The Study of Asian Languages and Literature Program provides a broad understanding of civilizations that extend back thousands of years. It gives students the opportunity to develop advanced skills in an Asian language while they study the history, art, literature, politics, geography, religion, and anthropology of Asia.

Why Iowa?

Programs in the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures allow students to focus on all aspects of an Asian culture while building skills in a related language.

Areas of study include:

  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Korean

You'll be able to expand your opportunities for professional careers or advanced study by supplementing your major with a Certificate in International Business.

To enhance your degree, you may add a second major or an emphasis in any number of subjects, such as Anthropology, Art, Art History, Cinema, History, Comparative Literature, International Studies, Political Science, Pre-law, or Religious Studies.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 


Asian Languages & Literature
Asian Languages and Literature
Korean Studies
  Teaching Licensure
in Chinese and Japanese
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

Asian Languages and Literature graduates pursue careers in education, government, communication, business, and other fields in the United States and beyond. The program also provides an excellent background for advanced study in the humanities or social sciences and in professional schools.

The number of Americans who can speak Asian languages is still small, so many career opportunities exist for individuals trained in these areas.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad programs and multiple Undergraduate Research opportunities.

You'll also have the opportunity to participate in multicultural student groups or community organizations related to your major. These include the Asian American Coalition, Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Indian Student Alliance, Japanese Students and Scholars Club, Korean UIowa Students Association, Thai Student Association, Taiwanese Student Association, Vietnamese Student Association, and Amnesty International.

Group activities organized by these groups, including holiday celebrations, international movie screenings, field trips, and other cultural events, help international students make the transition to Iowa and promote language learning.

Study Abroad

Iowa has an extensive Study Abroad Program, and the department strongly encourages Study Abroad in Asia. Agreements with several universities and institutes in China, India, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan offer you a wide choice of programs to consider.

Well-established Chinese language Study Abroad Programs are offered by the Iowa Tianjin Summer Study Abroad Program and the East China Normal University Exchange Program. We have summer and semester-based exchange programs at Ewha Woman's University, Kyung Hee University, University of Seoul, and Korea University.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships. 


The BA degree in Asian Languages and Literature is designed for students who want to achieve proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Chinese or Japanese. You will study one language for three to four years as you learn about the culture and history of China or Japan.

Students must complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core requirements. Furthering Language Incentive Program (FLIP) credit may not be counted toward the major.

View Asian Languages and Literature in the UI General Catalog to learn more about earning a major or minor in this area, course requirements, and graduating with honors.

Teaching Licensure

Students interested in teaching Chinese or Japanese at the secondary school level will need to complete the College of Education's Teacher Education Program.