UCC Undergraduate courses

Arts - Asian Studies

Course Fact File
CodeSubject available through multiple programmes
Subject TitleAsian Studies
Duration3 years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBA (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesSee Fees and Costs for full details.

Course Outline

Asia is the fastest growing economic centre in the world, home to more than half the world’s population, and many of the world’s great philosophical and religious traditions. Asian studies involves the study of the political, economic, societal and cultural factors and ideas shaping international politics, economy and culture in East Asia. This will prepare you for a career in foreign relations and global policy, or with Asia-Pacific oriented multinational corporations and international organisations.

Asian Studies examines the many different countries that constitute this vast continent, from the Middle East to India and the Himalayan States, to Southeast Asia region and the Far East. The 21st century has been dubbed the "Asian century" because of the rapidly rising economic, cultural and political importance, on the world stage, of Asian countries, especially China, Korea, and Japan. Yet in Ireland our knowledge and understanding of this vast area is generally lacking.

Asian countries are very different from each other. The course focuses on contemporary Asia, beginning with an overview of the entire region, including Asian diasporas worldwide. In subsequent years you will choose modules from a variety of disciplines focusing on Asia, allowing you to study particular countries or regions in more depth. You will also have the option to study one or more Asian language.

Study abroad with UCC’s partner universities in Asia is also encouraged. 

Year 1 Modules

  • AS1001 Introduction to Modern Asia (15 credits)

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

  • Lectures are scheduled Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Each student’s timetable will differ depending on the subjects selected. In First Arts, each subject entails three to four lectures per week plus a one hour tutorial.
  • Language subjects will have additional weekly language laboratories.
  • Even though students take only two subjects after Year 1, the workload is broadly similar. Each 5-credit module has approximately 24 one-hour lectures, plus additional language laboratories for languages.

Why Choose This Course

Changing to Asian Studies at the start of first year was probably the best decision I've made academically.

Robin O'Driscoll, Student

Find Out More

We offer the only comprehensive undergraduate programme in Asian Studies on the island of Ireland. If you study with us you will benefit from our committed Asian Studies department which houses a number of exceptional Asian Studies institutes, including the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies, Irish Institute of Japanese Studies, Irish Institute of Korean Studies, and UCC Confucius Institute, all of which are managed by Asian Studies faculty members and are closely linked with the Asian Studies programme.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work Placement

The College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences (CACSSS), which is home to the Department of Asian Studies, will support you in developing your career interests through a workplace engagement. This Professional Work Experience module (PX3001) may be taken in any year of your undergraduate studies.

Study Abroad

If you study Asian Studies through Arts International (CK108), or any other International Pathway, you will spend third year abroad, studying in an approved university. After your study abroad programme ends you then return to UCC to complete your final year. We currently have links with universities in Japan, China and South Korea.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduate Study Options

UCC has a flourishing and expanding Asian Studies programme with opportunities for PhD and Masters level study in different regions of Asia.

Further study options for students who graduate with Asian Studies as part of their degree include:

The Department of Asian Studies also offers PhD programmes

Career Opportunities

As Asia plays an ever more important role in the world, the number of domestic and international companies and institutions that are doing business, or working with, Asia is increasing. All of these organisations are increasingly recruiting graduates with good Asian language skills and an in-depth understanding of Asia, its peoples, politics, business, culture and society. Examples of existing and future employers and careers include:

  • governmental agencies and departments, including trade, import/export organisations such as Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland
  • translation/ interpreting agencies
  • diplomatic services
  • multinational companies across every sector, particularly pharmaceuticals
  • Chinese, Japanese, and Korean acquired/owned companies located in Ireland and the rest of the EU

Graduates of Asian Studies often go on to careers in the Department of Foreign Affairs, multi-national companies based in Ireland or other EU countries, as well as a variety of careers in Asia. Students with a background in Asian Studies also find it easier to differentiate themselves from other candidates on the job market. The degree year in Asia, which most students take up, equips them with a wide array of cross-cultural and communication skills easily marketable in a wide range of job seeking environments. It also sets them apart in demonstrating a capacity for tolerance and resilience.

Many of today’s students will be pursuing careers either based in Asia or involving significant contact with Asian colleagues and contacts in Ireland, Europe or further afield. With Asian Studies as part of your degree, you will feel confident in dealing with many aspects of Asia, whether in business, education, politics or development. Asian Studies will also give you a unique perspective on your own culture, making you more self-aware and culturally sensitive; these are increasingly valuable attributes in a globalising world.


You can take this subject through a number of undergraduate programmes. You must meet the requirements for the programme that you apply for.

This subject has no requirements additional to the overall programme requirements.

Fees and Costs

See the Fees and Costs information for the programme that you are applying for.

How To Apply

To study this subject, you must apply to an undergraduate programme that offers this subject. You will then select it as one of your subject options in First Year.

This subject is offered through the following programmes:

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact