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2023 East Asian Languages Degree Guide

Asian culture has survived for over three thousand centuries, and its influence has expanded far past Asia. By majoring in East Asian Languages you will learn various Asian dialects, along with Asian grammar and literature. In addition, there will be classes on East Asian philosophy, religion, and applications to business and technology.

Concentrations within this major would include Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Tibetan Languages and Literature. Depending on which concentration you choice, you will be taking courses in Japanese, Korean, Japanese, and Tibetan (beginning, intermediate, and advanced), Chinese history, Korean Art, Buddhist studies, and Modern Chinese film.

A Recent Jump in East Asian Languages Degrees

#188 Most Popular Major
2.3k Degrees Awarded
3.2% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, East Asian languages was the 188th most popular major nationwide with 2,293 degrees awarded. This represents a 3.2% increase in East Asian degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 2,219.

This year's Best East Asian Languages Schools ranking compares 74 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of East Asian programs later in this article.

2023 Best Colleges for East Asian Languages
2023 Overall Best East Asian Languages Colleges >

Best East Asian Languages Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in East Asian Languages
Bachelor's Degrees in East Asian Languages
Master's Degrees in East Asian Languages
Doctorate Degrees in East Asian Languages

East Asian Languages Degree Requirements

East Asian languages can be challenging for English speakers to learn because the characters and pronunciation are so different. Patience and persistence are important to find success in this field. The complex characters that make up the written language rely on precise handwork, making an eye for detail essential.

In order to prepare for this major, students are advised to take courses in World History, English, World Religion, and Government. These courses will help student understand the fundamentals of East Asian Languages. There are opportunities for study abroad programs at some institutions. This would allow student to practice their lingual skills and experience the culture first hand.

East Asian Degree Program Entry Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most East Asian degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic East Asian languages program qualifications, to serve in some East Asian careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

East Asian Languages Degree Types

There are various different levels of East Asian degrees. East Asian Languages programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest East Asian degree you can get. The type of East Asian degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A doctor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to East Asian, with approximately 36.7% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for East Asian workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Doctoral Degree 37.8%
Bachelor’s Degree 30.1%
Master’s Degree 21.7%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.6%
Post-Master’s Certificate 4.3%

62.8% of East Asian workers have at least a master's. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in East Asian languages have obtained.


The education level required is different depending on the East Asian career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for East Asian Majors

Below Average Number of Jobs
$28.5k Average Starting Salary
16% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A degree in East Asian Languages can lead to many different career opportunities. If you are interested in teaching, there are positions in Postsecondary and Adult Education. You would have the opportunity to teach an East Asian Language or English, along with culture and history. Another option is to become a translator. Translators are in high demand because of growing business between nations. If you are interested in Foreign Service, you can become a Foreign Service Officer. These officers endorse American business and political interests and give information and aid about their countries to the U.S policymakers. They arrange cultural exchanges, and help Americans travel abroad.

High Growth Projected for East Asian Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your East Asian degree? East Asian Languages careers are expected to grow 15.7% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to East Asian languages.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Interpreters and Translators 80,300 17.7%
Foreign Language and Literature Professors 39,100 11.7%

How Much Money Do East Asian Grads Make?

East Asian Languages graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $28,485 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $17,240 to as high as $51,745. As you might expect, salaries for East Asian graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid East Asian Careers

Salaries for East Asian languages graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers East Asian grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Foreign Language and Literature Professors $79,160
Interpreters and Translators $55,230

Getting Your East Asian Languages Degree

With over 550 different East Asian degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased East Asian school rankings to help you with this.

One of 17 majors within the Foreign Languages & Linguistics area of study, East Asian Languages has other similar majors worth exploring.

East Asian Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
Japanese Language & Literature 1,053
Chinese Language & Literature 718
East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General 292
Korean Language & Literature 117
Other East Asian Languages 113

View All East Asian Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Romance Languages 15,009
Linguistics & Comparative Literature 8,539
American Sign Language 2,724
Classical Languages & Literature 1,428
Germanic Languages 1,425

View All East Asian Related Majors >


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