Your degree in Asian Studies

During your Asian Studies degree, you can choose to focus on Asian Language and Culture—combining advanced language study with a concentration in one of five areas (China, Chinese Literature, Japan, Korea, or South Asia), or Asian Area Studies—offering a comparative approach to studying traditional and contemporary Asian societies with less emphasis on advanced language study.

You’ll develop important skills while studying history, literary and religious traditions, gender relations, and languages.

These skills may include:

  • Critical thinking and analysis of concepts related to major political, cultural, literary, historical, and/or religious movements in one or more Asian communities
  • Application of problem solving to the examination of Asian-related topics considering multiple perspectives
  • Intercultural understanding and competency
  • Reflection and analysis of self-identity, influences, assumptions, and values
  • Understanding and translating a wide range of texts, and recognize implicit meanings
  • Expression of ideas fluently and spontaneously in a foreign language
  • Persuasive public speaking and reasoning abilities that are evidence-based 
  • Ability to perceive the influence different perspectives can have on facts
  • Written and verbal communication skills used to identify and examine the historical, social, political, economic, and cultural dimensions of Canada’s relationship with Asia and the place of Asian communities in the history of North America and other regions of the world

Explore career possibilities

Career opportunities vary widely across a range of fields including government, non-government and not-for-profit organizations, translation and interpretation, business, law, cultural organizations, tourism, museums, media, education, and others.

There are many career paths that can combine your academics, skills, and experience with your different interests. See the job titles below for ideas, but note that some career options may require further education or training.

Visit the National Occupational Classification website to research basic requirements and responsibilities of jobs in your field.


Art or Music therapist


Charitable organization director

Communications policy researcher

Communications specialist

Community development worker

Community programs director



Cultural anthropologist


Customs broker




Education policy analyst

English as a Second Language teacher

Event planner

Foreign service officer


Heritage interpreter


Human resources specialist

Human rights officer

Immigration officer



Language school instructor


Library director


Linguistics advisor

Literacy program coordinator

Literary agent


Marketing specialist

Media or Information consultant

Museum administrator

Museum educator

News analyst

Policy advisor

Public affairs officer

Records technician

Research assistant

Restoration technician

Social policy researcher

Teacher or Professor

Tourism industry consultant



Make the most of your program

Your experiences will open doors to new opportunities and help clarify understanding of your values and interests.

Careers Night
Meet and learn from alumni with diverse experiences – at home and in Asia. 

Departmental events
Network with UBC students and faculty members at a variety of events.

Departmental research opportunities
Reach out directly to faculty members to ask about potential research positions.

Go Global
Explore international opportunities recommended by the Department of Asian Studies.

Canada-Japan Co-op Program
Enquire about co-op placement opportunities in Japan once admitted into the UBC Faculty of Arts Co-op Program.

Asian Studies co-op success stories
Learn about the experiences of past and present co-op students from your program and others.

Funding and awards
Discover scholarship opportunities for Asian Studies students.

UBC tandem Language Learning Program
Get matched with a language exchange partner and develop your fluency.

Alumni profiles and career possibilities
Check out alumni profiles of UBC Department of Asian Studies graduates.

Teach English in Asia
Explore advice and resources to find English language teaching opportunities in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

International Experience Canada
Check out opportunities for Canadians to do a working-holiday in Asia and around the world.

Make connections

Employers often hire people they know, so help them get to know you! You can build your network through clubs, classes, informational interviews, and more. There are so many ways to make connections and find mentors. 

The professional associations below are also great resources for meeting people, learning about specific industries, and exploring job and volunteer opportunities. Most have reduced membership rates for students and new grads.

Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

Asia Society

Asian Canadian

Association for Asian Studies

Canadian Association for Translation Studies

Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers

Canadian Linguistic Association

Centre for Chinese Research

Centre for India and South Asia Research

Centre for Japanese Research

Centre for Korean Research

Centre for Southeast Asia Research

Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver

Cultural Human Resources Council

Hong Kong-Canada Business Association

Hong Kong Studies Initiative 

Japan Foundation

Korea Foundation

Language Industry Association

Nepal Cultural Society of BC

Pacific Economic Cooperation Council

S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation

Society of Translators and Interpreters of BC

Tibetan Culture Society of BC

UBC Cantonese Language Program

UBC Centre for India and South Asia Research

UBC Chinese Language Program

UBC Himalaya Program

UBC Korean Language and Literature

UBC Persian and Iranian Studies

UBC Punjabi Studies

Connect with alumni on LinkedIn

More information

From your Arts degree, you’ll develop skills and experiences that can translate into many career paths. Check out other things you can do with your Arts degree.