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Mid-Career Professional Track

The Interdisciplinary East Asian Studies M.A. Program builds on the broad and rich resources of The Ohio State University. Students have the opportunity to study with over four dozen faculty in 27 different disciplines. They also have access to an outstanding and ever-expanding library collection of East Asian materials. The Mid-Career Professional Track of the program is structured to meet the needs of applicants who already have significant career experience in East Asia and thus already possess substantial knowledge of the region and language skills. Applications will be accepted for all terms. The degree will require 32 credit hours of area studies coursework that can be completed in three academic semesters or within one calendar year. Throughout the duration of the program, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Area Studies Coursework Requirement

32 credit hours of coursework are required for the mid-career professional track. Interdisciplinarity is a key feature of the track. As such, students take area studies courses within the following parameters:

  • Students must take a one-credit “Introduction to Graduate Level East Asian Studies” course each Autumn and Spring term of enrollment (2 credit hours total).
  • Students must complete six courses (18 credit hours) to constitute their “major” concentration (can be on one geographical area of East Asia and/or a discipline of concentration).
  • Students must complete an additional four course sequence (12 credit hours) that constitutes a “minor” concentration (focused on a theme, country, era, etc. different from their major concentration).
  • Students must enroll in courses in at least two different disciplines.
  • Students must enroll in at least two seminar courses (7000+ levels, depending on department) in which East Asian language skills can be used to write a seminar paper of publishable quality. Thesis-track students may use this paper as a basis for their thesis.
  • At least 8 courses (24 credit hours) must be at full graduate level (6000 level and above).
  • Courses below the 4000 level will not count toward graduation.
  • Courses devoted to thesis research and writing, as well as independent studies with faculty members are graded pass/fail; otherwise, no classroom-based courses may be taken pass/fail.

A list of area studies course offerings can be found at http://easc.osu.edu/courses/area-studies.

Language Coursework Requirement

For the mid-career professional track, students must place out of the fourth year level of East Asian language study. Incoming students take a placement exam. Those who do not demonstrate the required level of proficiency must enter the regular M.A. track. Students demonstrating the required level of proficiency must continue language study through some combination of the following approaches:

(a) take a course in their target language (content-oriented 5th level and above), or

(b) make extensive use of their target language in reading and/or research for a non-language course (e.g., writing a scholarly article-length analysis of an historical issue by analyzing Chinese, Japanese, or Korean primary and secondary sources).

Both of these options also count as part of the required area studies coursework.

A list of language course offerings can be found at http://easc.osu.edu/courses/language.


Each incoming student is assigned a temporary faculty advisor who, along with the Program Chair, aids new students in first term registration and in the selection of their faculty advisory committee members. Students must designate a formal lead advisor within the first term of study. Course registration should always take place in consultation with the student’s lead advisor who meets with the student and signs off on the Course Approval Form each term.

The individual student’s advisory committee will consist of at least three faculty members. It must include representatives from the major fields as determined in discussions between the student and the lead advisor. The faculty members constituting the advisory committee must come from at least two different departments in the University.

Exit Requirements

By the end of the first term of study, students in the accelerated track should choose between a thesis and non-thesis track. The thesis track entails the production of a substantial research paper, to be defended in an oral examination upon completion; the non-thesis track requires the production of a seminar paper and a written comprehensive examination to be defended orally.

Sample Schedule

Although there are an infinite number of ways in which students can craft a coherent M.A. program, a typical program for a student focused on modern and contemporary East Asian history, society, and politics with a minor focus on economic policy in global contexts might look like the following:

Semester I
History 7405: Introduction to Graduate-Level East Asian Studies (1)
History 7401: East Asia in the Modern/Contemporary World (3)
History 7411: Studies in Modern/Contemporary Chinese History (3)
Economics 5720: Comparative Institutional Analysis of Firms and Markets (3)
East Asian Languages & Literatures 6475: Women Writers, Culture, and Society in East Asia

History 7193: Independent Study (3)
History 6999: Master’s Thesis Research (3)

Semester II
History 7405: Introduction to Graduate-Level East Asian Studies (1)
International Studies 5051: East Asia in the Cold War Era: Issues in Regional Security and  Economic Development (3)
History of Art 8522: Japanese Art: Painting and Prints (3)
Political Science 8200: Research in Comparative Politics (3)
History 6999: Master’s Thesis Research (3)


Eligibility: People with extensive prior language training, e.g., those who have successfully completed the Defense Language Institute intensive program, who have completed appropriate training at other intensive language training programs, and who have had substantial work experience in an East Asian country (typically a year) are encouraged to apply. Applicants who do not have language training sufficient to place out of fourth year language work should apply to the regular M.A. track.

Note: Native speakers of an East Asian language must qualify for this track through appropriate advanced study of a second East Asian language and their experience in an East Asian country must be outside their country of citizenship/residence.

Apply online at http://gpadmissions.osu.edu/.


For further information, visit the Interdisciplinary East Asian Studies M.A. Program, or contact the East Asian Studies Center at easc@osu.edu or 614-688-4253.