Central Eurasian Studies B.A.

The Department of Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS) is part of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. When pursuing a major in the department you work with faculty who have lived, traveled and studied in Central Eurasia, giving you access to some of the latest research in the field. There is no comparable program available anywhere in the United States.

The Central Eurasian Studies degree requires study in one or more Central Eurasian language. Advanced coursework gives you a depth of knowledge about at least one of the following geographic regions: Tibet, the Central Asian Muslim republics, Xinjiang, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Hungary and/or the Baltics. Students develop language proficiency and cultural competency while studying current cultural and political situations within their historical contexts.

CEUS offers three undergraduate minors for students majoring in other subjects: a minor in Central Eurasian Studies, a minor in Central Eurasian Studies with Language Certification, and a minor in Nordic Studies.


Getting started

Your starting point with the Central Eurasian Studies major is language study and one of the following introductory courses:

  • CEUS-R 290  Introduction to Central Asia, Mongolia, and Tibet 
  • CEUS-R 292  Introduction to Turkic and Iranian Civilization  
  • CEUS-R 292  Introduction to Hungary, Estonia, and Finland 

Language courses that may count toward the major are: Estonian, Finnish, Hungarian, Kazakh, Mongolian, Persian, Tibetan, Turkish, Uyghur, and Uzbek.

Other languages, such as Dari, Pashto, and Tajik, are offered on a more infrequent basis, pending availability of instructors. While these less commonly taught languages cannot be used to fulfill the language requirement for the major, they could be an excellent addition to your studies.

If you are new to your chosen language, start with a 100-level introductory course in the fall semester. If you have prior experience in the language through formal or informal study, or family heritage, contact the language coordinator to schedule a proficiency test.

Tracks and concentrations

Students pursuing the major must complete one of two tracks: Central Eurasian Studies or Language and Civilization. Contact the academic advisor to discuss these options.

  • The Central Eurasian Studies track requires two years of language study, through the intermediate level. This track works best if you have a broad interest in the region or want to study several countries and cultures within Central Eurasia.
  • The Language and Civilization track requires three years of language study, through the advanced level. This track gives you more developed language skills and enhanced regional focus. It is recommended for those who wish to pursue graduate studies or careers in Central Eurasia.

Upper level coursework

The Central Eurasian Studies major allows you to personalize the curriculum with your language of specialization and related courses. You should consult with the academic advisor and faculty to discuss the best courses to suit your interests.

Students with senior standing enroll in the Capstone Seminar (CEUS-R 491) and produce an original thesis or research project under the supervision of a faculty member. This gives you a chance to bring together your language of specialization, regional focus, and research interests to demonstrate accumulated training in the field.

Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates

Your major represents about one quarter of your degree requirements. With the help of your academic advisor, you may be able to combine several areas of interest with additional majors, minors, or certificates.

Central Eurasian Studies students often complement the major with coursework in International Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, or Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures.

You can also explore other disciplines, choosing coursework in subjects as diverse as Anthropology, Economics, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, History, Linguistics, Media, Political Science, Religious Studies, and much more.

Enhance your major

Working with faculty

When pursuing a Central Eurasian Studies degree, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in many fields. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of readings and assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.

You can get involved in research as early as your freshman year. Many incoming freshmen apply to the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) program. ASURE students experience project-based learning enhanced by a community of supportive faculty and peers. Choose an ASURE path in the arts and humanities, social and historical studies, or natural and mathematical sciences. Consider joining one that will deepen your skills and knowledge in an area related to your major or a different one to become a more well-rounded thinker. 

As your interests develop, you might want to take an independent readings course under the guidance of faculty. Talk with the academic advisor or the Central Eurasian Studies faculty about this possibility.

Additional resources and opportunities may be found through the IUB Area Studies Centers or special programs, including:


Outstanding students are eligible for admission to the departmental honors program at the end of their junior year. Under the guidance of a faculty sponsor, students complete an honors thesis as part of the Capstone Seminar (CEUS-R 491). Students defend the thesis before an honors committee and must meet certain academic requirements. Interested students should consult the CEUS Director of Undergraduate Studies or the CEUS academic advisor.

High achieving students may be recognized for Academic Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences, or be eligible for admission to the Hutton Honors College.

Undergraduate scholarships and awards

Options for pursuing scholarships and awards include:


Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their freshman year.

Students pursuing similar degrees have held internships with these and other organizations:

Learn more about internships, including the possibility of receiving credit, through The Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you'll find many resources for both domestic and international internships.

Foreign language study

As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 80 languages.

Below is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington:

Overseas study

Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in an increasingly interconnected world. Central Eurasian Studies students often pursue language study and other coursework through the following exchange programs:

  • Bogazici University (Turkey)
  • Budapest-CIEE Semester Program (Hungary)
  • Istanbul-CIEE Semester Program (Turkey)
  • Kyrgyzstan-IU Archaeology Field School Summer

Learn more about study abroad opportunities and locations through conversation with faculty, your academic advisor, and the Office of Overseas Study.

Student groups

The Association of Central Eurasian Students is the premier student organization providing a forum for Indiana University students interested in Central Eurasia, acting as a liaison between students and the department.

Other student associations affiliated with Central Eurasian Studies include:

Sigma Iota Rho is an honor society for students in the Hamilton Lugar School. Members are eligible for scholarships and research grants, and have the opportunity to publish work and serve on the Editorial Board for the Journal of International Relations.

The Office of International Services hosts ongoing programs where you can get involved, including many ways to  meet people and practice language skills.

The Global Living Learning Community is one of several Living Learning Centers on campus. It integrates formal and informal residential learning for motivated undergraduates with international interests, regardless of academic discipline or major. The Hamilton Lugar School Living Learning Center is a tight-knit residential community of engaged, globally-minded students that often appeals to CEUS majors.

Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.

Volunteer opportunities

There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement, allowing you to give back to the local community while developing useful job skills. The organizations below can help you connect with others from the university and beyond:

Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.

Professional organizations

The following are just a few of the professional organizations with interests in Central Eurasia.

Use the Indiana University Library system to search for Associations Unlimited, an online directory of associations, professional societies, non-profit organizations, and much more.

Build your skills

Through the major

The major in Central Eurasian Studies provides you with a set of skills and qualities that are relevant and transferable to many areas of study and work. These include:

  • Regional expertise: understand and analyze the causes and consequences of major events and trends in Central Eurasia
  • Language competence: communicate both socially and professionally in at least one Central Eurasian language
  • Global context: situate Central Eurasia both geographically and historically in relation to other world regions and events
  • Critical thinking and source analysis: utilize both primary and secondary sources, evaluating cultural artifacts and texts in their historical contexts
  • Independent research: develop evidence-based arguments, defend your own position, and make informed oral and written presentations
  • Communication and leadership: inform and interact, both orally and in writing, with experts and non-specialists

Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree

Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following five foundational skills that will serve you well in every career path:  

  • Question critically
  • Think logically
  • Communicate clearly
  • Act creatively
  • Live ethically

These foundational skills will aid you in landing your first job and advancing professionally throughout your working life. Not only are these the skills that employers say they value most in the workplace, they provide the best preparation for lifelong success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and change.

Skills desired by employers

Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.

The following are some of the most commonly desired attributes across many employment sectors:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical and quantitative skills
  • Ability to take Initiative
  • Being detail oriented
  • Demonstrating adaptability
  • Technical skills relevant to the field
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Computer skills
  • Organizational ability

As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic and career advisors about how you can develop in those areas while you are at Indiana University.

Your academic advisor and career coach can also help you find ways to strengthen and deepen the knowledge you already have, becoming more prepared for whatever path you select after your college career.

Launch your career

Plan your search

A good starting point for exploring your career options is an appointment with a career coach.

The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.

Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests.These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities andresources, and in-person events.

Maximize your career preparation with a career course. Central Eurasian Studies majors should consider enrolling in ASCS-Q296 College to Career II: Navigate Your Arts and Sciences Experience. The section dedicated to Hamilton Lugar School students provides the opportunity for you to explore the relationship between your field of study and life after graduation, while developing an academic and career development plan for post-collegiate success. If you are considering continuing your studies after graduation, you may wish to enroll instead in the section dedicated to graduate school preparation. Regardless of the section you select, you will leave the class with your resume, a cover letter or personal statement, and a LinkedIn profile ready to go!

The job market

The employment outlook is positive for students with a degree in Central Eurasian Studies. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the emergence of China as a global power, the American involvement in Afghanistan, and the rise of Turkey and Iran as significant regional and international players, employment opportunities have generally increased in the field.

Central Eurasian Studies majors take their education in many directions, whether moving directly into a career or going on to graduate or professional studies.

Initial and long-term destinations for graduates include positions in many job sectors: federal and state government, military or civil service, non-governmental organizations, non-profits, the cooperative job sector, education, research and policy think tanks, banking and business.

Central Asian Studies majors can become researchers, information analysts, linguists, policy advisors, educators, translators, tourism advisors, businesspersons, security personnel, journalists, or aid workers, among many other options.

Want to see where your fellow majors go right after graduating from IU? Check out the Walter Center’s First Destinations survey!

Need more ideas? The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.

Talk with Central Eurasian Studies faculty, the academic advisor, career coach and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates with this degree.

Post-graduate short-term experiences

The beginning of your post-graduate career might be an ideal time to explore an international internship or other short-term experience through organizations such as these:

Find international English teaching jobs through organizations such as:

Using these and other resources, your career coach can help you craft a unique post-graduate short-term experience, whether in the United States or abroad.

Fellowships for post-graduate study

Fellowships are temporary opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund your education. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profits, and government organizations.

Good resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:

Graduate and professional study

When applying to graduate or professional schools, you’ll need letters of recommendation from facultymembers who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early  to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.

A degree in Central Eurasian Studies will prepare you for entry into graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, such as area studies, foreign languages and literatures, history, anthropology, politics, religious studies, international studies, or business.

With careful planning, and in consultation with the Health Professions and Prelaw Center, you could also prepare to enter law school, medical school, or other programs in the health professions.

Students who pursue graduate studies in Central Eurasian Studies have gone into careers with top academic and research institutions, the United Nations, World Bank, non-governmental organizations, media, private entrepreneurship, and the military and intelligence communities.

Here are examples of graduate programs offered at IU:

*includes the option of a Dual Master of Arts in Central Eurasian Studies

Alumni connections

The College of Arts + Sciences has thousands of active alumni. Check out the College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.

Join the Walter Center Success Network to remain in touch, network directly with College of Arts +Sciences Alumni, and let others know where your path takes you.

Is it for you?

The Department of Central Eurasian Studies attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically have some of the following qualities:

  • Interest in Persian, Ottoman, Mongol, or Soviet history
  • Desire to develop proficiency in one or more Central Eurasian language
  • Concern about the people of Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and Russia's neighbors, as well as minorities in the People's Republic of China (Tibetans, Uyghurs)
  • Fascination with notable figures, such as Genghis Khan, Cyrus the Great, or the Dalai Lama
  • Commitment to human rights and civil liberties across international borders
  • Awareness of geopolitical issues in an increasingly globalized world
  • Intellectual curiosity and imagination

Learn more

Contact the Central Eurasian Studies academic advisor and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete information about the requirements of the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.

Department website
Advisor email address