Acting Director of Graduate Studies (DGS): Tomi Suzuki (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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, visual arts, 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 worldwide, provides a wide range of courses in the history, literature, religion, culture, and languages of China, Japan, Korea, and Tibet. In addition to the courses taught at the EALAC department, an array of East Asian courses in other departments—such as political science, sociology, anthropology, art, history, law, and business—are made available for our students. Some of our students also choose 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, such as the Asia Society and the Tsinghua-Columbia Translingual and Transcultural Center Studies Center in Beijing, provide for a stimulating intellectual environment that equips students with the tools and knowledge they will need for any future endeavors.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
The Master of Arts program is a regionally-focused humanities program designed for students who wish to broaden their knowledge of East Asian studies and languages. The program equips students with the language skills necessary to prepare them to undertake advanced research at the PhD level in their region of choice. Alongside a regional or transregional comparative focus, students choose a discipline and take seminars as well methodological courses to prepare for conducting thesis research. For more information about the MA program, please refer to the EALAC M.A. Degree Requirements.
AKS-CKR Fellowship for Korean Studies
The Academy of Korean Studies-Center for Korean Research Fellowship provides partial funding to MA students in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (and other programs) with a Korea-related focus. For information, see our funding page.
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. For more information about our Ph.D. programs, please refer to the EALAC Ph.D. Degree Program Requirements, the East Asian History Ph.D. Program Requirements, and the East Asian Religion Ph.D. Program 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.