Director of Graduate Studies (DGS): Wei Shang (email@example.com)
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers two interdisciplinary graduate programs in the literature, culture, history, and languages of East Asia, with particular emphasis on critical methodology and comparative study. One program is a terminal MA degree while the other leads to a PhD.
The Department, long a leader in East Asian studies, provides a wide range of courses in the history, literature, religion, culture, and languages of China, Japan, and Korea. An array of East Asian courses in other departments — such as political science, sociology, anthropology, art, history, law, and business — is also available, as are interdisciplinary programs with the departments of Religion, Comparative Literature, and History. The Department’s close ties with various East Asian institutions in New York City and abroad provide a stimulating cultural environment.
Specific requirements for EALAC department degrees are as follows:
Master of Arts (M.A.)
The Master of Arts program is a regionally focused humanities program designed for students with limited backgrounds in East Asian languages or studies. Its aim is to provide a broad overview of the field and to equip students with language skills necessary to undertake more advanced research. Students are expected to complete a variety of courses and write a research paper. Please refer to the EALAC M.A. Degree Requirements.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The Doctor of Philosophy program, which requires a minimum of three years of study in an East Asian language for admittance, is designed to prepare qualified full-time students for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Students participate in a variety of courses, colloquia, and seminars designed to provide the student with historical breadth and critical acumen, the ability to read and analyze texts in East Asian languages, and the skills necessary to carry out original research. Advanced standing is available to qualified students already holding masters degrees. Please refer to the EALAC M.Phil. & PhD. Degree Requirements.
In addition, many students also apply to study with the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society while pursuing a PhD in the EALAC department. The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) supports interdisciplinary work in the humanities and social sciences as well as in the professional schools (Law and Architecture, Planning and Preservation) and the regional institutes. The Institute draws on a large number of comparatists in the language and literature departments as well as in related disciplines. Housed in the Institute, the Interdepartmental Committee on Comparative Literature and Society combines rigorous training in the student’s home Ph.D. program with the most advanced cross-disciplinary work in the study of comparative literature and society. Doctoral students in EALAC may pursue a Concentration in the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society while pursuing a PhD in the EALAC department. Those who choose to do so must indicate their interest in ICLS clearly on the cover of their application or in the subfield section in the Application Part 1. More information about the Institute can be found at The Institute for Comparative Literature website.
Each year the Department awards a number of multi-year fellowships that provide tuition, health fees, and a full stipend for a four to five-year period. Student teaching appointments, and partial scholarships are also available.
C.V. Starr East Asian Library
The C.V. Starr East Asian Library, with over a half million volumes of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language books, is among the largest East Asian library collections outside of East Asia and one of the premier centers for East Asian research in the United States. The East Asian collection — which is particularly strong in literature, philosophy (especially Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism), and history — is supported by over 50,000 volumes of secondary materials in English and other European languages on all aspects of East Asia, past and present.
East Asian Studies in Other Departments
Other departments at Columbia also offer courses and support faculty concerned with East Asia, among them the departments of Anthropology, Art History, Economics, History, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology. Students interested in East Asia with primary application in those disciplines should apply to those departments. Faculty members specializing in East Asian History typically have positions in both the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and in the Department of History. Follow this link more information about premodern and early modern Japanese studies at Columbia.
The School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) is a professional school offering Master’s degrees in international relations. This is an independent degree program that allows for various regional specializations, including contemporary East Asia. Students specifically aiming toward careers but not doctoral degrees in government, public policy, international relations, and some business fields should apply to SIPA. Among its regional institutes, the Weatherhead East Asian Institute is an interdisciplinary center for research and publication, emphasizing modern East Asia. Students registered in degree programs in Graduate School of Arts and Sciences departments may also participate in the programs of the Institute and apply for its Certificate upon completion of certain designated requirements. In addition, other professional schools and a professional college, including the School of Business, the School of Law, the School of Journalism, and Columbia Teachers College may have programs of interest to prospective students of East Asia. Students interested in advanced programs in those fields should apply directly to the relevant school or college.
Applications for Admission to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are submitted online via the GSAS webpage.
For further information, please contact the EALAC office at 212-854-5027.
Institute for Comparative Literature and Society – Students who are interested in becoming affiliated with the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society should apply to EALAC or one of the above departments and clearly indicate their interest in ICLS on the cover of their application or in the subfield section in the Application Part 1.