Asian Studies | College of Liberal Arts
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This program is intended for students who wish to obtain a doctorate in order to pursue an academic career in the study of the literature and languages of China, Japan, Korea, or South Asia.  We do not offer a terminal Masters degree in Asian Cultures and Languages.

Students may be admitted to the Masters/PhD in Asian Cultures and Languages with a Bachelor's degree or with a Master's degree in another field.

Specialization in East Asia: Students who specialize in East Asia normally have a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language and literature, or an area studies degree with a concentration in East Asia. Students must have completed at least two years of college-level Chinese, Japanese, or Korean with a grade of at least B in each course, or must demonstrate equivalent competence, before admission to the program.

Specialization in South Asia: Students who specialize in South Asia normally have a Bachelor of Arts in area studies or in a traditional discipline, with a concentration in South Asia. Most applicants have knowledge of a South Asian language before applying for admission. Students without this knowledge but whose applications are otherwise outstanding may also be accepted.

Students may complete first- and second-year college level language coursework after they are admitted, but these courses will not be counted toward the master's degree.

Degree Program

The following information is effective as of the 2022-2023 Graduate Handbook.  Every effort has been made to insure the accuracy of this information.  In the event of discrepancy between this information and the Graduate Catalog, the Graduate Catalog takes precedence.

The MA/PhD program requires a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework and consists of two phases. The first phase (Master of Arts) requires thirty credit hours of coursework, including the report course. In December of the second year in the Master’s program, students will receive a formal review to determine if they may continue on to the Doctoral program. Successful completion of the Master's Report, which shows the student's ability to conduct independent research, is required for admission to the PhD phase of the Asian Cultures and Languages program. 

The PhD phase of the program requires at least 18 credit hours of coursework beyond the Master’s degree, in addition to dissertation courses. Competency in at least one modern foreign language that will be used in research is required.  Areas of specialization must be approved by the Graduate Adviser.  The minor must be a different topic than the major; a student may have a secondary language or a relevant graduate portfolio program as his/her minor.

The 30-hour Master's curriculum includes:

  • 9 hours in the student's major area of specialization (e.g., Japanese culture, Indian religion, Chinese literature, etc.)
  • 3 hours graduate research methods of the appropriate discipline (e.g., historiography, literary theory or criticism, etc.)
  • 3 hours related to the general historical or cultural background of Asia in the major area
  • 6 hours in advanced language courses (third-year level or beyond)
  • 6 hours of electives
  • 3 hours of Masters Report

The 18-hour PhD curriculum includes:

  • 6 hours in the student's major area of specialization 
  • 9 hours in the student's minor area of specialization
  • 3 hours graduate research methods of the appropriate discipline (e.g., historiography, literary theory or criticism, etc.)
  • Completion of the research language
  • Dissertation courses

Please see the suggested timeline for completing the MA/PhD in Asian Cultures and Languages.