Studying at the Centre for Asian Studies
When undertaking a program in Asian Studies, students need to give careful thought to their choice of subjects. What you choose to study alongside Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian will have a major impact on your degree structure and career path. For example:
- do you wish to work overseas?
- do you wish to use your language in a professional career?
- do you want to become a language teacher?
- do you want to go into government service?
- do you want to do a fourth-year honours?
- do you want to do further research?
Depending on your goals, you need to think about the types of subjects you choose to study alongside your language program. The language forms a basic foundation for all the others, but you also need to think whether:
- you need to study for a professional qualification
- you need to combine your language specialisation with a specialisation in another discipline
- how many area studies subjects in Chinese and Japanese Studies you need to take in order to broaden your social and cultural knowledge of the language you study.
In making your decision you should consider the following:
- proficiency in language is a skill in its own right, but unless you want to become a language specialist, you will need to combine your study with another discipline to help your career
- a fourth-year honours and study abroad may be needed to raise your language skills to a high level
- planning your combination of subjects is very important if you aim to do honours in Asian studies or joint honours with other disciplines
- the staff in the Centre will be happy to discuss any of these issues with you.
Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian: languages and studies subjects
Since the late 1980s the Centre has experienced a rapid growth in student enrolments, including large increases in both Chinese and Japanese enrolments. This has reflected a growing community awareness of Australia's identity as an Asian and Pacific country, and of the importance to Australia's future of deepening knowledge and understanding of the languages, cultures, and political and economic systems of the major Asian countries. Vietnamese had also been offered as part of the Centre's language program from 1991 but ceased after 2001. Indonesian has been offered since 1995.
Apart from tertiary students seeking an Asian language or cultural competence as part of an Arts degree, students also include an increasing number of professionals seeking an Asian language competence -- primary and secondary teachers, lawyers, computer scientists, engineers and business people. There were 9 postgraduate students studying for MA and PhD degrees in either Chinese, Japanese or Asian studies in 2002.
In 1992 the Centre also began teaching its Chinese and Japanese language subjects on The Flinders University campus as part of the Outreach Program for exchange of language subjects. Students who have successfully completed second year level studies in Chinese or Japanese language courses on the Flinders University campus are strongly encouraged to continue with third year level studies on the Adelaide University campus. Flinders University also offers Indonesian I, II and III on the Adelaide campus as part of the Outreach Program.
Other departments within the University, including Economics, Anthropology, Politics, History, Geography, Music and Philosophy offer subjects relevant to the study of Asia which may usefully be combined with those offered within the Centre. Some of these subjects may be accepted for entry into Asian Studies Honours.
The three-year sequence is the most common course for students wishing to proceed from little or no knowledge of a language to oral, aural and written competence within the context of a Bachelor of Arts degree (in which levels IA & IB, IIA & IIB and IIIA & IIIB or ISA & ISB, IISA & IISB and IIISA & IIISB of the language constitute one-quarter, one-third and one-half respectively of a full study load at those levels). Students with good prior knowledge of the language, whether a satisfactory record at Year 12 in the secondary school system or through residence or schooling in China or Japan are, in the case of Chinese and Japanese, admitted into a special sequence at first, second and third year. The fourth or Honours year is for students who wish to proceed to advanced studies, usually in the form of a research degree, or those intending to pursue careers as teachers, interpreters, translators and area studies specialists. An Honours program for Vietnamese is not available at present. Prospective students should note that the work load required in Chinese and Japanese is substantially greater than in most other university courses: five hours per week of class work must be supplemented by time in the language laboratory and by at least as many hours again per week of private study. Students are expected to attend lectures and tutorials regularly. Failure to do so might mean that students will not be eligible to sit for their final examination.
Students with previous training or knowledge of a language are asked to take a placement test during the enrolment and orientation period to determine the appropriate level of entry for them.
All subjects in the Centre are taught on the basis of semester units, that is to say, in units completed within either the March-July or July-November semesters.
The normal requirement for the B.A. degree is completion of subjects to the total value of 72 points, normally 24 points per year. At first-year level full-year subjects are worth 6 points, while semester subjects are 3 points; at second-year level the values are 8 points and 4 points; and at third-year level 12 points and 6 points.
The rules concerning degree structure stipulate that students must take subjects from several 'disciplines' and may not take more than one quarter their load (ie. 6 points) at first-year or two-thirds (ie. 16 points) at second-year in a single discipline. At third-year a full 24 points may be taken in a single discipline. However, for purposes of these rules Asian Studies subjects comprise four 'disciplines': Japanese, Chinese, Asia-related social science subjects (Chinese Politics, The Rise of Industrial East Asia, Contemporary Japan, Politics & Foreign Policy in Japan, etc.).
The consequence of this rule is that a student may choose to take a B.A. degree in which all subjects relate to Asian Studies. A degree which combined two Asian languages, however, would constitute a heavy burden and should only be undertaken by students of exceptional ability.
An increasing number of students from other faculties -- including Law, Commerce, Science, Engineering -- have recently enrolled in Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian courses. Students from all faculties are welcome to either language or non-language subjects in the Centre, and in future the Centre hopes to be able to negotiate with other Faculties to construct joint degrees in Asian Studies and the professional disciplines.
The Diploma consists of studies in a single language over three years and is available to students who are enrolled concurrently in an undergraduate Bachelor degree at the University of Adelaide (including degrees in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences).
Students need the approval of the faculty in which they are enrolled for their Bachelor degree to extend their studies over one extra year to accommodate the requirements of the language sequence. This means, for example, that students may enrol for a Bachelor of Economics, a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts, and, by adding an extra year to their studies, graduate with a Bachelor's degree and a Diploma in Languages. Students who graduate with the Diploma in Languages in conjunction with their Bachelor's degree will therefore have a more rounded educational experience and will bring to their professional and personal life a valuable, additional skill.
All enquiries regarding the Diploma in Languages should be directed to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Office, Ground Floor, Napier Building, telephone (08) 8313 5245.