Undergraduate Study

Asian American Studies BA

Capstone Major

The Asian American Studies major is a designated capstone major. Students are required to complete either a community-based applied team research project or an independent scholarly or creative expression project. Those who select the community-based project are expected to use their scholarly knowledge and analytical skills to examine problems facing Asian and Pacific Islander American populations, think creatively and innovatively about evidence-based solutions, and to produce reports that benefit community stakeholders. Those who select to design and complete an independent scholarly or creative expression project pursue a key idea or theme of personal interest that is related to their prior coursework and to the experiences and realities of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. Through their capstone work, all students are expected to demonstrate their skills in using and synthesizing knowledge gained in disparate courses and communicating effectively their findings and conclusions in a final paper, report, or project and in a public forum.

The BA program in Asian American Studies provides a general introduction for students who anticipate advanced work at the graduate level or careers in research, public service, and community work related to Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. An overall grade-point average of 2.0 or better is required for admission to the major.

Learning Outcomes

The Asian American Studies major has the following learning outcomes:

  • Skills in and critical appreciation for theoretical, multidisciplinary, and practical/applied dimensions of scholarly activities as applied to historical and contemporary studies of subject populations
  • Skills in and critical appreciation for textual, library, archival, visual, creative, and fieldwork-based qualitative and quantitative research, including ways of identifying and accessing diverse resources
  • Skills in and critical appreciation for comparative, relational, and intersectional understanding of group formation and dynamics, group differences and commonality, and individual identity within groups
  • Skills in and critical appreciation for individual and collective agency, civic and political engagement, and engaged scholarship’s role in social change
  • Skills in and critical appreciation for historical contextualization including approaches to the rise of new groups, identities, and social movements in global, national, local, and other frameworks
  • Skills in and appreciation for collective formations against forms of injustice, such as subordination and inequality

Preparation for the Major

Required: Two courses from Asian American Studies 10 or 10W, 20 or 20W, 30 or 30W, 40 or 40W, 50 or 50W.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the Asian American Studies major with 90 or more units must complete as many of the following courses as possible prior to admission to UCLA: one lower-division Asian American Studies course or one course that focuses on Asian Americans.

Refer to the UCLA transfer admission guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

The Major

Required: A total of 12 upper-division courses, including one scholarly and creative communications in Asian American Studies course (Asian American Studies 101); one multidisciplinary approaches course selected from 103 through M129, M161, M166B, M166C, M168, M172C, 187A, 191A, M191F; one creative expression course selected from 112C, 120, 121, 122B, C142A, C142B, C142C, M173; one diversity course selected from 115, M116, 120, 130A, M130B, M130C, 131A, 131B, 131C, 132A, 133, 134, 143B, M143C, M160, M164, M165, M166A, 167, M169, 174A, 175A, 187C, 191C; one global/transnational perspectives course selected from 122A, 123, M163, M164, 170, 171A, 171B, 171C, M171D, 171E, M172A, 172B, M172C, 174B, 175B; one engaged scholarship course selected from 140SL, 141A, 141B, M143A, M168, 195; five Asian American Studies elective courses selected from 103 through 199; and one capstone project course selected from 185 or 186.

No more than 12 graded units of Asian American Studies 195, 197, 198, and 199 may be applied toward the major. Courses 192 and 196 may not be applied toward the major.

Each course applied toward the major must be taken for a letter grade (courses offered only on a P/NP grading basis are acceptable), each must be at least 4 units, and students must have an overall grade-point average of 2.0 or better.

Honors Program

Through the Asian American Studies honors program, Asian American Studies majors undertake a year-long thesis or its equivalent with the guidance and supervision of a faculty member. Successful completion of the departmental honors program is indicated on the transcript. For additional information about the departmental honors program, contact the undergraduate academic adviser.


The honors program is open to junior and senior Asian American Studies majors who have (1) 90 or more total units, (2) a grade-point average of 3.5 or better in upper-division Asian American Studies courses and an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, and (3) completed two lower-division Asian American Studies courses.


Honors students must take the Asian American Studies 198A, 198B, and 198C sequence in which they write a thesis or its equivalent under the direction of a faculty member.