From ancient art to anime, you’ll study the languages, literature, history and culture of Asia, the most populous continent on earth. Randolph-Macon’s Asian studies department is a rarity in the mid-Atlantic region, offering both Chinese and Japanese instruction, and an array of interdisciplinary courses on Asia. Study abroad at one of three sister institutions in Kyoto, Tokyo and Miyagi and experience amazing exchange opportunities linked to Randolph-Macon’s unique partnerships in Japan. You’ll graduate with a solid foundation for future careers in education, international relations, politics, business and government, and an appreciation for the universal concepts that are the heart of a liberal arts education.  

asian Studies
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In and Beyond the Classroom

A woman wearing a kimono and holding a parasol

Global education

More than 200 Asian studies students have participated in Randolph-Macon’s robust study abroad program and taken travel courses to further their knowledge and understanding of Asia. The college boasts three educational university partners in Japan including Kansai Gaidai University (Osaka); Rikkyo University (Tokyo); and Ishinomaki Senshu University (Miyagi) where students immerse themselves in the culture and character of modern Japan for a semester or year. Or, in the J-term travel course, Japan Past and Present (JAPN 221), Asian studies students get a first-hand look as they journey to the country to explore Japan’s rich history and current pop culture, where the ancient and the ultra-modern exist side-by-side in Kyoto and Tokyo. 

advising and mentorship

Randolph-Macon Asian studies faculty take pride in the breadth and depth of an Asian studies program that stands out among small liberal arts colleges. The low faculty-to-student ratio means faculty take the time to get to know you while sharing their considerable expertise and guiding you in your study of Asia. 


high-impact internships

All Asian studies majors are encouraged to expand their learning through direct, real-world experiences. Internships provide exciting opportunities for learning right in your backyard. 91Ƶ students recently interned at:

  • Asian American Society of Virginia
  • Virginia Governor’s Academy in Japanese
  • RAYS Capital Partners

Hands-on Learning

91Ƶ faculty often partner with scholars and experts from around the world to bring the sights, sounds, and traditions of Asia to our campus in Ashland. Grandmasters in Fujima style Japanese dance and musical instruments like stand-up bass, electric shamisen, and taiko recently explored their traditional art forms with students, pairing modern interpretation with traditional performance techniques and customs.    

Jazz improvisation laboratory class hosted a guest speaker to assist them on expanding their techniques and music.
  • 20%
    of 91Ƶ faculty have visited Asia, thanks to partnerships
  • 1967
    Inaugural J. Earl Moreland Lecture on Asia at 91Ƶ
  • 15%
    of 91Ƶ students enrolled in Asian studies, Chinese studies, or Japanese studies courses (Fall 2023)
A dancer performing an Asian cultural dance.

asian Studies
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Courses You Won’t Want to Miss

(A very small sample)

ASTU 270

East Asian Visual Culture

Learn the art history and visual discourses in China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea by exploring ancient aesthetics, modern fashions, popular visual media, war and propaganda, sports, and avant-garde movements. 

CHIN 234

Chinese Cinema

Explore internationally acclaimed Chinese-language cinema, from popular melodrama to independent film, from mainland Chinese masterpieces, to international cinematic productions. Examine Chinese history, politics, and cultural identities through film. 

JAPN 294

Early to Premodern Japan

Study Japanese culture and society, from the earliest beginnings to the 19th century. Learn about the influence of Chinese civilization; the origins of Shinto and Japanese Buddhism; the development of art and literature; and the rise of the samurai class. 

Opportunities Worth Grabbing

Popular activities and programs among Asian studies majors
91Ƶ students learning traditional Japanese dancing

Suzume Odori Dancing Troupe

Started in 2022, this troupe practices a traditional style of Japanese festival dance.

Japanese National Honors Society

J. Earl Moreland Lecture on Asia

A staple at 91Ƶ since 1987, this yearly lecture brings distinguished scholars and prominent professionals to campus for class visits and a public lecture.

From Here To What you can do with an Asian Studies degree from 91Ƶ

Elizabeth Majewski '20 headshot

Elizabeth Majewski ’20

Academic Administrative Assistant
Richard Bland College

“The things that I learned at 91Ƶ, inside, but mainly outside the classroom I utilized in my master’s program and continue to call upon in my career. Key skills such as how to communicate with professors and manage my time transfer readily from pursuing further education after Randolph-Macon and in the workforce. My memories and the skills I was taught to polish at 91Ƶ are something that I recall every day.”


Candidate for MA in East Asian Studies
University of Virginia


JET Program
Kumamoto, Japan

Charlene Leung ’11

Rimkus, Forensic Consultation Firm

buzzworthy The Latest From 91Ƶ Asian Studies

News Story categories: Asian Studies

Leading Author on World Cinema to Deliver J. Earl Moreland Lecture on Asia

Randolph-Macon College’s Asian Studies Department will host Dr. Gina Marchetti, noted cinema expert and chair of the department of humanities and media…

Dr Gina Michaels posing with an 91Ƶ Faculty Member and an 91Ƶ student

Kakehashi Project Brings 91Ƶ Students and Alumni on Pandemic-Delayed Trip to Japan

The email took Randolph-Macon professor Lauren Bell by surprise, but in the best way. As Japan reopened its borders to…

91Ƶ students and alumni pose with students from Rikkyo University on the Kakehashi Project trip to Japan

Get Ready Discover Asian Studies at 91Ƶ.