Masters Programs

General Information

The Department of East Asian Studies offers two types of Master’s degrees, Area Master's degrees and General Master’s degrees. Area Master’s degrees may focus on either China or Japan and are intended to prepare graduates for doctoral study (though graduates may of course use these as terminal degrees). They require the writing of a thesis, except for students majoring in linguistics, who may elect to take an examination instead. The General Master’s degrees may also focus on China or Japan or may involve study of both areas. General Master’s candidates may write a thesis or a departmental paper. The General Master’s degree is designed for candidates who do not intend to study for a doctorate.

 


 

Preparation

Appropriate preparation is required of students who apply for admission to the M.A. program. If deficiencies are identified by the Admissions Committee, the student will be expected to remove them. A limited number of deficiencies in language or disciplinary areas may be remedied after a student is admitted. However, if deficiencies are extensive (as would be the case if a student lacked any prior work in the discipline underlying a M.A. program), the student may have to complete a sufficient number of undergraduate courses before admission to graduate work. The departmental Admission Committee will evaluate the applicant’s academic preparation and determine his/her status. For other general requirements for admission into graduate programs in the department, please refer to the Graduate Catalog of the University of Arizona and admissions materials from the Department of East Asian Studies.

 

The Program

Students may pursue either an area or a general Master’s degree. Both have several shared requirements. The department requires that a minimum of 25 units be completed in the East Asian Studies Department. All the student’s required course work must be taken at the 500 level or above; at least one-half must be taken in courses assigning “A”, “B”, and “C” grades. Graduate credit is not allowed for pass/fail or audited courses.

 

The Graduate College, with the approval of major/minor advisors and department heads, allows M.A. or Ph.D. students to use up to six units of 400 level course work in the graduate degree program in areas outside of the major department.

 

Students pursuing either an Area or a General Master’s degree must consult with the Graduate Advisor concerning their major concentration, language study, and supporting electives and must have written approval of their selections. They should also carefully study Graduate College requirements. The student is ultimately responsible for meeting such obligations in order to complete his/her graduate program.

 

Students should be forewarned that failure to consult the Graduate Advisor in a timely fashion may delay their graduation by one or more semesters.

 

M.A. Committee

No later than the end of the student’s second semester of M.A. study, the student should, in consultation with the primary academic advisor, constitute a three-member M.A. Committee. The members of this body will be those with whom the student has done or will do the majority of his/her graduate work. The primary academic advisor will be the Committee’s chair. The Committee will ultimately conduct the M.A. Final Examination. During the semester the Committee is constituted it will convene for the evaluation described below in the “Academic Progress” section.

 

Members of this committee must be kept apprised of the student’s work on the thesis or paper. Again, failure to consult on a regular basis with committee members on the status and progress of the paper or thesis may result in delayed graduation.

 

Academic Progress

M.A. students may not remain in the program for more than one semester beyond completion of their degree requirements. The department will formally review any student in the program for three years who has not yet completed the M.A. before allowing that student to continue.

 

Language Requirements

Area Masters students are required to have competence in at least one of the languages taught in the department, relevant to their field of study. Competence may be demonstrated by examination or by the completion of course work, with a grade of at least “B”. If a student does not complete course work with a GPA of at least 3.0 the student’s committee is responsible for deciding whether the student should be allowed to remain in the program.

 

Native speakers of an East Asian language relevant to their academic major may have the language requirement waived. However, they are required to attain a command of English adequate to perform at a professional level in their academic discipline. They must also satisfy English requirements established by the Graduate College and the East Asian Studies Department. Evaluation of a student’s English language ability is the responsibility of the student’s M.A. committee.

 

Independent Studies

Although the Graduate College permits students to complete up to half of their graduate work in independent study units, the department places several conditions on this situation. An Independent Study Form must be completed by the student prior to beginning study. The forms are available from the EAS Graduate Coordinator. Independent study units are restricted to the following:

  1. Independent study must not be taken in lieu of a course listed in the catalog even though the course is not offered in a particular semester.
     
  2. The student must be qualified to undertake an independent project, that is, to work with much less faculty supervision than would be involved in a regular class.
     
  3. Independent studies are taken after at least half the student’s graduate program has been completed, at either the M.A. or Ph.D. level.
     
  4. Independent study will result in a written product of the student’s effort.
     
  5. Specific degree programs may have additional restrictions.
     

 

M.A. Thesis/Departmental Paper

The development of the topic for either of these requires several formal steps:

  1. The student is primarily responsible for the identification of his/her topic, but its development should be in consultation with the student’s primary academic advisor. Normally the chair of the M.A. committee will supervise the work.
     
  2. After the topic has been formulated, the student is to prepare a written proposal describing the topic, the preliminary objective (or hypothesis), and the feasibility of the project in regard to methodology and research materials.
     
  3. This proposal is to be circulated, by the student, to the members of his/her M.A. Committee for their comments and approval.
     
  4. It is then to be kept on file in the EAS departmental office. A “Thesis/Departmental Paper/Dissertation Proposal” cover sheet with signatures is required. Forms are available from the EAS Graduate Coordinator.

Students who are doing a Master’s degree in either the Japan area or the China area must present an acceptable thesis in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements. A departmental paper cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of a China area or Japan area Master’s degree.

 

If the committee for a Master’s student in the China or Japan area finds that the written work submitted is not acceptable as a thesis, the student in question may ask that the work be considered as a departmental paper. If it is found acceptable as a departmental paper, the student may use it in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a general Master’s degree, or with the committee’s approval the student may be permitted to revise the work and resubmit it for consideration as a thesis.

 

Students doing a general M.A. may elect to present either a thesis or a departmental paper in partial fulfillment of their requirements, subject to approval of their M.A. committee. Students whose area of study is Japanese linguistics also have the option of taking an exam in lieu of writing a thesis or departmental paper.

 

A thesis, whether submitted in the general M.A. track or in one of the area M.A. tracks, must involve the use of sources in Chinese or Japanese language and must meet the appropriate level of scholarly presentation. Theses must also be prepared in accord with the guidelines of the Graduate College.

 

Students who have had a thesis accepted by the department have the option of having that thesis placed in the University of Arizona library. (See Graduate College requirements.)

 

MA Final Examination

Candidates for the M.A. degree must pass a final oral examination administered by the student’s M.A. Committee of three faculty members, at least two of whom are tenured or tenure-track members of the Department of East Asian Studies. The primary focus of this examination will be the student’s master’s paper, thesis or exam. The student will be asked to explain and defend the work. Committee members may also ask the student to explain the relationship between the final project and course materials covered during study for the Master’s degree. When the student has adequately incorporated in the paper or thesis the changes suggested as a result of the examination, and the principal advisor has signed to certify that the thesis or paper is acceptable as fulfilling departmental requirements, then a copy of the student’s completed thesis or paper will be presented for the files of the department. See the Graduate Catalog for further information.

 

Time Limitation

Generally, graduate credit applied for full value toward the M.A. degree must be earned not more than six years prior to the completion of the program. See the Graduate Catalog for further information.

 


General Master’s Degree

There are several programs of study leading to a master’s degree in the department of East Asian Studies. The general M.A. program is designed for students who want to learn more about East Asia at the graduate level but do not intend to pursue their graduate education past an M.A. Students with a more focused interest in either China or Japan and those planning to go on to a doctoral program should consider the M.A. programs in Chinese or Japanese studies.

 

Ideally, students applying for the general master’s program in East Asian Studies will have the following: 1) three years of either Chinese or Japanese language study (or have equivalent language ability), and 2) adequate English ability to pursue a master’s degree. Prospective students with less than three years of language study are encouraged to contact the Admissions Committee to discuss their situation. With departmental approval, students with a limited number of deficiencies may be admitted to the program. These students will need to make up any deficiencies. Graduate credit will not be given for any work completed to satisfy deficiencies.

 

Requirements

In accordance with the policies of the department, a minimum of 25 units must be completed in the East Asian Studies department. Course work which counts towards the master’s degree must be taken at the 500 level or above. As a rule, that course work should be taken for letter grades (i.e., not Pass/Fail). (Note: The only exception to the 500 level rule is the Graduate College provision that students may take up to six credits of 400 level work for graduate degrees in areas outside the major department and with the approval of major/minor advisors, the faculty member in the area involved, and the department Head.)

Candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. One year (6 units) of language beyond the third-year level.
     
  2. One introductory course (3 units) in the department in three of the following five fields: history, linguistics, literature, religion and thought, and cultural anthropology. (It may be possible to apply courses taken previously at the undergraduate level towards meeting this requirement, although this will not reduce the total number of units needed to complete the M.A. degree. Students who wish to do so should submit a petition to the department explaining their request.)
     
  3. 6 additional units of courses within the department which are relevant to the student’s field of study. These courses must enhance the programmatic integrity of the course of study.
     
  4. 3 units of courses from other departments which are relevant to the student’s course of study. These courses must enhance the programmatic integrity of the course of study.
     
  5. 1 unit of the EAS 595a, Master’s Colloquium, to be taken in the first semester possible after the student’s admission.

Students in the general M.A. track may choose to submit in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master’s degree either a thesis or a departmental paper. Students whose area of study is Japanese linguistics also have the option of taking an exam in lieu of writing a thesis or departmental paper. Those general M.A. students who are committed to writing a thesis must complete a minimum of 31 units of graduate work in addition to submitting a thesis of acceptable quality.

 

Those general M.A. students who choose to submit a departmental paper in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master’s degree must complete 34 units of graduate work in addition to the preparation of a paper of acceptable quality.

 

A departmental paper submitted under the general M.A. program may be based on a seminar paper already submitted in a graduate course, suitably revised under the direction of the student’s advisor and committee. Like the thesis, a departmental paper must be based on original research and should conform to thesis guidelines concerning scope and quality. Such a paper does not necessarily involve the use of Chinese or Japanese sources.

 

Final Notes

Students should develop their programs of study in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and other advisors in their field(s). It is important that students get approval for their programs and for the specific courses they wish to take. They should also study Graduate College requirements carefully. It is the student who is ultimately responsible for meeting such obligations in order to complete the graduate program.

 


Area Master’s Degree

Students in the China or the Japan track must complete a minimum of 31 units of graduate work, including preparation of a thesis of acceptable quality.

 

The area M.A. tracks require completion of a structured curriculum that is designed to equip the student with language, disciplinary skills, and knowledge of an elected cultural area. An area M.A. track may serve as preparation for various professional activities or as preparation for application to 1) this department’s Ph.D. programs, 2) a Ph.D. program in another of this University’s departments, or 3) a Ph.D. program at another university. In any case, the student must prepare for the rigors of the Ph.D. program by completing adequate disciplinary, language, or other specialized training while pursuing the M.A. (See the material below on the Ph.D.fields of study as an indication of possible M.A. emphases.)

 


China Area MA Program

Preparation

Ideally, students applying for the master’s program in East Asian Studies with a China area specialization will have completed the following: 1) three years of Chinese language study (or have equivalent Chinese language ability); 2) adequate English ability to pursue a master’s degree; and 3) some previous course work in Chinese studies. Prospective students with less than three years of Chinese language study are encouraged to contact the Admissions Committee to discuss their situation. With departmental approval, students with a limited number of deficiencies may be admitted to the program. These students will need to make up any deficiencies. Graduate credit will not be given for any work completed to satisfy deficiencies.

 

Students pursuing a master’s degree with a specialization in Chinese studies may choose a field of study in Chinese history, linguistics, literature, or thought/religion.

 

In accordance with Graduate College requirements, a minimum of 25 units must be completed in the East Asian Studies department. All course work which counts towards the master’s degree must be taken at the 500 level or above, except as specified in the general graduate college guidelines. (Note: The only exception to the 500 level rule is the Graduate College provision that students may take up to six credits of 400 level work for graduate degrees in areas outside the major department and with the approval of major/minor advisors, the faculty member in the area involved, and the department Head.)

 

As a rule, course work should be taken for letter grades (i.e., not Pass/Fail).

 

Requirements

There are several specific course requirements:

  1. One course (3 units) in three of the following five fields: Chinese history, linguistics, literature, thought/religion, and cultural anthropology. (It may be possible to apply courses taken previously at the undergraduate level towards meeting this breadth requirement. Students who wish to do so should submit to the department a petition explaining their request.)
     
  2. 6 units of advanced-level courses within the department which are relevant to the student’s field of study. These courses must enhance the programmatic integrity of the course of study.
     
  3. 3 units of courses from other departments which are relevant to the student’s course of study. These courses must enhance the programmatic integrity of the course of study.
     
  4. 6 units of fourth-year Chinese, or demonstrated proficiency of the language at that level.
     
  5. One year of classical Chinese, the first semester covering basic grammar and the second semester chosen from among available content courses.
     
  6. 1 unit of EAS 595a Master’s Colloquium, to be taken in the first semester possible after the student’s admission.
     
  7. 1 to 3 units of CHN 910 (Thesis) for students who are writing a thesis.

Students in the China track must complete a minimum of 31 units of graduate work, including preparation of a thesis of acceptable quality. Note that no more than 3 units of independent studies including CHN 910 may be counted towards these 31 units. Work leading to the thesis should include the use of relevant materials in Chinese. (These materials are to be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.) Theses should be based on original research and should conform to departmental guidelines concerning scope and quality. Near the end of their program there is an oral final examination which focuses on, but is not limited to, the student’s thesis. The student will be asked to explain and defend the thesis. Committee members may also ask the student to explain the relationship between the thesis project and other course materials covered during study for the Master’s degree.

 

Students in the linguistics track of Chinese may elect to take an examination in lieu of writing a thesis. In that case, they may take 3 units of CHN 900 in their 3rd or 4th semester for examination preparation and must complete a minimum of 34 units.

 

Students must develop their programs of study in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and other advisors in their field(s). It is important that students get approval for their programs and for the specific courses they wish to take. They should also study Graduate College requirements carefully. It is the student who is ultimately responsible for meeting such obligations in order to complete the graduate program.

 

The area Master’s program must comprise a structured curriculum designed to equip the student with disciplinary skills, Chinese language skills, and a general knowledge of China.

 

Students who want to learn more about East Asia at the graduate level but do not intend to pursue their graduate education past an M.A. may choose to enroll in the department’s General M.A. program. Contact the Department of East Asian Studies for details.

 


Japan Area MA Program

Preparation

Ideally, students applying for the master’s program in East Asian Studies with a Japan-area specialization will meet the following criteria: 1) they will have completed at least three years of Japanese language study, or will have attained an equivalent level of proficiency; 2) they will have adequate proficiency in English to pursue a Master’s degree; and 3) they will have done previous course work in Japanese studies. Prospective students with less than three years of Japanese language study are encouraged to contact the Admissions Committee to discuss their situation. With departmental approval, students with a limited number of deficiencies may be admitted to the program. These students will need to make up any deficiencies. Any work to satisfy deficiencies will not count toward the degree.

 

Requirements

Students must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. A minimum of 25 units must be completed in the East Asian Studies department. All course work which counts towards the master’s degree must be taken at the 500 level or above, except as specified in the Graduate Catalog of the University of Arizona. As a rule, that coursework should be taken for letter grades (i.e., not for Pass/Fail).
     
  2. 1 unit of EAS 595a, the M.A. Colloquium, to be taken in the first semester possible after the student’s admission.
     
  3. One year (6 units) of language beyond the third-year level, such as Japanese 521/522, or Japanese 505 and a related seminar (or have equivalent Japanese language ability).
     
  4. One introductory course (3 units) in three of the following four fields: linguistics (JPN 511), literature (JPN 546a,b; 547a,b), religion (JPN 585, 586, 589) and anthropology (JPN 595b). One of these must be in the student’s field of study. (It may be possible to apply courses taken previously at the undergraduate level towards meeting this requirement, although this will not reduce the total number of units needed to complete the M.A. degree. Students who wish to do so should submit to the department a petition explaining their request.)
     
  5. 6 additional units of advanced-level courses within the department that are relevant to the student’s field of study. (This requirement cannot be fulfilled by any independent study course, including 910.) These courses must enhance the programmatic integrity of the course of study.
     
  6. 1 unit of JPN 910 (Thesis).  

Students in the Japan track must complete a minimum of 31 units of graduate work, including preparation of a thesis of acceptable quality. Note that no more than 3 units of independent studies including JPN 910 may be counted towards these 31 units. Work leading to the thesis should include the use of relevant materials in Japanese. (These materials are to be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.) Theses should be based on original research and should conform to departmental guidelines concerning scope and quality. Near the end of their program there is an oral final examination which focuses on, but is not limited to, the student’s thesis. The student will be asked to explain and defend the thesis. Committee members may also ask the student to explain the relationship between the thesis project and other course materials covered during study for the Master’s degree.

 

Students in the linguistics track of Japanese may elect to take an examination in lieu of writing a thesis. In that case, they may take 3 units of JPN 599 in their 3rd or 4th semester for examination preparation and must complete a minimum of 34 units.

 

Students must develop their programs of study in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and other advisors in their field(s). It is important that students get approval for their programs and for the specific courses they wish to take. They should also study Graduate College requirements carefully. It is the student who is ultimately responsible for meeting such obligations in order to complete the graduate program.

 

Students who want to learn more about East Asia at the graduate level but do not intend to pursue their graduate education past an M.A. may choose to enroll in the department’s General M.A. program. Contact the Department of East Asian Studies for details.

 

Pre-doctoral study

For students who plan to continue their graduate work at the Ph.D. level, the Japan-area M.A. program offers pre-doctoral study in the following fields: Japanese history, Japanese linguistics and/or language pedagogy, Japanese literature and Japanese religion. The pre-doctoral student’s program must comprise a structured curriculum designed to equip the student with disciplinary skills, Japanese language skills, and a general knowledge of Japan. It must leave the student adequately prepared to undertake a Ph.D. program. The various pre-doctoral tracks may also have specific requirements in addition to the general requirements described in the section above.