MA in East Asian Studies

Students in the Master of Arts in East Asian Studies program engage in the interdisciplinary study of China, Japan and/or Korea.

Program features:

  • Students can select courses from a broad range of offerings in area studies, political science, literature, history, art history, religion, cultural anthropology, sociology, music, and visual and media studies
  • Students typically complete the program within two years
  • Students complete a capstone research paper in the final year

Program opportunities:

  • Prepare to enter a new profession in the diplomatic corps, law, education, journalism, consulting or business
  • Enhance your current career path with advanced academic training
  • Build a solid foundation for further study in social science or humanities doctoral programs
  • Attain proficiency in a résumé-augmenting regional language
  • Experience a unique exchange program in Tokyo, Japan, at Meiji University’s Graduate School of Political Science and Economics

Interdisciplinary Track

Students interested in comprehensive study of East Asian societies, histories, and cultures may tailor an individual program of study in the interdisciplinary track.

  • Students must take courses in at least two different departments. 

Critical Asian Humanities Track

Students with particular interest and demonstrated aptitude in literature and cultural studies may be invited to join the Critical Asian Humanities (CAH) track. Critical Asian Humanities emphasizes humanistic inquiry in the subjects of literature, film and other forms of cultural production while critically interrogating many of the assumptions on which these disciplines have traditionally relied.

CAH Track features:
  • Acquire essential theoretical background in the disciplines of literature, English, cultural anthropology, media studies, gender studies or philosophy through courses offered by the Asian & Middle Eastern Studies department
  • Develop skills needed for advanced doctoral programs in literature, film or cultural studies

Degree Requirements

To earn the MA, students must complete a total of 10 courses (30 semester hours). Of these, 8 must be graduate-level courses. Also, 8 must be courses on East Asia. One of the required courses is an integrated core course. Students are also required to complete a capstone project and pass an oral exam. Capstone projects are major research papers; capstone committees consist of three professors, including at least two (2) from the APSI core faculty list.

Up to two undergraduate-level language courses may be applied to the degree in lieu of other electives; proficiency in an Asian language equivalent to 3rd-year collegiate-level (or higher) is also required.

View a list of courses that fulfill the requirements of the MA program and a sample MA-EAS Curriculum.

For more information on the MA in East Asian Studies, please email us or call 919-684-2604.


Information about the application process, including requirements, deadlines and a link to the online application is on the Duke Graduate School's Admissions website.

Complete applications for the MA in East Asian Studies must include:

  • Online application (via ApplyYourself)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official university transcripts from all schools attended
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores, if applicable
  • ***No writing sample necessary***