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General comments

Applicants should be aware that no GPA or test score assures admission. All elements of the application are taken into consideration in evaluating applicants for admission, with considerable weight given to the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and writing samples.

Choosing a major

The Masters and PhD in Asian Cultures and Languages is designed for students who intend to complete a PhD and pursue a career in research or teaching at a university. Students accepted for the MA in Asian Cultures and Languages continue on to complete the PhD degree.  We do not offer a terminal Masters degree in Asian Cultures and Languages. 

The Masters in Asian Studies is designed for students who wish to receive a Masters degree and pursue a career in business, non-profit, NGO, or governmental work, or to pursue a PhD in another, or related, field.  The Asian Studies major is a terminal Master’s degree.

The Department of Asian Studies has three dual degree Masters programs: two with the LBJ School of Public Affairs and one with the McCombs School of Business.  Students complete all of the degree requirements for the Master’s in Asian Studies and for the Master’s in Public Affairs or MBA.

General Application Questions

Who should write my letters of recommendation?
Letters from tenured or tenure-track faculty will be given the most weight. Additional letters from language instructors or employers are also acceptable. All letters should address your academic and career potential.

Are transcripts from non-U.S. institutions accepted?
Please submit all transcripts, including transcripts from non-U.S. institutions, to the Graduate and International Admissions Center.  Transcripts from non-U.S. institutions will be evaluated by the Graduate Admissions Office.

Will my transcript be accepted if my degree is still in progress?
Yes.  However, students who are admitted to The University of Texas at Austin have a registration bar placed on their record by Graduate and International Admission.  This bar will not be removed until the final (official) transcript, showing final grades and degree(s) awarded, has been received by the Graduate and International Admission Center.  Here are the instructions for submitting the final transcript(s).

All applicants who are admitted to any graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin are required to submit paper transcripts to the Graduate and International Admissions Office before being allowed to register for the Fall semester.

What is the Supplemental Information Form and is it required?
The Supplemental Information Form for the Department of Asian Studies serves as a 'snapshot' of your area of interest, education, and experience.  It is required for all applicants to the program (including dual degrees).  The Supplemental Information Form does not replace any of the other application materials, but it does give the admissions comittee a 'thumbnail summary' of each applicant to refer to during the admission recommendation process.

How do I verify my application is complete?
You can verify what materials have been received or are still needed by logging in to the 'My Status' page with your UT EID and password.

GRE and GPA Questions

GRE scores should be no more than 5 years old.  While we recommend that applicants furnish scores if they are able to do so, the Fall 2023 admissions cycle we are waiving scores for applicants who cannot. 

How important are GRE scores?
The admissions committee will review the GRE score and it will be taken into consideration along with all other aspects of the application. In past years, the committee has focused on the Verbal score and total (Verbal + Quantitative) score; they did not review the writing score. A Verbal score below the 76th percentile would give them cause for concern, but would not necessarily eliminate an otherwise strong candidate.  Information about the Revised GRE test is available from the Educational Testing Service.

What is the average GRE score of an admitted applicant?

For Fall 2022, the averages were:
Verbal: 157 
Quantitative: 155 
Writing: 4

What is the average GPA for an admitted applicant?

For Fall 2022, the average graduate admission GPA was 3.82.

Funding Questions

What percentage of students receive funding?
The department is committed to funding its Asian Cultures and Languages MA/PhD and PhD students and will fund Asian Studies MA students when possible.
 Asian Cultures and Languages students are admitted with multi-year (typically 5-year) funding offers. 

When will I find out if I will receive funding?
Funding offers are usually made in February and March.

Admissions Decisions

What percentage of applicants are accepted to your graduate program?
For Fall 2022, 16% of Asian Cultures and Languages applicants were admitted and 35% of Asian Studies applicants were admitted.

When will I find out if I've been accepted?
Applicants are notified around the beginning of March. Only applicants whose application files were complete with both the department and GIAC by the application deadline will receive notification of admissions decisions.

How do I find out why I was denied admission?
Please contact the Graduate Advisor, Dr. Heather Hindman,

Miscellaneous Questions

I would like to re-apply for next year. Can you keep my admissions file?
Yes, but you must contact the Graduate Coordinator, to request that it be kept. You should also contact your adviser at GIAC to find out how you re-apply to the University.
Please be aware that applicants who are denied admission and re-apply in later years generally are not admitted unless they have addressed the reasons why they were denied admission.

I applied to the PhD program but I received a letter stating I was admitted to the Masters program. Why?
There are several reasons why the admissions committee may admit a student to the Masters program rather than the doctoral program:

  • Only applicants who already have a Masters degree will be considered for the PhD program in Asian Cultures and Languages. Students without a Masters degree will be admitted to a Masters program.
  • Applicants who have a Masters degree in a field other than the social sciences or humanities are admitted to the Masters program in order to gain the area studies background necessary for PhD studies in Asian Cultures and Languages.
  • Applicants who have not had significant Asian language study are admitted to the Masters program in order to gain the language skills necessary for a PhD in Asian Cultures and Languages.
  • Applicants who apply to the PhD program but wish to research a topic that is not a part of our PhD program will either be denied admission or be admitted to the Masters program.
  • After decisions are made, you may contact Dr. Heather Hindman,, for specific information about your admissions decision.