Program Requirements and Opportunities

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

For more information, visit the Catalog Homepage to view the current content. To view Catalogs from previous academic years, visit the Catalog Archives page.

East Asian Languages and Cultures (Bi-Co) 

The Bi-College Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures is housed at both Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Our mission is to foster learning about East Asia through rigorous language study and through deep and exploratory engagement with prominent themes and sources from East Asian countries. Towards these ends, EALC offers Chinese and Japanese language through the advanced level and an array of courses on East Asian culture taught in English, including such topics as religion, visual culture, film, gender, history, and literature. Beginning in 2023, EALC introduced Korean language at the introductory level and added the intermediate level beginning in 2024. The Major seeks to train students in language, guide them through a curriculum that situates East Asian culture within global discourses, and nurture their skills in critical thinking, research, and writing. Our language programs are central and foremost in this effort. Minors are offered in Chinese, Japanese, and EALC. (See details on the requirements of the Major and the three Minor tracks below.) Many students choose to study abroad during the school year or during the summer to enrich their knowledge and experience, as well as language skills. Alumni have pursued a wide variety of fields after graduation, both in East Asia and in the United States. Students also take advantage of courses offered at Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania, which may be counted towards the major or minor.

Learning Goals

EALC has four learning goals:

  • Laying the foundations for proficiency in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language and culture.
  • Gaining broad knowledge of the East Asian cultural sphere across time and in its global context.
  • Developing basic bibliographic skills and protocols; learning how to identify, evaluate, and interpret primary textual and visual sources..
  • Embarking on and completing a major independent research project that pulls together past coursework, taking the knowledge and skills gained to a new level to demonstrate mastery of a particular aspect of East Asian culture.


Chinese Program 

The Chinese Program is a fully integrated Bi-Co program. We offer multiple levels of instruction in Mandarin Chinese. 

  • First-Year Chinese (CNSE B001-CNSE B002) and Second-Year Chinese (CNSE B003CNSE B004) both have master and drill sections.
  • First-Year Chinese (CNSE B001CNSE B002) is a year-long course. Students must complete both semesters to receive a total of three credits.
  • We offer Non-intensive First-Year Chinese (CNSE H007-CNSE H008) for students with some background in Chinese, based on results of a placement test. Upon completion of this full-year sequence, students move on to Second-Year Chinese.
  • Following Third-Year, we offer Advanced Chinese each semester. So far, we have eight topic courses in the Advanced Chinese series and students can continue taking Advanced Chinese for credits as long as the topics differ. 

Japanese Program

The Bi-Co Japanese Program offers five years of instruction in modern Japanese. All Japanese language courses are offered at Haverford and may be found on the Haverford course webpage as well as through a BIONIC search.

  • First-Year Japanese (JNSE H001-JNSE H002) meets six hours per week. This is a year-long course. Students must complete both semesters in order to receive credit.
  • Second-Year Japanese (JNSE H003-JNSE H004) meets five hours per week.
  • Third- and Fourth-Year (Advanced) Japanese (JNSE H101-JNSE H102 and JNSE H201/JNSE H201B) meet three hours per week.
  • Advanced Japanese takes a different topic each term; students can take it any term as Fourth- or Fifth-Year Japanese, with one credit per semester, and repeat the course with different topic headings.

Korean Program

The Bi-Co Korean Program offers two years of instruction in modern Korean. All Korean language courses are offered at Bryn Mawr.

  • First-Year Korean (KORN B101-KORN B102) meets six hours per week. This is a year-long course. Students must complete both semesters in order to receive credit.
  • Second-Year Korean (KORN B103-KORN B104) meets five hours per week.
  • Advanced level Korean courses may be taken through study abroad or at the University of Pennsylvania in consultation with our Korean language faculty.

EALC Major Requirements - Twelve Courses

Two introductory courses, Major Seminar, Capstone

  • EALC 131 Chinese Civ.*
  • EALC 132 Japanese Civ.*
  • EALC 200 Themes and Methods in the study of East Asia (this course is offered every semester: at Haverford in the fall and at Bryn Mawr in the spring)
  • EALC 398 Senior Thesis (This is a single semester thesis offered only in the fall)  
    • *EALC 200 is the BMC Writing Intensive (WI) Course designated for the EALC Major
    • *The 2 100-level course requirements are intended to give students a survey of East Asia. Substitutions may be made only in consultation with the major advisor and department approval.

Two Terms of Intermediate/Advanced Language 

  • Two terms of Japanese or Chinese at Third-Year level or above

Students who demonstrate the equivalent of third year level or above in Chinese or Japanese (with approval of the respective language director) may petition to substitute alternative coursework with major advisor approval

Six Electives

  • Two must be 300-level EALC courses
  • Four other electives selected from 200 or 300 level. Students can substitute up to one 100 level and up to two non-EALC (including CNSE or JNSE) courses with major advisor approval.

Language Minor Requirements

Chinese Minor and Japanese Minor Requirements

The Chinese language and Japanese language minors both require six language courses. Students must take at least four language courses in our Bi-Co programs, and can take at most two at the Quaker Consortium or our approved off-campus domestic or Study Abroad programs. The most advanced course taken for the minor will be at the BiCo. Candidates for the Minor are approved in consultation with the language program directors.

Students declaring a minor in Chinese should discuss their plans with Shizhe Huang at Haverford College. Students declaring a minor in Japanese should discuss their plans with Tetsuya Sato at Haverford College. EALC minors are approved by the EALC chairs.

EALC Minor

The EALC minor requires six courses taken in the EALC Department, including language courses. The mix must include EALC 200 and one 300-level course.

Requirements for Honors

The departmental faculty awards honors based on superior performance in two areas: coursework in major-related courses (including language classes), and the senior thesis. The faculty requires a minimum 3.7 average in major-related coursework to consider a student for honors.

Study Abroad

The EALC Department strongly encourages our majors to study abroad to maximize their language proficiency and cultural familiarity. We require formal approval by the study abroad advisor prior to the student’s travel. Without this approval, credit for courses taken abroad may not be accepted by EALC. If study abroad is not practical, students may consider attending certain intensive summer schools that EALC has approved. Students must work out these plans in concert with the department’s study abroad advisor and the student’s dean.

Language Placement Tests

The language programs conduct placement tests for first-time students at all levels before the start of the fall semester. Students planning to take the language placement test should consult with the language directors of their program.

To qualify for third-year language courses, students need to finish second-year courses with a score of 3.0 or above in all four areas of training: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

If students do not meet the minimum grade at the conclusion of second-year language study, they must consult with the director of the respective language program and work out a summer study plan that may include taking summer courses or studying on their own under supervision.

Students who do not meet the requirement to advance must take a placement test before starting third-year language study in the fall.

Senior Prizes

Graduating Seniors in EALC are eligible for the “Margaret Mayeda Petersson Prize,” which recognizes a spirit of engagement and enthusiasm through the major and the thesis project.

EALC-sponsored Prizes

Graduating Seniors from any department who have studied Chinese are eligible for the “Hu Shih Prize in Chinese” which recognizes excellence and dedication in the study of the Chinese language.  


Contact Us

East Asian Languages and Cultures

Shiamin Kwa
Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Co-Chair of the department
Phone: 610-526-5671

Hank Glassman
Janet and Henry Ritchotte '85 Professor of Asian Studies; Associate Professor and Co-Chair of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Phone: 610-710-1822