East Asian Languages and Cultures
Master's Degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures
Students in the Master's Degree program in East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Kansas study under close supervision with nationally known scholars of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. The student concentrates in one of these fields, usually entering the program with at least two years of college-level language. The program typically takes two years to complete and concludes after an oral defense when the student hands in a thesis.
Graduate Page Contents
- Thesis Advisor
- Directed Readings
- General Scholarship and Grant Availability
- GTA Positions
- General Application Information
- Master's Degree Prerequisites
- MBA/MA Joint Master's Degree Program
- EALC Graduate Student Handbook
- Apply Online
(Deadline: December 1 for Spring Semester)
(Deadline: May 1 for Summer/Fall Semester)
- The Office of Research and Graduate Studies
- List of Master's Thesis Titles from EALC Graduates
The Graduate Advisor works with the student from the beginning to decide on coursework and thesis topic, which the student will usually decide upon by the end of the first year of study. A normal course of study begins in the first semester with a combination of a language course or courses and 500-level or above courses in English about China, Japan, or Korea.The student should also take the one credit EALC 700, Introduction to East Asian Studies, as soon as possible. It is taught every fall and is intended to orient students in the field by giving them necessary tools for both theoretical and bibliographical work.
If you have learned Chinese elsewhere, you should take a placement test. See a member of the Chinese teaching faculty. There is no fee for this test and it may be taken at any time of the year. If you enter with less that the two-year minimum requirement, you may take courses to remedy the deficiency, but they will not count toward the degree. The Graduate Advisor will help decide what course to take. By graduation all students must have at least third-year level language (Chinese 504-508, Japanese 504-508, or Korean 504-508). Students in the Language and Literature concentrations must in addition take the equivalent of fourth-year language and for student in Chinese, classical Chinese.
The thesis advisor may be a faculty member in another department who is a specialist in East Asian Studies. The EALC Graduate Advisor will work with students to arrange thesis advising and make recommendations on choosing topics, conducting research, and writing the thesis.
Directed Readings courses are designed for students who have exhausted all relevant, regular course offerings in a particular subject area and have a project to propose for independent study. A Directed Readings course is one in which a faculty member supervises a student's independent study project, typically the topic of the student's Master's thesis.
For more detailed information on graduate study in East Asian Languages and Cultures, the student should see the Graduate Advisor, Keith McMahon, for a copy of the EALC Graduate Student Handbook.
It is the M.A. students who compete for available grants, and in recent years many of our students in East Asian Studies have received Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS). Due to the limited number of these fellowships available, there is always a keen competition for them. As a result, they are often awarded to students who are already established in a University of Kansas program related to East Asia, but new applicants are welcome to apply. Applicants should contact the Center for East Asian Studies, 205 Lippincott, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045. While there are no particular scholarships or grants awarded directly by our department, the Graduate School does offer several fellowships and scholarships for which the department can offer nominations.
The EALC department has several graduate teaching assistant positions in Eastern Civilizations as well as those for drill instructors in the language courses. Graduate students who have completed one semester in residence at KU are eligible to apply for these whenever there are openings. Incoming students can also be considered for positions if they are available for an interview when positions are being filled.
To apply to the EALC MA program, submit an application and supporting documentation online through the Office of Graduate Studies Application website.
Before applying, please be aware that the following items will need to be uploaded with the online application:
- Name and email contact information for three references who will provide a Letter of Recommendation (the best letters are the most recent ones).
- A copy of a transcript from all institutions from which a degree was obtained.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Although the online application will ask you to self-report your scores, official scores must also be sent directly from GRE. KU's University code is 6871 and the department code is 2601.
*International Students: If you are an international student and a non-native speaker of English who has not gone through the American or Canadian public education system, TOEFL (iBT) scores are also required for admission. See the English Proficiency Chart at the Graduate Studies Admissions web page for more information regarding minimum TOEFL requirements.
- A Statement of Purpose explaining your academic objectives. In your Statement of Purpose please describe the research interests and goals that you intend to pursue in light of specific strengths that can be found among the faculty at KU.
- A writing sample that demonstrates your writing skills and basic research capacity. A paper from a previous course should be satisfactory.
- A current C.V. (Curriculum Vitae) or resume.
- An application fee, paid via secure server.
- December 1 for Spring Semester start
- May 1 for Summer/Fall semester start
*Although May 1 is the final deadline for submitting an application for a Fall semester start, our graduate committee will complete a first round review of applications on or before April 1. To ensure that your application is included for first priority consideration, please ensure that all materials are received no later than March 15.
The department will evaluate you based on your educational background, grades and test scores (a min score of 153 on the Verbal portion of the GRE, or 500 in the old GRE format, is required, although some exceptions can be made), your letters of recommendation (which should be from professors you have studied under), proof of research skills, and your articulation of your interests and goals.
Please note that if you do not meet some of the department prerequisites (found in the Master's Degree Prerequisites section of this web page), we may in some cases be able to waive them and allow you to enter the program with the understanding that you will fulfill these prerequisites later.
The entrance requirements for students pursuing a concentration in either Chinese or Japanese language and literature include:
- Three years of the chosen language and, for Chinese language students, one additional year of classical Chinese or the demonstrated equivalent. Students not meeting this prerequisite may be admitted with deficiencies provided they achieve this level of proficiency outside the minimum of 30 graduate hours required for their degree, and
- Two lecture courses dealing with East Asia.
The entrance requirements for students pursuing a concentration in East Asian Cultures are:
- At least two years of an East Asian language. Students not meeting this prerequisite may be admitted with deficiencies provided they achieve this level of proficiency outside the minimum of 30 graduate hours required for their degree, and
- Two lecture courses dealing with East Asia.
Requirements for Chinese or Japanese Language and Literature Concentration:
- A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours.
- Fourth-year language.
- At least 18 credit hours must be taken in the department while in residence.
- Six of these 18 credit hours must demonstrate research capacity in the student's major language.
- EALC 700, Introduction to East Asian Studies (and the relevant bibliography course), must be included.
- No more than 3 hours of directed readings courses in a language can be included in the required 30 hours.
- Students are expected to take at least one course at the 500-level or above in the literature of the country of their concentration.
- Students are required to take one course which deals wholly with an East Asian country outside their concentration.
- A thesis (3 credit hours) which must involve significant use of materials in the student's major language.
Requirements for East Asian Cultures Concentration:
Students in the East Asian Cultures Concentration shall consider this an interdisciplinary program. They are expected to gain a foundation and establish a focus in some compatible departmental discipline, such as business, economics, history, political science, or another of their choice.
- A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours.
- Third-year language.
- At least 24 credit hours must be taken in the department while in residence.
- EALC 700, Introduction to East Asian Studies, must be included in the student's curriculum.
- Students are expected to select one of the East Asian cultures for concentration and to include in their program at least two courses dealing wholly with an East Asian culture outside their concentration.
- Students may not take more than 3 hours of directed readings in a language.
- Students may, in consultation with the department graduate advisor, take other credits in a discipline or disciplines closely related to their studies. East Asian area courses are offered in the Departments of Anthropology, Geography, History, History of Art, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Linguistics and Theatre.
- Students are required to take one course in the literature or thought of the country of their concentration at the 500-level or above.
- A thesis (3 credit hours) which must deal with a subject within the concentration chosen by the student.
Offered in conjunction with the KU School of Business, the Master of Business Administration and Master of Arts in East Asian Languages and Cultures is designed to combine a business education with a specific focus on China, Japan, Korea or Pan-Asian geographic areas and languages.
The joint MBA/MA degree program requires 60 credit hours, structured as follows:
MBA Requirements: 36 Credits
- Foundation Courses: 16 credits
- Environmental Courses: 2 credits
- Breadth Courses: 6 credits
- Elective Courses: 12 credits
Note: some business courses may be offered at Edwards Campus in Overland Park rather than at Lawrence Campus.
Area Studies Requirements: 25 Credits
- Introductory Course: 1 credit
- 2 semesters advanced language study: 6-10 credits depending on language chosen
- Graduate level literature or thought course: 3 credits in country of concentration
- 2 additional graduate courses in country of concentration: 6 credits
- 1 graduate course outside country of concentration: 3 credits
- Unifying research thesis
Note: See the MBA-MA EALC Curriculum Guide for details about eligible classes.