Asian Studies

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Program Overview

Whether you see yourself as an entrepreneur, a philosopher, or a professional involved in government or the arts, a working knowledge of Asian realities is essential in today's world. Whatever major you choose, the Asian studies minor allows you to tailor your course selection to explore Asian perspectives on the central questions of your field. Our distinguished program faculty will guide you as you develop a deep appreciation and understanding of the dynamics of Asian societies; their profound religious, philosophical, and artistic traditions; and the growing interdependence of East and West in a global economy.

‌Fairfield's Asian studies program focuses on a region that is home to half of the world's population but  remains mysterious, exotic, and, above all, "inscrutable" to most people. The importance of Asia in the worlds political and economic system, and particularly its growing impact on the United States, demands a firm understanding of the history, cultures, politics, and economics of the Asian countries. No student, regardless of their chosen major or profession, will be unaffected by past, present, and future events and developments in Asia.

Fairfield's proximity to the vibrant Asian communities and cultural resources of New York City and New Haven make educational adventures available near campus, while faculty contacts provide access in setting up internships and research opportunities both locally and abroad. Existing study abroad programs between Fairfield and universities in Asia offer students the unparalleled experience of learning by living in Asia. In recent years, Asian Studies minors have applied successfully to The Beijing CenterUniversity of Shanghai for Science and Technology (USST), and Sophia University for semester(s) of credited study. Summer programs are also available at the Beijing Center and Sophia University.

Asian Studies Program at Fairfield University

Requirements & Curriculum

Required Courses

Four (4) Asian Studies Electives
Asian Studies Seminar
Visit our our academic catalog for detailed course descriptions and information.

Stag Spotlight

Caroline Goulding headshot

Caroline Goulding

Class of '20

Get to Know Caroline

Undergraduate Degree: BS in Finance with Asian Studies minor

Activities: Finance Club President, Fairfield Dance Ensemble, Alpha Sigma Nu, Beta Gamma Sigma, Alpha Mu Gamma, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Award in Chinese recipient, Asian Studies Award recipient

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University?

I chose Fairfield for its strong academics and liberal arts education, Jesuit values, beautiful campus, and the sense of community I felt the second I stepped foot on campus.

What were the best aspects of your experience at Fairfield?

My favorite part about my experience at Fairfield was being able to take classes in the new Dolan School of Business, spending my spring semester of junior year studying in Galway, Ireland, and attending a faculty-led trip to China my senior year.

What interesting projects, research opportunities, or leadership experiences were you involved in at Fairfield?

During my time at Fairfield, I was the president of the Finance Club and had the opportunity to invite professionals in the financial services industry to come and speak to students in the business school. During my junior and senior years at Fairfield I worked remotely as an intern for Fidelity Investments. Additionally, during my senior year, I was a student research fellow for the Humanities Institute Seminar during which I completed a research project on Chinese literature.

How have the opportunities offered to you through Fairfield helped you move closer to achieving your career goals?

The Dolan School career center helped me tremendously in securing my internships at Fidelity Investments for the summers going into my junior and senior years at Fairfield. Additionally, the time spent pursuing my Asian Studies minor, taking Chinese language courses, and experiencing Chinese language and culture first-hand on a faculty-led trip to China, motivated me to work at a financial services company that was well-known on a global scale.

Now, I am starting my career at Fidelity Investments as an Asset Management Compliance Associate. In this role, I will support the Equity and Global Asset Allocation investment teams on the state of compliance in their portfolios while working closely with both compliance and investment professionals. I believe this role will inspire me to constantly push myself to the next level in my career as I have the opportunity to work with many different professionals and the chance to gain experience in many different parts of the Asset Management division at Fidelity.

What would you tell a student who is considering attending Fairfield as an undergraduate?

Fairfield has so much to offer. Given the small class sizes, you have the opportunity to develop relationships with your fellow classmates and faculty that allow you to grow both personally and professionally. Once you become a Stag, you are a part of a really special community. I am very grateful for all of the lessons I learned both in and out of the classroom, all of the life long friends I made, and being able to call Fairfield a second "home."

Arturo Jaras Watts headshot

Arturo Jaras Watts

Class of '14

Get to Know Arturo

Major: Economics
Minors: Mathematics, Asian Studies

Extracurricular Activities: Founder and President of the Proactive Investment Club, Resident Assistant, Champions Mentoring Program, Campus Sustainability Committee.

What has been your favorite Asian Studies class and why?

My favorite Asian Studies course has been “Buddhism” with Dr. Ronald M. Davidson. This course was absolutely filled with intellectually stimulating ideas about life and existence. It was the most successfully interdisciplinary course I’ve ever taken, integrating insight from fields of anthropology, history, art history, physics, philosophy, religious studies, sociology, and so on. This course introduced me to a wide variety of perspectives that challenged my worldview and permanently altered my thinking. Put simply, this course embodied everything a liberal arts education ought to offer.


What do you plan to do following graduation? Will it connect to Asian Studies?

After graduation I plan to delve into the world of social business. I believe that socially oriented businesses have great potential to address our world’s most pressing challenges. I am particularly interested in the intersection of financial investments and social change, which is why I started the Proactive Investment Club on campus. I plan to pursue graduate studies in finance and economics with a focus on socially impactful investing - and given the increasingly globalized financial markets of the world, there is a very good chance that this will connect to Asian studies. A better understanding of world cultures and economies will absolutely help me serve as a more effective agent of change in society.

‌‌Carolyn Greene headshot

‌‌Carolyn Greene

Class of '11

Get to Know Carolyn

Majors: Chinese Studies and Art History

Extracurricular Activities: Tour Ambassador, Senior Gift Committee, Student Alumni Association, Inter-Residential Housing Association, Head Start, Study Abroad Beijing Fall 2009

Have you studied abroad in Asia? If yes, what was the most important thing that happened to you abroad?

During my time at Fairfield I spent countless academic hours studying Chinese history, literature, religion and language. This exposure to diverse traditions and unique perspectives made me want to study abroad in China and experience the culture first hand. While living in Beijing, China during the fall semester of my junior year I was able to develop a far more extensive understanding of the Chinese culture I was so interested in learning about at Fairfield. My educational experience in China went beyond a purely academic viewpoint. Transitioning from discussion in the classroom to actively living those experiences in China only made my passion for Chinese Studies grow.

The more time I spent in China the more connected I felt to the people and places I visited. While traveling to Xi’an to explore the tomb of China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, I not only had the opportunity to see the vast army of terra-cotta warriors but also to interact and converse with the local population. Being able to utilize the Chinese language skills I had first learned at Fairfield really emphasized how far I had come in my language acquisition. By being immersed in the Chinese culture I was able to enhance my language capability to a level that I never could have achieved without my study abroad experience.


What have you been doing following graduation? Does it connect to Asian Studies? 

After graduating from Fairfield, I further pursued Chinese Studies and have since obtained a Masters from the University of Pennsylvania in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Since entering the working world I have used my knowledge of Asian Studies on a daily basis, working at Christie’s in New York City with East Asian clients. Having the ability to utilize my expertise in East Asia and specifically China, has allowed me the opportunity to communicate easily with clients as well as bridge any cultural gaps that may be experienced throughout the work day.

More About Asian Studies

Life After Fairfield

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Life After Fairfield

As you embark on a career path after graduation, the direction and distinction you gain as an Asian studies minor at Fairfield will enhance your professional opportunities over both the long and short term. Over the years, graduates of Fairfield's Asian studies program have been attractive candidates for employment in:

  • Business
  • Banking
  • Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Government agencies and nonprofit organizations engaged in international affairs.

Quite a few Fairfield graduates have gone to Asia as Fulbright Scholars, showing that Asia is full of opportunities. In addition, Asian studies provides advantages to those applying for graduate and professional study in many fields. Our Asian studies graduates have gone on to business, research, and teaching positions in:

  • Korea
  • China
  • Japan
  • Nepal
  • The Pacific Islands

Learn how Fairfield's Career Services can support your post-graduate goals, and how our tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

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Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

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Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

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As a Jesuit, Catholic university, Fairfield is dedicated to diversity and inclusion; to radical hospitality in service of racial, social, and economic justice.

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The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff, and accomplished scholars devoted to the process of innovation and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the members of our Asian studies faculty.
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