MA in Chinese or Japanese

MA in Chinese or Japanese

Relative to the more general MA in East Asian Studies, the MA degrees in Chinese or Japanese are more specialized, with most coursework focused specifically on China and the Chinese language or Japan and the Japanese language, respectively. They require more advanced language study and are intended primarily for students who intend to subsequently pursue a PhD in Chinese or Japanese. This degree option may also be excellent preparation for someone whose career aspirations require extensive familiarity with more than one East Asian language.

(Please note that this degree is distinct from the department’s MA offerings in Chinese- or Japanese-language pedagogy, which are specialized programs designed specifically for students who wish to become instructors of Chinese or Japanese language at the university level.)

Admission Requirement

An undergraduate major in Chinese or Japanese, or its equivalent.

Course Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours, including M.A. project hours, in approved courses. Ordinarily, at least 20 of these credit hours, not counting thesis hours, must be from among the courses listed under "Chinese" (EALC-CXXX) or "Japanese" (EALC-JXXX), including at least three at the 500 level or above, of which one must be C511 or J511. Please note that fourth-year language courses do not count toward the required 500-level courses. The remaining credit hours may be taken from other departments at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies. Except for overseas study credits, normally a maximum of 3 credit hours of E595 (Individual Readings) may be counted toward the degree.

Language Requirements

Completion of the fourth-year level or equivalent in the student's major language.  For some areas of research, proficiency in a classical East Asian language, involving up to one year of coursework, may be necessary.  Specific program requirements will be determined in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and the student’s Advisory Committee, according to departmental guidelines. Students planning to apply to PhD programs in fields that typically require a second East Asian language are strongly encouraged to begin such language study during MA coursework.


The student may choose either an MA thesis or an essay.

(1) A thesis (normally 50-80 pages) demonstrates the student's skills in the use of primary sources and scholarly research. May be taken for up to 4 credit hours. (The thesis option is strongly recommended to MA students who wish to be admitted to a PhD program after completing their degree).

(2) An essay (normally 40-50 pages) demonstrates the ability to master, use, and critically evaluate a body of scholarly literature in the student's field. May be taken for up to 4 credit hours.

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