Studies & Degrees in East Asian Studies

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Are you interested in pursuing a degree that will allow you to study the culture, history, literature, political structure and other aspects of the various countries in the Eastern Asian region?  Have you considered pursuing a graduate degree in East Asian Studies?  East Asian studies is a fascinating field of education, one consisting of elements across many different subjects and disciplines, and while only a small percentage of institutions offer Eastern Asian studies at the undergraduate level, most colleges and universities now offer a Master’s of Arts degree in the field.  This is the program we will discuss in a bit more detail below, including its structure, content and the eligibility requirements for interested students.
Master of Arts Degree in East Asian Studies
East Asian Studies, a Master’s degree program which is now offered at colleges and universities throughout the country and world, is a distinct interdisciplinary field of scholarly education that promotes a broad humanistic understanding of East Asia, both past and present.  Unlike university-level language programs, which tend to focus only on the language and literature of  individual East Asian countries, such as China, Japan and Korea, the East Asian studies degree program is very multidisciplinary in nature, incorporating elements of the social sciences, including anthropology, sociology, economics and government, and humanities, including literature, history, music and film.  In general, the program allows students to participate in a scholarly and diverse exchange of ideas regarding the East Asian experience, and the experience of East Asian natives in other parts of the world.

Although not all East Asian Studies programs are structured alike, most are designed to either a.) Instill in students a broad and multidisciplinary understanding of an individual East Asian culture or b.) Allow students to engage in a comparative study of two or more East Asian cultures.   For example, students who choose the first option may opt to focus their education on China and its culture alone, and they would do so by taking a variety of courses across several different departments, including both theory and methodology-based classes.  With the other option, students may decide to do a comparative study, examining, for example, the similarities and differences in the culture, history and political structure of Japan and Korea.  This flexibility, which essentially allows students to tailor the course to match their particular interests, is what makes East Asian studies such a popular degree program.

The Master of Arts degree in East Asian studies typically spans two years or eight full semesters and is open to all students possessing a Bachelor degree or higher in a related field.  Many institutions also have a language requirement—two or more courses completed in either Chinese, Japanese or Korean—and international students may be required to take English as a second language before being admitted to the program. 

Depending on the institution, the M.A. degree program in East Asian Studies will culminate with a research project, a written examination or both, and students can expect to write a minimum of three research papers (one seminar paper and two upper-division papers) during the course of the program.