The M.A. program offers a wide exposure to areas of Asia while developing skills in one or more Asian languages. The degree can lead to a Ph.D. program, or to a career in government agencies, educational foundations, or to work in non-government organizations. Ph.D. students in other departments may enroll in this M.A. program to provide for comprehensive Asian languages and area training.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees


Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

30 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

16 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

50% of degree credits must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree or earned ten years is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

Students are required to take two courses in Literature, two seminars or proseminars in the department and additional LCA courses to meet the credit requirements.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

Overall 3.0 GPA

Other Grade Requirements

No other specific grade requirements.

Probation Policy

A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on department probation. If a semester GPA of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester of enrollment, the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for one additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School.

Advisor / Committee

Students are required to have a signed advisor form on file. In the absence of a signed advisor form, the APC chair will act as advisor.

Assessments and Examinations

All students must complete an M.A. thesis and oral examination by committee with a Pass or High Pass to receive the M.A. degree.

Students will be required to pass a language competency exam prior to defense of their thesis.

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Language Requirements

Three years (six semesters) of an Asian language offered by the department or two years (four semesters) of two Asian languages offered by the department. The student’s required competence will be determined prior to the student’s M.A. oral examination. The form of the examination will be determined by the faculty member administering the examination.

The Graduate School sets minimum requirements for admissions. Academic program admission requirements are often more rigorous than those set by the Graduate School. Please check the program website for details.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrate knowledge of one or more regions of Asia with a focus on the cultures, religions, history, literature and languages within the humanistic scholarship of Asia.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in reading, speaking, and listening in one or more LCA languages.
  • Analyze and synthesize information and ideas within the context of Asian humanities.
  • Understand, respond to, and construct arguments across disciplines.
  • Apply their knowledge to solutions of intellectual as well as practical problems.
  • Conduct academic research using sources, methodologies, and critical theories.
  • Communicate effectively in writing and orally.

Professional Conduct

  • Recognize and apply principles of professional and ethical conduct.

Chinese Faculty: Professors Dunne, Huang, Nienhauser; Associate Professors Huntington, Meulenbeld, Zhang; Assistant Professors Yang, Zhu

Japanese Faculty: Professors Kern, McGloin, Mori; Associate Professors D'Etcheverry, Geyer, Ridgely

Languages and Cultures of Asia Faculty: Professors Rafferty (chair), Buhnemann, Schamiloglu; Associate Professor Gade