East Asian Languages and Cultures, MA

Program Category: MA Programs
Chair: Gray Tuttle
Director of Graduate Studies: Tomi Suzuki
Faculty MA Director: Ye Yuan
Website: ealac.columbia.edu
Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures offers a PhD (MA/MPhil/PhD) program with an interdisciplinary approach to the literature, culture, history, and languages of East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, and Vietnam) and a particular emphasis on critical methodology and comparative study. An array of East Asian courses in other areas such as political science, sociology, anthropology, art, law, history, and business is also available, as are interdisciplinary programs with the Departments of Religion and History. The department’s close ties with various East Asian institutions in New York City and abroad provide a stimulating cultural environment.

Columbia's C.V. Starr East Asian Library, with more than a half million volumes of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages books, is one of the largest East Asian library collections outside East Asia and a premier center for East Asian research in the United States. The collection, which is particularly strong in literature, philosophy (especially Buddhism and neo-Confucianism), and history, is supported by more than 1.1 million volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan Books. As well as 2.5 million E-Book titles, 40,000 E-Journals, and 90,000 volumes of secondary materials in Western languages on all aspects of East Asia, past and present.

Special Admissions Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a writing sample (a course paper, term paper, etc.), a personal statement, and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.


Applications for the East Asian Languages and Cultures MA program are accepted on a rolling basis until May 23. Preference is given to applications received by the December 7 priority deadline; applications received after the priority deadline are considered on a space-available basis only. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply early, as there are a limited number of spaces available in the program.

If applying for Tibetan Studies, previous training in Tibetan language, classical and/or modern, is highly desirable, and training in Chinese language may strengthen an application as well, but applicants' language training and needs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.