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Asian and Pacific Studies

The Program

What is Asian and Pacific Studies (ASPA)

Students in LMU's Asian and Pacific Studies major examine the broad sweep of the region's history, philosophy, politics and culture, while gaining an understanding of contemporary issues related to this rapidly changing part of the world.

Majors may choose to study the region as a whole or concentrate on a specific country or area. All students, regardless of academic focus, are encouraged to spend time in Asia through various LMU-connected programs. 



Bachelor of Arts in Asian and Pacific Studies

What do Asian and Pacific Studies majors do?

Majors receive a firm grounding in the history, philosophy, culture, and politics of Asia and the Pacific. Students may also delve into areas such as theology and the arts, or learn an Asian language. Students whose cultural backgrounds are from other parts of the world may explore relationships between their own cultures and those of the region.

Students who choose to concentrate on a specific country or area may complement their focus with language studies in Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, or Tagalog. Through arrangement with nearby UCLA, students can earn LMU credit for courses in Arabic, Korean or Mongolian. Language study can be excellent preparation for further studies and professional work.


Is this Major right for you?

You might be an Asian and Pacific Studies major if you:

  • Are curious about the Pacific Rim
  • Have diverse academic interests
  • Follow global current events
  • Like travel and international culture
  • Enjoy research 


Representative Courses

Our courses have included:

  • Asian Civilizations
  • Politics of Asia
  • Religions of East Asia
  • Economic and Political Issues in Contemporary Asia
  • Asian Philosophy
  • Masterpieces of East Asian Literature
  • Asian Mythology
  • Asia Media
  • Future of the UN
  • Asian Cinema
  • Arts of Asia: Zen
  • Martial Arts in China
  • Multinationals and the Third World
  • Independent Studies   


The Major

Lower Division Requirements (18 units): Modern Asia (HIST 182, 3 Units) Asian Civilizations (ASPA 201, 3 Units) Asian Language (choose one, 12 Units): Chinese, Japanese, Tagalog, Sanskrit or another. Korean, Hindi, and Mongolian are offered through a consortium arrangement at USC and UCLA.

Upper Division Requirements (24 units): Economic and Political Issues in Contemporary Asia (ASPA 305, 3 Units) Masterpieces of East Asian Literature (ASPA 302, 3 Units) Senior Integrating Seminar (ASPA 500, 3 Units) Electives (15 Units): Choose from courses offered in the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Communication and Fine Arts, and Business Administration.


The Minor

Requirements (18 Units): Modern Asia (HIST 182, 3 Units) Asian Language (choose one, 3 Units) Senior Integrating Seminar (ASPA 500, 3 Units) Electives (9 Units)


About Our Faculty

Our award-winning, interdisciplinary faculty comes from a broad spectrum of academic backgrounds, including philosophy, theological studies, literature, art history, film, communications/journalism, and management. Professors' areas of interest include comparative philosophy, Asian literature, feminist theory, Asian business, East Asian art history, and theology. Many instructors have taught, researched, and studied abroad.

Faculty members are widely published in the area of Asia and the Pacific. Professors have authored important and influential books such as Yin Yang: The Way of Heaven and Earth in Chinese Thought and Culture, and The Roots of Tantra. Articles by our instructors are published in leading journals and sit on editorial boards of publications, among them the Journal of World Business


About Our Students and Graduates

Our students often seek to complement their studies with experience in the region.  LMU offers a study abroad program in Beijing, China, and exchange programs at Sophia University and Kansai Gaidai in Japan, Sogang University in Korea, and the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

A major or minor in Asian and Pacific Studies offers a valuable foundation for careers in government, social services, the law, education and many other fields. Given the recent surge of interest in Asia and the Pacific, employers increasingly seek out those with a background in this area. 



Laffin Foundation Scholarship: The Laffin Foundation provides scholarship support for highly qualified students pursuing a Major or Minor in Asian and Pacific Studies. It was established in 1991 and is awarded to outstanding students major or minor in Asian & Pacific Studies Program at LMU. Valentina Laffin, a generous benefactor with great foresight, set up a testamentary trust to honor her parents, John and Maria Laffin.

The Chinese Visiting Scholar Program: The LMU Asian and the Pacific Studies Program and Mount St. Mary's College Bridging Cultures: U.S./China Program have developed the Chinese Visiting Fellowship to bring a young Chinese faculty member to our campuses for a two to three week stay each year. The joint program is designed to provide students at the two universities opportunities to become more familiar with and to give a human face to a rapidly changing China. Selected from a pool of candidates recommended by a prestigious Chinese university and interviewed by the director of the Bridging Cultures Program, the Chinese Visiting Fellow will be an articulate young faculty member fluent in English. The Fellow will meet students in classes and other casual gatherings to engage in informal conversations about life in China.


More Resources (links)

Asia Pacific Reader

Asian and Pacific Studies Electronic Journals

Pacific Asia Museum