20 Best Deals on Colleges for Asian American Studies

Developed in the late 60s, Asian American Studies is a multidisciplinary field that incorporates history, sociology, philosophy, political science, and numerous other academic areas. The following list of colleges is ranked in accordance with research findings on U.S. colleges with Asian American Studies departments. The corresponding descriptions include details that a student should value in pursuit of a career in this field.

We awarded points based on the presence of: a unique range of Asian American Studies courses; scholar-level faculty in the field; Asian American Studies-related events, organizations, and scholarships; and any additional offerings that would be especially valuable. The 20 colleges profiled here scored the highest among a pool of 40 schools with a net price (per College Navigator) of $34,000 USD or less.

The schools profiled below are ranked in order of points earned. In the event of a tie in points, the schools with the lower net price are ranked higher.

#20 – Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania



Points: 9
Enrollment: 2,447
Net Price: $33,343

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1 and an average class size of 18, Gettysburg College is a small liberal arts school that embraces individualized learning. The city of Gettysburg is central to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore, which increases both accessibility to employment opportunities and on-campus student body diversity. Gettysburg College’s East Asian Studies department encompasses courses in contemporary Asian society and its worldwide influence on societies. This college sponsors study abroad opportunities in both China and Japan, where students broaden their learning potential.

#19 – University of Colorado

Boulder, Colorado



Points: 9
Enrollment: 32,432
Net Price: $21,053

The University of Colorado at Boulder is a gorgeous campus at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. UC-Boulder is a liberal arts college that values diversity in both curriculum and its student body. Over 11,000 employers recruit students and graduates from this university on an annual basis. Students who have chosen to major or minor in Asian Studies will find corresponding curriculum covering Asian American subject areas as well. The Asian American courses explore history, culture, and contemporary issues facing this ethnicity.

#18 – Arizona State University

Phoenix, Arizona



Points: 9
Enrollment: 50,320
Net Price: $12,191

Ranked fifth in the nation for “best qualified graduates” by the The Wall Street Journal, Arizona State University is a top academic research institution. One of the available degree opportunities is in Asian Pacific American studies, affiliated with the college’s School of Social Transformation. Students enrolled in this program are immersed in history, the contemporary life experience of this ethnicity, culture, and society. Arizona State University provides extensive assistance in finding the best financial aid package for all students.

#17 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Illinois



Points: 10
Enrollment: 45,140
Net Price: $16,249

Found in a suburban town south of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a well-respected institution with one of the world’s largest public university libraries. One the college’s hundreds of academic areas is in the department Asian American Studies; this unique program addresses Asian American epistemologies, current and historic experiences, and the importance of community service since 1997. The department of Asian American studies is working toward adding seminars, lecture series, and other types of special events to its offerings.

#16 – University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota



Points: 10
Enrollment: 51,147
Net Price: $15,589

Built in the Twin Cities in 1851, the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis is globally recognized for its competitive academics and award-winning faculty. Incoming students looking to pursue Asian American Studies will find a great department at this university. The curriculum of U of M’s Asian American courses encompass history, literature, the lives of Asian women, immigration, race, and ethnic identity. Additionally, this college has formed Asian American Partners for Tomorrow (AAPT), which is an educational outreach effort with high-school aged Asian American students.

#15 – University of California at Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California



Points: 10
Enrollment: 41,845
Net Price: $12,510

One of the nation’s most sought-out school by freshman applicants, the University of California at Los Angeles is a renowned school at an affordable tuition. Since 2004, the Asian-American Studies department at UCLA has proven itself as a leader in this curriculum; students seeking this degree are given an education in history, contemporary society, and the complexity of living as an Asian and Pacific Islander American. The faculty of UCLA’s Asian-American department emphasize working in the community, mentor-based learning, and engaged discussions during class.

#14 – University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley, CA



Points: 11
Enrollment: 37,565
Net Price: $16,655

Established in 1868, the University of California at Berkeley is a uniquely individualized education for a student body of over 37,000. Among its faculty, 77 professors are Fulbright Scholars, and 7 are recipients of a Nobel Prize. UCLA at Berkeley has an Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies (AAADS) program, which explores the study of history, contemporary society, ancestry, and more through engaged research and analysis. This college has multiple options for merit-based scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid.

#13 – Queens College (CUNY)

Queens, NY



Points: 11
Enrollment: 19,310
Net Price: $6,728

Located in one of the most exciting cities in the nation, Queens College in New York City is an institution with strong students of many disciplines. The college is known in part for its flexible class scheduling, offering degree-seekers both day and evening course options. The Asian-American Studies program at Queens College has curriculum spanning history, language, literature, cuisine, sociology, and many other topics. This college is also home to the Asian-American Research Institute, which hosts special events, film screenings, seminars, community forums, and more.

#12 – University of Washington

Seattle, Washington



Points: 12
Enrollment:  44,784
Net Price: $10,374

Settled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, the Seattle campus of University of Washington is a leader in academic excellence. For incoming students seeking to further their in work in Asian American studies, this college has an expansive course selection focusing on this subject area. Some of the curriculum covered in this field includes Asian American history, culture, contemporary issues, discrimination, literature, activism, and more. The majority of University of Washington’s professors are considered scholars in their respective fields.

#11 – State University of New York at Binghamton

Binghamton, NY



Points: 13
Enrollment: 16,695
Net Price: $15,572

Recently ranked by the Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of the “premier public universities in the northeast”, the State University of New York at Binghamton is a institution of rigorous academics. For students pursuing Asian American Studies, there is an entire department dedicated to the many topics related to the field. The Asian American courses cover topics that encompass transnational and transoceanic Asian diasporas worldwide. Students are exposed to Asian history, culture, language, geography, and more. SUNY Binghamton hosts an ongoing series of guest-speakers, many of whom address Asian American topics.

#10 – University of Connecticut

Storrs, Connecticut



Points: 14
Enrollment: 26,541
Net Price: $19,049

Founded in 1881, The University of Connecticut is a college made up of one primary and five regional campuses. One of UConn’s proudest offerings is its Asian American Studies Institute, where students are exposed to a research and training program covering numerous academic disciplines. The Institute delivers curriculum that comprehensively explores all diasporic, national, regional, and transnational Asian American orientations. This university also sponsors year-round Asian American events, exhibits, lecture series, and multiple fellowships and independent study opportunities in the field.

#9 – University of Maryland – College Park

College Park, Maryland



Points: 14
Enrollment: 37,610
Net Price: $14,833

Founded in 1856 just outside Washington D.C., the flagship campus of the University of Maryland is known for excellence in academics. Among its many valuable resources, this college has state-of-the-art library and research facilities, a large center for language studies, and modern classrooms. UM’s Asian American Studies program is an opportunity for interested students to take on questions regarding the representation, identity, and power of this ethnicity. The Asian American studies program has strong connections to relevant organizations in Washington, D.C. and other nearby regions.

#8 – University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA



Points: 15
Enrollment: 24,806
Net Price: $22,694

Established by Benjamin Franklin in 1749, the University of Pennsylvania is a modern institution that continues to honor its rich heritage. UPenn has a large, diverse student body with over 52% identifying as black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American. In 1996, the university established an Asian American Studies program, which is an interdisciplinary program that explores history, the contemporary experience, immigration, and a range of other relevant subjects. The Asian American studies program sponsors public events that include film screenings, performance, lectures, and academic discussions.

#7 – Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York



Points: 16
Enrollment: 21,492
Net Price: $29,621

Syracuse University, of central New York State, is an urban campus setting with richly diverse academic offerings. The college established an Asian American Studies program in 2010 in response to proposals submitted by faculty and a student committee. In the last 6 years, the program has expanded to offer over 30 courses both on the Syracuse campus and abroad. SU students enrolled in the Asian American Studies program learn language, history, art, environment, world economy, global migration, and more. Syracuse University offers more than $225 million in grants and scholarships annually, making tuition affordable for students of all backgrounds.

#6 – Pomona College

Claremont, California



Points: 16
Enrollment: 1,650
Net Price: $19,205

Just east of Los Angeles, Pomona College of Claremont, California, is a private liberal arts school with a selective admissions process. With a student body of under 2,000, this institution takes full advantage of personalized, mentor-based learning. Pomona values a diverse campus presence, and the most recent incoming class of freshman represented nearly 50 countries. The Asian American Studies major is a challenging series of courses covering Asian culture, history, society, and other related areas. Students who enroll in the Asian American studies are required to engage in community work as part of a required experiential learning component.

#5 – Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, New York



Points: 16
Enrollment: 24,607
Net Price: $13,352

Extending over one-thousand acres along the north shore of Long Island, Stony Brook University is an impressive academic complex just outside New York City. Some of the most popular degree programs are found in the Asian and Asian American Studies department. This growing interdisciplinary opportunity integrates languages, history, culture, philosophy, and religious studies. Students of Asian and Asian American Studies are presented with study-abroad options in countries including China, India, Japan and Korea. As of 2016, SBU is planning to offer a new master’s degree in Contemporary Asian & Asian American Studies (CAAAS).

#4 – Cornell University

Ithaca, New York



Points: 17
Enrollment: 21,679
Net Price: $28,537

Settled in the center of the Finger Lakes Region of New York, Cornell University maintains its competitive reputation in the Ivy League. The scenic campus is home to a culturally diverse student body that is community-oriented. Cornell established its Asian American studies program in 1987, and it has since expanded into a cross-disciplinary education with a growing list of learning opportunities. CU’s curriculum in Asian American studies includes literature, history, psychology, and an option to pursue an independent research project.

#3 – Smith College

Northampton, Massachusetts



Points: 17
Enrollment: 2,989
Net Price: $25,619

World-renowned Smith College is an all-women’s higher education opportunity with scholar-level academics and faculty. This college is known for having a wide spectrum of specialty areas, one of which is the Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies program. This certificate program is the product of collaboration among Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The purpose of this integration of schools is to expand Asian/Pacific American educational resources to all students.

#2 – San Francisco State University

San Francisco, California



Points: 17
Enrollment: 29,465
Net Price: $9,356

A large and highly affordable education option, San Francisco University develops its students into ethical individuals with a global perspective. The department of ethnic studies is a growing program with a wide selection of specializations to pursue; one of the available majors in this department is Asian American Studies, which also happens to be the largest of the ethnicity divisions. SFU additionally offers multiple scholarships based in Asian American academic pursuit; these scholarships include the Laura Lai Scholarship/Student Assistantship, Paul Whang Memorial Fellowship and the Square and Circle Civic Engagement Internship Stipend Award.

#1 – Stanford University

Stanford, California



Points: 18
Enrollment: 16,963
Net Price: $17,952

One of the world’s most respected institutions, Stanford University is committed to turning its students into enlightened citizens. There is a 4:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and 21 members of the Stanford Community are Nobel laureates. SU offers both a major and minor in Asian American Studies, with required courses covering a range of curriculum topics including history, music, language, race, contemporary societal issues, and more. The college also produces an online publication called the Stanford Journal of Asian American Studies (SJAAS). The SJAAS celebrates excellence in Asian-American essays, poetry, short fiction, and visual art.

The preceding ranked list serves as a guide for students seeking the best deal on a college with Asian American Studies.

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By GCD Staff
August 2016