The Department of Asian American Studies at UCLA, founded in 2004, has been a national leader in promoting the study of the histories, contemporary realities, and diverse experiences of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. The Department is also the largest and intellectually most diverse of its kind in the country: It has 15 core faculty; 12 affiliated faculty, 1 adjunct professor, 3 continuing lecturers, and more than 100 majors and minors.
In addition to training students in the field, the Department satisfies a significant portion of UCLA’s graduate and undergraduate eduction by offering over 70 Asian American Studies courses per year to more than 2,000 students from all over the campus.
Following the tradition of civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, the department faculty value the social relevance of education, as well as the connection between academia, the community, and disadvantaged social groups. Faculty in the Department are likewise committed to offering a broad, inclusive, and flexible curriculum designed to meet maximum student needs, with an emphasis on close mentorship, collaborative teaching, and engaged scholarship.
The teaching and research methods used by faculty are interdisciplinary and comparative, with a healthy mix of quantitative, qualitative, interpretive, and applied approaches. These methods range from empirically based social sciences to diverse modes of cultural studies, from community-oriented service-learning to transnational research and collaboration, and from policy-sensitive professional work to media or performative productions. The topical range of faculty’s scholarly work includes immigration and diaspora; community structure and development; race, gender, and generational dynamics; interracial relations; social inequity; and political participation. Faculty’s innovative teaching and research continue to place the Department at the forefront of the field, which constantly reinvents itself in response to the challenges posed by the shifting dynamics of communal, trans-local, and global forces.
The undergraduate program in the Department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree for students who major in Asian American Studies, and an Asian American Studies minor for students from other departments. The goals of our education are: 1) to mount teaching missions that enable students to learn, to think, and to perform in a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment; 2) to equip students with theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as analytical and communicative skills, which can reflect the multi-disciplinary strengths of our faculty; and 3) to serve student needs for personal enrichment by preparing them either for advanced graduate studies or for life after college as citizens, professionals, community workers, political leaders, and entrepreneurs.
The graduate program of the Department offers a terminal Master of Arts degree. Graduate coursework is centered on 11 required courses that lead to completion of the degree through three culminating venues: (1) writing a research thesis, (2) passing a comprehensive examination that involves designing a set of undergraduate syllabi, and (3) working on a creative project. In addition, the Department grants two concurrent MA degrees: one jointly with the Fielding School of Public Health; the other with the Social Welfare Department.
Professor Jinqi Ling