Kennesaw State to offer USG’s first undergraduate degree in Asian Studies


KENNESAW, Ga. (Mar 16, 2016) — Signaling the growing importance of Asia in global affairs, Kennesaw State University will begin offering the University System of Georgia’s first Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Asian Studies in fall 2016.

Following approval by the Board of Regents on Wednesday, the new degree will allow students majoring in Asian Studies to concentrate in Asian cultures; Asian history and politics; Asian business; or teaching English as a foreign language. Like the previously offered minor in Asian Studies, the new major will be housed in Kennesaw State’s Interdisciplinary Studies Department within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“The Asian Studies major reflects Kennesaw State’s continuing commitment to global education and to the strategic development of academic programs that position our students to compete in a global economic and political arena in which Asia is playing an ever-increasing role,” said W. Ken Harmon, the University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

A cornerstone of the new program is a requirement that students achieve intermediate proficiency in an Asian language. The curriculum includes 123 credit hours of interdisciplinary courses, beginning in the lower division with Chinese, Japanese or Korean language and culture; research methods; and three electives from among nine academic subjects. Upper division courses include a comprehensive course on understanding Asia; a choice of history courses focused on ancient to pre-modern China, modern China and Japan or modern India and South Asia; intercultural communication; business courses; and a study abroad and/or internship. Students will also choose four courses in their area of concentration, as well as one course from each of the other three concentrations.

Recommendations by a 21-member Asian Studies Advisory Board, organized by May Gao, coordinator of Asian Studies at Kennesaw State and professor of communication, contributed to the design of the new Asian Studies major. Since 2011, Gao and colleagues also have organized the globally recognized Symposium on ASIA-USA Partnership Opportunities (SAUPO), which the board also advises.

“The board’s business, education, civic and governmental leaders were instrumental in sharing their expertise during the three-year process of developing a curriculum to meet the rising needs in Georgia and the southern United States for expertise on Asian country and business practices,” Gao said. “Students who successfully fulfill the program’s requirements of competencies in Asian language, culture, history and business will be uniquely qualified for internships, jobs and careers available in the U.S. and Asia.”