Asian Studies

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  • Higher Education:
    • Teaching
    • Research

  • Student affairs administration: international student services, study abroad, multicultural programming, student support services, information/library science, primary and secondary education

  • Community Education:
    • Literacy
    • English as a Second Language
    • GED preparation


  • Universities and colleges
  • Campus cultural centers
  • Support programs (e.g., Educational Advancement Program, Upward Bound)

  • School and community libraries
  • K-12 schools, public and private
  • Head Start programs

  • Non-profit organizations including those promoting literacy (e.g., VISTA)
  • Adult education programs (e.g., those focusing on GED preparation)


  • Earn a Ph.D. to teach and research at four-year institutions. The interdisciplinary nature of Asian Studies makes it good preparation for advanced education in a variety of fields.
  • Obtain a master’s degree in student affairs or library/ information science to prepare for those fields.If interested in K-12 teaching, fulfill requirements for certification. This may involve a double major or a minor. Research alternative paths to certification such as Teach for America and other similar programs.
  • Get involved in leadership roles on campus including peer mentor, resident advisor, or orientation leader.
  • Join related professional associations as a student member.
  • Interact with students from Asia and the Middle East. Participate in international programming on campus.
  • Plan to study or work in Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
  • Develop strong communication and public speaking skills. Learn to speak relevant languages such as, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Arabic.
  • Volunteer with community organizations that serve the Asian population. For example, tutor non-native English speakers.
  • Secure strong recommendations from faculty, and maintain a high grade point average. Assist a professor with research or take an independent study class to develop research skills.



  • Domestic and international advocacy
  • Humanitarian services
  • Development:
    • Economic
    • Community
    • Housing

  • Disaster/Disease relief
  • HIV/AIDS advocacy
  • Policy development
  • Program administration
  • Education

  • Volunteer coordination
  • Grant writing
  • Fundraising/Development
  • Research


  • Community action agencies
  • Non-profit organizations (e.g., Asian American Alliance)
  • Private voluntary organizations
  • Faith based organizations (FBO’s) and Asian-American church communities

  • International aid and relief organizations
  • Non-governmental Organizations (NGO’s) (e.g., International Red Cross)
  • Federal government agencies with an international focus, e.g. Peace Corps, USAID or focus on community assistance (e.g., Americorps)

  • State and local government agencies
  • Research organizations
  • Community action agencies


  • Volunteer at local social service agencies that work with Asian communities to gain experience and demonstrate interest.
  • Participate in an international service learning experience or church-led mission trip to Asia.
  • Learn to speak relevant languages such as,
  • Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Arabic.
  • Get involved with cultural and international events or organizations on campus.
  • Take additional courses in social work, global studies, or other relevant areas.
  • Develop excellent research, writing, communication, and organizational skills. Learn how to motivate individuals and groups.
  • Plan to move to geographic regions where the Asian population is growing.


Human Services

  • Counseling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Mental health services
  • Case management

  • Programming
  • Community relations
  • Fundraising/Development
  • Administration


  • Mental health institutions
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Private and group practice
  • Correctional institutions
  • Federal, state, or local government
  • Department of Human Services

  • Organizations that aid immigrants, migrant workers, and refugees or focus on cultural issues
  • Youth organizations and camps:
    • YMCA’s
    • Boys and Girls Clubs

  • Non-profit and social services organizations:
    • United Way
    • Goodwill Industries
    • Salvation Army
    • Church-based programs


  • Supplement curriculum with courses in psychology, social work, or child and family studies.
  • Obtain a graduate degree in psychology, counseling, or social work for increased counseling opportunities or advancement into administrative work.
  • Gain essential practical experience through part-time or summer jobs and internships.
  • Volunteer with organizations that assist people of diverse backgrounds, particularly the Asian population.
  • Participate in training opportunities, e.g. suicide prevention or crisis hotline response.
  • Gain a firm understanding of various Asian cultures and how culture impacts individuals and families.
  • Become bilingual in a relevant language in order to better assist some clients.
  • Acquire knowledge of government and community resources available for those in need.



  • International business
  • Importing/Exporting
  • Logistics
  • Banking
  • Management

  • Customer service
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Public relations

  • Training and development
  • Human resources
  • Equity and diversity functions
  • Travel and tourism
  • Consulting


  • Public and private corporations in various industries:
    • Banks and financial institutions
    • Insurance companies
    • Retail stores
    • Hotels and restaurants
    • Consumer goods manufacturers
  • Businesses targeting Asians

  • Staffing agencies
  • Consulting firms
  • Market research firms specializing in Asians
  • Public relations agencies
  • Asian firms operating in the U.S.

  • U.S. firms with operations in Asia
  • Asian chambers of commerce
  • Minority Business Development Centers
  • Asian trade associations (e.g., Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (APACC))
  • Travel agencies and tour operators
  • Convention and visitors’ bureaus


  • Double major or minor in business.
  • Gain business experience through internships or part-time and summer jobs.
  • Through research, identify corporations that have a reputation for reaching out to Asian populations.
  • Join campus organizations or professional societies and seek leadership roles.
  • Understand the skills employers’ desire and be prepared to demonstrate them, such as communication (oral and written), computer, interpersonal, leadership, and teamwork.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals to learn more about career fields.
  • When job searching, seek employers interested in hiring “any major.”
  • Learn how to sell your Asian Studies major to companies that value cultural diversity.
  • For international assignments, plan to start in U.S. based positions and gain experience with the company/industry.
  • Usually more seasoned employees are given international assignments.
  • Earn an MBA or a graduate degree in another area of interest for more advanced opportunities.


Law and Politics

  • Law:
    • Corporate practice
    • Public interest law
    • Civil law

  • Lobbying
  • Government relations
  • Elected or appointed leadership
  • Public policy
  • Research

  • Intelligence
  • Campaign management
  • Special interest advocacy
  • Program administration


  • Law firms
  • Corporate legal departments
  • Public defenders offices
  • District attorneys

  • Public interest groups (e.g., Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund (AALDEF))
  • Civil rights organizations (e.g., Asian Americans Advancing Justice)
  • Legal aid

  • Sole practitioner
  • Government agencies (e.g., Department of State (foreign service))
  • Lobbying groups


  • Obtain the J.D. for law positions or an advanced degree in public administration, public policy, or international relations for government positions.
  • Supplement curriculum with relevant courses to prepare for law school.
  • Participate in activities that develop strong debate and public speaking skills such as mock trial.
  • Get involved with the pre-law society on campus.
  • Gain relevant experience through jobs or internships with law firms, government agencies, or mediation centers.
  • Maintain a high grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations.
  • Prepare for and take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
  • Apply for federal government internship programs while in school.
  • The Foreign Service requires passage of the Foreign Service Exam, after obtaining a master’s degree or significant work experience.


Media and The Arts

  • Journalism
  • Creative writing
  • Freelance writing
  • Copy writing

  • Editing
  • Research and analysis
  • Broadcasting:
    • Television
    • Radio

  • Media sales
  • Museum work
  • Arts programming
  • Art sales
  • Fundraising/Development


  • Broadcast media companies including television and movie industry
  • Radio stations
  • Foreign news agencies
  • Trade, professional, or consumer publications

  • Internet sites marketed toward Asian Americans
  • Advertising agencies
  • Publishing houses
  • Large corporations
  • Freelance

  • Museums
  • Galleries
  • Organizations and centers dedicated to promoting Asian visual and performing arts (e.g., Asian American Arts Alliance)
  • Smithsonian Institution (Freer & Sackler Galleries)


  • Pair an interest in Asian Studies with communication skills to write about Asia, write on topics of interest to minorities, or for publications targeting an Asian audience.
  • Study a second field such as journalism, English, or broadcasting to prepare for career in media.
  • For positions in the arts, consider a minor in art history. Plan to pursue a relevant graduate degree such as museum studies.
  • Write for campus publications such as college newspapers, magazines, or department/program newsletters. Work at campus radio or television stations.
  • Intern with a publishing house, magazine, radio or television station depending upon area of interest.
  • Create a portfolio of writing samples, especially those that have been published. For other areas, create a website or digital portfolio to promote skills to potential employers.
  • Seek opportunities for recognition and networking through writing contests and freelance writing submissions.
  • Become familiar with the proposal and submission process involved in freelance writing.
  • When job searching, research media outlets to find those that target Asian populations.
  • Volunteer in local museums or galleries.
  • Travel to Asian countries and visit local museums and cultural attractions.

General Information and Strategies

  • Asian Studies provides an interdisciplinary background that helps students develop analytical, critical thinking, and writing skills while gaining knowledge about the cultures, histories, and languages of Asian countries.
  • When paired with a major in another field, Asian Studies can enhance the employability of a student because of a deeper understanding of the Asian experience which many organizations will value. Training in this field can lead to a better appreciation of certain customers or clients.
  • Some students may choose to pursue Asian Studies because they enjoy the subject but wish to pursue careers requiring “any major.” In this scenario, it is critical to develop skills relevant to targeted field through internships, part-time or summer jobs, or volunteer experiences.
  • Asian Studies majors are excellent candidates for a number of graduate school options because of their broad liberal arts background as well as specific interests that may set them apart from other students. For those wishing to pursue graduate education, maintain a high GPA, establish relationships with faculty to secure strong recommendations, and gain experience through volunteer, work, or research opportunities.
  • Travel as much as possible to Asia to experience it first-hand. Complete at least one study abroad experience. In the U.S., look for ways to interact with people from Asia who are living in or visiting the States.
  • More job opportunities may exist in parts of the United States where the Asian population is the largest or growing such as California, Washington, and New York.
  • Read and stay abreast of politics and current events in regions of interest.