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Master of Arts Degree

The Master of Arts in Asian and Asian American Studies enhances intercultural understanding and promotes rigorous scholarly study of Asian societies, political economies, cultures, histories, linguistics, migrations , etc. The MA program consists of six fields: Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, South Asia Studies, Asian American and Diaspora Studies, and Global Asia Studies.


Applicants for admission to the MA program are required to submit all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement of not more than two pages single-spaced (using standard fonts), GRE scores and a writing sample. The writing sample is an example of your written work, such as a paper submitted in an advanced undergraduate or graduate course. For students from universities where English is not the language of instruction, a minimum score of 79-80 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 in lieu of TOEFL scores with a minimum requirement of 6.5 with no band below 5.0. Review of applications begins each year in early February for admission that Fall.


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: the Proseminar; four courses that relate directly to the student’s chosen field of study; and three 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.

Language requirements

Students choosing the Chinese, Japanese, or Korean Studies field must reach proficiency in the relevant language equivalent through the fourth-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 or even four years of undergraduate language training.

It is expected that students enrolled in the South Asia Studies field will have third-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.

Proficiency levels can be satisfied in one of two ways: transcript with the equivalent of 8 semesters of college-level study of a single language with a grade of B or better, or a satisfactory completion of a proficiency examination administered by DAAAS faculty or by DAAAS approved specialists elsewhere.


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 and 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.

Last Updated: 10/25/17