WEAI Certificate Program

Students already enrolled in a masters or doctoral program at Columbia (excluding the Master of Arts in Regional Studies - East Asia program) may simultaneously work to earn the Weatherhead East Asian Institute Certificate, conferred along with the student's diploma, which attests to specialized knowledge of a language and country of the Asia Pacific region. There are three certificate options: a focus on modern China, modern Japan, or modern Korea.

To apply, submit a completed Certificate Audit Form, Application for Degree or Certificate form, and transcript to the Weatherhead East Asian Institute Student Affairs Officer.

The Institute Director will review all materials and, if approved, the Registrar will be informed that the certificate should be conferred along with the student’s diploma. A complete application must be submitted no later than December 1 for students graduating in May.

Students must achieve a working competence in one East Asian language, to be demonstrated as follows:

  • Chinese, Japanese, and Korean: completion of the fourth-year course at Columbia with a grade of B or higher, or successful completion of the fourth-year or higher level language placement examination administered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the beginning of each semester

  • Students may also complete the equivalent of one year of language study during the Columbia summer session. These are intensive courses and students will generally be unable to take other coursework during the summer

  • No credit for language course work necessary to attain the required level of proficiency (fourth year) is granted toward the Certificate

  • Students may count one fifth-year language course as coursework

Students must complete seven courses (3 credits each) selected to include work in the modern history of their area of concentration, and at least two colloquia or seminars. All courses must be taken for examination credit (“E” credit) and, with the exception of advanced work in language, be chosen from non-language offerings. Students may count one fifth year language course as coursework.

  1. Two semesters of modern Chinese history (HIS GU4880 and GU4882). Comparable course work may be substituted with written permission of the Institute Director.

  2. Three courses selected from at least two different fields; at least one of the three courses must focus on an Asia Pacific country or sub-region other than China or on the region’s relations with other countries or regions. “Fields” include disciplines and sub-headings listed in the Institute’s bulletin such as: Anthropology, Business, Economics, History and Culture, International Affairs, Law, Literature, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology.

  3. Two semesters of colloquia (8000-level courses) and/or seminars (9000-level courses) on East Asia, at least one of which must focus on China.

  1. Two semesters of modern Japanese history. Comparable course work may be substituted with written permission of the Institute Director.

  2. Three courses selected from at least two different fields; at least one of the three courses must focus on an Asia Pacific country or sub-region other than Japan or on the region’s relations with other countries or regions. “Fields” include disciplines and sub-headings listed in the Institute’s bulletin such as: Anthropology, Business, Economics, History and Culture, International Affairs, Law, Literature, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology.

  3. Two semesters of colloquia (8000-level courses) and/or seminars (9000-level courses) on East Asia, at least one of which must focus on Japan.

  1. Two semesters of Korean history. Comparable course work may be substituted with written permission of the Institute Director.

  2. Three courses selected from at least two different fields; at least one of the three courses must focus on an Asia Pacific country or sub-region other than Korea or on the region’s relations with other countries or regions. “Fields” include disciplines and sub-headings listed in the Institute’s bulletin such as: Anthropology, Business, Economics, History and Culture, International Affairs, Law, Literature, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology.

  3. Two semesters of colloquia (8000-level courses) and/or seminars (9000-level courses) on East Asia, at least one of which must focus on Korea.

Special Requests and Exemptions

Graduate transfer students from other universities may receive up to four courses of credit for comparable graduate work in East Asian studies. Students requesting advanced standing should submit the following material to the Institute’s student affairs program officer: a transcript of the relevant courses along with a letter indicating the content of each course and the reasons that it fulfills the course requirement(s) for the certificate. The Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute reviews all requests for advanced standing. If approved, the student would receive a letter from the Institute Director indicating that advanced standing had been granted.


Note: Regardless of previous course work, the seminar-colloquium requirement of the Institute must be fulfilled at Columbia.

Entering students who have completed graduate courses in East Asian studies as undergraduates may be exempted from specific East Asian courses in which they are already prepared. The procedure to be followed is the same as described above for graduate transfer students. However, unless they received an undergraduate degree from Columbia College, and the graduate courses taken exceeded the total courses required for the undergraduate degree, graduate credit will not be granted for these courses. In exceptional cases, modifications may be made in the Institute Certificate requirements for students entering the program with a significant background in Asian studies. Any revision will be considered on an individual basis, and must be approved in writing by the Institute Director.

Current students may double-count courses fulfilling WEAI Certificate requirements and courses required for their graduate degree with approval from the Institute Director.