• Home
  • Academics
  • Degrees
  • East Asian Languages and Literatures
  • M.A.
  • Language & Literature Concentration

East Asian Languages and Literatures

Concentration in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean Language & Literature

Entrance Requirements

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

  • Three years of the modern language and, for Chinese language students, one year of classical Chinese or the demonstrated equivalent. 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 prerequisites later, outside of the 30 hours required for the M.A. degree.

Degree Requirements

  1. A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours** that must include:
    • Fourth-year 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.
    • No more than 6 hours of directed readings courses may be included in the required 30 hours.
    • 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 take at least one course at the 500 level or above in the literature of their concentration.
  2. Thesis Option
    1. A thesis that will demonstrate in-depth research on a topic in the area of concentration, typically completed over 1 or 2 semesters (EALC 899, 3 to 6 credit hours). Students are expected to make significant use of primary and secondary sources in the language of concentration.
  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.

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.


Give to East Asia

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times