University of Pennsylvania Graduate Programs in Asian Studies
University of Pennsylvania 642 Williams Hall
225 S. 36th Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
Master of Arts in East Asian Studies
The Graduate Group in EALC administers a Masters of Arts degree in the East Asian Humanities. The degree is both an entry into higher-level graduate study and preparation for careers in teaching, administration, some professions, and the public and private sector. This degree is extremely valuable to students who plan to seek employment in East Asia. The program offers flexibility for students who desire to combine this degree with another Masters of Arts at Penn or who would like to pursue the degree on a part-time basis. The main feature that distinguishes the Masters in EALC from the Masters of Arts in East Asian Studies administered through the Center for East Asian Studies is its focus on humanistic disciplines such as literature, philosophy, religion, art, and archaeology of East Asia, and often the more rigorous language requirements such as classical Chinese or Japanese in addition to the modern languages.
Students who are able to pass the language examination (in either Chinese or Japanese) on admission and who are prepared to produce a research paper of superior quality in courses offered by the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) may normally expect to receive their degrees in one year. Those unable to speak and read modern Chinese or Japanese must expect to spend more than one year (probably two, with summer work) in the program.
Applicants must present the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English at the graduate level. Foreign students must be fully prepared to understand lectures and write papers in acceptable English. For a non-native speaker of English, TOEFL scores should accompany applications. Since admission to the Masters program depends on the GRE and/or TOEFL scores, as well as a student’s grade point average and letters of recommendation, the prerequisite tests should be taken well in advance of application. Applicants may be accepted as part-time students but normally will not be eligible for fellowships in that status.
- 8 c.u. of courses at the University of Pennsylvania at the 400 level or above on East Asian subject matter, including at least two seminars. For the MA in Chinese, no more than 4 c.u. may be taken from the following: Readings in Modern Chinese: Literature; Readings in Modern Chinese: Documents; Advanced Commercial Chinese. Familiarity with pre-modern Chinese or Japanese culture must be demonstrated by either courses completed or examination.
- In addition to the 8 basic courses mentioned above, language skill in speaking and reading modern Chinese, Japanese or Korean equivalent to the third-year level of instruction at Penn is required. Proficiency may be demonstrated by coursework or examination, which may be taken upon entry to the program or at any time during it. Students who need elementary or intermediate language study may take it as part of the Masters program, but no courses in first or second year modern East Asian languages may be counted toward the Masters degree. Students who need these courses should expect to take them in the summer or to be enrolled in the program longer than students who enter with higher-levels of language skills.
- An acceptable Masters thesis in which the student demonstrates the ability to do graduate-level research. The thesis must reflect familiarity with scholarly format (references and bibliography) and the use of Chinese, Japanese or Korean research tools. The thesis must be on a topic approved by a faculty advisor early in the semester preceding the one in which the student plans to graduate. It is standard for a Masters thesis to be more than 50 pages in length. In most cases, this length will be necessary to explicate or argue the subject fully. It is also standard for a student to spend a full semester on research, prior to beginning the writing of the Masters thesis. The completed thesis must be defended before two members of the Graduate Group in EALC.
While the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC) does not require a minimum level of Chinese, Japanese or Korean prior to admission, students who have not completed the equivalent of two years of at least one East Asian language before beginning graduate work will be accepted into the graduate program only with provisional or special standing. Sometimes it is advisable for those students to matriculate into an M.A. program rather than begin Ph. D. work while gaining intermediate language skills. Students with questions about language skills should consult a member of the EALC faculty. Applicants must present the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English at the graduate level. Students whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL test. Since admission to the Ph.D. program depends on the GRE and/or TOEFL scores, as well as a student’s grade point average and letters of recommendation, the prerequisite tests should be taken well in advance of application.