The Department of Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the oldest in Israel and is one of the biggest departments in the Faculty of Humanities, home to over 300 students specializing in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Indian Studies. The department is characterized by its excellence in research and teaching, and it maintains an environment of cooperation between students and faculty in a wide array of extracurricular activities.
Three of our professors—Prof. David Shulman (India), Prof. Ben-Ami Shillony (Japan), and Prof. Michal Biran (China)—are members of The Israel Academy of Science and Humanities - Israel’s most distinguished academic forum. Prof. Zvi Shifrin, a renowned Sinologist and the founder of our department, received The Israel Prize in the field of The Far Eastern Studies in 2015. A year later, Prof. David Shulman received the Israel Prize for his research and teaching in the field of religion and philosophy of the Indian continent. In 2015, Dr. Nissim Otmazgin (Japanese studies) was selected to Israeli Young Academy and joined 38 other promising Israeli scientists from all fields of sciences and humanities.
Teaching about Asia
We provide a structured curriculum with language studies at its core (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Indian Languages), along with historical, political and cultural introductory classes about China, Japan, Korea, India, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia as well as more focused courses which cover a wide array of topics – from Japanese cinema and theater to ecological issues in China; From Asian economy, through Buddhism in India, social issues in Korea, to Mongolian history. Our curriculum is demanding – but it provides our students a solid lingual and theoretical base of knowledge which enables them to pursue a successful career in Asian studies.
BA studies are offered in 7 majors: Chinese studies, Japanese studies, Korea studies, Indian and Southeast Asian studies, Contemporary Asia, Asian Cultures, Business in Asia (in collaboration with Business School) and International Relations of Asia (in collaboration with IR department)
MA and PhD studies introduce advanced knowledge about the culture, history, language, society, politics and various other aspects of East Asia and South Asia. Advanced students participate in special seminars and guided reading classes, and in most cases are expected to peruse advanced language training and/or extended field research in Asian countries.