East Asian Studies

Are you fascinated by East Asia, its rich history, culture, people and past civilizations? Majoring in East Asian Studies will expose you to one of the most socially and economically vibrant, diverse and dynamic regions of the world. Offered in a variety of degree options, assuming a demonstrated competence of an East Asian language (excluding minor option), core courses are focused on the study of contemporary and past Chinese, Japanese and Korean societies and their cultural and sociopolitical heritage. You can further expand your familiarity of the region by participating in an exchange in China, South Korea or Japan at one of the many universities York collaborates with in the region.

This list is not exhaustive but it provides a solid idea of what fellow graduates have gone on to do and what potential careers an East Asian Studies degree can offer. Some options are more directly associated with specific areas of East Asian Studies than others.

  • Activist
  • Ambassador
  • Author
  • Charity Coordinator
  • Community Center Director
  • Community Developer
  • Corporate Recruiter/Trainer
  • Diplomat
  • Entrepreneur
  • Economist
  • Entrepreneur
  • Event Planner
  • Foreign Service Worker
  • Historian
  • Human Rights Advocate
  • Immigration Officer
  • Interpreter
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Legal Aide
  • Lobbyist
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Media Correspondent
  • Museum Curator
  • Non-Profit Administrator
  • Political Consultant
  • PPublic Policy Advisor
  • Public Relations Representative
  • Publisher
  • Researcher
  • Social Service Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Speech Writer
  • Teacher
  • Translator

Some of these career choices may require additional education or preparation in the form of graduate studies, experiential education or professional formative courses and exams. For a more in-depth description of some of the careers mentioned above visit Career Cruising (login information can be found on the home page of the Career Centre's online system) or the National Occupational Classification website.

Skills Developed through an East Asian Studies Degree

A background in East Asian Studies ensures that you develop the skills and mindset to tackle many different professional challenges.

Core Skills

  • A sound grasp of the historical legacy and cultural inheritance of East Asia, with focus on the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Exposure to interdisciplinary approaches in contemporary research methods
  • An ability to understand and communicate in an East Asian language, whether Japanese, Korean or Chinese
  • An understanding of the cultural, societal, ethical and socioeconomic issues dominating contemporary debate in East Asia.

Communication, Data Gathering and Organizational Skills

  • The ability to present your thoughts clearly and intelligently in written statements and written opinion pieces
  • Deduction of information from various sources and the ability to concentrate on relevant resources
  • The capacity to critically analyze problems, think creatively and make sound decisions while considering different sides of an argument
  • The ability to explain complex ideas clearly to others and to apply complex theoretical concepts to everyday practice and professional dilemmas
  • The skills to collect various types of information, assess them, analyze and incorporate potential linkages from different fields, put them into writing and efficiently convey your message and the goal of your work

Management and Teamwork

  • The ability to interpret and analyze information presented by peers and efficiently and constructively support or challenge their proposals, theories, ideas and reports in order to achieve a project's intended and successful end result
  • The capacity to lead and interact with a variety of people with different approaches and personal and professional backgrounds
  • Skills enabling you to work effectively in group situations, partaking in decision-making, leading and contributing in various capacities to the ultimate success of the team and task
  • The ability to debate, persuade, mediate and present your thoughts and opinions to others, as well as the capacity to recognize and incorporate other potential solutions or applications to given problems

Professional Associations and Organizations

Knowing the industry and how to excel in it after receiving a degree are key elements of future success. University study sets up the building blocks you will need to develop and enhance your understanding and knowledge in your career. Being part of a professional organization or network and gaining further insight through training are excellent ways of increasing your knowledge of the field.