Master’s Program

The Master’s (MA) program in the Department of Asian Studies offers a thesis-based MA degree to students working in a variety of regions and disciplines.

Those interested must have held a first-class standing in their Bachelor of Arts degree in either Chinese, Japanese, Korean or South Asian languages. This implies that applicants have at least four years of language study.

Admission to the MA program in Asian Studies normally requires a Bachelor of Arts with first-class standing in Chinese, Japanese, Korean or South Asian languages. This implies at least four years of language study; in the case of East Asian languages, applicants who also have experience studying the target language intensively in-country for an extended period of time tend to advance through our program more quickly. The Department is prepared, in exceptional circumstances, to accept a limited number of students who are otherwise well qualified and show linguistic aptitude but have less than this amount of preparation in the target language. Such students will be required to spend one or two extra years in their MA program making up this deficiency.

Those interested in Asia-related modern history, political science, commerce, economics, geography, fine arts, anthropology or sociology, should apply to the department concerned.

Please be advised that we don’t accept late applications and we don’t have January or May admissions.

Candidacy in the M. A. program may be terminated if the degree is not awarded within a period of five years from initial registration. Program extension or on-leave status is possible only in certain exceptional circumstances.

Students’ progress will be reviewed during spring term of each year. A candidate may be required to withdraw if progress has not been satisfactory.

A graduate student’s registration for a second term in a degree program will be blocked until all conditions for admission to that program have been met.


In the MA Asian Studies program we offer multiple research activities related to Asia. Through collaborative projects, lectures, workshops and professional development opportunities, our students are able to pursue their interests and make connections with scholars around the world.

Most students begin their program at the start of the Winter Session (First Tuesday in September, after Labor Day). Under special circumstances students may be allowed to begin their program in the second term of the Winter Session, that is, in January (after New Year’s Day).

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 30 credits which includes a thesis (12 credits).

When planning for their MA in Asian Studies, students should also consider these guidelines:

  • Six credits may come from 300 or 400 level courses after consultation with the supervisor/ advisor.
  • A minimum of 24 credits for thesis and 500 level courses.
  • Students must register for the thesis course (ASIA 599B) while writing their thesis.
  • Master’s students must spend at least one Winter Session (Sept - May) completing coursework on campus.
  • May not commit to more than 12 hours per week of work/ employment, including Teaching or Research Assistant duties.
  • A full-time student may be required to conduct research at a location away from the UBC campus.
  • With the permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies, up to a year of research time may be counted as an equivalent to a year of residency on campus.
  • Part-time students are not accepted in this program.

Those interested in a Master’s Degree in Asian Studies (MA) must submit an application with the minimum admission requirements:

  • A Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited university level institution
  • At least four years of study in a relevant discipline
  • A B+ average in 300 and 400 level courses (for North American Master’s applicants)
  • A B+ overall average for international applicants
  • Reading competence in the language most useful for proposed graduate work

Students with a three-year Bachelor’s Degree from a European institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis for admission eligibility.

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