Asian History

Programs in Asian history examine the past events and contemporary affairs of China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other nearby countries. Read on to learn more about degree and career options for students of Asian history.

Is Asian History for Me?

Overview of the Field

Asian history is a broad field of study that focuses on the chronological, cultural and political history of Asian nations. In addition to China, Japan and the Philippines, areas of study might include India and Russia. As a student of Asian history, you'll probably concentrate on one or two specific Asian countries or topics.

Career Options

With an undergraduate degree in Asian history, you might obtain a job as a writer or research assistant. If you complete a teacher training program, you could also pursue a career as a high school teacher. Completion of a master's or doctoral degree program in Asian history might lead to a future in academia or government service. If you're drawn to the idea of trade and commerce, you can also consider a career in international business.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), area, ethnic and cultural studies professors earned a mean annual wage of $77,690 in May 2012. In the same month, high school teachers and writers earned an average of $57,770 and $68,420 a year, respectively. While the BLS has projected a faster-than-average growth in employment for postsecondary teachers between 2012 and 2022, high school teachers and writers can expect a slower-than-average increase in opportunities during the same 10-year period (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Asian History?

Undergraduate Programs

While undergraduate programs specific to Asian history are rare, individual courses in the subject may be available at some colleges and universities. As an alternative, you might consider an undergraduate program in history with a concentration in non-Western countries, cultures and histories. In preparation for a graduate program, you could also pursue instruction in an Asian language, such as Chinese, Korean or Japanese.

Graduate Programs

Master's degree programs may allow for a concentration in pre-modern or contemporary Asia. Through a flexible doctoral program in Asian history, you might also have the chance to focus on the formation of empires or Buddhism. Advanced degree programs may include courses in book or intellectual history, ethnic identity or philosophy.

In order to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Asian History, you'll need to write and defend a dissertation in your area of specialization, and your research must demonstrate your ability to work with multiple Asian languages. Typically, a doctoral degree is required for tenure at a university.

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