Prospective Student FAQs

Answers to FAQs for Prospective MA in East Asian Studies Students


1. What is the minimum GRE score and GPA required to apply?

There is no specific minimum GRE or GPA requirement. GRE scores and GPAs are two factors considered during the holistic application review process. However, because the MA in East Asian Studies program emphasizes high-level writing skills, strong candidates should have a competitive GRE writing score. The Graduate School maintains information about the average GRE scores and GPAs of previously admitted applicants.

2. What are the requirements for the writing sample?

A writing sample in English must be included with the online application. The writing sample is intended to gauge an applicant's academic writing ability, and should be a paper that the student feels best represents the quality of his/her work. There is no formal length or content requirement. We prefer complete papers to summaries or abbreviated versions.

3.    What is the minimum TOEFL score required to apply?

The minimum scores required by the Duke Graduate School are 90 for the Internet-based TOEFL, 577 for the paper-based TOEFL, and 7.0 for the IELTS test. The EAS degree requires a minimum Internet-based TOEFL score of 100 (IELTS score of 7.0; Duolingo score of 120), with a strong writing score.

4.    Will you accept official GRE/TOEFL/IELTS scores after the application deadline?

The Graduate School will continue to add official test scores to applications after the application deadline. However, if your scores are received late, it may negatively affect the review of your application. Therefore, we strongly recommend you submit all test scores so they are received before the deadline. Please submit all scores directly to the Graduate School and contact them regarding the status of your score reports.

5.    Will I be able to receive any funding from your program? If so, how can I apply?

APSI provides merit-based tuition fellowships to students in the MA in East Asian Studies program. All applicants to the program are considered for first-year funding during the application process; no separate application is needed. APSI does offer some grants and fellowships to continuing students during their study at Duke.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to research external funding opportunities.

Program Requirements

1.    What is the average length of the program?

The program is designed to be completed in 2 years (four semesters), with a minimum requirement of 30 credits (10 courses). Students usually take 3-4 courses per term for the first three terms, and work on finalizing either their two research papers or MA thesis in the last term. Students who select the Research Paper option may find it feasible to complete all degree requirements within 3 semesters.  Read more information on degree requirements and a sample curriculum.

2.    Do you accept students who already have intensive East Asian language and cultural training but want to focus on a particular academic discipline?

Our program requires students to develop interdisciplinary exposure to East Asian Studies. Each student must complete an integrated core course and take courses from at least two departments. Students typically come to focus on a certain field (e.g.: economics, history, political science, sociology) especially if they decide to write an MA thesis. Therefore, having some sense of a disciplinary focus before the program starts will help clarify your class selection and inform the development of your thesis project.  Students who decide to forgo the MA thesis have more flexibility to work across multiple disciplines but may not necessarily reach the disciplinary depth required of a thesis project.  

Applicants should note the review committee carefully considers how an applicant’s interests and background would match with our program offerings and our faculty’s research. We want to ensure each student will be advised by the proper faculty member(s) to gain the most benefit from the degree. Learn about the APSI core faculty.

3.    I am interested in a certain discipline. Would I be allowed to take courses offered by the corresponding department(s)?

All courses for the MA in East Asian Studies program are offered through the various departments at Duke. To earn the degree, students must take a certain number of graduate-level courses focused on East Asia (6 for the MA Thesis Option + 2 independent studies; 8 for the Research Paper Option), with no more than 4 from a particular department (note: several courses are cross-listed among departments).

If a desired course is not listed as an East Asia course by APSI, students can petition the Director of Graduate Studies to count the course toward the degree requirement if at least 1/3 of the graded work (such as exams, weekly writing assignments, and mid-term or final papers) is on East Asia.

So long as you meet the East Asia regional requirement (i.e. either 6 or 8 EAS courses listed by APSI depending on the option you select), you are welcome to take courses on other topics, such as methods and/or theory relevant to a particular discipline.

Professional Development

1.    Will I be able to find a campus job during the program? What are the other job opportunities while I’m at Duke?

Work opportunities for Duke graduate students include positions at the library, work-study positions in a department, or, depending on language ability, as a grader for the language courses (Chinese, Japanese and Korean). Job openings that might interest our students are shared via emails and the APSI newsletter.

Some TA and RA positions are offered, but selection is up to the faculty and their departments. Students may ask a professor directly about becoming a TA or RA, especially if the professor, project, or subject is one that particularly interests you and you have some evidence of expertise or ability.

International students must check with Duke Visa Services prior to accepting or beginning any employment.

2.    What do your graduates go on to do?

APSI has a strong record of graduates being admitted to competitive doctoral programs. Approximately 30% to 40% of our graduates chose to apply for PhD programs; APSI alumni are now pursuing PhDs at Duke, Princeton, Columbia, Yale, UCLA, UCSD, and similar schools, in fields such as literature, political science, film and media studies, history, art history, and anthropology.

As for job placements, over the past five to six years, the majority of our graduates who chose to look for jobs have found positions in China, in fields including non-profit, media, education, consulting, finance, marketing, and technology. They have been employed by such firms as CCTV, NetEase, Sohu, Coca-Cola, KPMG, and Accenture. Other graduates now work in both the public and private sector in the U.S. in fields like higher education, translation and localization, law, and library science.

Duke Graduate School also maintains a database of career outcomes for all master's programs at Duke. 

3.    What resources and services do you provide for career development?

The Duke Career Center offers a wide range of services to support students' and alumni professional development, including career counseling and advising, writing a high-quality CV or résumé and cover letter, conducting mock interviews, and maintaining a database of job and internship opportunities.

APSI has also prepared a list of organizations that may offer internship and employment opportunities related to East Asian studies. In partnership with the Duke Career Center, we also organize career workshops tailored to our students’ specific needs.

Funding Opportunities

Study Abroad and/or Language Scholarship

•   Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
•   Boren Scholarship (both undergraduates and graduates)
•   Critical Language Scholarship (CLS; both undergraduates and graduates)
•   Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship
•   Fulbright U.S. Student Program (both undergraduates and graduates)
•   Fund for Education Abroad (FEA)
•   Diversity Network Summer Scholarship

External funding opportunities for prospective graduate students

•    The Duke Graduate School provides comprehensive information on funding opportunities both inside and outside Duke
•   American Association of University Women (AAUW) Funding & Awards
•   China Scholarship Council (for Chinese nationals only)
•   Harry S. Truman Scholarship
•   The Beinecke Scholarship Program