The Asian Studies Program offers courses in anthropology, art history, classical studies, economics, film, gender studies, historical studies, human rights, literature, music, philosophy, political studies, religion, and theater. In consultation with a member of the program faculty, students select a regional and disciplinary focus in order to create a coherent program of study. Although the program focuses on China, Japan, and South Asia, students can investigate bordering regions such as Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, Korean peninsula, and Pacific Islands. Intellectual emphasis is placed on comparative perspectives, both within Asia and with other regions.
Students whose area of study involves either China or Japan are usually expected to take at least two years of language instruction in order to gain basic proficiency. Those with a focus on South Asia are encouraged to take at least one year of Sanskrit. Possibilities for further language study through study abroad and intensive summer language programs can be found through the dean of international studies. Bard offers an intensive Chinese course in the spring semester and runs summer immersion programs in China and Japan.