East Asian Religion, Thought and Culture Major Requirements

Knowledge of philosophical and religious traditions is important to understanding many aspects of East Asia's diverse cultures. This major seeks to train students in these traditions in a way that is grounded in a familiarity with the texts, languages, and cultures of East Asian societies, while also examining how these traditions have been (and might better be) brought into the humanistic disciplines.


***To declare the Major, please schedule an appointment with the departmental advisor on Calendly. For quick questions about requirements, you can email her at cassandrajj@berkeley.edu. For questions or problems related to enrollment or placement exams, please contact Presi Diaz at diaz.mp@berkeley.edu***


Major Requirements

Prerequisites (Must earn a letter grade of C or higher for List A course; must earn a letter grade of B of higher for elementary language courses)

  • Chinese, Japanese, or Tibetan 1A-1B or equivalent (5 units each)
  • One course from List A

Lower Division (minimum of 8 units)

  • Chinese, Japanese, or Tibetan 10A-10B or equivalent (5 units each)*

Upper Division (minimum of 9 letter-graded courses and 30 units; minimum GPA of 2.0)

  • Six courses total from List A (“Core Courses”) including the course taken as a prerequisite
  • Two courses from List B (“Supplementary Disciplinary Breadth”)
  • EA 191: Tools and Methods in the Study of East Asian Philosophy and Religion or a pre-approved substitute in an academic year in which EA 191 is not offered

Of the six courses from List A, a maximum of two semesters of classical language study and no more than one lower division course may be counted toward fulfilling the requirements.  The two lists of courses (List A & List B) will be updated periodically, and the full listings will be available on the departmental website.

The department offers a two-semester honors program for its majors who have a 3.5 GPA in the major and a 3.3 GPA overall. This program allows qualified students to work closely with a faculty member in independent study ending in a senior honor's thesis. Students interested in the honors program should consult with the undergraduate advisor.

* Please note that students with previous language experience will be required to take the online placement exam. Students who place out of language courses or into the heritage track will be required to take additional advisor-approved literature or culture courses offered by the Department in order to meet the above unit requirements.


List A (“Core Courses”)

EA Lang C50 Introduction to the Study of Buddhism

EA Lang 110 Bio-Ethical Issues in East Asian Thought

EA Lang C120 Buddhism on the Silk Road

EA Lang C122 Buddhist Meditation: Historical, Doctrinal, and Ethnographic Perspectives

EA Lang C128 Buddhism in Contemporary Society

EA Lang C130 Zen Buddhism

EA Lang C132 Pure Land Buddhism

EA Lang C135 Tantric Traditions of Asia

EA Lang C152 Buddhist Astral Science


BuddStd 190 Topics in the Study of Buddhism: When topic is relevant (see advisor for approval)


Chinese 51 Chinese Thought in the Han Dynasty

Chinese 110A Introduction to Literary Chinese

Chinese 110B Introduction to Literary Chinese

Chinese C116 Buddhism in China

Chinese 130 Topics in Daoism

Chinese C140 Readings in Chinese Buddhist Texts

Chinese C185 Introduction to Chinese Philosophy

Chinese 186 Confucius and His Interpreters


Japan C115 Japanese Buddhism

Japan 116 Introduction to the Religions of Japan

Japan 120 Introduction to Classical Japanese

Japan C141 Introductory Readings in Japanese Buddhist Texts

Japan 144 Edo Literature

Japan 146 Japanese Historical Documents


Mongoln C117 Mongolian Buddhism


Tibetan 110A Intensive Readings in Tibetan

Tibetan 110B Intensive Readings in Tibetan

Tibetan C114 Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan 116 Traditional Tibet

Tibetan C154 Death, Dreams, and Visions in Tibetan Buddhism


List B (“Supplementary Disciplinary Breadth”)

Art History

HistArt 130A Early Chinese Art, Part I

HistArt 131A Sacred Arts in China

HistArt 134A Topics in Buddhist Art and Architecture: Buddhist Temple Art & Architecture in Japan

HistArt 134B Topics in Buddhist Art and Architecture: Buddhist Icons in Japan

HistArt 134C Topics in Buddhist Art and Architecture: Buddhist Art in the Modern/Contemporary World

HistArt 190A Special Topics in Fields of Art History: Asian: When topic is relevant (see advisor for approval)



Chinese 172 Contemporary Chinese Language Cinema

EA Lang C124 Buddhism and Film

EA Lang 180 East Asian Film: Directors and their Contexts

EA Lang 181 East Asian Film: Special Topics in Genre

Japan 185 Introduction to Japanese Cinema

Japan 188 Japanese Visual Culture: Introduction to Anime

Japan 189 Topics in Japanese Film

Korean 186 Introduction to Korean Cinema

Korean 187 History and Memory in Korean Cinema

Korean 188 Cold War Culture in Korea: Literature and Film

Korean 189 Korean Film Authors



History 100 Special Topics: When topic is relevant (see advisor for approval)

History 103F Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Asia: When topic is relevant (see advisor for approval)

History 113A Traditional Korean History

History 113B Modern Korean History

History 116A China: Early China

History 116B China: Two Golden Ages: China During the Tang and Song Dynasties

History 116C China: Modern China

History 116D China: Twentieth-Century China

History 116G Imperial China and the World

History 117A Topics in Chinese History: Chinese Popular Culture

History 117D Topics in Chinese History: The Chinese Body: Gender and Sex, Health, and Medicine

History 118A Japan: Japan, Archaeological Period to 1800

History 118B Japan: Japan 1800-1900

History 118C Japan: Empire and Alienation: The 20th Century in Japan

History 119A Topics in Japanese History: Postwar Japan

Mongoln 116 The Mongol Empire

Mongoln 118 Modern Mongolia

Tibetan 118 The Politics of Modern Tibet

Tibetan 119 Tibetan Medicine in History and Society



Chinese C184 Sonic Culture in China

Music 134A Music of the East Asia Tradition

Music 134B Music of Japan



Philos 153 Chinese Philosophy


Religious Studies

Anthro 158 Religion and Anthropology

EA Lang C126 Buddhism and the Environment

Chinese 182 Death and Funerary Practice in China

ReligSt 190 Topics in Religious Studies: When topic is relevant (see advisor for approval)


Asian Literature

Chinese 120 Ancient Chinese Prose

Chinese 122 Ancient Chinese Poetry

Chinese 134 Readings in Classical Chinese Poetry

Chinese 136 Readings in Medieval Prose

Chinese 153 Reading Taiwan

Chinese 155 Readings in Vernacular Chinese Literature

Chinese 156 Modern Chinese Literature

Chinese 157 Contemporary Chinese Literature

Chinese 158 Reading Chinese Cities

Chinese 176 Bad Emperors: Fantasies of Sovereignty and Transgression in the Chinese Tradition

Chinese 178 Traditional Chinese Drama

Chinese 179 Exploring Premodern Chinese Novels

Chinese 180 The Story of the Stone

Chinese 187 Literature and Media Culture in Taiwan

Chinese 188 Popular Culture in 20th-Century China

EA Lang 101 Catastrophe, Memory, and Narrative: Comparative Responses to Atrocity in the Twentieth Century

EA Lang 105 Dynamics of Romantic Core Values in East Asian Premodern Literature and Contemporary Film

EA Lang 106 Expressing the Ineffable in China and Beyond: The Making of Meaning in Poetic Writing

EA Lang 107 War, Empire, and Literature in East Asia

EA Lang 108 Revising the Classics: Chinese and Greek Poetry in Translation

EA Lang 109 History of the Culture of Tea in China and Japan

EA Lang 111 Reading Global Politics in Contemporary East Asian Literature

EA Lang 112 The East Asian Sixties

EA Lang 114 Illness Narratives, Vulnerable Bodies

EA Lang 115 Knowing Others, and Being Known: The Art of Writing People

EA Lang 116 Modern East Asian Fiction

EA Lang 118 Sex and Gender in Premodern Chinese Culture

EA Lang 119 History of Heaven

Japan 130 Classical Japanese Poetry

Japan 132 Premodern Japanese Diary (Nikki) Literature

Japan 140 Heian Prose

Japan 155 Modern Japanese Literature

Japan 159 Contemporary Japanese Literature

Japan 170 Classical Japanese Literature in Translation

Japan 173 Modern Japanese Literature in Translation

Japan 177 Urami: Rancor and Revenge in Japanese Literature

Japan 180 Ghosts and the Modern Literary Imagination

Japan 181 Mediating Disaster: Fukushima, Before and After

Korean 130 Genre and Occasion in Traditional Poetry

Korean 140 Narrating Persons and Objects in Traditional Korean Prose

Korean 150 Modern Korean Poetry

Korean 153 Readings in Modern Korean Literature

Korean 155 Modern Korean Fiction

Korean 157 Contemporary Korean Literature

Korean 170 Intercultural Encounters in Korean Literature

Korean 172 Gender and Korean Literature

Korean 174 Modern Korean Fiction in Translation

Korean 180 Critical Approaches to Modern Korean Literature

Korean 185 Picturing Korea

Mongoln 110 Literary Mongolian

Tibetan 115 Contemporary Tibet