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  • East Asian Cultures Concentration

East Asian Languages and Literatures

Concentration in East Asian Cultures

Entrance Requirements

In addition to KU's admission requirements » for graduate study, the department has the following prerequisites:

  • At least two years of an East Asian language. Students not meeting this prerequisite may be admitted with deficiencies provided they achieve this level of proficiency outside the minimum of 30 graduate credit hours required for the degree.**
  • Two lecture courses dealing with East Asia.

Please note that otherwise well-qualified applicants that do not meet some of the department prerequisites may, in some cases, still be admitted with the understanding that the student will fulfill these prerequisites later, outside of the 30 hours required for the M.A. degree.

Degree Requirements

Students in the East Asian Cultures Concentration shall consider this an interdisciplinary program. They are expected to gain a foundation and establish a focus in some compatible departmental discipline, such as business, economics, history, political science, or another of their choice.

  1. A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours** that must include:
    • Third-year level of language.*
    • While students may apply credit hours from study abroad toward their degree, at least 18 credit hours must be taken in residence at KU.
    • A course involving research methods, to be determined in consultation with the Thesis/Faculty Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
    • Students are expected to select one of the East Asian cultures for concentration and to include in their program at least two courses dealing wholly with an East Asian culture outside their concentration or broadly on East Asia.
    • Students may not take more than 6 hours of directed readings.
    • Students may, in consultation with the department graduate director, take other credit hours in a discipline or disciplines closely related to their studies. The balance between courses in EALC and related departments must be determined with the student's thesis advisor and the director of graduate studies. East Asian area courses are offered in anthropology, business, film and media studies, geography, history, history of art, linguistics, political science, religious studies, and sociology.
    • Students must take one literature or culture course with an EALC department graduate faculty member at the 500 level or above in the country of their concentration.
  2.  Thesis Option
    1. thesis that will demonstrate in-depth research on a topic in the area of concentration (China, Japan, or Korea), typically completed over 1 or 2 semesters (EALC 899, 3 to 6 credit hours).
  3. Non-Thesis Option
    1. Must write three substantial research papers on East Asian topics (15-20 pages).
      1. At least one of the papers must be completed by the end of the second semester in the program.
      2. The papers will be evaluated and graded by the instructor of the class in which the paper is submitted. The grade must be A or B.
      3. The student will submit each paper to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), plus an abstract (no more than 500 words) summarizing each. The student will submit the original copy with the instructor’s remarks and grade. The DGS may require revisions be made before final acceptance.
    2. With the permission of the DGS, students may include relevant courses in non-East Asian areas (such as linguistics, language pedagogy, anthropology, political science, and literary theory). A paper for such a course would generally not be used to fulfill the above requirements unless it was on an East Asian topic approved beforehand by the DGS.
    3. Students will meet regularly with the DGS (at least once a semester) to determine course selection, progress to degree, and designation of courses in which papers are to be submitted for the degree.
    4. With approval of the DGS, students with a specific focus of study will work with a faculty member with knowledge of that field as their faculty advisor. The DGS will liaise with the advisor on all matters listed above.
    5. In the final semester of study, the DGS, faculty advisor, and student will work together to assemble an oral defense committee of three graduate faculty. The student will select one of the three papers to present and defend for their exam. The committee may also ask general questions about the two other research papers that were submitted to meet the non-thesis requirements.

*A language course result lower than B may result in a departmental recommendation for probation status.  If language coursework performance does not improve after one semester, the student may be recommended for dismissal.

**At least 50% of coursework for the master’s degree must be taken at the 700 level or above.

Students may, in consultation with the department Director of Graduate Studies, take other credits in a discipline or disciplines closely related to their studies. East Asian area courses are offered in other departments, including the Departments of Anthropology, Geography, History, History of Art, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Linguistics and Theatre. 

For additional information about graduate study in the East Asian Languages & Cultures Department, including a course listing and information about funding opportunities, see the Graduate page of our website. For application information, see Admission, or contact the department's Graduate Academic Advisor, Aley Pennington.



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