The MA in Contemporary East Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary degree program focused on 20th and 21st-century East Asia that will provide students with 1) in-depth, interdisciplinary knowledge of the modern history, politics, economies, and societies of one East Asian country, e.g. China, Korea, or Japan; 2) broad knowledge of modern East Asia, and 3) social science research skills and methods appropriate to international area studies. Non-degree seeking students who have completed an undergraduate degree may apply to take graduate-level courses in CEAS.

Why consider a degree in Contemporary East Asian Studies?

East Asia has experienced rapid economic, political, and social changes that have not only strengthened and challenged intra-regional relationships but that have also led to increasingly close ties with countries outside of this world area. For strategic reasons, and owing to the close socioeconomic ties between the US and East Asia, the need for US-trained specialists on East Asia has greatly increased. Mutual interests in fields such as business, finance, technology, environment, education, and communication continue to grow and create demand for East Asia specialists both in the US and abroad.

Thus, the study of contemporary East Asia – particularly China, Japan, and Korea – is both relevant and important for American students. Various career opportunities exist for students who wish to pursue careers as East Asia specialists. M.A. degree holders in Contemporary East Asian Studies are qualified to move into jobs in fields such as international business, non-profit organizations, journalism, translation/interpreting, and government.

Our M.A. program in Contemporary East Asian Studies will help students to develop expertise on this dynamic and diverse region and would be ideal for students who want to realize their intellectual and career potential.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Admission Criteria 

To be considered for admission to the M.A. program in Contemporary East Asian Studies, students must meet all University Policies and Degree Requirements for AdmissionNon-native speakers of English must meet English proficiency requirements as described here

Application Materials & Procedures

For all domestic or international M.A. applicants, please visit the CEAS MA application page

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 May 1. To ensure that your application is included for first priority consideration, please ensure that all materials are received no later than April 1.

If you wish to learn more about the M.A. program in Contemporary East Asian Studies at The University of Kansas, please visit the CEAS M.A. Program in Contemporary East Asian Studies website, or contact Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Ayako Mizumura at ceasma@ku.edu.

Master's Program

All candidates for the M.A. degree in Contemporary East Asian Studies are required to complete 30 semester hours of graduate credit. Language requirements depend on the concentration.

In addition to completing required coursework, students in both concentrations must prepare one research paper and successfully pass an oral defense of that paper to the satisfaction of an M.A. examination committee.

At least 50% of the courses toward the master’s degree must be at the 700 level or above.

The Center for East Asian Studies offers two concentrations:

1) Contemporary East Asia

2) Foreign Affairs Studies (FASt): Contemporary East Asia in Global Context

Degree Requirements for Contemporary East Asia Concentration

The conventional M.A. program is usually completed in 18 months to 2 years, depending on prior language training. Students selecting this concentration may or may not have previous language experience but proficiency at the second level (intermediate) is required for the degree. Students who plan to continue to move on to a Ph.D. program are strongly encouraged to pursue language at the third level. Credit earned in introductory and intermediate language courses will not count toward the required 30 hours. If such courses are taken after admission, they will add substantial time to the program. Students must fulfill the required 30 semester hours of graduate credit which include A) three (3) required courses, and B) seven (7) graduate-level elective courses.

A. Three (3) Required Courses:

  • CEAS 704: Contemporary East Asia
  • CEAS 710: Interdisciplinary Research Methods for Global Contexts, or a graduate level social science or history methodology course approved by the CEAS Program Advisor. 
  • CEAS 802: Research Seminar

B. Seven (7) Elective Courses which meet the following criteria:

  • At least three (3) courses on one country (China, Korea, or Japan)
  • Two (2) courses on a second country
  • Four (4) of the courses must be in the social sciences 
  • No more than three (3) courses can be in a single discipline
  • No more than two (2) courses can focus on periods prior to the 20th century
  • Two (2) advanced East Asian language courses can be included
  • No more than three (3) hours of directed readings can be counted

Degree Requirements for Foreign Affairs Studies (FASt) Concentration

Foreign Affairs Studies (FASt) is an accelerated, 12 month program for students with second-level (intermediate) language proficiency and substantial first-hand experience in East Asia. This concentration is usually selected for professional advancement and designated for students who intend to complete the M.A. in a twelve month period. This accelerated program requires an additional fee per semester for the first three semesters. Students must fulfill the required 30 semester hours of graduate credit which include A) four (4) required courses, and B) six (6) graduate-level elective courses:

A. Four (4) Required Courses:

B. Six (6) Elective Courses which meet the following criteria:

  • At least three (3) courses on one country (China, Korea, or Japan)
  • Two (2) courses on a second country
  • Four (4) of the courses must be in the social sciences
  • No more than three (3) courses can be in a single discipline
  • No more than two (2) courses can focus on periods prior to the 20th century
  • Two advanced East Asian language courses can be included
  • No more than three (3) hours of directed readings can be counted

If you are a Foreign Area Officer interested in our FASt program, please read information for FAOs