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California State University, Long Beach
Asian and Asian American Studies
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Graduate Program

Graduate Program Advisor

Applying to the M.A. Program in Asian Studies

Submission Dates:

April 15, 2016 for Fall 2016 admission; April 1 for International Students

To apply for the M.A. in Asian Studies at CSULB, applicants must complete both of the following:

  1. Apply for admission to the University as a graduate student. Go to:

International students should contact the Center for International Education about applying at (562) 985-4106.

International students need to pass the TOEFL exam. Results of the TOEFL should be sent to the Center for International Education.

  1. Apply directly to the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies. Submit the following items directly to Prof. Barbara Kim (
    • a) Statement of purpose (no more than 2 pages)
    • b) A minimum of 2 letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a professor with whom the applicant has studied.

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The Master of Arts (MA) in Asian Studies (AST) provides a comparative understanding of the cultural, economic, and socio-political significance of Asia in the 21st century. It requires competency in one or more Asian languages. To achieve this, MA students are encouraged to study abroad for part of their course work. For students interested in teaching Asian languages, this degree also offers two selections: The Chinese Studies option with a track in “Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language,” or the option “Japanese Language and Pedagogy.”  Graduates from the MA program in Asian Studies can expect to be much more competitive for positions in the Foreign Service, State Department, K-12 and community college education and administration, international finance and industry, non-governmental organizations, academic publishing, professional translation work, and Ph.D. programs in Chinese, Japanese, or Asian Studies.

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Admission Requirements

  1. A bachelor’s degree in a major in Asian Studies, an Asian language, or a field with an emphasis on Asia, including Cultural Geography, International Business, International Studies and Linguistics.
  2. A 3.0 (“B”) GPA in Asia and Asian language related courses taken as an undergraduate. (A student whose GPA is less than 3.0 may appeal to the Department’s Graduate Committee for a possible waiver of this requirement.)
  3. English language competency:
    • International students must take either the TOEFL or the IELTS exam.  For admission to graduate study, a minimum score of 80 on the iBT TOEFL is required. TOEFL official score results must be submitted from Educational Testing Service (ETS). The CSULB institution code for TOEFL reporting is 4389. If you choose to take the IELTS, a minimum score of 6.0 in each sub-section is required. Upon admission, your English competency will be assessed by the AAAS Department and an additional two English language courses may be required (English 301A, 301B).
  4. Asian language requirement:
    • For the MA in Asian Studies and the Chinese Studies option, non-native speakers should be competent in an Asian language to the Intermediate-low level according to the 2012 ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.  *Non-native speakers who have lived abroad may be tested for this competency and should contact the Department for further information.
    • The “Japanese Language and Pedagogy” option requires a higher level of proficiency for admission.  Students must possess at a minimum the Intermediate-High level of Japanese language proficiency according to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines in all four skills.
  5. Two letters of recommendation (preferably from academic sources).
  6. A short statement of the candidate’s objectives in pursuing the AST MA degree.

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Advancement to Candidacy

Students should see the Graduate Advisor to file Advancement to Candidacy after at least 6 units but no more than 15 units of graduate coursework are completed. We encourage students to complete their MA within two-three years.

Students must have taken AST 600 as well as have fulfilled the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).  For the GWAR requirement see

Advancement must take place at least two semesters prior to taking the Comprehensive Exams. The Comprehensive Examination Approval Form must be filed with department at the time of Advancement. Advancement to Candidacy is a formal contract listing courses the student has taken, is taking, and will take. Changes to contract may be made in consultation with Graduate Advisor.

The comprehensive examination consists of two questions selected from a set of five questions established by the candidate’s comprehensive examination committee of three faculty members.  The candidate has six hours to complete the comprehensive exam.

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