Minor in Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies

Detail, from the "Nine Dragons" handscroll, painted by Chen Rong, during the Song Dynasty. Scroll located in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. In this detail, the dragon — an auspicious symbol of strength and good luck in Chinese iconography — has grasped the pearl of wisdom. (Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.)



The Minor Program in Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies is designed for students interested in the language, history, politics, and culture of Asia. The geographic region of Asia includes countries such as Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. In consultation with the minor advisor, students may focus their coursework on a sub-region of Asia, on one of the Asian diasporas, or design their program to offer a comparative study across different regions and/or cultural groups.

The goal of the Minor Program is to provide balanced coverage of language, humanistic, and social science offerings and to expose students to comparative perspectives.

The Minor Program in Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies consists of six subjects (at least three of which must be MIT subjects) arranged in four areas of study:

Area I: Language

Area II: Humanities and the Arts

Area III: Social Sciences

Area IV: Historical Studies

The language requirement can be satisfied by taking two intermediate (Levels III and IV) subjects in an Asian language. Students with proficiency at this level in the spoken and written language can either take two more advanced language subjects (highly recommended), or two more courses from Areas II, III and IV. Chinese, Korean, and Japanese are taught at MIT. Other languages may be taken at Harvard, Wellesley, or during the summer with permission from relevant transfer credit examiner.

As with all HASS Minors, only five of the six minor subjects may be counted toward the eight-subject Institute HASS Requirement. Of these five, at most one shall count toward satisfaction of the HASS Distribution Requirement. Of the six subjects required for the minor, at least four must count only toward that minor (and not toward any other degrees, major or minor).


Click here for the latest listing of eligible subjects.


This list is not exhaustive. Relevant subjects that are no longer offered and subjects with variable topics (such as “special subjects” or “selected topics” courses, for example) may also be counted at the discretion of the minor advisor.

Additional information can be obtained from the Minor Advisor:
Professor Sana Aiyar, E51-296b, 617-324-7285
Or by emailing shass-ug@mit.edu.