The University of Virginia offers three degrees in East Asian Studies:

  1. B.A. in East Asian Studies
  2. B.A. in East Asian Languages and Literatures
  3. M.A. in East Asian Studies

The undergraduate degree programs are administered by the Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and the doctoral programs in East Asia are administered by individual departments.  The M.A. and M.A./M.B.A. programs are detailed below.


The East Asia Center was founded in 1975 to provide a forum for faculty and student interest in East and Southeast Asia. The Center sponsors a speaker series and travel grants, and promotes activities and events related to Asia. The Center is an interdisciplinary organization of faculty, each of whom is a full member of a department. Asia-related courses are taught as part of the various departmental curricula.

Click here for the current East Asian Studies course offering



    Application deadline for Fall admission is May 1 (Priority review of applications received by January 15).

    The Master of Arts in East Asian Studies at the University of Virginia is an interdisciplinary program intended for students who want in-depth exposure to East Asia at the graduate level while also gaining competence in an East Asian language. The program is designed for students who seek a rich knowledge of East Asia as preparation for careers in business, government service, and media, or as preparation for entering professional schools or doctoral programs. We encourage students who have begun college-level study in Chinese or Japanese to apply. In addition, we offer language training in Korean and Tibetan.  

    Students in the M.A. program explore a variety of course subjects suited to their individual interests and career goals. The range of possible specialty tracks within the program extends from modern and contemporary China or Japan to the East Asian religious traditions. Classes concentrating on East Asia are offered in the departments of Anthropology; Art (art history); East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures; History; Media Studies; Politics; and Religious Studies. 

    The MA in East Asian Studies is a terminal Master’s program.  Students usually take 21 months—-two academic years and the intervening summer—to complete all requirements for the degree, though the program can be completed more quickly if no additional language work is necessary. Second-year teaching assistantships are available to qualified students. M.A. students are also eligible to apply for Ellen Bayard Weedon Travel Grants to support travel to Asia in the intervening summer to pursue language study and conduct research.

    The M.A. program in East Asian Studies is also part of the Regional Studies Consortium created to cultivate a vibrant intellectual and professionally minded community for master’s students that multiplies their academic and career opportunities. Joining M. A. programs in European Studies, Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages and Cultures, and Contemporary Russian Studies, the Regional Studies Consortium provides students with communal training in research methods and professional writing, access to academic exchanges and industry-based internships, and interaction with a network of accomplished graduates in shared employment sectors. 

    Recent students have praised the program for the degree to which it allows students to design their own course of study. The program is flexible and allows students to combine Asia-related courses from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with courses from both the Business and Law Schools here at the University.

    Although there is not a standardized career path for our M.A. students, past graduates of the M.A. and M.B.A./M.A. programs have gone on to work for: Continental Bank, McKinsey & Co, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Bank of Tokyo, Sanwa Bank, General Motors and a variety of government and academic jobs. A small number have entered PhD programs, including Berkeley, Columbia and UCLA. Former students are working in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and the United States.

    Students should consult the Graduate Record for the general requirements for a Master of Arts in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. As they approach the midpoint of their program, students should take note of deadlines for completing the M.A. thesis, applying for graduation, and filing final copies of M.A. theses on the Thesis Submission and Graduation website of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences:


    To earn a Master of Arts Degree in East Asian Studies, students must:

    • Take 24 credit hours of non-language courses at the graduate level; 18 credit hours must be in Asia-related courses, which include RSC 6000 (Research Method in Regional Studies); non-Asia courses and independent study credits must be approved by the Graduate Committee of the East Asia Center; MA/MBA students may count six Darden hours toward completion of the MA degree. Darden internship programs abroad are generally granted 6 hours of independent study credits;
    • Take an additional 6 credit hours of non-topical research credit hours (e.g. EAST 8998, PLCP 8998 or HIST 8998); the professional writing colloquium can take the place of EAST 8998;
    • Study in at least two different departments, with at least six credit hours in each department;
    • Achieve and demonstrate third year competence in Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Tibetan language; but no coursework from the first three years of language study may be used to satisfy the 24 credit hour requirement. This certification can be achieved by passing third-year language courses here at the University or through an examination administered through the DEALLC;
    • Complete a Master's thesis—a standalone academic paper of 10,000 to 18,000 words, or an alternative thesis/project—under the guidance of two faculty advisors (at least one of these an East Asia faculty member). The thesis should demonstrate the use of primary and secondary sources in an East Asian language;
    •  A student can submit a Master’s thesis/project, such as a digital project, in lieu of a traditional longer paper option. The thesis/project should include a topic and well-defined research question, the project itself, and accompanied by a written paper of 6,000 to 8,000 words. The written portion should demonstrate the use of primary and secondary sources in an East Asian language. Students interested in this option should consult with advisors of the EAS and relevant programs.

    Students should consult the Graduate Record for the general requirements for a Master of Arts in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. As they approach the midpoint of their program, students should take note of deadlines for completing the M.A. thesis, applying for graduation, and filing final copies of M.A. theses on the Thesis Submission and Graduation website of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences:


    The M.B.A./M.A. program is a joint arrangement between Darden School of Business Administration and the East Asia Center. It enables students to combine the MA program described above with Darden's excellent MBA program, including an internship in East Asia.

    Students enrolled in the joint M.B.A./M.A. program, a three year program, will normally spend the first full academic year in the program taking courses in the Darden School, and will not enroll in East Asian studies courses in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences until the following fall. When necessary, an intensive nine-week language training course is taken during the following summer. The second year incorporates both M.A. and M.B.A. courses, including more language training. A six-month research assignment in an Asian location follows the second year. These student projects are approved by the University and supported, in part, by Asian companies or Asian affiliates of multinational companies. For their sixth semester, students return to the University to complete the degree requirements, which include a Master's thesis.


    Application deadline for Fall admission is May 1 (Priority review of applications received by January 15).

    Information on application requirements can be found at

    A complete application requires an application form, statement of purpose, transcripts from all universities attended, and two letters of recommendation. An academic-critical writing sample is required. It should be between ten and twenty pages and should be indicative of your academic capacity and achievement. A paper on a subject relevant to East Asia is most helpful. TOEFL scores are required of students whose most recent degree is from a foreign-language university. Applications may be accompanied by resumes, and other relevant documents. 

    Applicants to the M.B.A./M.A. Program 
    Prospective students may apply simultaneously for admission to both Arts and Sciences and the Darden School or may apply to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences during the first year in the Darden program. In either case, separate applications must be submitted. Darden School application forms are available from:

    Director of Admissions
    The Darden School
    P.O. Box 6550
    University of Virginia
    Charlottesville, Virginia 22906.

    Requests for additional information about the M.A. in East Asian Studies may be addressed to:

    East Asia Center
    PO Box 400781, New Cabell Hall
    The University of Virginia
    Charlottesville, Va 22904
    (434) 924-7453

    Prospective applicants are reminded that the Asian Studies Masters Degree program is an interdisciplinary program. Those with a specific interest in a single academic discipline and a regional focus on Asia should consider applying to the appropriate academic department. The interdisciplinary nature of the program imposes other important demands on the student. Students are expected to meet the requirements of graduate-level courses in a variety of disciplines. Therefore, it is essential that applicants can demonstrate excellent writing skills, analytic ability, and intellectual maturity. Further, because completion of the degree requires demonstration of third-year competence in either Chinese, Japanese, Korean and TIbetan language and because of the demands of non-language, graduate-level courses, applicants must have begun language training prior to commencing the program. The admissions committee looks for combined verbal and quantitative GRE scores of above 1200 and an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.2.


    Graduate School tuition in the 2020-2021 academic year is $18,346 for Virginia residents and $30,926 for out-of-state residents. Cost of living expenses are estimated at $19,874 for single students.

    There are currently no graduate fellowships or assistantships available in East Asian Studies. Students can apply for financial aid through the work/study and student loan programs. For more information, contact the Student Financial Services, P.O. Box 400204, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904, phone (434) 982-6000.


    Quick Index:

    1. What is required in the application?

    • An application form, available online through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website;
    • A statement of purpose;
    • Transcripts from all universities attended;
    • Official GRE General Test scores (UVa's code is 5820);
    • Official TOEFL scores if your undergraduate degree was conferred by a non-English language institution;
    • Two letters of recommendation.

    2. What about a writing sample?

    An academic/critical writing sample is recommended, but not required.  If you choose to submit one, it should be between ten and twenty pages, and should be indicative of your academic capacity and achievement.  A paper on a subject relevant to East Asia is most helpful.

    3. Can I submit other materials with the application?

    Yes. Applicants in the past have submitted their resumes or CVs, additional letters of recommendation, or other documents relevant to their experience or education.

    4. Do you accept students from China or Japan?

    Yes.  The M.A. program seeks to give students a broad comparative perspective on East Asia, both across regions and across disciplines.  This wider perspective benefits students wishing to study their own country.

    5. Do you offer financial aid?

    We generally do not offer grant assistance to students in the M.A. program. Nevertheless, highly qualified applicants will be considered Teaching Assistantship in the second year of the M.A. program. Many students in the program find part-time work at the University or in Charlottesville to help defray expenses.

    6. What are the application deadlines?

    • May 1 for Fall Admission
    • October 1 for Spring Admission

    7. Should I be proficient in an Asian language before I apply to the program?

    The degree requires third-year proficiency in Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Tibetan. Though language proficiency is not necessary for admission to the program, students should allow themselves time to gain proficiency, understanding that credits earned through languages courses do not count towards the required number of credits for the degree.

    8. Can I study Southeast Asian nations in the program?

    In a word, no. Our program is focused mostly on China and Japan; we also have courses in Sino-Tibetan studies and a very limited number of courses on Korean studies. We do not have sufficient course offerings to warrant a concentration in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, or other Southeast Asian/Pacific countries. When offered, though, a limited number of courses on Southeast Asia may be counted towards the degree.

    9. Do you offer a Ph.D. in East Asian Studies?

    No. At this time, we only offer the interdisciplinary M.A. However, many departments doctoral programs allow concentration in East Asia. Graduate students have recently written dissertations involving East Asia in the departments of anthropology, art history, history, politics, and religious studies.


    Individual departments administer Ph.D. programs in East Asia, according to their disciplines. The East Asia Center encourages prospective doctoral students to contact these departments directly. Departments which have recently granted doctorates to students specializing in East Asia include