Updated December 13, 2022

By BVS Staff January 2017 The field of Asian studies covers topics like the technological movements of Shanghai and the spiritual landmarks of Jerusalem. Each aspect of Asian studies not only enhances understanding of the region of Asia itself, but shifts one's perspective on the entire world as well. If you're interested in learning more ...

BestValueSchools.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Click here for high resolution badge.

By BVS Staff
July 2020

The field of Asian studies covers topics like the technological movements of Shanghai and the spiritual landmarks of Jerusalem. Each aspect of Asian studies not only enhances understanding of the region of Asia itself, but shifts one's perspective on the entire world as well.

If you're interested in learning more about Asian studies but aren't sure where to start, we can help: below we rank the 20 best small colleges for Asian studies majors on a budget. Each of the following programs delivers a great value without sacrificing on the quality of education offers.

As reported by College Navigator, all of the following programs have an estimated annual cost of less than $27,000 a year. Additionally, each university maintains an undergraduate graduation rate of at least 70%. Want to learn which university is the best value for your education budget? Check out the following list of small colleges to learn more.


Each of these top schools offers at least one full major AND minor for students seeking a bachelor's degree in Asian studies (including but not limited to programs in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, East Asian language and literature, South Asia studies, and Asian American studies). In addition, they each maintain an overall undergraduate graduation rate of at least 70%. Of course, to be a best value, these top-ranked schools also had to demonstrate a genuine commitment to affordable education - which meant meeting our net price requirements. All of the programs on this ranking have estimated annual costs (as reported on College Navigator) of less than $27,000 a year. But which of these is the most affordable small college for an Asian studies degree? Scroll down to #1 to find out!

#1 Pomona College Claremont, CA
#2 Colby College Waterville, ME
#3 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
#4 Colorado College Colorado Springs, CO
#5 Haverford College Haverford, PA
#6 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
#7 Williams College Williamstown, MA
#8 Swarthmore College Swarthmore, PA
#9 Colgate University Hamilton, NY
#10 Hamilton College Clinton, NY

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. Pomona College

    Claremont, CA



    With just over 1,500 undergrads, Pomona is one of the smaller colleges to make this affordable Asian studies program ranking. But Pomona's relatively minute stature is inconsequential to its top-tier status among liberal arts colleges. And actually, the school's Asian Studies Department - which boasts more than two dozen highly respected faculty members - is among the school's most robust divisions. To consolidate its resources (and its appeal to undergrads), the department divides its curriculum into two associated tracks: East Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. By fostering a program with widespread appeal and high relevance in modern society, Pomona's Asian Studies Department solidifies its central role in academic circles - even among a sea of other world-class programs on the same campus.

  2. Colby College

    Waterville, ME



    Like Vassar, Colby College anticipated the growing importance of regional cultural studies when it established an East Asian Studies department nearly 50 years ago. And although it may not have quite the tenure of Vassar's top Asian studies undergraduate program, Colby's degree boasts plenty of its own perks. Overall, the major's core coursework complements an exceptional liberal arts curriculum and features an abundance of hands-on educational opportunities. From grant-funded global outreach initiatives (as well as more conventional study abroad programs) to the Asian artifacts featured in the college's own art museum, Colby provides students with a plethora of ways to get involved and make learning active.

  3. Middlebury College

    Middlebury, VT



    It's common knowledge that Middlebury College is one of the best schools in the entire country for the study of foreign languages. Therefore, it's hardly a surprise that it would also stand out among even the best small colleges with Chinese and Japanese language programs. But language study is hardly the extent of Middlebury's investigation of East Asian cultures. Through the International and Global Studies Program, undergraduates at Middlebury can select an interdisciplinary concentration in East Asian Studies to develop and utilize their language skills. Middlebury also offers an exceptional number of study abroad programs, with three centers in China (Beijing, Hangzhou, and Kunming) alone.

  4. Colorado College

    Colorado Springs, CO



    At just over $21,000 a year, Colorado College's low net price makes it an attractive option for students of all stripes. For this price, Asian Studies majors will find all the elective courses, faculty mentorship, and study abroad opportunities that are available at comparable schools - many of which cost twice as much. Colorado's affordable Asian studies undergraduate program prides itself on interdisciplinary methods, cross-cultural examination, integrated language and liberal arts classes, as well as what they call kinesthetic practice—i.e., culturally significant performances and practices that include calligraphy, gamelan, meditation, tai-chi and yoga.

  5. Haverford College

    Haverford, PA



    As a member of the Quaker Consortium (which also includes Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania), Haverford shares its Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures with Bryn Mawr College. But that's not because each school only contributes half of the typical resources to the degree. Rather, this bi-college department builds on the curriculum and opportunities available on each campus to create one enhanced major. From study abroad programs and capstone thesis projects to funding for undergraduate research, it's safe to say that Haverford and Bryn Mawr's combined forces are greater than the sum of their parts, offering advantages that belie the schools' diminutive sizes.

  6. Vassar College

    Poughkeepsie, NY



    Since 1965, Vassar College's affordable Asian Studies undergraduate program has generated a pivotal discourse surrounding the world's most populous continent. In its more than fifty years' history (which, incidentally, makes it one of the oldest degrees of its kind in the country), this program has grown from six to nearly thirty faculty members. Over that same time period, the number of students interested in Asian Studies has increased even more. As such, Vassar has been—and remains—home to some of the foremost scholars in contemporary Asian Studies, all of whom continue to work closely with undergraduates in the classroom and on supervised research projects.

  7. Williams College

    Williamstown, MA



    Like Swarthmore, Williams is another highly competitive top college for an Asian Studies degree. Although its tiny Asian Studies department consists of just seven core professors, the prestige of the institution itself regularly attracts top scholars from around the world who serve as affiliated faculty members. In addition to providing a first-rate education for any student who can get into the school, Williams also offers an abundance of awards and grants for exceptional Asian Studies majors. The Linen Summer Grants for Study in Asia, for example, provide full travel funding for those who wish to pursue research or education abroad.

  8. Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore, PA



    With an acceptance rate of just 12%, Swarthmore is one of the most selective top small colleges for Asian Studies majors in the country. As a result of their impressive prior performance, freshmen who gain admittance to Swarthmore enjoy plenty of independence in devising their own course of study. In many cases, this means crafting an interdisciplinary program that combines one or more existing majors. This is especially evident in the Asian Studies Department, where recent students' curricular focuses have included Buddhist studies, Asian political economies, and classical traditions in Asian art. To foster this kind of intellectual initiative, Swarthmore also provides $4,500 stipends to Asian Studies majors who submit proposals for internships, research projects, or international travel over the summer.

  9. Colgate University

    Hamilton, NY



    Offering four distinct regional concentrations (as well as the option to combine several regions into one course of study), Colgate College's affordable Asian Studies undergraduate program is arguably the most versatile on this list. This emphasis on personalized learning contributes significantly to students' success and engagement. In fact, despite the dozens of elective classes available within the Asian Studies department, undergraduates frequently elect to develop their own independent study courses to fill in the tiny gaps in Colgate's curriculum. Many majors in the department are also involved in affiliated clubs and organizations, such as the Chinese Interest Association (CIA).

  10. Hamilton College

    Clinton, NY



    At Hamilton College, the Asian Studies major consists of three tracks: Chinese, Japanese, and Indian Studies. While there is a fair amount of overlap in the course requirements of each, all three tracks nonetheless boast several unique classes - as well as experienced faculty members. This approach has two advantages. First, it allows students to devote their attention to a region of specific interest to them. Second, it dramatically reduces class sizes, fostering closer relationships among classmates and professors alike. Those who choose Hamilton College for an Asian Studies degree also have access to a wealth of extracurricular resources, including student-led cultural performances and international travel.

Want to find out exactly how much it will cost for you to attend one of these affordable Asian studies undergraduate programs? Check out the U.S. Department of Education's Net Price Calculator Center.

We think you might also like: Top 25 Liberal Arts Colleges With the Best Return on Investment


College Navigator

Get prepared for your next steps

Use articles and resources to uncover answers to common questions, get guidance on your goals, and learn about applying to schools.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Explore different options for you based on your degree interests.