Duke's East Asian Studies program offers comprehensive coverage of East Asian politics, societies, history, and cultures, with particular strengths in literature; modern history; comparative history and culture; anthropology; film, media and visual studies; comparative studies of capitalism; and religious studies. Research on East Asia at Duke is supported by extensive library holdings managed by subject librarians for China, Japan and Korea.  Duke also has close ties with Asian Studies faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and students can receive credit for courses at either institution.

The MA in East Asian Studies provides rigorous interdisciplinary training for students seeking careers in academia or professional fields that require regional specialization.  The program introduces key area studies methodologies while providing flexibility for students to specialize in specific modes of inquiry (students with a specific interest in humanities should consider applying to the Critical Asian Humanities program).  MA students have the benefit of developing individual research projects through working closely with a faculty advisor.  The culmination of the degree results in a substantial and original academic work, either in the form of an MA thesis or two revised research papers, as well as competency in at least one regional language.  

The MA degree program is housed in the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute (APSI), which is the focal point for research and teaching on East Asia at Duke.  APSI, founded in 1981, has fostered Duke’s strong intellectual engagement with the region for decades.  The institute maintains a robust schedule of events on campus including an annual APSI Speaker Series, international conferences and forums for graduate students to share their work.  APSI also regularly hosts visiting scholars from East Asia and maintains partnerships and exchange programs in the region.  APSI graduate students are an integral part of the intellectual and social fabric that forms our community.

Being a Duke Student


As a student at Duke you will have unfettered access to all the resources of one of the nation’s most prestigious universities consistently ranked in the top ten.  The university attracts some of the most renowned performers, speakers, public intellectuals and leaders to campus each year.  Duke students have opportunities to participate in collaborative researchdevelop professionally, experience campus culture, enhance their wellness and tap into a global alumni network.  

On an institutional level Duke has deep commitments to the East Asian region and is one of only three US universities to establish a fully accredited degree-granting campus in China.  As Duke Kunshan University continues to burgeon as a hub for research and teaching, the Duke presence in Asia will only grow stronger.  

Living in Durham

Durham is a vibrant city within North Carolina’s “research triangle” 15 minutes from Chapel Hill and 40 minutes from downtown Raleigh. Between these three interconnected cities there is no lack of cultural events, dining venues, professional opportunities and sights to see.  All this in a sunny and mild southern climate make Durham an attractive place to live and learn.  

Learn more about the unique features of the MA program in East Asian Studies at Duke.