Asian Studies

The countries of Asia are Australia’s largest trading partners and are of vital importance to Australia’s economic growth and security. For Australians, Asia increasingly defines who we are and our place in the world.

Why Asian Studies?

The Asian Studies programme at the University of Melbourne equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate their way through Asia, a dynamic region that is at the centre of global processes of change. It provides students with ways of understanding the forces driving transformations within the region and the way that Asia connects with the rest of the world.

If you are the sort of person who is inquisitive, someone who wants to know about the world beyond your immediate environment – not just to read about it, but also engage in ways that are practical – then Asian Studies is for you.

The Asian Studies major is part of the Bachelor of Arts course offered at the University of Melbourne. It provides foundational knowledge of regions of great importance to Australia such as East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Regardless of the subjects you choose, and whether you combine these with a relevant Asian language, students who complete this major will:

  • Attain broad knowledge of traditions, ideologies and contemporary developments in the Asian region
  • Acquire the ability to use interdisciplinary frameworks to engage critically with key issues in Asia
  • Develop foundational research skills in the analysis of issues in Asian societies as well insights on how to engage with them
  • Develop cross-cultural skills to work effectively with people from different cultures
  • Acquire a general skill set that provides the basis for embarking on Asia-focussed careers

Why at Asian Studies at Melbourne?

Knowledge about Asia is a crucial national asset at a time of rapid globalisation and social change. The Asian Studies programme at the University of Melbourne is one of the largest in Australia. Asian Studies subjects are taught both within the Asia Institute and across the Faculties. This enables the University to offer a comprehensive range of subjects that reflect the immensely rich intellectual, cultural, legal, economic, political and religious diversity found in Asia, with a focus on China, Indonesia, Japan, the Middle East and Southeast Asian and Pacific societies. Furthermore, a Korean Studies programme is currently being developed within the Asian Studies programme including language units for students seeking a deeper understanding of Korean society.

The programme promotes interdisciplinary ways of understanding contemporary Asian societies and their histories and provides inherently cross-regional perspectives to facilitate comparative understandings of issues found across the region. As a bonus, many of the best universities in Asia work with us, so students will benefit from the deep links between teaching staff and Asian academia.

How can I study Asian Studies?

Undergraduate students can study Asian Studies as:

Asian Studies can also be studied through:

At the graduate level, Asian Studies offer courses for:

The Asia Institute offers a range of subjects in Asian Studies. Some examples include:

See the full list of subjects in the Handbook

Where can Asian Studies take me?

Graduates of the Asian Studies programme go on to a variety of careers, including but not limited to government and public service, international institutions, NGOs, teaching, journalism, business and academic research. You may also decide to undertake a Graduate Diploma or Masters by coursework in a specialist area.

In some of these programmes you may be able to take up or continue your study of an Asian language (eg the Master of International Relations). You can also seek to enrol in a one-year full-time honours programme. Many employers value honours graduates very highly.

Meet our Asian Studies staff

Our academics are leading researchers, and dedicated teachers.