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Departmental Graduate Programs

Many departments at OSU offer East Asian graduate specializations, including the following:

Comparative Studies

Graduate work in Comparative Studies is interdisciplinary and cross-cultural, and explores comparative perspectives on a wide range of cultural and historical discourses and practices: literary, aesthetic, technological, scientific, religious, political, material. Research and scholarship in comparative studies addresses the processes of cultural change, stability, and interaction, with particular attention to the construction of knowledge and the dynamics of power and authority. Questions of difference - racial, gender, sexual, class, ethnic, national - and the ways in which those categorizations inform and are informed by other discourses and practices are central to scholarship in comparative studies.

Each graduate student, with the help of faculty advisers, designs an individualized academic program to meet specific research interests that cut across departmental and college boundaries. Comparisons may be drawn among the several discourses and practices of a single society, group of people, geographical region, or historical era. Research projects may also involve the comparison of specific genres and media - textual, performative, material - across cultures. The function of comparison is not to discover differences and similarities, but to understand more comprehensively the political, social, economic, and aesthetic dimensions of the various discourses and practices that constitute social and individual life.

While East Asia is not a specific area of concentration in the Comparative Studies department, the cross-cultural and interdisciplinary nature of the program provides many opportunities for an East Asian focus. Many East Asian studies courses are cross-listed in Comparative Studies, and the Religious Studies and Ethnic Studies concentrations have particularly strong East Asian and Asian American components.

East Asian Languages and Literatures

The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (DEALL) in the College of Arts and Sciences is one of the largest programs of its kind in the continental United States. The graduate program offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in both Chinese and Japanese in the areas of literature, linguistics, and language pedagogy. DEALL also offers an impressive array of specialized courses in the summer, including intensive workshops designed to instruct teachers of Chinese and Japanese in the art of language teaching at both the college and secondary school levels.


The Department of History has a coherent and integrated curriculum on East Asia, which offers courses in East Asian, Chinese, and Japanese history. At the beginning graduate level, students may take detailed surveys of Chinese and Japanese history as well as topical courses related to faculty areas of specialization, including the history of business and technology, print culture and the dissemination of knowledge. Graduate students also take a number of advanced seminars with varying topics on early and modern China and Japan.

History of Art

The OSU History of Art Department offers one of the most broadly based and comprehensive programs in Asian art history in the country, offering specializations in the following areas:

Chinese Art

The Chinese art program emphasizes Chinese painting, particularly that of the Ming, Qing, and modern periods. However, earlier periods and subjects, including archaeology and Buddhist art, are also a strong part of the program. Art history majors with a Chinese concentration are encouraged to take advantage of course offerings in cognate fields, such as East Asian literature, history, and comparative studies, as well as in art history.

Buddhist Art

Covering the length and breadth of Asia, Buddhist art is treated both from iconographic and contextual approaches as well as from standard stylistic and developmental approaches. Students specializing in Buddhist art are expected to have a thorough command of the Buddhist religion in several areas of Asia, a thorough knowledge of the practices involved in those areas, and a contextual understanding of Buddhist practice in at least one or two cultures in Asia.

Inner Asian Art

The Buddhist art of both the Himalayan and Tarim Basin regions of Asia is the focus of this concentration. Particular emphasis is given to content and transmission of Buddhological ideas. A student concentrating on Inner Asian art may develop a sub-specialization in Tarim Basin, Tibetan, or Nepali art. Students wishing to combine Islamic Inner Asia and Buddhist Inner Asia may do so with the approval of the two advisors.

Japanese Art

Because there is no Japanese specialist on the faculty at this time, advanced degree work on Japanese art is usually limited to painting or Buddhist art at the M.A. level and to Buddhist art at the Ph.D. level. Those wishing to undertake work in other specialties should consult the Asian Program Advisor in the department.

Political Science

The Department of Political Science is a comprehensive department with programmatic strength in all of the main fields of the political science discipline. Students focusing on East Asian politics could major in the fields of comparative politics or international politics, where US News and World Report recently ranked us 8th in the nation. In another study of journal publication quantity and impact, conducted by Simon Hix of the London School of Economics, Ohio State's Department was ranked 4th in the world. The department offers extensive opportunities for training in research methods and statistics, one of the nation's leading programs in political psychology, a new program in political economy, and a developing presence in formal theory and political philosophy. Our facilities include state-of-the-art computerized teaching and long-distance learning classrooms, an experimental lab, and a research and teaching consultation lab for faculty and students. The Political Science Department offers an array of specialized course coverage on East Asia, offering seven courses related to the area, including, at the graduate level, Political International Relations of the Far East and Readings on Chinese Politics.

East Asian Courses in Professional School Programs

The Ohio State University offers a variety of courses on East Asia across several departments and colleges including Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics; Business; and Law. Most of these courses are electives and thus available to students in all disciplines. Please see the East Asian Studies list of Area Studies Courses for a description of courses in these departments.