The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures offers a new interdisciplinary M.A. and Ph.D. program in Asian Languages and Cultures. Students may take advantage of the many opportunities within the department and on campus to do in-depth research on Asia from multiple disciplinary perspectives and across the traditional area studies divisions of East, South, and Southeast Asia. We welcome applications from students who are interested in working transregionally, transdisciplinarily, or both. This includes students with a traditional background in Asian Studies and related academic fields as well as those whose path to studying Asia has been through professional work.
The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures has developed a lively intellectual community around Transasian Studies and is supporting student-led seminars, reading groups, workshops, and other events. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to reach out to faculty members who share their academic and research interests.
Asian Languages and Cultures is home to nearly twenty faculty whose research and teaching specialties cover a wide range of topics, including traditional medicine in India; the history of yoga; contemporary mindfulness practice with insights from Tibetan Buddhism; human rights in Thailand; Chinese ghost stories, traditional poetics and philology; sociolinguistics and discourse analysis of the Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian languages; analysis of classical Japanese tale fiction, early modern comedic narratives, manga, and anime; and Japanese counterculture.
Asian Studies at UW–Madison has strong ties across departments, to research centers, area studies programs, extensive library connections, and alumni relations.
Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.
Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.
|This program does not admit in the spring.
|This program does not admit in the summer.
|GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)
|English Proficiency Test
|Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
|Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT)
|Letters of Recommendation Required
Prior to submitting application and materials, applicants should carefully review the information regarding the program of interest and the faculty’s expertise to determine the fit between their interest and the program. To this extent, prospective applicants may contact a specific faculty to discuss their research interest prior to submitting applications.
Applicants should also review the Graduate School's admission process, Graduate School's minimum requirements, and program requirements and information prior to submitting the online application and fee. The application fee cannot be waived or refunded.
In order to be considered for fellowships, project assistantships, and teaching assistantships, all application materials must be in by January 10.
If you do not need any funding support, you may submit applications by April 15.
New applicants to UW-Madison apply to programs through the Graduate School application process. Complete the online Graduate application and select the Asian Languages and Cultures (major code 597) or Chinese (major code 171) or Japanese (major code 583) program.
If you are a currently enrolled UW-Madison graduate student and would like to add or change your current graduate program to Asian Languages and Cultures, Chinese, or Japanese, you do not need to fill out the online application. You will need to submit the following to the ALC Graduate Program Coordinator (1244 Van Hise):
- ALC Departmental Application form
- Grad School "Add/Change Program" form (click on link and look for form in the "Academic Forms" box)
- Letters of recommendation
- CV or Resume
- Statement of purpose
The applications from current UW–Madison graduate students will be reviewed every spring, together with new applications submitted.
Graduate School Resources
Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.
Graduate Student Costs
For tuition and living costs, please view the Cost of Attendance page. International applicants recommended for admission to the Graduate School are required to show sufficient funds to attend the University during the course of studies (tuition, food and housing, incidentals and health insurance) to be ofﬁcially accepted by the Graduate School.
The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures offers ﬁnancial assistance in the forms of fellowships, teaching assistantships (TAships), and project assistantships (PAships). Please make note of the deadline of January 10 for ﬁnancial assistance consideration. All necessary materials including test scores must be submitted by the deadline.
If you are an international applicant and receive a fellowship, PAship or TAship, please make note that you will likely be required to show additional ﬁnancial documentation to meet the minimum required for your ofﬁcial acceptance to the Graduate School.
Other awards & Fellowships
- Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships: FLAS fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the UW's National Resource Centers to assist students in acquiring foreign language and either area or international studies competencies. FLAS awards are only available for speciﬁc languages and are contingent on federal funding.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applications by students in professional ﬁelds are encouraged. Preference will be given to applicants with a high level of academic ability and with previous language training.
Academic Year and Summer FLAS awards are two separate competitions requiring two separate and complete applications.
- Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF): This fellowship is awarded to highly qualiﬁed underrepresented students. To be considered for AOF funding, prospective students must be new to the Graduate School and be admissible to a graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For further information: https://grad.wisc.edu/diversity/.
- Project Assistantships. Availability of PAship vary from one year to another, depending on the types of projects the departmental faculty are engaged in. PAs assist faculty members’ research projects and/or respond to some programmatic needs of the department and other campus units.
- Teaching Assistantships. Availability and types of TAship vary from one year to another, depending on the department’s curricular needs and the student enrollment. TAs will support a number of our language and culture courses, typically team-teaching with faculty members. If you are interested in being a teaching assistant in our language programs, you must submit the TA application and necessary materials (1-2 page written autobiography that refers to your prior teaching experience, letter of recommendation that speaks to your teaching experience, video recording of your teaching, if available) through the Graduate School application system by January 10.
- Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) Awards Office: IRIS manages its own funding opportunities (Scott Kloeck-Jenson Fellowships, IRIS Graduate Fieldwork Awards, Incubator Grants), coordinates the campus component of a number of external programs (Boren Fellowships, Fulbright US Student Program, Fulbright-Hays DDRA, Luce Scholars Program), assists students, faculty, and staff in exploring funding options, and much more. Visit: https://iris.wisc.edu/funding/ for more information on awards. Contact Mark Lilleleht, Assistant Director for Awards, with questions at email@example.com & 608-265-6070.
- Other Forms of Financial Aid: Loans and some on-campus job openings are handled through the Office of Student Financial Aid. Please contact them to obtain more information.
- Students may also obtain information from the Grants Information Center in the Memorial Library, Room 262, 728 State Street, Madison, WI 53706. Phone 608-262-3242.
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
|Face to Face
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.
Evening/Weekend: Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules. Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.
Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.
Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats. Contact the program for more specific information.
Online: These programs are offered 100% online. Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.
|Minimum Credit Requirement
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement
|15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement Policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement
|3.00 GPA required. This program follows the Graduate School's policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203.
|Other Grade Requirements
|Students must earn a B or above in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student.
|Assessments and Examinations
|There are two possible exit requirements for the M.A. One of the following two options will be chosen in consultation with the advisors.
Students should select two substantially revised and/or expanded research papers completed during their graduate study to submit to their committee (the advisors and one additional faculty member).In addition to the written papers, an oral presentation of these papers to the committee is required.
An approximately 50-page M.A. thesis. In addition to the written thesis, an oral presentation of the thesis to the committee is required.This option is usually appropriate for a student who wishes to continue in the Ph.D. program.
|Six semesters of study of an Asian language or four semesters of study of two Asian languages, or the equivalent level of proficiency as established by examination by department faculty and staff. Additional language study may be required by the advisors.
- At least 21 credits in Asia-related graduate courses in the department or elsewhere on campus.
- At most 9 credits of other graduate courses as approved by the advisors.
- Language study at the third-year level and beyond can count toward the total degree credits to a maximum of 12 credits (see table below).
Students may take courses and seminars drawn from offerings in other departments, or within Asian Languages and Cultures, as decided in collaboration between student and the co-advisors, such as:
|ASIAN/RELIG ST 306
|ASIAN/RELIG ST 307
|A Survey of Tibetan Buddhism
|ASIAN/HISTORY/RELIG ST 308
|Introduction to Buddhism
|Modern Indian Literatures
|The Vietnam Wars
|The Koreas: Korean War to the 21st Century
|Social and Intellectual History of China, 589 AD-1919
|History of Modern China, 1800-1949
|History of the Peoples Republic of China, 1949 to the Present
|Survey of Classical Chinese Literature
|Survey of Modern Chinese Literature
|Lovers, Warriors and Monks: Survey of Japanese Literature
|Early Modern Japanese Literature
|Modern Japanese Literature
|Language in Japanese Society
|Love and Politics: The Tale of Genji
|China and World War II in Asia
|ASIAN/AFRICAN/RELIG ST 370
|Islam: Religion and Culture
|Survey of Chinese Film
|ASIAN/ART HIST 379
|Cities of Asia
|Southeast Asian Literature
|ASIAN/ART HIST 428
|Visual Cultures of India
|ASIAN/RELIG ST 430
|Indian Traditions in the Modern Age
|Introduction to Chinese Linguistics
|Topics in East Asian Visual Cultures
|Introduction to Japanese Linguistics
|ASIAN/RELIG ST 444
|Introduction to Sufism (Islamic Mysticism)
|Samurai: History and Image
|Pearl Harbor & Hiroshima: Japan, the US & The Crisis in Asia
|History of Southeast Asia Since 1800
|ASIAN/RELIG ST 460
|The History of Yoga
|Topics in South Asian History
|ASIAN/RELIG ST 466
|ASIAN/RELIG ST 473
|Meditation in Indian Buddhism and Hinduism
|Indian Writers Abroad: Literature, Diaspora and Globalization
|ASIAN/RELIG ST 505
|The Perfectible Body in Religions, Medicines, and Politics
|Readings in Modern Japanese Literature
|Readings in Classical Chinese Literature
|Readings in Classical Japanese Literature
|Capstone Seminar in Asian Humanities
|ASIAN/ART HIST 621
|Mapping, Making, and Representing Colonial Spaces
|Proseminar: Studies in Cultures of Asia
|History of the Chinese Language
|Studies in Chinese Linguistics
|History of Chinese Literature I
|History of Chinese Literature II
|ASIAN/RELIG ST 650
|Proseminar in Buddhist Thought
|Studies in Chinese Fiction
|Teaching Asian Languages
|Proseminar in Chinese Literature
|Teaching of Chinese
|Teaching of Japanese as a Foreign Language
|Studies in Chinese Syntax and Morphology
|Studies in Chinese Historical Texts
|Studies in Chinese Philosophical Texts
|Studies in Japanese Literature
|Japanese Applied Linguistics
|Reading for Research
|Seminar: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Asia
|Topics in East Asian Visual Cultures
|Seminar-History of India (South Asia)
|Seminar in Languages and Literatures of Asia
|Seminar in Chinese Linguistics
|Seminar in Chinese Literature
Students may choose to focus their studies in a thematic pathway, such as; Asian Religions, Asian Medical and Health Humanities, and Asian Rights, Violence, and Law. Initially working with two co-advisors, each student will craft a program of coursework that combines Asia-focused courses with disciplinary study in and beyond the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. This may include linkages with other departments as well as UW-Madison’s rich array of centers and programs, including the Center for Healthy Minds, Center for Visual Cultures, Human Rights Program, Religious Studies Program, and the Center for East Asian Studies, the Center for South Asia, and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.
These pathways are internal to the program and represent different curricular paths a student can follow to earn this degree. Pathway names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.
- Asian Medical and Health Humanities Pathway
The M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Languages and Cultures welcomes students interested to do interdisciplinary research that employs theories and methods in medicine and health humanities to probe questions in Asian societies and histories about healthcare, patienthood, embodiment, and psychology. Students may work in a transasian perspective and will be encouraged to work across multiple disciplines, including anthropology, history of science, literature, cognitive science and religious studies. Drawing on the resources in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and across the UW-Madison campus, students may examine such things as the imperial, cultural, and structural-economic matrixes that impact human flourishing and suffering in Asian societies; the spread of biomedicine in Asia and Cold War politics; the appropriation of traditional modalities and contemplative practices such as mindfulness and yoga into contemporary medical contexts; links between western biomedicine and the politics of nation building under and after colonialism in Asia; and the entwined histories of religion, politics, and medicine in premodern Asian societies.
Core Faculty: Buhnemann, Cerulli, Dunne
- Asian Religions Pathway
The M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Languages and Cultures welcomes students interested to do interdisciplinary research on the numerous religious traditions of East Asia, the Himalayan region, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Students may focus on one or more traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. Study of such traditions, whether in their past or present forms, using a combination of approaches, such as philology, history, ethnography and philosophy, is generally conducted with faculty members in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures as well as affiliates in other units on campus, including Religious Studies, Art History, History, Comparative Literature, the Center for Healthy Minds, and UW-Madison's area studies centers.
Core Faculty: Buhnemann, Cerulli, Dunne
- Asian Rights, Violence and Law Pathway
How are rights, law and justice understood and experienced comparatively in and beyond Asia? How are rights violated and promoted by states and citizens? How does violence – regional, state, communal – and its memory reshape societies and nations? What are the manifestations of the rule of law and its opposites? What representations and metaphors for justice are found in art, film, and literature? The M.A. and Ph.D. program in Transasian Studies particularly welcomes students who would like to answer these and other questions comparatively, either across multiple countries, and/or drawing on more than one disciplinary approach, including history, literature, law, political science, art, and anthropology.
Core Faculty: Haberkorn Affiliate Faculty: McCoy
Third Year/Advanced Language Study Course Options
|Fifth Semester Chinese
|Sixth Semester Chinese
|First Semester Classical Chinese
|Second Semester Classical Chinese
|Seventh Semester Chinese
|Eighth Semester Chinese
|Advanced Chinese through Media
|Advanced Topics in Asian Translation (Chinese only)
|Fifth Semester Filipino
|Sixth Semester Filipino
|Seventh Semester Southeast Asian Language (Filipino only)
|Eighth Semester Southeast Asian Language (Filipino only)
|Fifth Semester Hindi
|Sixth Semester Hindi
|Seventh Semester Asian Language (Hindi only)
|Eighth Semester Asian Language (Hindi only)
|Advanced Readings in Hindi Language
|Fifth Semester Hmong
|Sixth Semester Hmong
|Seventh Semester Southeast Asian Language (Hmong only)
|Eighth Semester Southeast Asian Language (Hmong only)
|Fifth Semester Indonesian
|Sixth Semester Indonesian
|Seventh Semester Southeast Asian Language (Indonesian only)
|Eighth Semester Southeast Asian Language (Indonesian only)
|Fifth Semester Japanese
|Sixth Semester Japanese
|Business Japanese Communication
|Seventh Semester Japanese
|Advanced Readings in Japanese
|Advanced Japanese through Audio-Visual Media
|Advanced Topics in Asian Translation (Japanese only)
|Fifth Semester Korean
|Sixth Semester Korean
|Seventh Semester Korean
|Eighth Semester Korean
|Advanced Topics in Asian Translation (Korean only)
|Fifth Semester Persian
|Sixth Semester Persian
|Seventh Semester Asian Language (Persian)
|Eighth Semester Asian Language (Persian)
|Fifth Semester South Asian Language (Sanskrit only)
|Sixth Semester South Asian Language (Sanskrit only)
|Seventh Semester Asian Language (Sanskrit only)
|Eighth Semester Asian Language (Sanskrit only)
|Advanced Readings in Sanskrit
|Fifth Semester Thai
|Sixth Semester Thai
|Seventh Semester Southeast Asian Language (Thai only)
|Eighth Semester Southeast Asian Language (Thai only)
|Fifth Semester Tibetan
|Sixth Semester Tibetan
|Seventh Semester Asian Language (Tibetan only)
|Eighth Semester Asian Language (Tibetan only)
|Advanced Readings in Tibetan
|Fifth Semester Urdu
|Sixth Semester Urdu
|Seventh Semester Asian Language (Urdu only)
|Eighth Semester Asian Language (Urdu only)
|Fifth Semester Vietnamese
|Sixth Semester Vietnamese
|Seventh Semester Southeast Asian Language (Vietnamese only)
|Eighth Semester Southeast Asian Language (Vietnamese only)
Graduate School Policies
The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.
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 is not allowed to satisfy 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.
If a student’s average falls below 3.0 in a given semester, the department will decide whether the student may continue on probation. A specific plan will be arranged with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status.
ADVISOR / COMMITTEE
Starting Fall 2018, all students are required to have two co-advisors, identified at the time of admissions. During the course of study, students meet regularly with their advisors to ensure satisfactory progress.
CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED
The maximum time for completing all M.A. requirements and passing the M.A. examination is three years.
Master’s degree students who are absent for five or more years will not be given credit for prior work.
Grievances and Appeals
These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:
- Bias or Hate Reporting
- Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures
- Hostile and Intimidating Behavior Policies and Procedures
- Dean of Students Office (for all students to seek grievance assistance and support)
- Employee Assistance (for personal counseling and workplace consultation around communication and conflict involving graduate assistants and other employees, post-doctoral students, faculty and staff)
- Employee Disability Resource Office (for qualified employees or applicants with disabilities to have equal employment opportunities)
- Graduate School (for informal advice at any level of review and for official appeals of program/departmental or school/college grievance decisions)
- Office of Compliance (for class harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence)
- Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (for conflicts involving students)
- Ombuds Office for Faculty and Staff (for employed graduate students and post-docs, as well as faculty and staff)
- Title IX (for concerns about discrimination)
Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
Throughout the academic year, professional development trainings, workshops, and graduate student-organized activities take place. The Director of Graduate Studies is eager to hear from students about what interests they have for such events.
GRADUATE SCHOOL Office of PRofessional Development
The Graduate School Office of Professional Development (OPD) coordinates, develops, and promotes learning opportunities to foster the academic, professional, and life skills of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and scholars.
Professional development topics include Individual Development Plans, communication, mentoring, grant writing, dissertation writing, career exploration, job search strategies, and more. OPD collaborates with the Writing Center, Libraries, DoIT Software Training for Students, Delta, career centers, and others to provide a wealth of resources and events tailored to the needs of UW–Madison graduate students.
The office developed and maintains DiscoverPD, an innovative tool for UW–Madison graduate students to advance their academic and professional goals. DiscoverPD introduces nine areas (or "facets") of professional development, includes a self-assessment, and provides a customized report of areas of strength and weakness. The report comes with recommendations to help graduate students strengthen their ability within each area.
More information on campus resources for student professional development is available at Graduate Student Professional Development. Students may keep up-to-date by reading GradConnections, the weekly newsletter for graduate students, and bookmarking the Events Calendar to keep tabs on upcoming workshops of interest.
- Identify the primary field(s) of study in a historical, comparative, and global context.
- Discuss the major theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry in the selected area of the student's focus.
- Integrate theories into practice.
- Articulate and communicate knowledge in specialized field(s).
- Recognize and apply principles of professional and ethical conduct.
Faculty & Staff
Please visit the Asian Languages & Cultures website for a complete list of faculty, instructional, and academic staff.