Master of Arts: Asian and Asian American Studies

MA in Asian and Asian American Studies

The MA degree in Asian and Asian American Studies enhances intercultural understanding and promotes rigorous scholarly study of Asian societies, political economies, cultures, histories, linguistics, and migrations. 

The program consists of six fields:

  • Chinese Studies

  • Japanese Studies

  • Korean Studies

  • South Asia Studies

  • Asian American and Diaspora Studies

  • Global Asia Studies


Applicants for admission to the MA program are required to submit all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a writing sample, three letters of recommendation and a 1-page statement of purpose. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required.

For international students, proof of English proficiency is required. A minimum score of 80 on the internet-based version, 213 on the computerized version, or 550 on the paper version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for admission.

We will accept IELTS scores in lieu of TOEFL scores, with a minimum requirement of 6.5 with no band below 5.0. We will also accept PTE Academic scores in lieu of TOEFL scores, with a minimum requirement of 53.

If a student received a college or university degree from an institution in the United States, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or some Canadian provinces, they are not required to submit TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores.


Students choose one of the six fields and then take a minimum of eight graduate courses for a total of 32 credits. The eight courses must include: four courses that relate directly to the student's chosen field of study; and four approved elective courses. Approval of elective courses will be made by the advisor, in consultation with the graduate committee. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is required for graduation.


Students choosing the Chinese, Japanese, or Korean Studies field must reach proficiency in the relevant language equivalent through the third-year level of study by the time of completion of the MA. Students admitted to one of these fields will already have had at least two, and in many cases, three years of undergraduate language training.

It is expected that students enrolled in the South Asia Studies field will have second-year level proficiency in an Asian language relevant to their course of study by the completion of the MA. This requirement can be waived in some cases, based on the student's particular course of study.

The Asian American and Diaspora Studies, and Global Asia Studies fields have no explicit language requirement, but if a particular language is necessary for the student's course of study, that student will be expected to develop competence in it by the time of completion of the MA.

Thesis & Examination

All graduate students are required to write a thesis or sit for a written examination at the end of their course of study. Both the thesis and written examination require an oral defense.

Advising & Guidance

All incoming students are assigned a temporary advisor upon enrolling in the MA program. By the end of their first year, students select an advisor who will serve as the supervisor for their thesis or field examination. Thesis and field exam committees consist of the advisor and at least two other faculty members.

headshot of Sungdai Cho

Sungdai Cho

Director, Center for Korean Studies; Professor, Korean and Linguistics; Graduate Director

Center for Korean Studies; Department of Asian and Asian American Studies