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University Center for International Studies—Asian Studies

Contact Information

University of Pittsburgh
University Center for International Studies
Asian Studies Center
Dianne F. Dakis, Undergraduate Advisor and Assistant Director for Student Affairs
4109 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Fax: 412-624-4665

The Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh is widely recognized as being among the best and most comprehensive in the country in research, public service, and teaching about East Asia. The center’s mandate is to promote an enhanced understanding of East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands through exceptional undergraduate and graduate academic programs, strong interdisciplinary faculty development, and energetic community outreach. ASC has nationally recognized programs in Chinese and Japanese language and culture studies, with growing strengths in Indian and Korean studies. Its affiliated faculty spans the disciplines. Typically more than 3,500 graduate and undergraduate students enroll each year in Asia-related courses. Undergraduate students from any field or school interested in Asia can supplement and strengthen their major field of study by enrolling in the Asian Studies certificate program.

The East Asian Library (EAL) (

Located in Hillman Library, the EAL contains significant collections of books and periodicals in both the Chinese and Japanese languages, in addition to materials in English and other Western languages housed in the general collections. Those pursuing research on current topics concerned with Japan can make use of the Japan Information Center (JIC), which gives users direct access to a wide array of government documents, economic reports, and a wide range of data related to social and economic issues.

Advanced Certificate Requirements

The Advanced Certificate in Asian Studies may be earned by U.S. and international students from any department or school of the University. It entails a combination of second language training and multidisciplinary area studies necessary for both communicative and cultural competence. The certificate is designed for students who wish to intensify their study of Asia, either because they would like to be able to use their knowledge of that critical part of the world in their careers after graduation, or because they recognize the importance of an understanding of Asian history, language, and culture for all well-informed people.

  • A minimum of five upper-level courses or graduate seminars dealing with Asia, in at least two departments. The five courses must include one seminar outside the student’s major department.
  • A research paper. The student can fulfill this requirement by presenting either an interdisciplinary seminar paper or thesis (which draws upon more than one scholarly discipline). The paper can be used to complete departmental requirements for a graduate degree as well as for the certificate, but must include research using the student's approved Asian language.
  • Demonstration of proficiency in reading and speaking an approved Asian language related to one of the student’s countries or regions of interest. Proficiency is interpreted to mean at least three years of study or the equivalent, and may be demonstrated by successfully completing courses or by passing a special examination.
  • GSPIA option: Students enrolled in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) may fulfill a more targeted set of requirements for their program. For details, visit
  • Portfolio: Submission prior to graduation of a portfolio which will contain documentation of the student’s research and activity related to Asian Studies. The certificate advisor will work with each student to determine the appropriate types and minimum number of items to be included in a student’s portfolio.

Financial Assistance

Asian Studies Certificate students may be eligible for a variety of scholarships and research awards. For information, visit  

Graduate Course Listings—Asian Studies

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