MA in East Asian Studies (EAS)

MA in East Asian Studies

The department’s MA in East Asian Studies is its most flexible graduate degree option and allows students to design a custom course of study (in consultation with their advisor). Some EAS MA students may opt to focus on in-depth study of a particular East Asian country/language, while others may choose to develop topical expertise with a focus on the region more generally. Some EAS students may focus on coursework in a particular discipline such as history, literature, political science, or linguistics, while others may opt to take advantage of EALC’s diverse faculty expertise to explore a particular country, or the greater East Asian region, from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The varied possibilities for students in our MA in East Asian Studies mean that our graduates continue on to a wide array of careers, including government, business, NGOs, law, journalism, library and archival work, or further graduate studies (e.g., PhD)—to name but a few possibilities.

Admission Requirements

An undergraduate major in East Asian Studies or a strong major in any field in the humanities or in the social sciences with general knowledge of East Asia. Entering students who have not had the first two years of an East Asian language must make up for this deficiency within the first two years of graduate study

Course Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours, including MA project hours (see below), in approved courses. Ordinarily, at least 20 of these credit hours must be from among the courses listed under “Culture and Area Courses” on the list that follows. At least three courses must be at the 500 level or above. Third- and fourth-year language courses do not count towards the requirement but do count toward the 30 credit hours required for the major. Except for overseas study credits, normally a maximum of 3 credit hours of E595 (Individual Readings) may be counted toward the degree. The remaining credit hours may be taken from other departments at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Language Requirement

Satisfactory completion of three years of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language, or the equivalent, as determined by examination. Language courses at the third-year level and above may be counted toward the degree. Language courses at the first- and second-year levels will not count toward the degree. Students planning to apply to a PhD program in fields that typically require a second East Asian language are strongly encouraged to begin language work during the MA program.


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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