All students must declare China, Japan, Korea, or Tibet as their country of specialization while in the MARSEA program. In addition, the following requirements must be fulfilled in accordance with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences degree requirements.
Summary of Basic MARSEA Degree Requirements
– Proficiency equivalent to the third-year level of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, or second-year level of Tibetan (language credit taken below the fourth-year level may not be counted toward graduation)
– The two courses of the yearlong MARSEA core seminar
– Two modern history courses on the country of specialization
– Five appropriate regional courses (at least two of which are colloquia or seminars)
– One elective (any graduate-level course, can be outside of East Asia)
– Master’s thesis
– Minimum of 30 credits in total
– Two residence units (equivalent to 2 full-time semesters at Columbia)
– No credits from an outside institution will be counted toward degree requirements
– No undergraduate level courses will be counted toward degree requirements (must be 4000-level and above)
– No courses may be taken for R credit or Pass/Fail (P/F)
Requirements for the China, Japan, Korea, or Tibet Specializations
– Language proficiency equivalent to the third-year level of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, or second-year level of Tibetan. Language proficiency must correlate with the country of specialization (for example a MARSEA student specializing in Korea must demonstrate third-year level proficiency in Korean). MARSEA’s language requirement may be met through coursework or by passing Columbia University’s language placement examination.
– Yearlong MARSEA core seminar.
– Master’s thesis on the country of specialization.
– Two modern history courses on the country of specialization. Comparable work may be substituted with permission from MARSEA’s Faculty Program Advisor.
– Five regional courses selected from at least two different fields: at least one of the five courses must focus on an Asia Pacific country or sub-region other than one’s country of specialization. These courses must include at least two colloquia and/or seminars. Up to two semesters of language courses at the fourth-year level or above may be counted toward this requirement. Courses dealing with the region as a whole or dealing with relations between East Asia and other countries (such as the U.S.) may also be taken to fulfill this requirement.
– One graduate-level elective course which may focus on topics outside of East Asia.
The MARSEA master’s thesis must be at least 30 pages in length (including footnotes and bibliography) and deal with a modern or contemporary topic in the social sciences that focuses on East Asia. It must substantially incorporate the student’s country of specialization, although other countries can be dealt with in the paper. The use of primary source material is encouraged but not required.
Signed approval of the thesis topic must be obtained from MARSEA’s Faculty Program Advisor and submitted one semester before each student writes and submits his/her thesis (i.e. to submit a thesis in the Spring semester, students should submit a proposal in the preceding Fall semester; to submit a thesis in the Fall semester, students should submit a proposal in the preceding Spring semester).
Each student works with a faculty member who serves as the Thesis Advisor. As many students choose to expand a paper written for a seminar course into a thesis, the instructor of the course often serves as the Thesis Advisor. Students may, however, work with any faculty member of the Institute, or another Columbia University faculty member or course instructor.
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALAC), a department separate from WEAI, houses Columbia’s programs in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Vietnamese languages. EALAC offers language placement examinations at the beginning of every semester. Please check the EALAC website for all East Asian language placement examination schedules.
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
407 Kent Hall
Students are required to complete two residence units at Columbia University. One full residence unit is equivalent to full-time registration for one semester. Although the program can be completed in two semesters, students may take 1-2 years (or two, three, or four semesters) to complete the MA degree. Students should discuss their timeline for completion with the Student Affairs Officer at the beginning of their program.
Detailed information on residence units is available here.