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East Asian Studies

For more information contact

Asian/Pacific Studies Institute
Box 90411
Durham, NC 27708-0411
(919) 684-2604


General Information

Degree offered:
M.A., Certificate
Application Deadlines

Program Description

The Asian/Pacific Studies Institute at Duke offers a master's degree in East Asian Studies, as well as a certificate in East Asian Studies (available to students enrolled in other degree programs at Duke in the Graduate School, the Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences, the Law School, the Fuqua School of Business, the Pratt School of Engineering, and the Sanford School of Public Policy).

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; film, media and visual studies; comparative studies of capitalism; and religious studies. Duke’s interdepartmental concentrations in Japanese history and East Asian colonialism, and in modern Chinese literature, film and cultural studies are among the deepest in the nation. Duke also has close ties with East Asia faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and students can receive credit for courses at either institution.

Students accepted into the East Asian Studies program may also be invited to join the Critical Asian Humanities (CAH) track of the program based on their training and interests.  Students in this track will remain part of the overall East Asian Studies program while receiving specialized tutelage in cultural studies and critical theory in the fields of literature, film, and other forms of cultural production.  Questions about the CAH track should be directed to Professor Carlos Rojas.

The regular-track master's degree requires ten courses (30 semester hours -- including an integrated core course), of which at least eight courses (24 semester hours) must be graduate East Asian studies courses, drawn from two or more departments or programs. Each student, after consulting with his/her advisor, will submit a substantial, original research paper to their capstone committee, composed of three faculty, at least two of which must be from the APSI core faculty list. The degree is dependent on the acceptance of the capstone research paper and successful completion of an oral examination on this paper by the capstone committee. At the conclusion of the program, students must have attained advanced proficiency in one Asian language, equivalent to three years of college level study. It is strongly recommended that applicants complete at least one year of language study before beginning the program at Duke. Students who are native speakers in East Asian language are encouraged to take one year (two semesters) of another East Asian language.

Requirements for the CAH track East Asian Studies degree differ in that students may use courses on literary and cultural studies taken with non-East Asianist faculty to fulfill part of the eight course (24 semester hours) graduate level course requirements.  Additionally, at least five (15 semester hours) of the courses taken toward this eight-course requirement must be registered in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES).

The certificate requires completion of four courses from an approved list of courses relating to this region, as well as minimum language proficiency (two years) in an East Asian language.

The department also offers a joint JD/MA program with the Duke School of Law; contact the Law School Admissions Office at (919) 613-7200 for more information.

Other Requirements

*Applicants with TOEFL scores of 100 and above or IELTS scores of 7 and above are preferred.

* While priority is given to applications received by the Graduate School deadline of January 30, East Asian Studies will consider fall applications until May 1.


Spring Application