The School of Foreign Service has expanded its Asian Studies program this fall with more classes drawing in more students.

Victor Cha, associate professor in the SFS and director of Asian Studies, said the university has been committed to the field, but traditionally has its focus towards undergraduates.

“There has been a tradition of high quality, focused curriculum at the undergraduate level,” Cha said.

However, more emphasis is now being placed on graduate offerings in the program. Starting this fall, the program started to offer graduate students the opportunity to participate in the Asian Studies Certificate Program, an option already available to undergraduate students. Graduate students who are part of the Master’s program in Foreign Service, Business Administration, Public Policy or doctoral program in history have the option of pursuing the graduate certificate, according to its Web site.

Cha said he hopes that the graduate certificate is more than a final stop for his curricular development program.

“[I think this is the] first step towards building a full-fledged masters program,” Cha said.

The expansion of the program went beyond merely including graduate level courses, Cha said, as the entire undergraduate curriculum was revamped as well.

“It is now more rigorous and includes a capstone seminar,” he said.

Program reform has also included an enhanced focus on building a stronger relationship with China. The China speaker series has been established to focus on the nation’s economy, military and government, according to its Web site, and recent addresses have touched on events ranging from the recent Beijing Olympics to state-society relations in China.

In December 2007, Georgetown opened a liaison office at Fudan University, a prestigious college in Shanghai, China. The partnership helped to form collaborations between faculty and students at Georgetown and at leading Chinese universities.

The undergraduate and graduate programs both utilize an interdisciplinary approach in order to study topics like security, politics, culture and business.

Cha said he has seen the undergraduate demand for the certificate increase since last year.

“Interest in Asian Studies has exploded in recent years at Georgetown,” Cha said.

Forty to fifty graduate students have shown interest in participating in the new program, Cha said. The program is also hoping to hire new professors beginning next year to meet the increased demand and enrich the program.

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