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East Asian Studies (MA) 
Program Description

East Asian Studies Masters

The Department of East Asian Studies offers two types of Master’s degrees, Area Master's degrees and General Master’s degrees. Area Master’s degrees may focus on either China or Japan and are intended to prepare graduates for doctoral study (though graduates may of course use these as terminal degrees). They require the writing of a thesis, except for students majoring in linguistics, who may elect to take an examination instead. The General Master’s degrees may also focus on China or Japan or may involve study of both areas. General Master’s candidates may write a thesis or a departmental paper. The General Master’s degree is designed for candidates who do not intend to study for a doctorate.

Professional MA East Asian Studies

The University of Arizona’s School of International Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (SILLC), Eller College of Management, School of Journalism, and School of Government and Public Policy share a strong commitment to educating future leaders of the new global economy in a world that increasingly requires the highest level of intercultural competence. The Professional MA in East Asian Studies is a course of study that allows students to complete an MA in East Asian Studies (EAS) with an emphasis in one of the following areas:

  • Business Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Journalism
  • Collaborative Governance
Department/Academic Unit(s)

East Asian Studies -

The Department of East Asian Studies is dedicated to the study of the cultures and languages of China and Japan. The rich cultural heritages of the region are covered by courses in literature, history, society, religion and thought, linguistics and other aspects of culture.

EAS offers a wide range of courses in Chinese and Japanese language. Understanding the languages and cultures of these two nations—the second (China) and third (Japan) largest economies in the world—is essential for anyone working globally today.

EAS offers programs leading to the  Master of Arts (M.A.), and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees with a major in East Asian Studies.

College of Humanities  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Frank Whitehead
Graduate Program Coordinator
Frank Whitehead
Director of Graduate Studies
Albert Welter
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Kristi R Davenport
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements
  • GPA 3.0
  • English proficiency exam for international students. See list of acceptable exams and scores here
  • GRE (required of domestic applicants and applicants from English speaking countries, e.g. U.K., Canada, etc.)(not required for other international students)
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose (Must specify the area you are applying for: Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies. Must also indicate areas of interest (example: linguistics)
  • Sample of written work (Ph.D. applicants only)
  • Official sealed Transcripts
  • Department Financial Aid Application
Standardized Tests

Required test(s) required for domestic applicants: GRE

Required test(s) required for international applicants: English proficiency exam. See list of acceptable exams and scores here.* 

*Note: International applicants who do not meet the minimum English proficiency requirements may be considered for conditional admission to this program at the department’s discretion.

Financial Aid
  • Teaching Assistantships
  • Graduate College Fellowships
  • Tuition and Registration Scholarships
  • Graduate and Professional Student Travel Funds
Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: January 15

International Applicants:

  • Fall: January 15
International Conditional Admission
International applicants may be considered for conditional admission to this program at the department's discretion.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 2601

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

MA Program (China/Japan Area MA and General MA)


Ideally, students applying for the master’s program in East Asian Studies with a China/Japan-area specialization will meet the following criteria: 1) they will have completed at least three years of Chinese/Japanese language study, or will have attained an equivalent level of proficiency; 2) they will have adequate proficiency in English to pursue a Master’s degree; and 3) they will have done previous course work in Chinese/Japanese studies. Students with language deficiencies may be admitted, but they must make up for them while in the program. Any course work to satisfy deficiencies will not count toward the degree.


The department requires 33 units for the MA degree and that a minimum of 25 units be completed in the East Asian Studies Department. No more than 3 units of independent studies may be counted. All the student’s required course work must be taken at the 500 level or above; at least one-half must be taken in courses assigning “A”, “B”, and “C” grades. Graduate credit is not allowed for pass/fail or audited courses.

Students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • 6 units of the three-part EAS 595a Graduate Colloquium, to be taken in the first two semesters if possible.
  • One introductory course in three of the following five fields (3 units per course adding to 9 units total): history, linguistics, literature, thought/religion, and anthropology. One of these courses must be in the student’s field of study. (It may be possible to apply courses taken previously at the undergraduate level towards meeting this breadth requirement, although this will not reduce the total number of units needed to complete the M.A. degree. Students who wish to do so should submit to the department a petition explaining their request.)
  • 6 units of advanced-level courses within the department which are relevant to the student’s field of study. These courses must enhance the programmatic integrity of the course of study.
  • 3 units of courses either from other departments or within the department which are relevant to the student’s course of study.
  • 3 units of CHN/JPN 910 (Thesis) for students who are writing a thesis.
  • Language requirements: 6 units of fourth year Chinese/Japanese, or one semester of classical Chinese/ Japanese and a related seminar (if students have equivalent Chinese/Japanese language ability).

Students writing a thesis should include the use of relevant materials in Chinese/Japanese. (These materials are to be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.) Theses should be based on original research and should conform to departmental guidelines concerning scope and quality. Near the end of their program there is an oral final examination which focuses on, but is not limited to, the student’s thesis. The student will be asked to explain and defend the thesis. Committee members may also ask the student to explain the relationship between the thesis project and other course materials covered during study for the Master’s degree.

Students in the linguistics track of Chinese/Japanese may elect to take an examination in lieu of writing a thesis. In that case, they may take 3 units of CHN 900/JPN 599 in their 3rd or 4th semester for examination preparation. Based on the students’ performance on the written part of the examination, an oral examination may be waived.

Students in the general M.A. track may choose to submit in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master’s degree either a thesis or a departmental paper. A departmental paper will only need to be signed off by the student’s major advisor, and the student will take a 3-unit elective course, research (900), or independent study (599) in consultation with the student’s major advisor.  Students whose area of study is linguistics also have the option of taking an exam in lieu of writing a thesis or departmental paper.   

Students must develop their programs of study in consultation with the China/Japan area Graduate Director and other advisors in their field(s). It is important that students get approval for their programs and for the specific courses they wish to take. They should also study Graduate College requirements carefully. It is the student who is ultimately responsible for meeting such obligations in order to complete the graduate program.


Minor Requirements
The Academic Unit has not provided this information. 
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Last revised 30 Nov 2018