Contemporary Asian Studies

Asia on the World Stage

Asia is home to more than half the world’s population. Its cultural and historical complexity is endless, its economic growth unprecedented, and its global influence unmatched. Our job is to understand it better.

Our faculty and students create interdisciplinary, cross-regional, cutting-edge insights into a wide range of crucial issues at stake in this dynamic region of the globe. Asia’s breakneck urbanization processes, social media and communications revolutions, and growing environmental crises all offer new challenges and demand creative interventions. Meanwhile, the creation of local literary, visual, and archaeological sites as fields of a contested colonial and postcolonial past provide rich pathways to greater understanding of the region’s complexity.

Contemporary Asian Studies

The Dr. David Chu Program in Contemporary Asian Studies (CAS) examines the linkages between Asia’s history and culture, its emergence on the global stage, and its future in the global arena through a multidisciplinary lens informed by anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, cultural studies, and sociology. CAS students gain empirical and critical knowledge of East, Southeast, and South Asia through a comparative exploration of contemporary issues. We offer a major and minor in Contemporary Asian Studies and a minor in South Asian Studies with a wide range of courses and electives. For complete program requirements and course descriptions, please refer to the Faculty of Arts and Science calendar.

Asian languages

While the Asian Institute does not sponsor any language courses at the University of Toronto, students in CAS who do not have an existing background in an Asian language are strongly encouraged to take at least one year of an Asian language. On St. George campus, the Department of East Asian Studies offers courses in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Alternatively, UTM and UTSC offer courses in Asian languages including Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Sanskrit, and Tamil.

The Asian Institute Advantage

As a boutique program situated in the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, CAS offers students a host of unique resources. Find out more on our student resources page.

Experiential learning

Scholarships and Awards

Career Development

  • Gain the skills and knowledge for careers in a world that is no longer rooted in the West
  • Prepare for work in academic research, policy development and practice, global business and more
  • Global Careers through Asia Conference
  • Internship Opportunities
  • Alumni network

Student Groups

Contact US

We want to hear from you! To learn more or get your questions answered, contact:

Katherine MacIvor
Program Advisor and Communications Officer
Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
1 Devonshire Place, room 228N | 416-946-8832


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