The multidisciplinary 40-credit-hour M.A. program in Asian Studies includes:
Core courses (9 credits)
Students must select three of five core curriculum courses:
- HIST 6601 History, Memory and Violence in Modern Asia: 1850-present
- PSC 6388 Comparative Politics of Asia
- (TBA) The Politics of Business and Development in Asia
One of the following International relations courses:
- PSC 6475 International Politics of East Asia
- IAFF 6318 Special Topics in Asian Studies: International Relations of South Asia
Although students are welcome to take any and all of these courses, only one of the two international relations courses counts toward the core requirement. Students who declare an East Asia specialization should take IR of East Asia, while students who declare a South Asia specialization should take IR of South Asia (IAFF 6318).
Regional specialization (9 credits)
The required regional specialization will enhance the student's understanding of a particular geographic region.
Courses selected for the Regional specialization cannot overlap with those taken for Thematic or Professional specializations.
Thematic specialization or Professional specialization (choose one)
Thematic specialization (9 credits)
The optional thematic specialization will deepen the student's understanding of issues in contemporary Asia.
Courses selected for the Thematic specialization cannot overlap with those taken for the required Regional specialization.
Professional specialization (9 credits)
Students may choose one optional professional specialization field, selecting three courses listed under that field or design their own field with the approval of the Program Director.
Students may use additional credits for foreign language or background course work or one-credit skills courses. The Elliott School's skills courses are designed to supplement substantive graduate course work with practical skills and knowledge that students need to perform effectively in the workplace. A maximum of three one-credit skills courses may be taken in this M.A. program.
Students in the M.A. regional studies programs are required to fulfill their foreign-language requirement by passing a reading and speaking proficiency examination administered by the Elliott School at the currently required level of proficiency. All MA regional studies students are required to pass both the reading and speaking parts of the language examination; advanced-level language coursework during or prior to enrollment at GW cannot substitute.
Foreign-language proficiency examinations will continue to be offered during the fall and spring semesters. Students may take the examination at any point during their enrollment. Effective immediately, students in all programs (including regional studies) no longer have to wait until the completion of 20-credit hours to take the proficiency examination.
Students will have three opportunities to pass the proficiency examination administered by the Elliott School. Failure to pass the exam for a third time will result in dismissal from the program.
Capstone (4 credits)
Students will enroll in a capstone course sequence that most closely matches the functional area of their project. The capstone courses will be led by a faculty member with broad knowledge and experience in the functional area, and each course is likely to have four to five student groups. The course will meet regularly, and students will receive active guidance from the instructor as well as peer critiques and suggestions from fellow students.
Optional Master's Thesis
A thesis option is available for students seeking to enhance professional research and writing skills.
Recent theses topics include:
- Challenging Conventional Wisdom: Sex Work, Exploitation, and Labor Among Young Akha Men in Thailand
- Energy Security and Japan-China Relations: Competition or Cooperation?
- A Place for Environmental Refugees: Adaptation to climate and environmental change in South Asia
- China's First Red Martyrs: The February Seventh Massacre of 1923 and the Politics of Historical Memory
If a core course is not offered during a student's time at GW, or if a student wishes to study a topic on which no course are offered at GW, that student may confer with the director of Asian Studies regarding the possibility of pursuing an independent study with a member of GW's faculty.
Requirements for Asian Studies Concentrators
International Affairs Majors who wish to pursue a concentration in Asian Studies will be required to take one of the four core courses from Part I and three elective courses from listing of regional or thematic courses in Asian Studies (Parts II and III).