Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Department of East Asian Studies, one of the most dynamic and exciting departments in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. We offer courses on the languages and cultures of China, Japan and Korea at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Courses on East Asia have been offered regularly at the University of Alberta since 1961, making our programme one of the oldest in Western Canada. East Asia-related courses at the University of Alberta were originally offered within the Department of History and Classics, but in response to the increasing demand for courses on East Asia an independent Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures was formed in 1981. Renamed the Department of East Asian Studies in 1994 to reflect the expanded range of topics covered in its courses, the department has continued to grow steadily and now boasts record enrolments in its language and culture courses. In the past five years, our Korea courses have experienced an especially dramatic increase in student interest, and we are working hard to meet that demand, in part by adding a new faculty member for the 2016-17 academic year.

We teach over 500 undergraduate students in our first-year language courses alone, with hundreds of students still on the waiting list. We also offer a range of courses on the histories, cultures, literatures, linguistics and religions of East Asia. Our East Asian Studies major, minor and honours programmes, offer our students a well-rounded education that prepares them for successful careers across the world. Our recent graduates hold a variety of positions working for schools, governments and technology companies as well as journals and newspapers. Many of them reside in Japan, China and other parts of the Asian world.

Our thesis-based MA programme has also seen an increase in applications from highly qualified students from such diverse countries as China, Japan, Brazil and Russia, as well as Canada and the US. We pride ourselves on helping students who are accepted to develop skills that are in demand in education and leadership positions. Some of our students go on to reputable Ph.D. programs, such as Columbia, USC and Stanford, to become scholars in their own right.

On occasion, we hold events to celebrate the culture of one of our countries, so please check our website regularly for up-to-date information. Or, if you are interested in what is going on in our department, please sign up and we will send you invitations to exciting events and news about the department. We would also be happy to connect with alumni or other supporters of the study of East Asia, so please feel free to drop the chair a line at if you have any questions or would like to know more about the department.