About the Department


The Department of Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the oldest of its kind in Israel and one of the largest departments in the Faculty of Humanities, home to close to 300 students specializing in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and India & Indonesia Studies. The department maintains an environment of close cooperation between students and faculty in a wide array of extracurricular activities, and is characterized by a tradition of excellence in research and teaching.

  • In 2010, the Department of Asian Studies received the Rector’s Outstanding Unit Award
  • In 2014, the Department of Asian Studies was the recipient of the Japan Foreign Ministry Commemoration Award
  • In 2015, renowned Sinologist and founder of the department, Prof. (Emeritus) Zvi Shifrin, received The Israel Prize in the field of Far Eastern Studies
  • In 2016, Prof. (Emeritus) David Shulman received the Israel Prize in the field of Religion and Philosophy of the Indian Continent
  • In 2022, Prof. Gideon Shelach (China Studies) received EMET prize (for art, science and culture) in the field of archeology
  • Three of our faculty — Prof. (Emeritus) David Shulman (India Studies), Prof. (Emeritus) Ben-Ami Shillony (Japan Studies), and Prof. Michal Biran (China Studies)—are members of The Israel Academy of Science and Humanities: Israel’s most distinguished academic forum. In 2015, Prof. Nissim Otmazgin (Japan studies) was selected as a member of the Israeli Young Academy at the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities.

Staff members in the department are currently engaged in a wide range of research projects in various disciplines, including history, religious studies, philosophy, literature, cultural studies, sociology and anthropology, archaeology, political science and international relations (for further information press the link).


Teaching about Asia

Our program offers undergraduate students a structured curriculum with language studies at its core (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian Languages), along with historical, political and cultural introductory classes about China, Japan, Korea, India, and Indonesia. The program further includes courses and seminars 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, Gender and the Family in China, to Mongolian history. Our curriculum provides students with a solid lingual and theoretical base of knowledge that enables graduates to pursue successful careers in Asia-related fields both within and outside the academia.

BA studies are currently offered in 7 sections: Chinese studies; Japanese studies; Korean studies; India & Indonesia studies; Contemporary Asia; Asian Cultures; Business in Asia (in collaboration with the School of Business Administration); and International Relations in Asia (in collaboration with the Department of International Relations).

MA and PhD studies are currently offered in 3 sections: Chinese studies; Japanese studies; and India & Indonesia studies. An English-language graduate program is currently available in the China section only.

Our graduate program offers students advanced courses on the culture, history, language, society, politics and various other aspects of East, Southeast and South Asia. Advanced students participate in special seminars and guided reading classes, and in some instances may be expected to pursue advanced language training and/ or extended field research in Asian countries. For further information, press the link.