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This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Asian American Studies

Director: David Palumbo-Liu

Asian American Studies (AAS) provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the historical and current experiences of persons of Asian ancestry in the United States. In using the term Asian American, the AAS faculty recognize that the term seeks to name a rapidly developing, complex, and heterogeneous population and that there is neither a single Asian American identity nor one community that comprises all Asian Americans. Asian Americans include those with ancestral ties to countries or regions in East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, or the Philippines, among others.

AAS brings together courses that address the artistic, historical, humanistic, political, and social dimensions of Asian Americans and is an appropriate course of study for students interested in a variety of concerns related to Asian Americans, including: artistic and cultural contributions; current social significance; historical experiences; immigration, intellectual, and policy issues; relationships with other social groups; and the construction of the notion of Asian American as it addresses important theoretical and practical issues.


A total of 60 units of course work is required for the major.

  1. Core Curriculum—Asian American majors must take the 15-unit CSRE core curriculum including two core courses and a senior seminar taken in Autumn Quarter of the senior year. One foundational course that focuses on a non-Asian ethnic group may be counted toward the 15-unit core requirement.
  2. Foundational Course—Majors are required to take one foundational course in Asian American Studies. This may be either ASNAMST 59/HISTORY 59, Introduction to Asian American History, ASNAMST 146S/COMPLIT 146/ CSRE 146S, Asian American Culture and Community, or ENGLISH 43C/ENGLISH 143C, Introduction to Asian American Literature.
  3. Area Study—Majors must complete an additional 40 units of course work from an approved list. One course must have an international dimension, preferably a focus on Asia. Five other courses must have an Asian American focus and must be selected from social science and humanities departments.
  4. Language Study (optional)—Students may obtain credit for their study of a related Asian language towards their degree. If students take 15 or more units of an Asian language relevant to Asian American Studies, they may apply 5 of those units toward their Asian American Studies degree.
  5. Senior Paper or Honors Thesis—All Asian American Studies majors complete a culminating research paper under the supervision of a faculty adviser.


A total of 30 units of approved course work is required for the minor. One CSRE core course and at least one foundational course are needed to fulfill the requirements for the minor. Proposals must be approved by the director.


Students in Asian American Studies may find the following courses useful in fulfilling course requirements in the major or minor.

Core Courses
Foundational Courses
Thematic Courses
Cognate Courses

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