Students in the Master of Arts in East Asian Studies program engage in the interdisciplinary study of Northeast Asia (China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea), Southeast Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam), or any combination of these countries/regions.

Information on these pages is provided for current as well as prospective students. For more information on the MA in East Asian Studies, email us or call 919-684-2604.

    Degree Requirements

    Students pursuing an MA in East Asian Studies are given the option to either write an MA thesis or revise and submit two research papers originally developed during coursework to satisfy milestone requirements for the degree.  

    Students are required to declare their milestone option by September 30th of the second year via this form.

    All students, whether choosing the Thesis or Research Paper option, must take an East Asian Studies Core Course (EAS 700) as part of their EAS listed course requirements and demonstrate proficiency in an East Asian language equivalent to successful completion of the full 3rd-year language sequence at Duke.  

    Up to two regional language courses taken at the graduate level may count toward course requirements.  

    Ten total courses (30 semester hours) are required for the degree; courses must be from two or more programs or departments.

    Thesis Option

    Students who intend to pursue a PhD after completing the MA program are strongly encouraged to select the thesis option.  A thesis is an original scholarly work, rooted in one or more relevant academic disciplines, that is crafted under the supervision and guidance of a thesis advisor.  Theses in EAS are typically 40-60 pages in length, not including references.

    The MA thesis must follow all guidelines stipulated by the Graduate School and must be defended before an examination committee of three or more faculty members. The Chair and at least one other committee member must be APSI core faculty. Students are required to form their committee by September 30th of their second year.

    Students who elect to write an MA thesis must complete 10 graduate-level courses (30 semester hours) including 7 listed East Asian Studies courses and 1-2 independent studies (IS) with a thesis advisor to develop the thesis project, ideally taken during the second and/or third semester. 

    Thesis students may enroll in up to one additional independent study with an APSI core faculty member to count toward EAS listed course requirements. Students must submit a separate application for research independent study for each IS. 

    Research Paper Option

    Students who anticipate pursuing a career outside of academia are encouraged to consider this option, which allows students to revise and submit two significant academic research papers developed during coursework to an examination committee. Both research papers must have received a letter grade ‘B’ or above in the course they were originally submitted and be revised based on faculty comments from the course.  Students are required to share faculty comments on each paper as early as possible with their committee Chair. 

    Additionally, students must write a 4-5 page introduction to the research papers demonstrating the role the research has played in the students’ MA program of study. The two research papers must be defended before an examination committee of three or more faculty members.  The committee Chair and at least one other member must be APSI core faculty.

    Students are required to form their committee and identify the papers they will use to fulfill the milestone requirement by September 30th of their second year.

    To earn the MA, students must complete a total of 10 graduate-level courses (30 semester hours) including 8 listed East Asian Studies courses. Up to two graduate-level independent studies (IS) taken with APSI core faculty members may count as listed East Asian Studies courses.

    Students must submit a separate application for research independent study for each IS. 

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