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FAQs

Asian Studies Major

When should I declare an Asian Studies major?

You should declare a major once you have met the prerequisites: taking ASIAN 235 (offered each Fall) and obtaining first-year proficiency in an Asian language applicable to the declared sub-major. Students are encouraged to come in for advising appointments as soon as they know that they wish to pursue an Asian Studies major. That way, you can discuss a plan of study that will allow you to begin working on the requirements even before the prerequisites are complete.

 

Can I declare more than one sub-major?

No. The way that the major is written, students can only declare one sub-major. Students often incorporate courses that focus on another area of interest through the Breadth Requirement. Students may also discuss with an advisor how they can incorporate course work focusing on multiple areas of Asia elsewhere within the requirements. Students seeking to focus on more than one area of Asia can also consider pursuing an Asian Languages and Cultures minor, thus giving you valuable skills in two Asian languages and additional applicable culture coursework in the second area of interest.

 

Can I get a major and a minor within ALC?

Yes. Students wishing to focus on more than one area and language are encouraged to declare both a major and an Asian Languages and Cultures minor. Know that the focus of the major and the minor cannot be the same and the course work should not overlap. For instance, a student getting a Chinese Studies major should not get a Chinese language minor.

 

The major says, “All courses must be approved by an ALC academic advisor.” Is that true?

Yes. Due to the flexible nature of the major, no courses beyond ASIAN 381 are automatically approved to meet the requirements. Which courses to take is a conversation that must happen each semester with an ALC advisor—either through a one-on-one advising session or in an email to alc-advising@umich.edu. During these appointments, the courses are then added to your progress towards degree (PTD) worksheet that is stored on your advising file. After the course is taken, your Wolverine Access audit is then updated accordingly. If you do not get approval from an advisor, there is no guarantee that the courses you take can be used towards the major requirements.

 

Can I use study abroad credit towards my major?

Yes. The Asian Studies major allows for up to 15 credits to be transferred in from study abroad. Please see the study abroad web page on our site for more information.

 

Can I count language credits towards the Cognate or Breadth Requirement?

No. Language credits are only allowed within the Sub-major Requirement.

 

Do I have to take ASIAN 381: Junior/Senior Research Seminar for Majors?

Yes. The Department does not grant exceptions to this course. If you have concerns about your ability to take ASIAN 381 before you graduate, please speak to an advisor.

 

What do I do with an Asian Studies degree?!

The possibilities are too numerous to count! UM Asian Studies graduates have a higher placement rate upon graduation than the College of LSA average. We realize that it can be difficult, though, to narrow your options down. For this reason, ALC pairs with the Career Center regularly to offer workshops and one-on-one advising for students. In these sessions, your personal interests and capabilities are explored to help pinpoint a possible field for you. Students are also encouraged to seek out faculty in their sub-major field/region to discuss options after graduation. ALC advisors will regularly host a workshop during the academic year to discuss graduate schools in Asian Studies, if that is one of your considerations. Lastly, the Career Center’s Asian Languages and Cultures Career Guide is a great start to see where Asian Studies graduates go after graduation.

Asian Languages and Cultures Minor

When should I declare an Asian Languages and Cultures minor?

You can declare the minor once you have a declared major and have met the prerequisites of the minor.

Can I get a major and a minor within ALC?

Yes. Students wishing to focus on more than one area or language are encouraged to declare both a major and a minor.  Know that the focus of the major and the minor cannot be the same and the course work should not overlap. For instance, a student getting a Chinese Studies major should not get a Chinese Language minor.

Can I get two minors within ALC?

No. Students cannot have more than one minor in a department.

Can I use language credits to fulfill the Culture Requirement of the minor?

No. Language credits can only be used towards the Language Requirement.

Can I count more than two terms of language for the Language Requirement?

No. Students may only count two language courses at the 300-level or above towards the Language Requirement.

I’ve taken a placement test and tested beyond third-year. That means I’m done with the Language Requirement, right?

No. The minor requires that students complete two terms of language courses at the third-year or above. You cannot test out of this requirement; the course work must be done. If you have questions about this, speak to an ALC advisor.

Can I use study abroad credit towards my minor?

Yes. The Asian Languages and Cultures minor allows for up to 9 credits to be transferred in from study abroad. Please see the study abroad web page on our site for more information.

I am going to do an intensive language program to gain third-year (or above) proficiency for my minor. That’s okay, right?

The credits from the intensive language program will need to transfer on to your UM transcript in order to use them for the minor. You should talk to your general advisor about the transfer credit process.  To use language credits to meet the Language Requirement, you will also need to verify the proficiency gained by taking a placement exam with the appropriate UM Language Program.  Be sure to keep in mind that the minor asks for two terms of an Asian language at the 300-level or above, not a certain proficiency. A lot of intensive language programs are scheduled in just one term and list it as one course.  This means that you will need to take another term of language to complete the Language Requirement for the minor.  Be sure to talk to an advisor if you have questions.

The minor says, “All courses must be approved by an ALC academic advisor.” Is that true?

Yes.  Due to the flexible nature of the minor, no courses are automatically approved to meet the requirements. Which courses to take is a conversation that must happen before semesters in which you will be taking a course to fulfill a minor requirement. These conversations are to be with an advisor—either through a one-on-one advising session, an email to alc-advising@umich.edu, or the Google Hang-out advising sessions (only open to declared students). During these appointments, the courses are then added to your progress towards degree (PTD) worksheet that is stored on your advising file. If you do not get approval from an advisor, there is no guarantee that the courses you take can be used towards the minor requirements. 

Asian Studies Minor

When should I declare an Asian Studies minor?
You can declare the minor once you have a declared major. There are no prerequisites for the Asian Studies minor!

Can I focus on more than one area of Asia?

Yes.  The Asian Studies minor is flexible enough to allow students to jump around between all five regions represented in the ALC curriculum. But, if students choose to do this, the courses have to be organized around a discipline (literature, religion, history, etc.). If you would like to focus your minor on a discipline rather than on a single region, you should speak to an advisor so that a cohesive program can be planned.

Can I get two minors within ALC?

No. Students cannot have more than one minor in a department.

Can I use language credits towards the Asian Studies minor?

No. Students wanting to use language credits towards a minor are encouraged to consider the Asian Languages and Cultures minor.

Can I use study abroad credit towards my minor?

Yes. The Asian Studies minor allows for up to 3 credits to be transferred in from study abroad. Please see the study abroad webpage on our site for more information.

The minor says, “All courses must be approved by an ALC academic advisor.” Is that true?

Yes.  Due to the flexible nature of the minor, no courses are automatically approved to meet the requirements. Which courses to take is a conversation that must happen before semesters in which you will be taking a course to fulfill a minor requirement. These conversations are to be with an advisor—either through a one-on-one advising session, an email to alc-advising@umich.edu, or the Google Hang-out advising sessions (only open to declared students). During these appointments, the courses are then added to your progress towards degree (PTD) worksheet that is stored on your advising file. If you do not get approval from an advisor, there is no guarantee that the courses you have chosen to take can be used towards the minor requirements.   

Study Abroad FAQs

I want to study abroad! Where do I start?
The best place to start is the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) which is located in G155 Angell Hall. Their Ready, Set, Go Global! info sessions held every Monday through Thursday from 3-4pm are a great way to get basic questions answered.  If you wish to do language study abroad, it is also a good idea to talk to the appropriate ALC Language Program Director to inquire which program(s) s/he recommends.

Do study abroad credits transfer automatically?
It depends on which program you have chosen. If it is a UM-affiliated program—one that CGIS lists as being approved—then the credits usually do transfer automatically. Always double-check this with CGIS, though. Otherwise, students should speak to their general advisor about the transfer credit process for study abroad course work. Are you an LS&A student? Then check out the LS&A Transfer Credit page to help answer any preliminary questions you might have.

Do I go through ALC to transfer my credits from study abroad?
No. ALC does not play a role in the transfer credit process unless the offices that are in charge ask us to help evaluate a course’s content.  Students should plan to talk to their general advisors about transferring credits and the paperwork involved.

I have already chosen my program and have been accepted. How do I get the culture courses I am taking abroad pre-approved to be used towards the Asian Studies major or one of the minors?
The first step is to get the syllabus, course description, and basic information (textbook, credits, etc.) for the courses you wish to take. Then, make an advising appointment, choosing “Study Abroad in Asia” as your reason. The ALC advisor will look over your remaining requirements and determine which of the courses will be appropriate. These pre-approvals will be entered on your advising file.  As long as the courses transfer successfully onto your UM transcript and you earn a C or better, you can use them towards your program. You should make an appointment after you return and after the courses are appearing on your transcript to get them officially added to your audit.

I already did study abroad and didn’t get my culture courses pre-approved for my major/minor. What do I do now?
The process is similar to getting pre-approval except that you should first make sure the credits have transferred and are appearing on your UM transcript. Once you have confirmation of this, you should gather the syllabus, course description, and basic information (textbook, credits, etc.) for the courses you took. Then, make an advising appointment, choosing “Study Abroad in Asia” as your reason. The ALC advisor will look over your remaining requirements and determine whether the courses are appropriate to use.  The approved courses will be entered onto your advising file and added to your program audit.

I am taking language courses abroad. How do I use those towards the Asian Studies major or the Asian Languages and Cultures minor?
If you are using the courses to gain the proficiency required for the prerequisite, you simply need to take a placement exam upon your return to move into the appropriate level. We do not need to do any kind of formal credit approval. If you are taking third-year level or above language courses to be used towards the major or minor requirements, then you should have the courses pre-approved by the appropriate ALC Language Director. You can schedule an appointment with an ALC Language Director by emailing him/her directly. This is to make sure that the course work is as academically rigorous as UM courses and that you will likely gain the proficiency you need. You should also go through the proper transfer credit process to get the course(s) applied to your UM transcript. Upon your return, you will need to take a placement exam to verify that you have gained the supposed proficiency.

PhD Application and Admissions

How do I apply to the graduate program in Asian Languages and Cultures?
Application and all materials must be submitted online through CollegeNet by December 1 for the following Fall term. The Department only admits students to the Fall term.  

How will I know if my application and supporting documents have reached the department?
Please check your application status via CollegeNet and ensure that all materials have been uploaded and completed before your submit your final application. Once an application is submitted, changes cannot be made.

Where should I send my supplementary materials?
All supplemental materials such as letter of recommendation, personal statement, and writing samples should be submitted via the online application. For instructions, please see the Rackham Graduate School Website. Official Transcripts must be submitted to Rackham Graduate School. No materials should be mailed or submitted directly to Asian Languages and Cultures. 

Is it possible to be accepted into your program without taking the TOEFL (for non-native English speaking students)?
The Department requires TOEFL for non-native English speaking students. The Admissions Committee will be unable to consider your application unless we receive you test score. International students may only be exempted from the TOEFL if they have received a degree from an accredited US university, or a university where English is the primary instruction medium.

What are the ETS codes for reporting my scores to your department?
The school code for the University of Michigan is 1839 and the department code for Asian Languages and Cultures is 2601.

I’m taking the TOEFL in late November/December. Will my application still be considered if the scores do not reach the department by the December 1 deadline?
The Department will review all applications shortly after the December 1 deadline. An application will not be reviewed until it is complete. We suggest that the TOEFL be taken before November 15 to ensure that your scores reach the department on time.

I’m interested in a master’s degree, not a Ph.D. Can I apply to the department?
The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures does not admit students wishing to complete a terminal master's degree. Students who are interested in a master's degree may find that one of the area centers is a better fit for their goals. Please visit the following sites for more information:

Center for Chinese Studies

Center for Japanese Studies

Center for South Asian Studies

Center for Southeast Asian Studies

When will decisions be made?
The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures Admissions Committee begins reviewing files shortly after the December 1 deadline. It is very important that all of your materials reach the department by this date. Decision letters are usually sent to applicants in mid- to late-February.

Language & Academic Programs

 How do I satisfy my language requirement?

A language requirement can be fulfilled by taking language courses or proficiency tests.
Courses that meet the College two-year requirement (if passed with a grade of C- or better) include:

  • Chinese

    • ASIANLAN 202 (second semester of second year Chinese on the regular track)
    • ASIANLAN 203 (second year intensive Chinese)
    • ASIANLAN 204 (second year Chinese on the heritage track)
  • Filipino

    • ASIANLAN 212 (second semester of second year Filipino)
  • Hindi

    • ASIANLAN 216 (second semester of second year Hindi)
  • Indonesian

    • ASIANLAN 222 (second semester of second year Indonesian)
  • Japanese

    • ASIANLAN 226 (second semester of second year Japanese)
    • ASIANLAN 227 (second year intensive Japanese)
    • ASIANLAN 229/RCLANG 296 (second year intensive Japanese in the RC)
  • Korean

    • ASIANLAN 236 (second semester of second year Korean)
  • Punjabi

    • ASIANLAN 246 (second semester of second year Punjabi)
  • Sanskrit

    • ASIANLAN 252 (second semester of second year Sanskrit)
  • Thai

    • ASIANLAN 262 (second semester of second year Thai)
  • Tibetan

    • (classical) - ASIANLAN 468 (second semester of second year Classical Tibetan)
    • (modern) - ASIANLAN 266 (second semester of second year Colloquial Tibetan)
  • Urdu

    • ASIANLAN 272 (second semester of second year Urdu)
  • Vietnamese

    • ASIANLAN 276 (second semester of second year Vietnamese)

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 How can I predict when a course is typically offered (fall, winter, summer)?

Generally (but not strictly) in the Asian Languages division, courses whose numbers end in an odd number are offered in the Fall semester, and those whose numbers end in an even number are offered in the Winter semester.  ALC generally only teaches intensive language courses in Chinese and Japanese during the summer as part of the Summer Language Institute. Students are strongly encouraged to refer to the LSA Course Guide or contact the relevant Language Director for more detailed information.

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 How do I transfer course credits to the University of Michigan from another school?

For this issue, you should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and academic advisors in your own college or school. If they ask for verification, an assessment, or a recommendation from the a language instructor, you should contact the director for that Language Program. You may be expected to present the following to the director: program descriptions, course syllabi, instructional materials, official transcripts, instructors' letters, and other supporting documents or materials.

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 What is a proficiency test, and how do I take one?

If a student intends to "place-out" so that he or she does not have to take any language course on this campus (or at another university), he or she should take a proficiency test.  We then upload the student's score on his/her academic record within 3 business days. The general advisors or other officials of a student's school/college can view this result in Wolverine Access. Any questions about language waivers, exam credit, etc. should be directed towards a student's general advisor.

Dates and locations for tests will posted on the Placement & Proficiency Test section of the ALC website. Whether a test date is for "place-out" purposes will be noted with the test information.

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 What is a placement test, and how do I take one?

A placement test is for students with previous language experience who have the intention to continue their study and is alternately titled as a "place-in" exam. These students do not have the University of Michigan transcript credit that proves their ability and allows them to place into higher levels. After a student takes a placement exam, the score is uploaded onto his/her student record within 3 business days. Beginning in Winter 2014, the reporting of this score in Wolverine Access will then override the prerequisites for the course and allow a student to register or add him/herself to the waitlist. 

Dates and locations for tests will posted on the Placement & Proficiency Test section of the ALC website. Whether a test date is for "place-in" purposes will be noted with the test information.

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 How do I choose the language course that is best for me?

Decisions on course selection are generally done in consultation with your academic advisor.  Every student's situation is different, so please use the following as general guidelines.

If you are a true beginner, you should register for the first language course in the sequence.  These are generally courses at the 100-level, are odd-numbered courses, and are offered in the Fall semester.  There are no prerequisites for these courses.

If you have some existing knowledge of the language, you will need to take a placement test to determine which course will be best for you.  

If you have not taken a language course at UM in the past two years or if you have taken language in a study abroad program, you should take the placement test in order to confirm your correct placing.

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 The course I want to take has an enforced prerequisite, which I have not yet taken.  How can I register for the class?

If you have not taken an enforced prerequisite but feel like you would still qualify for the course, you should either take a placement test or email the instructor listed with the course. An override can be issued that will allow you to register. 

If you have taken an enforced prerequisite but took it "Not For Credit," Wolverine Access will not acknowledge at registration that you have met the prerequisite. In this instance, notify the instructor of the course so that an override may be issued for you to register. 

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 How do I get an override into a class?

If you need an override, you should either contact the instructor for the course or the relevant Language Program Director. Instructors are not required to give overrides into their courses and are allowed to exercise their own judgment on which students are admitted. 

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 I am an Ann Arbor high school student or a local resident.  How can I register for one of your classes? 

Ann Arbor high school students wanting to take UM classes for high school credit, should talk to their high school guidance counselor in order to get the necessary paperwork.  They should then talk with the appropriate Language Program Director in order to make arrangements regarding class scheduling and registration.

Students not enrolled in an Ann Arbor high school must be officially registered (either as degree students or as non-degree visiting students). The Office of Undergraduate Admissions should be contacted for more information about this. 

Registration priority for all language classes will be given to admitted UM students. 

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 What do I do if a course I want to take is cancelled?

We understand that language study is critical for most students' degree programs.  We try very hard not to cancel courses in the core language sequence.  Situations arise, however, that mean that on occasion courses have to be cancelled.  If you find yourself in this situation, please contact the instructor, the Student Services Coordinator, or the relevant Language Director for guidance on other possible options.

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 I didn't do very well in my language class last semester.  Should I repeat the class or move on?

Language acquisition is a step-by-step process and is cumulative. Your success in every future step hinges on your performance at the present step. If you take a foundation course but get a low grade (C or D), you have virtually missed a step and will inevitably experience greater and greater difficulties in your following studies. In this case, you are strongly urged to repeat the class rather than to continue on. This is especially important for students at the first and second-year levels, where a strong performance is critical to your future successes. Please know, however, that most language courses, if repeated, cannot be done so for credit.

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 Can I take a language class pass/fail?

Yes, you may elect any class pass/fail, but you should do so in careful consultation with an academic advisor. If the intention is to fulfill the LSA Language Requirement, fourth semester language classes must be taken for a grade. Also, language courses must be taken for a grade if you wish to use them towards major or minor requirements.

You do not need to notify your instructor of your decision to take the class pass/fail.  The instructor will review you coursework like any student and will submit a grade to the Registrar's Office.  The Registrar's Office will, in turn, convert the grade into a pass or fail if you have registered for the course with that designation.

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 I want to take a course, but I have a schedule conflict with the date/time that it is being offered.  What do I do?

Daily attendance is required in all language courses. While occasional absences for a legitimate reason can be excused, chronic absence is not acceptable. Generally, if the language course for which you wish to register conflicts with another course you want to take, you will have to make a choice between them.  That said, you should contact the instructor to talk about the issue.  If the class only has a small number of students, it is sometimes possible to reschedule the class to a time when everyone can attend.

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 I'm going to miss the first day or week of class.  What should I do?

Talk to the instructor immediately. Daily attendance is required in all language courses.

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 I'd like to hire a language tutor or set up a language partnership.  Help!

The Language Resource Center on campus supplies language tutors or helps to set up language partnerships. You should go to their website for more information or stop by their facilities in 1500 North Quad. 

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 I'd like to study abroad in Asia!  How do I get started?

The best place to start is the Center for Global and Intercultural Studies in G155 Angell Hall. Their office has area/country-specific advisors to help students choose the best programs for them. If your purpose is to do language study, emailing the relevant Language Director to set up an appointment for his/her opinion is also recommended. 

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 I'd like to take an independent study course.  How do I register for one?

Independent study courses provide highly motivated and capable students with the opportunity to pursue a rigorous course of study that is not accommodated elsewhere in the curriculum.  Students may not take an independent study in lieu of a course which is regularly offered.

For information on how to petition for an independent study, please contact the Student Services at (734) 764-8286 or stop by the ALC Student Services office in 4111 South Thayer Building. 

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 I need a translation certified, can you help?

Unfortunately, the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures does not offer translation services. If you are looking for a translator or translation certification, we recommend that you use the Michigan Department of State Translators Resource List

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 How do I apply for a GSI (Graduate Student Instructor) position?

GSI position openings are posted on umjobs.org. We usually hire GSIs for open positions in the Fall and Winter semesters only.  Please contact the Student Services Manager at (734) 764-0315 if you have specific questions.

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 How do I apply for a Lecturer/Instructor position?

The department occasionally has openings for Lecturer/Instuctor positions in our language programs.  These positions are posted on the UM Job Postings website. 

If you have specific questions about an opportunity, please contact the department's Key Administrator at (734) 764-8287.

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