training in the chosen language and a sound background in the relevant literature. Students are encouraged to enhance their cultural knowledge by enrolling in cultural-related courses offered through other departments and programs, such as Anthropology, Art History, Film and Media Studies, History, Performing Arts, and Religious Studies.

Our Undergraduate Degrees:

  • Chinese Language and Culture (major and minor)
  • Japanese Language and Culture (major and minor)
  • Korean Language and Culture (major and minor)

Study Abroad

Majors are highly encouraged to participate in Washington University-approved summer, semester, or academic year study-abroad programs as an important way to develop both their practical knowledge and their cultural sensitivity.

Language Placement Exams

Placement tests are required for all students entering our language programs, with the exception of those students who have had no previous knowledge of the language and are planning to enroll in the first semester of the first year of instruction.

Placement Exam Information

Chinese Program


China not only boasts extraordinarily rich and diverse literary and cultural traditions going back thousands of years, it has also become one of the most powerful players on today's world stage. The principal gateway into the world of China, whether past or present, is through its language, and the Chinese major can expect to graduate with a high level of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing modern standard (Mandarin) Chinese and with the cultural skills needed to communicate effectively in a Chinese environment. In addition, majors will also have acquired a solid familiarity with and appreciation of the landmarks of Chinese culture and civilization, including its history, literature, philosophy, religion and arts, as well as a deepened understanding of the rapidly changing cultures of greater China today.

Learn more about our Chinese program



Japanese Program

Gateway to a civilization marked by fascinating historical epochs, iconic traditions in the arts, and postmodern allure, the Japanese program enables majors to encounter new worlds of cultural expression, experience, and knowledge. Language study is fundamental to this process, and our Japanese language program, featuring an intensive and highly interactive classroom experience, fosters natural fluency and cultural competence from the earliest stages. Graduates can expect to attain advanced proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Japanese majors will acquire a broad knowledge of Japanese society and culture and a solid foundation in the major landmarks of Japanese literature spanning fourteen centuries. And their education will be reinforced by various study-abroad opportunities-- most notably the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies (KCJS), which affords an unparalleled access to Japan's great cultural mecca.

learn more about our Japanese program


Have questions? We would love to help you explore studying East Asian languages at WashU. 

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