Certificate Requirements

Program Goals

The Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Certificate Program enables students to pursue concentrated study of the experiences of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Americas. Through courses chosen in consultation with their campus program advisers, students can learn to appreciate Asian/Pacific/American (A/P/A) cultural and artistic expressions, understand and critique the racial formation of Asian/Pacific/Americans and investigate how international conflicts, global economic systems and ongoing migration affect A/P/A communities and individuals and their intersections with others.

Drawing upon diverse faculty-, archival- and community-based resources, the Five College Program in Asian/Pacific/American Studies encourages students not only to develop knowledge of the past experiences of Asian/Pacific/Americans, but also to act with responsible awareness of their present material conditions. 

Normally, application for the certificate occurs in the spring semester of the final year, when students, in consultation with their campus program advisor, complete a Certificate Application Form. The campus program advisor, after signing the form, will submit the application for review and approval by the Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program Committee.

Students approved for the certificate by the committee will be awarded certificates and acknowledgment of successful completion of the program will be added to official transcripts by campus registrars.


The requirements include a minimum of seven courses, distributed among the following categories. To earn an A/P/A certificate, you take one foundation course, choose five electives, and complete an independent project. You can apply courses you are already taking for your degree to the A/P/A certificate—something you wouldn’t be able to do with a degree minor. In this way, you can make earning a certificate an extension of your existing course of study or an exploration of something completely different.

One Foundation Course
During your first or second year, you will take one foundation course that offers an interdisciplinary perspective on historical and contemporary experiences of Asian/Pacific/Americans. Attention will be paid to interrogating the term Asian/Pacific/American and to comparing different A/P/A populations distinguished, for example, by virtue of their different geographical or cultural derivations, their distribution within the Americas, and their historical experience of migration.

Five Elective Courses
You then take five elective courses, including at least one from each of the following categories:

  • Expressions. Courses devoted to the study of A/P/A expression in its many forms.
  • U.S. Intersections. Courses dedicated to the study of intersections between A/P/A and non-A/P/A experiences within the United States.
  • Global Intersections. Courses that offer perspectives on Asian/Pacific/Americans from outside the United States.

Special Project
Usually in your third or fourth year, you complete a special project based on intensive study of an A/P/A community through research, service learning or creative work such as an internship, action-research or a fine arts project. This is often done by students enrolled in an upper-level or independent study course.

Projects should include both self-reflective and analytic components. Students fulfilling this requirement will meet as a group at least once during the semester to discuss their ongoing projects, and at the end of the semester to present their completed projects at a student symposium or other public presentation. Students' plans for completing the requirement should be approved by a campus program advisor in the previous semester.

Other Notes and Stipulations

  • Students must receive the equivalent of a "B" grade or better in all courses counted toward the certificate. (In the case of Hampshire students taking courses at Hampshire, "B" equivalence will be determined by the Hampshire program advisor based on written evaluations supplied by course instructors.)
  • Courses counted toward satisfaction of campus-based major requirements may also be counted toward the Five College Certificate.
  • No course can be counted as satisfying more than one certificate distribution requirement.
  • Courses taken abroad may be used to fulfill the distribution requirement with the approval of the campus program advisor.

Students are encouraged to attain some proficiency in at least one language other than English, especially if such proficiency facilitates the completion of the Special Project component of the certificate program. While English is sufficient and appropriate for the completion of many projects involving Asian/Pacific/American communities, many sources and communities can be consulted only through other languages.