East Asian Studies Graduate Program

Explore our interdisciplinary MA program

An interdisciplinary program

The masters program in East Asian Studies aims to provide students with cultural literacy in East Asia by offering a broad-ranging study of East Asia across national, historical, and disciplinary boundaries. The EAS MA is an interdisciplinary program with faculty who both specialize in China, Japan, and Korea, and take broadly comparative and transnational approaches to the study of East Asia. We have particular strengths in art history, film studies, history, literature, and religious studies.

Masters students in East Asian Studies at WashU work closely with our dedicated faculty. We boast an active intellectual life that includes frequent lectures and workshops by visiting speakers from academia, business, law, and international relations. Student and faculty research are well supported by our East Asian Library, with strong Chinese, Japanese, and Korean collections.  Strong language-training programs in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean prepare students for careers in academia, business, and law. Students admitted to the MA program receive a high percentage of tuition remission, which helps to ease the burden of pursuing a graduate degree. 

Current WashU seniors may qualify for the Accelerated AB/AM program

Joint Degree Programs

JD/MA Program in Law and East Asian Studies

The Joint JD/MA Program in Law and East Asian Studies combines the Law School's regular curriculum and its strengths in International and Asian legal studies with the interdisciplinary offerings of the Master of Arts Program in East Asian Studies. The Joint Program offers an integrated curriculum, with students permitted to take both Law and East Asian Studies courses, starting from the students third semester at Washington University.

More information about the JD/MA

MBA/MA in Business and East Asian Studies

The Joint MBA/MA degree in Business and East Asian Studies offers a Master of Arts degree in conjunction with a Master of Business Administration from Olin School of Business. This MBA/MA Program is designed for students who want to develop an expertise in business systems and management within an East Asian context. The two programs are pursued simultaneously ensuring that the cross-disciplinary training is fully integrated. The sharing of certain designated courses across the East Asian and Business curricula, allows students to complete two degrees efficiently and economically.

More about the MBA/MA

applying to the program

The application deadline for the masters program is January 3, 2022.

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MA Requirements

The MA in East Asian Studies requires 10 courses for a minimum of 30 units. The degree training begins with the Core Seminar in East Asian Studies (when offered). In addition, at least two substantial writing seminars must be completed. Three years (or the equivalent) of preparation in one East Asian language is required, with no more than 12 credits of language normally applying toward the degree.

Language Requirement

Normally, we expect applicants who are not native speakers of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean to have some background in an East Asian language. In order to complete the MA students must achieve third year competence in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean or demonstrate its equivalence to satisfy the language requirement. Only 12 credits of modern language study are applicable toward the MA degree.

Writing Seminar Requirement

Students must take two writing seminars. For a course or Independent Study to fulfill the writing seminar requirement the writing exercises must be based on research, must be cumulative to some degree, and result by the end of the semester in a substantial piece of writing. Courses that require multiple short papers will not meet the requirement.

Exit Requirement

Students must complete one of the following options:

  • Students who plan to continue their academic training on the PhD level will have two options: complete a Master’s Essay or a Master’s Thesis. 
    1. The essay will be based on a research paper written during the student’s MA course work.  Students will be expected to revise the paper in consultation with the student’s advisor—lengthening to provide appropriate contexts and explanations—but also tightening, where necessary, to offer an incisive, analytical exploration of the topic. Essays will range from 8,000 to 10,000 words or 34 to 40 pages.  Students who elect this option may choose to register for 3-units of Guided Readings (L03 496, L04 498 or L05 499) and will graduate "Masters without thesis." Students will form a committee of three faculty members who will read the essay; the student will meet with the committee for a short oral defense of the essay.
    2. The second option allows students to complete a longer Master’s Thesis, under the direction of a Thesis Advisor.  Based on original research in an area of interest, the thesis generally runs at least 50 pages in length.  Upon completion of the thesis, students sit for a defense with three to four faculty members, chosen in consultation with the Thesis Advisor.  Students who elect this option may choose to register for 3-units of Master’s Thesis (L03 591) and will graduate "Masters with thesis."  Students writing a thesis must complete and return to the EAS office the Notice of Title, Scope, and Procedure form 6 months in advance of the intended graduation date.  For more information, see Master's Thesis Guidelines.
  • Students who do not plan to continue their academic training on the PhD level may opt to complete the EAS MA exit exam.  For more information, see Master's Exam.

Time to Degree

The MA in East Asian Studies may be completed in three semesters, though students may choose to stay for four semesters, allowing for a second full year of language study. One independent study is allowed. First-year students are not permitted to enroll in a true independent study or guided readings course.  Occasionally students are allowed to take upper-level undergraduate courses for graduate credit under special arrangements with the approval of the instructor and DGS. Students wishing to complete the degree with a thesis generally stay for four semesters; the thesis is in addition to the 30 credits of language and field credit. To write a thesis the student needs the approval of the DGS and the thesis advisor. For more information, see Master's Thesis Guidelines.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the form of tuition scholarships. Our MA students usually receive a high percentage of tuition remission which helps to ease the burden of pursuing a graduate degree.  

All applicants are automatically considered for financial aid.  No additional application is required.

See the Graduate School's webpage for additional information.

Recent Placements in PhD Programs

Many of our graduates have pursued careers in business or in law. Of those continuing in academia, over the past decade we have placed students in PhD programs in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean history, literature, and religious studies.

Brown University

Johns Hopkins University

University of British Columbia

University of California at Berkeley

University of California at Irvine

University of Chicago

University of Washington

Washington University in St. Louis


Have questions? Please reach out to Krystel Mowery, the administrative coordinator for EALC.

Contact Krystel Mowery