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Study Asian Studies at Otago

Asian Studies includes Asian history, literature, film, religion, politics, music, anthropology and economics.

Papers in Asian Studies help students gain a greater awareness of New Zealand’s largest neighbours and trading partners, where ancient cultural traditions mix with cutting-edge modern technology.


Why study Asian Studies?

From both economic and cultural points of view, Asia has become a vital part of New Zealand life.

Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary programme designed to develop a wider appreciation of the nature of Asian societies and the traditions, values and beliefs of Asian peoples.

Asian Studies is a recognised area of research excellence at the University of Otago. Besides being dedicated to the teaching of Asian Studies, our staff are also involved in individual and collaborative research within the University of Otago, as well as with other universities.

Asian Studies papers can be included in a Global Studies major.

Career opportunities

An understanding of Asia opens up a great variety of international or domestic career paths in private and public sectors, in industry and government.

Background required

No prior background is required.

Teaching style

We get to know our students individually. Many of our classes are small and this helps us tailor our approaches and materials to meet the interests of our students.


Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Asian Studies

Level Papers Points

ASIA 101  Introducing Asia

RELS 102  Introduction to Hinduism and Buddhism




ASIA 201  Asian Popular Cultures

One of:
RELS 209 The Body in Asian Religions
RELS 212 Love and Heroism: Religions of South India
RELS 216 Zen Buddhism
RELS 226 Mahayana Buddhism
RELS 227 Buddhist Thought

One of ANTH 203, CHIN 241, CHIN 242, CHIN 243, CHIN 244, GLBL 211, HIST 204, JAPA 242, JAPA 243, JAPA 244, MUSI 268






ASIA 301  Topics in Asian Studies

One of:
CHIN 342 Screening Chinese Cinemas
CHIN 343 Reading Chinese Literature in the World
CHIN 344 Writing China: Texts, Ideas and History
JAPA 342 Understanding Japanese Culture
JAPA 343 Issues in Japanese Culture Today
JAPA 344 Modern Japanese Fiction

Two of GLBL 311, HIST 303, HIST 304, HIST 314, MANT 341, MANT 348, MUSI 368, POLS 318, RELS 309, RELS 310, RELS 312, RELS 316, RELS 326, RELS 327, RELS 328










198 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Arts

Total   360

Minor subject requirements

Asian Studies as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Paper Points

ASIA 101  Introducing Asia

ASIA 201  Asian Popular Cultures

ASIA 301  Topics in Asian Studies

One of CHIN 241, CHIN 242, CHIN 243, CHIN 244CHIN 334, CHIN 342, CHIN 343, GLBL 211 or GLBL 311, JAPA 242, JAPA 243, JAPA 244, JAPA 331, JAPA 342, JAPA 343, JAPA 344, MUSI 268, MUSI 368

One of ANTH 203, HIST 204, HIST 231, HIST 303, HIST 304, MANT 341, MANT 348, POLS 318, RELS 209, RELS 212, RELS 216, RELS 226, RELS 227, RELS 309, RELS 310, RELS 312, RELS 316, RELS 326, RELS 327, RELS 328

Must include at least two papers above 200-level.






Total 90


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
ASIA101 2022 Introducing Asia 18 points Semester 1
ASIA201 2022 Asian Popular Cultures 18 points Semester 2
ASIA202 2022 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2022
ASIA301 2022 Topics in Asian Studies 18 points Semester 2
ASIA302 2022 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2022

Key information for future students

Contact us

Languages and Cultures Programme
School of Arts
Tel +64 3 479 5472