ls-asianlangcultures

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 range from traditional medicine in India, the history of yoga, contemporary mindfulness practice with insights from Tibetan Buddhism, to human rights in Thailand—from Chinese ghost stories, traditional poetics and philology, to sociolinguistics and discourse analysis of the Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian languages—and from analysis of classical Japanese tale fiction, early modern comedic narratives, manga, and anime to Japanese counterculture.

Asian Studies at UW–Madison has strong ties across departments, to research centers, area studies programs, extensive library connections, and alumni relations. 

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Fall Deadline January 10
Spring Deadline This program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
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) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Thank you for your interest in our programs. The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC) offers a graduate program in Asian Languages and CulturesChinese and Japanese.

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 processGraduate 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.

Deadlines

We accept applications for the fall term only.

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.

Application Process

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):

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 processes related to funding.

Graduate Student Costs

For tuition and living costs, please view the Cost of Attendance page (https://financialaid.wisc.edu/cost-of-attendance/)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.

Program Resources

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.

Fellowships

Most fellowships are handled through the department. However, some are available through sources outside of the department and have different application procedures. Some examples are as follows:

  • 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 (https://flas.wisc.edu/Languages.html), 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.

Complete details about FLAS at UW-Madison are available on the FLAS FAQs (https://flas.wisc.edu/FAQS.html) (your first stop) and the FLAS Languages & Coordinators (https://flas.wisc.edu/Languages.html) pages (should you have additional questions).

  • 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.
     
  • Other Forms of Financial Aid: Loans and some on-campus job openings are handled through the Student Financial Services Office (https://financialaid.wisc.edu/). Please contact them to obtain more information.
     
  • Please also refer to the Graduate School’s Funding Information for New and Current Graduate Students (https://grad.wisc.edu/funding/) page for additional information.
  • Students may also obtain information from the Grants Information Center (https://www.library.wisc.edu/memorial/collections/grants-information- collection) 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.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement All 51 credits must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements No other specific grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations The preliminary exam must be taken within 1 semester after completing doctoral coursework. Comprehensive written preliminary exams will be based on reading lists developed with the committee. These exams have four parts: general competence in major field; secondary field; theory and method; and specialized area of dissertation focus. The preliminary examination will be evaluated by a committee of at least three members (the co-advisors and an additional faculty member).

Successful completion of the exam process will also require research language competence as demonstrated through examinations in one or more languages as determined by the advisors.

A dissertation proposal must be approved within 1 year after completing prelim exams. An oral defense of the proposal will be evaluated by the committee.
Language Requirements Additional language coursework beyond the M.A. requirements is not required in general, but students must gain sufficient competence to pass the research language exams required by the advisors.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements A doctoral minor is not a requirement, but a student, in consultation with their advisors, may choose to complete a minor.

Required Courses

  • At least 15 credits in Asia-related graduate courses in the department or elsewhere on campus
  • At most 6 credits of other courses as approved by the advisors
  • Additional language coursework beyond the M.A. requirements is not required in general, but students must gain sufficient competence to pass the research language exams required by the advisors. Language study at the third year level and beyond can count toward the total degree credits to a maximum of 6 credits past the M.A.

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  307 A Survey of Tibetan Buddhism3
ASIAN/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  308 Introduction to Buddhism3-4
ASIAN 311 Modern Indian Literatures3
ASIAN/​HISTORY  319 The Vietnam Wars3-4
ASIAN/​HISTORY  335 The Koreas: Korean War to the 21st Century3-4
ASIAN/​E A STDS/​HISTORY  337 Social and Intellectual History of China, 589 AD-19193-4
ASIAN/​E A STDS/​HISTORY  341 History of Modern China, 1800-19493-4
ASIAN/​E A STDS/​HISTORY  342 History of the Peoples Republic of China, 1949 to the Present3-4
ASIAN 351 Survey of Classical Chinese Literature3
ASIAN 352 Survey of Modern Chinese Literature3
ASIAN 353 Lovers, Warriors and Monks: Survey of Japanese Literature3
ASIAN 361 Love and Politics: The Tale of Genji3
ASIAN 371 Topics in Chinese Literature2-3
ASIAN 376 A Survey of Tibetan Buddhism3
ASIAN 403 Southeast Asian Literature3
ASIAN/​ART HIST  428 Visual Cultures of India3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  430 Indian Traditions in the Modern Age3
ASIAN 431 Chinese Linguistics I3
ASIAN 434 Introduction to Japanese Linguistics3
ASIAN/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  438 Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asian History3-4
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  444 Introduction to Sufism (Islamic Mysticism)3
ASIAN/​E A STDS/​HISTORY  454 Samurai: History and Image3-4
ASIAN/​E A STDS/​HISTORY  456 Pearl Harbor & Hiroshima: Japan, the US & The Crisis in Asia3-4
ASIAN/​HISTORY  458 History of Southeast Asia Since 18003-4
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  460 The History of Yoga3
ASIAN/​HISTORY  463 Gods and Goddesses of South Asia3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  466 Buddhist Thought3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  473 Meditation in Indian Buddhism and Hinduism3
ASIAN/​ENGL  478 Indian Writers Abroad: Literature, Diaspora and Globalization3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  505 The Perfectible Body in Religions, Medicines, and Politics3
ASIAN 571 Readings in Classical Chinese Literature1-3
ASIAN 573 Readings in Classical Japanese Literature3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  620 Proseminar: Studies in Religions of Asia3
ASIAN/​ART HIST  621 Mapping, Making, and Representing Colonial Spaces3
ASIAN 630 Proseminar: Studies in Cultures of Asia3
ASIAN 631 History of the Chinese Language3
ASIAN 632 Studies in Chinese Linguistics3
ASIAN 641 History of Chinese Literature3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  650 Proseminar in Buddhist Thought2-3
ASIAN 671 Literary Studies in Chinese Drama3
ASIAN 672 Studies in Chinese Fiction3
ASIAN 698 Directed Study2-3
ASIAN 699 Directed Study2-3
ASIAN 700 Teaching Asian Languages2-3
ASIAN 701 Proseminar in Chinese Literature3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  706 Seminar: Topics in the History of Buddhism3
ASIAN 712 Teaching of Chinese3
ASIAN 713 Teaching of Japanese as a Foreign Language3
ASIAN 741 Studies in Chinese Syntax and Morphology3
ASIAN 761 Studies in Chinese Historical Texts3
ASIAN 762 Studies in Chinese Philosophical Texts3
ASIAN 763 Studies in Japanese Literature3
ASIAN 775 Japanese Applied Linguistics3
ASIAN 799 Reading for Research1-3
ASIAN 802 Seminar: Topics in Religions of Asia3
ASIAN 815 Seminar: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Asia3
ASIAN 833 Topics in East Asian Visual Cultures3
ASIAN/​HISTORY  857 Seminar-History of India (South Asia)1-3
ASIAN 873 Seminar in Languages and Literatures of Asia3
ASIAN 932 Seminar in Chinese Linguistics2-3
ASIAN 951 Seminar in Chinese Literature3
ASIAN 971 Seminar in Chinese Thought3
ASIAN 990 Thesis Research3
ASIAN 999 Independent Research1-3

Program Tracks1

Students may choose to focus their studies in a thematic track, 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 MindsCenter for Visual CulturesHuman Rights ProgramReligious Studies Program, and the Center for East Asian Studies, the Center for South Asia, and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

 

Asian Medical and Health Humanities Track
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: BuhnemannCerulliDunne

Asian Religions Track
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: BuhnemannCerulliDunne

Asian Rights, Violence and Law Track
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 FacultyMcCoy

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.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

A Graduate Program Handbook containing all of the program's policies and requirements is forthcoming from the program. The department has established Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Prior Coursework

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 ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, no more than 7 credits of graduate coursework (as defined above) completed while a UW–Madison undergraduate maybe counted to satisfy degree requirements. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral 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 graduate coursework (as defined above) taken as a UW–Madison special student. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Probation

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

Starting fall 2018, all students are required to be supervised by co-advisors. One of the co-advisors must be a member of the Asian Languages and Cultures program, but the other co-advisor can be identified from related fields outside of the department.

At the point of beginning work on the dissertation, a single dissertation advisor (most likely one of the co-advisors) may be chosen, or the co-advising arrangement may continue for the dissertation as well.

Dissertation committees must have at least four members representing more than one graduate program, three of whom must be UW–Madison graduate faculty or former UW–Madison graduate faculty up to one year after resignation or retirement. At least one of the four members must be from outside of the student’s major program or major field (often from the minor field).

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may be required to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

OTHER

n/a

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 processes related to funding.

Program Resources

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.

  1. Demonstrate a thorough and in-depth understanding of research problems, potentials, and limits with respect to theory, knowledge, or practice in the selected area of the student's focus.
  2. Formulate ideas, concepts, designs, and/or techniques beyond the current boundaries of knowledge within the specialized field(s).
  3. Create scholarship and advance knowledge that makes a substantive contribution to the field(s).
  4. Articulate and communicate complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner to both specialized and general audiences.
  5. Recognize, apply, and foster ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty

Asian Languages and Cultures is home to nearly twenty faculty whose research and teaching specialities range from traditional medicine in India, the Hinduist roots of yoga, or diversifying contemporary mindfulness practice with insights from Tibetan Buddhism, to human rights in Thailand—from Chinese ghost stories, traditional poetics and philology, to sociolinguistics and discourse analysis of the Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian languages—and from analysis of classical Japanese tale fiction, early modern comedic narratives, manga, anime, and Japanese counterculture. Visit our faculty pages for more information on areas of expertise, current research, teaching and publications.

Erlin Barnard
esbarnard@wisc.edu
Faculty Associate
Fields of Study: Language Pedagogy; Materials Development; Second Language Acquisition

Gudrun Bühnemann
gbuhnema@wisc.edu
Professor
Fields of Study: Sanskrit language and literature; Buddhism in India and Nepal; Hinduism; Tantrism and Yoga Studies

Anthony Cerulli
acerulli@wisc.edu
Associate Professor       
Fields of Study: Hinduism; Religion in South Asia; Medical Humanities; History of Medicine in India; Sanskrit Language and Literature; Kerala History and Culture

Charo D'Etcheverry
cdetcheverry@wisc.edu
Associate Professor       
Fields of Study: Classical Japanese literature (especially court fiction & its reception and early kabuki)

John D. Dunne
jddunne@wisc.edu
Professor           
Fields of Study: Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice; Religious Studies; Cognitive Science of Religion; Contemplative Science

Naomi Geyer   
nfgeyer@wisc.edu
Associate Professor       
Fields of Study: Japanese Language, Language Pedagogy, Pragmatics

Tyrell Haberkorn             
Associate Professor       
Fields of Study: Violence, Human Rights, Sovereignty, Arbitrary Detention, Land Rights, Agrarian Struggle, Historiographies of Repression, Gender Studies, Socialism, Dissident Literature, Southeast Asia (Thailand). 

Rania Huntington
huntington@wisc.edu
Professor           
Fields of Study: Ming and Qing narrative and drama, literature of the weird and supernatural, memory in literature, depiction of women in literature

Adam L. Kern
alkern@wisc.edu
Professor           
Fields of Study: The popular literature, culture, poetry, theater, and visual culture of early modern unto modern Japan (1600-1900). Transcultural comics in Japan (manga, kibyôshi, etc) and beyond.

Byung-jin Lim     
byungjin.lim@wisc.edu
Associate Professor       
Fields of Study: Korean Language and Linguistics, Second/Foreign Language Acquisition, Computer-Mediated Communication, Korean Language Textbook Development

Junko Mori         
jmori@wisc.edu
Professor           
Fields of Study: Japanese Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Conversation Analysis, Sociolinguistics

Takako Nakakubo           
tnakakubo@wisc.edu
Faculty Associate           
Fields of Study: Second Language Acquisition of Japanese, Japanese Pedagogy, Learning Strategies

William Nienhauser       
whnienha@wisc.edu
Professor           
Fields of Study: Early traditional fiction and history; early poetry (especially Du Fu and Tao Qian)

Steve Ridgely    
steve.ridgely@wisc.edu
Associate Professor       
Fields of Study: Modern Japanese literature, Cultural Theory, Transasian Studies

Hongming Zhang             
hzhang6@wisc.edu
Professor           
Fields of Study: Chinese linguistics; syntax-phonology interface; prosodic phonology; poetic prosody; history of Chinese language; teaching Chinese as a second language

Weihua Zhu       
wzhu34@wisc.edu
Assistant Professor       
Fields of Study: Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics, Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition