East Asia consists of China, Japan and Korea and is one of the most culturally and economically vibrant regions of the world. But East Asia as a geopolitical and cultural region is a relatively recent invention in the Western imagination (it used to be called 'the Far East', as opposed to 'the Near East' or 'the Middle East'; or 'the (Extreme) Orient'). With the rise in influence of East Asia in global affairs and the increasingly recognised importance of East Asian civilisations the demand for expertise on East Asia is on the rise.
The Department of East Asian Studies (DEAS) runs two full degree courses: Chinese Studies and Japanese Studies, aiming at providing undergraduate students with solid language abilities in the chosen language as well as a deep understanding of the region through its history, politics, culture, philosophy, and literature. The skills that you obtain will open up a wide range of career options, as East Asian language skills provide a foundation for further study (in Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies or other academic or professional training programmes) and work in fields such as art and museums, the performing arts, translation, business, diplomacy, law, and journalism. Cambridge students who graduate with a strong foundation in the languages, history, and politics of these countries are well prepared to find their place in the burgeoning market in business, ideas, and cultures of East Asia. They are also well prepared to continue to advanced degrees.
An essential element of the BA in Chinese or Japanese studies is the year you spend abroad in China or Japan. It is here that classroom learning comes to life, as you are given an opportunity to live amongst and communicate with native speakers. The year abroad enables you to consolidate your language skills, and to gain a deeper appreciation for the cultures and history of your chosen country.
The Department of East Asian Studies holds Undergraduate Open Days in mid-March and early July each year. The Open Day provides an excellent opportunity to meet academic staff from the Department and to ask any questions that you might have about our courses.
Further information about postgraduate courses at the Department may be found in our Graduate Studies section.