East Asian Studies General Masters

There are several programs of study leading to a Master's degree in the department of East Asian Studies.

The general MA 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 MA. Students with a more focused interest in either China or Japan and those planning to go on to a doctoral program should consider the MA 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, and Graduate credit will not be given for work completed to satisfy deficiencies. 


Minimum Credit Units  33

In accordance with the policies of the department, a minimum of 24 units must be completed in the East Asian Studies department. Course work counting 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:

  • One year (6 units) of language beyond the third-year level.
  • 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 MA degree. Students who wish to do so should submit a petition to the department explaining their request.)
  • 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.
  • 3 units of courses from other departments or within the department which are relevant to the student’s course of study. These courses must enhance the programmatic integrity of the course of study.
  • 6 units of the EAS 595a, Graduate Colloquium, to be taken in the first year.
  • 3 units of CHN/JPN 910 (Thesis) for students who are writing a thesis or a departmental paper.

Students in the general MA 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 linguistics also have the option of taking an exam in lieu of writing a thesis or departmental paper. Those general MA students who are committed to writing a thesis must complete a minimum of 30 units of graduate work in addition to submitting a thesis of acceptable quality.

Those general MA students who choose to submit a departmental paper in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master’s degree must complete 30 units of graduate work in addition to the preparation of a paper of acceptable quality.

A departmental paper submitted under the general MA 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.