Asian studies is a fast growing field within the humanities and social sciences. The scale and importance of academic research on Asian societies is increasingly significant, in terms of both its political and academic relevance. How can we intelligently and independently approach, for example, the many important issues that dominate today's news; be it the nuclear threat of North Korea, the struggle against terrorism, or Tibet's quest for independence? The Contemporary Asian Studies programme is innovative because of its wide, interdisciplinary character and comparative nature. Unlike 'area studies', which concentrate on specific regions, our programme focuses on all the main regions of Asia; stressing the importance of looking at interconnections both within the vast Asian region and between Asian societies and other parts of the world, especially Europe. In recent years, these interconnections have been greatly reinforced by transnational processes and global trends in politics, economy and culture. The one-year programme offers a choice of regional (East, Southeast, South and Central Asia), as well as thematic courses that each focuses on a different perspective of contemporary developments (popular culture & media, religious/political conflicts, and economies and illegal trade). Furthermore, the course offers training in the new social sciences approaches as well as issues related to migration and identity. In order to provide the best possible lectures, the programme pools the expertise of leading Dutch universities and institutes in the field of Asian studies. In addition, students are encouraged to not only use the wide range of sources that are available at the Universiteit van Amsterdam libraries and the participating institutions, but also to search for information through the wide networks that the participating lecturers maintain.
The quality of this master's programme has been positively assessed (accredited) by the Accreditation Organisation of The Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This means that upon successful completion of the programme students will receive a legally recognised Master of Science (MSc) degree in Contemporary Asian Studies.