East Asian Languages and Cultures, AM

Master's Candidacy

To earn a master’s degree at Washington University, a student must complete all courses required by their department; maintain satisfactory academic progress; fulfill all academic and residence requirements; and file an Intent to Graduate. For a general layout of master’s degree general requirements in Arts & Sciences, including an explanation of Satisfactory Academic Progress, students should review the Master’s Degree Academic Information page of the Arts & Sciences Bulletin.

Program Requirements

  • Total Units Required: 30
  • Degree Length: Two years
    • Note: Students must be enrolled in at least 9 graduate credits each semester to retain full-time status. As students complete their course work, if enrolled in fewer than 9 graduate credits, they must enroll in a specific Arts & Sciences graduate course that will show 0 units but does count as full-time status. Students should connect with their department to ensure proper enrollment prior to Add/Drop.

Thesis Requirements/Details

The master's thesis is optional. More information can be found later on this page.

Required Courses

  1. A minimum of 10 graduate-level courses (30 units), chosen in consultation with the advisor. At least one course in theory or methodology, chosen in consultation with the advisor. Examples include GS 5976 Global Asias, Comp Lit 502 Introduction to Comparative Literature, Film 5420 Film Theory, Film 501 Advanced Moving Image Analysis and Criticism, and WGSS 5150 Feminist Literary and Cultural Theory.
  • Language study. Students must achieve third-year competence in one East Asian language (Chinese, Japanese, or Korean) by the end of the program. Students who place out of third-year course work via the placement exam or who attain that level after the first year in the program are expected to continue with fourth-year, fifth-year, and/or classical language. Students who place beyond these levels or who are native speakers are encouraged to take up study of a second East Asian language. No more than four semester-long courses in language may count toward the 10 required courses. Note that courses numbered below the 500/5000 level (i.e., first- and second-level courses) must be taken as an overload.
  • At least two courses outside of the country of focus or that involve the comparative treatment of more than one East Asian culture.
  • At least two courses focused on the modern era and at least two courses focused on the premodern era.
  • The minimum grade required for course work to count toward the AM is a B-.
  1. One of the following:
  • Students who plan to continue their academic training at the PhD level should complete a master’s essay or a master’s thesis:
    • Master's essay. The essay will be based on a research paper written for one of the student’s AM courses. Students will be expected to revise the paper in consultation with their advisor, lengthening the paper to provide appropriate context and explanation but also tightening, where necessary, to offer an incisive, analytical exploration of the topic. Essays should range from 8,000 to 10,000 words (34 to 40 pages). Students who elect this option may choose to register for 3 units of EALC 596 Guided Readings in East Asian Languages and Cultures and will graduate "Masters without thesis." Each student will assemble a committee of three faculty members who will read the essay; the student will meet with the committee for a short oral defense of the essay.
    • Master's thesis. The master's thesis option allows students to complete a longer master’s thesis under the direction of a thesis advisor. The thesis must be based on original research in an area of interest. It generally runs at least 50 pages in length, and it must utilize sources in the relevant East Asian language. Upon completion of the thesis, students sit for a defense with three to four faculty members, chosen in consultation with the thesis advisor. Students who elect this option may choose to register for 3 units of EALC 591 Thesis Research and will graduate "Masters with thesis." Students writing a thesis must complete and return the Notice of Title, Scope, and Procedure form to the EALC office six months in advance of the intended graduation date.
  • Students who do not plan to continue their academic training at the PhD level may complete a comprehensive written examination focusing on two major areas to be determined by an advisory committee comprised of at least three faculty members. The examination is administered near the end of the candidate's term of study and followed by a short oral examination in which the student discusses the written examination with the advisory committee.

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