Subject Guide

Asian Studies Degree

Uni Compare  · Sep 24th 2020

South East Asia is geographically identified as a group of islands between China and Australasia.


If you’ve been asking yourself, ‘What can I do with a degree in Asian studies?’ then fret no more. While humanities degrees don’t usually hand you a neatly-packaged career on graduation, the skills you gain from an onsite or Asian studies online degree can open up a number of career pathways worthy of exploration.

Read on to find out about the types of Asian studies degree jobs that you can go into if working in the UK (in this section), as well as the variety of East Asian studies degree jobs that you can do abroad (covered in the next section, ‘What can you do with an Asian studies degree?’).

Asian Studies Degree

What to do with an Asian studies degree

Beginning here with UK-based Asian studies degree jobs, you could consider becoming a translator or interpreter. Using your specialist language (Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean or Japanese from an East Asian studies online degree, or Thai, Indonesian, Burmese or Vietnamese from a South East Asian studies online degree), you translate between a source language and mapped language.

Graduates with multitasking strengths, interpersonal skills and a cool head would make excellent interpreters, working in real-time to translate spoken language in a range of settings (government, healthcare, educational and legal). Graduates who prefer to work at a slower pace or work alone could make good translators, transforming written texts such as books, journals and news reports between languages.

Cross-cultural knowledge can enhance a career in government, whether you go into immigration, international trade, policy advising, or social research. If you’re interested in a life of academia, then work on an Asian studies Master’s and then a PhD, honing your expertise in the subject until you’re ready to lecture at university level and carry out research in your specialist field.

Other graduate pathways include law conversion courses, applying to the Civil Service Fast Stream, or any corporate graduate training scheme.

What can you do with an Asian studies degree?

Many Asian studies graduates get into the subject because they love the countries and cultures of Asia, so travel can be an enticing opportunity. Here are some of the jobs you could go into overseas, even with an Asian Studies online degree.

This degree also works well as part of a joint honours degree and can be paired with politics, management or a foreign language.

Keen writers who can ask targeted questions and manage deadlines might become news correspondents, working in their specialist country for UK-based newspapers. Alternatively, you could aim for the more leisurely role of a travel writer for magazines and travel guide books.

If you complete a short TEFL qualification (just like an Asian studies online degree, an online TEFL course can be completed entirely as distance learning, or any other online degree Asian Studies), you might teach English as a foreign language. This skill is in demand in many Asian countries.

There are numerous other East Asian studies degree jobs in international business: your cultural familiarity could help you into a career in accountancy, customer service, business consultancy, management or marketing abroad. The business world can be competitive, so it might help to earn a Master’s degree in business, or pursue joint honours alongside your East Asian studies online degree.

These nations include Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore, as well as Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam which are on the mainland and are extremely popular destinations for students travelling on a gap year! Asian Studies incorporates the history, geography and language of the area, along with religions – which are wide-ranging, including Buddhism, Christianity and Islam – and the study of modern culture.

Asian Studies Degree

What A Levels do I need?

Generally, universities are looking for hardworking students, with history and geography A-levels and should expect grades showing AAB on A Level results day. However, students should confirm the entry requirements for their chosen universities and degree courses to ensure they are on the right track for admittance.

What are my study options?

There are many study options for those individuals interested in studying in this area, from South East Asian studies with or without a year abroad, and International Management and South-east Asian Studies as well as gaining a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in a South-east Asian language, such as Indonesian, Thai or Burmese.

Students who would love the opportunity to travel and study abroad as part of their studies should consider a sandwich course, where they can visit the area or country that they are studying.

Asian Studies degree UK departments within institutions usually offer a number of dual honours degrees, allowing students to combine a cultural education with a different passion of the candidate, offering the opportunity to explore two strands in greater detail.

What should I expect from Asian Studies?

One of the skills which are valued by companies and employers is the ability to speak another language, as it shows promise of international relations and relationships. Studying in this area is not as common as other subjects, which can help to separate you from the crowd, it also allows the ability for individuals to stretch themselves to try something different.

it is possible to look into the possibilities of a role as a travel writer for magazines and travel guide books.

Studying this degree opens up the opportunity to study abroad and this is reflected in the range of modules students can select if they do wish to learn overseas. Students are able to tailor their degree according to their aspirations of travelling the globe.

This area of study also attracts lecturers and esteemed academics to the UK to teach the subject, giving candidates some of the best minds in the class with them.

How will I be assessed?

Introductory and intermediate courses in Asian studies and languages use an array of learning experiences and techniques. Most units are taught through formal lectures and related tutorials and seminars. Assessment is a combination of written examinations and coursework completion, as well as presentation and group work, these will vary from each institution, which is why choosing the right university is personal to each student and each student will have different preferences.

What skills will I learn from Asian Studies?

One valuable skill that students can gain from studying Asian studies is the ability to speak a second language and hold the knowledge of that culture – which is great for business and international perspectives.

Students who attend universities gain a number of vital skills from time management and the ability to work towards a deadline which will prepare them for employment upon graduation. Studying for a degree also increases organisation skills as well as learning to work with others during presentations and group work. Students will also learn critical thinking, IT knowledge and writing skills through assignments.

Asian Studies Degree

Why study Asian Studies?

Many UK degree courses offer tuition for natives of these countries, and home students which ensure a multicultural working environment and a chance to meet others from all areas of life. This degree offers a great insight into the nations of Asia, not to mention Business, Economy, History, Language, Geography, Politics, Media, Culture and Religion.

This degree also works well as part of a joint honours degree and can be paired with politics, management or a foreign language. It also provides a chance to study abroad, through a single or joint honours degree.

Will it help me get a job?

There are lots of employment options for graduates of Asian studies. Career paths which are directly related to your degree course include; consultancy, diplomacy, journalism, finance and banking, politics and international relations and tourism.

More specific job roles available; working at consultancies, offices or even embassies which deal with Asian matters and affairs. Candidates looking to work in journalism or banking should get in contact with financial organisations and specialised newspapers for experience. Narrowing experience and gaining a portfolio of work within one area is helpful; however, general experience invaluable setups won’t harm your chances either.

Other graduate pathways include law conversion courses, applying to the Civil Service Fast Stream, or any corporate graduate training scheme.

Other employment areas related to this degree course are; arts management, marketing, human resources, international trade, translation and interpretation as well as teaching or further academic study, which in turn can lead to greater employment opportunities.

Most employers value experience within their candidates, especially experience which is relevant an in regards to this degree area that includes working with natives and speakers in Asia. Working in nations within Asia is not necessary, but it can help you when looking for employment.

What can I study after Asian Studies?

There is an exclusive range of Master’s degree programmes for students who wish to continue with their studies, from South East Asian Studies, Pacific Asian Studies, Chinese Business and the Asia Pacific, and East Asian Regional Development. There are also research degrees available.

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