Degree Requirements

The M.A. degree requires 30 credits, which includes a thesis (12 credits).

Six credits may be fulfilled by courses at the 300 or 400 level and should be selected in consultation with the supervisor/ Graduate Advisor Note: The combination of thesis and courses numbered 500-599 must total no fewer than 24 credits.

Master’s students must spend at least one Winter Session (September-May) completing coursework on campus. They may not commit to more than 12 hours per week of work/employment, including Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant duties, to matters other than the degree program. Under special circumstances a full-time student may be required to conduct research at some location away from the UBC campus. With the permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies, up to a year of this research time may be counted as equivalent to a year of residency in Vancouver.

All current Master’s students must register for the thesis course (ASIA 599B) while writing their thesis. It can be taken in successive terms.

We do not accept part-time students in this Department.

The option of M.A. without thesis is not available in the Department of Asian Studies.

Thesis defense and submission

MA candidates must complete an oral defense of the thesis. The two-hour defense begins with a brief (15-20 min. max.) presentation of the research by the student during which s/he may read from notes and/or use audio-visual equipment but must not read from a prepared text.

Following this, the three members of the candidate’s supervisory committee (the Research Supervisor and two other committee members) will in turn address questions and make comments regarding the thesis. Each defense will be assigned a faculty Chair (details), who will moderate the question and answer period and oversee the defense.

The student will be asked to leave the room during the deliberation period. The chair will then recall the candidate and, in the presence of the examining committee, inform the candidate that s/he has passed/failed and advise the student that the defense grade will be entered into the student’s record.

For thesis guidelines please view the following website:

In planning for submission of the thesis and completion of MA graduation requirements, students should keep the following in mind:

1)           Students must apply for graduation early in the term they plan to graduate. If, for example, a student intends to complete all requirements and participate in the May Convocation, s/he must apply to do so—usually by the end of February. As these dates/deadlines change slightly every year, please see the following website for precise dates:

2)       Students must have completed all required coursework and have all their relevant grades submitted prior to defending their thesis. Please consult with your supervisor and the Graduate Program Assistant to confirm your status, if you have any concerns.

3)       The deadline for the final submission of the thesis is usually 3-4 weeks prior to graduation. Students need to keep this in mind. So, again, if a student hopes to graduate in late May, the submission deadline is usually late April. With this in mind, students should plan to schedule their defense in a timely fashion, allowing for any necessary revisions, etc. Deadlines can be checked each year at:

4)       At least one month before the desired defense, the student should send an email to the Graduate Program Assistant (and cc-ing their Supervisor and the  Associate Graduate Advisor) informing us of the student’s intent to defend. At this point you should submit a Research Supervisory Committee form

5)       It is up to the student and her/his Supervisor to coordinate how the thesis writing will proceed. However, we recommend that the student give committee members (aside from the Supervisor) at least one month to review the thesis.

6)       It is the responsibility of the student and her/his supervisor to choose a time and date for the defense that works for all committee members. Once this has been set, please send this time/date to the Graduate Program Assistant and  Associate Graduate Advisor, who will reserve a room and find a Faculty Chair for the defense.

7)       After the oral exam and necessary revisions, the student needs to submit to G+PS a Thesis Approval form along with the copy of the thesis. It is recommended that the student check formatting of the thesis with G+PS before the final submission.

After submission all theses will be posted to CIRCLE and accessible to all on the web.

For thesis guidelines please view the following website: