M.A. PROGRAM OVERVIEW AND DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE REQUIREMENTS ARE ONLY VALID FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE MATRICULATED INTO THE MA PROGRAM PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER, 2014. FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE JOINED AFTER THAT DATE, PLEASE REFER TO THE CURRENT MA REQUIREMENTS LISTED HERE.
The requirements listed below are special to the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALAC) and must be read in conjunction with the general requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS): http://www.columbia.edu/cu/gsas/index.html.
Students in the Free-Standing M.A. Program in East Asian Languages and Cultures may study Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Tibetan history, literature or film. The M.A. Program is intended for students who show academic promise but have not yet acquired the language skills or background in East Asian studies to qualify for a Ph.D. program.
This section lists the requirements for the M.A. program, which is overseen by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and the M.A. Co-Directors. The primary contact regarding all questions related to the requirements listed below are the M.A. Co-Directors.
M.A. PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan Studies)
The student who is a candidate for the Master of Arts degree must fulfill the following requirements:
A. Residence Units
In addition to registering for individual courses, students are required to register for Residence Units (RU), which provide the basis for tuition charges. Two full Residence Units – the equivalent of one year of full tuition – are required for the free-standing Master of Arts degree in EALAC.
Depending on their background in East Asian studies, students take from two to four semesters to complete the M.A. program. Most students complete the program in two to three semesters. Students who wish to continue in the M.A. program after having accumulated two full Residence Units (two full-time semesters) register for Extended Residence (ER), which significantly reduces tuition. For a full description of tuition and fees, please refer to the GSAS site: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/gsas/sub/finaid/finance/coa/.
Although most M.A. students attend full-time, they may also obtain the M.A. degree through part-time study. Part-time students must complete the degree in no more than four years. Part-time M.A. candidates usually register for either a ¼ residence unit (up to two courses) or a ½ residence unit (up to three courses) per term. Taking half- or quarter-residence units spreads out cost and time to degree, but ends up costing somewhat more than doing full-time work. (Three-quarter units are not an available option.) International students must attend full-time.
B. Course Requirements
The student must take six one-semester courses for a letter grade of B or higher. All courses must be at the 4000-level and above, except for courses taken in the Department of History, which much be 3000-level or above. At least one of these courses must be outside the student’s East Asian country of specialization. 3000-level courses in the Department of History and 4000-level courses in EALAC are graduate/advanced undergraduate seminars. 6000-level, 8000-level, and 9000-level courses in EALAC are graduate colloquia and research seminars. Students can expect the level of difficulty and amount of material in the target language to increase from the 6000 through 9000 levels. The student is strongly urged to take higher (6000-level and above) graduate level courses when possible.
Students may take relevant courses in other departments, but these courses must be approved by the M.A. Co-Director if they are to count toward the degree. Students must submit a brief rationale, the course name, instructor, course description, and syllabus (when it is available). If the course is in addition to those required by the department, no special permission is needed.
EALAC offers two methodology courses in the spring semester intended for, and limited to, students in the M.A. program: East Asian GR6200, Workshop in East Asian History; East Asian GR6400, Critical Approaches to East Asian Studies. These courses have two objectives: (1) to familiarize EALAC M.A. students with the critical approaches necessary to analyze East Asian history, literature, film, and culture in a comparative framework; (2) to provide students with strategies for writing the M.A. thesis. The student is required to take the methodology course appropriate to his or her discipline, to be determined in consultation with the M.A. thesis advisor.
Students may apply up to two semesters of Classical Chinese, two semesters of Classical Japanese, or one semester of Advanced Korean in Mixed Script (Korean GR8010) toward the six-course requirement. No other language courses can be used to fulfill the M.A. course requirements.
The choice of courses must be approved by the student’s M.A. thesis advisor.
C. M.A. Thesis Requirement
The student must, under the supervision of the M.A. thesis advisor, write an M.A. thesis that makes significant use of sources in the East Asian target language. Students are required to submit a one-page thesis proposal and bibliography to the thesis advisor for signed approval one semester in advance of filing the thesis. The thesis, which should be between 30 and 60 pages, must be approved by the advisor and submitted to the M.A. Co-Director. Students are required to meet with their M.A. thesis advisor twice each semester.
As part of the M.A. thesis writing process, the student has the option to take an M.A. thesis workshop, EAAS GR6990 (2 points), in the semester that he/she finishes the M.A. thesis. The M.A. thesis workshop is supervised by the student’s M.A. thesis advisor and is taken for “R” credit. This course is an option, not a requirement.
D. Language Requirements
All entering students who have received a B.A. from an institution in which instruction is conducted in a language other than English must take the American Language Program Placement Test during the registration period of the fall semester. Students who do not pass the Placement Test must, in consultation with the M.A. Co-Director, take appropriate American Language Program courses.
Entering students are required to take the language placement examination in the East Asia language of specialization at the beginning of the semester in which they enter the program, unless that language was the primary language of instruction at the institution from which they received the B.A. degree.
To count toward meeting degree requirements, all language courses must be taken for a letter grade of B or higher.
Language requirements are listed below by field:
Chinese Studies Requirements
Three years of modern Chinese, or the equivalent demonstrated by the department’s placement exam, are required for completion of the degree. Students who remain in the program after satisfying this requirement are expected to continue language study throughout their time in the program, either at more advanced levels of Chinese or through study of an additional East Asian language. Study of classical Chinese is strongly encouraged, especially for students concentrating in literature or premodern history.
Japanese Studies Requirements
Three years of modern Japanese, or the equivalent demonstrated by the department’s placement exam, are required for completion of the degree. Students who remain in the program after satisfying this requirement are expected to continue language study throughout their time in the program, either at more advanced levels of Japanese or through study of an additional East Asian language. Study of classical Japanese is strongly encouraged, especially for students concentrating in literature or premodern history.
Korean Studies Requirement
Three years of Korean, or the equivalent demonstrated by the department’s placement exam, are required for completion of the degree. Students who remain in the program after satisfying this requirement are expected to continue language study throughout their time in the program, either at more advanced levels of Korean or through study of an additional East Asian language.
Tibetan Studies Requirement
Two years of modern Tibetan are required. Study of classical Tibetan is strongly encouraged, especially for students concentrating in literature or history before 1950. Students who remain in the program after satisfying this requirement are expected to continue language study throughout their time in the program, either at more advanced levels of Tibetan or through study of Chinese.
TRANSFER CREDIT AND ADVANCED STANDING
Transfer Credit may be awarded to students who have completed graduate-level coursework at Columbia while not being matriculated in GSAS (i.e., students who have completed classes in the School of Continuing Education). Students consult with the M.A. Co-Director regarding the number of transfer classes allowed. Classes taken to enhance undergraduate preparation are not transferable.
The Department does not offer advanced standing toward the M.A.
All incoming students are assigned an M.A. thesis advisor by the third week of the first semester they enroll at Columbia. The advisor will continue as advisor through the end of the M.A. program. Advisors should meet in person with their advisees twice per semester, and should be prepared to respond via e-mail to questions that may come up during summer and winter breaks as students consider their options for the upcoming semester. It is the advisee’s responsibility to get in touch with the advisor as questions arise, and to arrange for face-to-face meetings twice per semester, once during registration, once around the middle of the semester or near the end of classes. The first meeting will focus on course selection, while the second meeting gives the advisee a chance to say how things are going generally, to discuss any specific issues or problems that are arising with a course or with the workload overall, and to begin to think ahead to the next term. While advisees are expected to take the initiative in scheduling meetings, advisors in turn are expected to make it a priority to find time to meet when asked, during office hours when mutually convenient, or otherwise at another time. At least twenty minutes should be blocked out for the two basic meetings each semester. Advisors should not hesitate to be in touch with the DGS, the M.A. Co-Director, the Department Administrator or the Academic Coordinator on any uncertain questions, or when an issue arises that should be brought to the attention of those who are overseeing the graduate program.
WRITTEN WORK, GRADES, AND SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS
A. Written Work
With the exception of the M.A. thesis, which may be developed from a paper originally written for course credit, no written work in the M.A. program may be submitted more than once for credit. Students are responsible for avoiding plagiarism and following the Graduate School’s general guidelines on academic honesty: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/gsas/rules/chapter-9/pages/honesty/index.html.
Students and faculty should consider that both the A and the A- are truly positive grades. Grades of A- do not indicate a lack of satisfactory progress, but simply register good work that can be taken a step further in future.
Grades of B+ signal work that raises concerns, and in the case of an M.A. student a pattern of B+ grades would indicate someone who shouldn’t go on in the program unless he or she is doing significantly better work in other courses. B is the minimum grade for counting a course toward degree requirements.
C. Satisfactory Academic Progress
GSAS has specific rules for satisfactory academic progress for M.A. students. Permission to register each term is contingent, in part, on judgment that progress in the degree program is satisfactory.
LEAVE OF ABSENCE, WITHDRAWAL, AND REINSTATEMENT
Continuous registration until all degree requirements are completed or until the time-to-degree limit has been reached is required for students in the M.A. program. Students who wish to take a leave of absence, withdraw from the program, or seek reinstatement must consult with the M.A. Co-Director. Please refer to the GSAS website for guidelines regarding leaves of absence, withdrawal, and reinstatement:http://gsas.columbia.edu/content/academic-affairs-policies-and-procedures.
CONTINUING TO A PH.D. PROGRAM
M.A. students can apply to a Ph.D. program in the fall semester of their first or second year in the M.A. program. Most students apply to a Ph.D. program after completing the M.A. degree or in the second year of study. This option has the advantage that applicants will then have completed or made significant progress toward completing the M.A. thesis, which can be used as a writing sample. Students applying to a Ph.D. program in their second year also have the benefit of a full year’s maturation of their work.
Students are encouraged to submit applications to multiple institutions, as this increases the possibility of acceptance to a Ph.D. program. If accepted to the EALAC Ph.D. program at Columbia, course credits and residence units from the M.A. program are applied toward fulfillment of the Ph.D. requirements.
DEGREE CONFERRAL DEADLINES
August 1st for October graduation
November 1st for February graduation
December 1st for May graduation
Both thesis and checklist are due to your advisor by the deadline:
The third Friday in September for October graduation
The third Friday in January for February graduation
The first Friday in May for May graduation
MA Degree Requirements Checklist instructions
Please incorporate all the revisions suggested by your Thesis Advisor and submit the final manuscript to her/him. When your final manuscript is approved by your advisor, please follow the steps below:
1. Print out the checklist and fill out necessary information: the name, UNI, and the course and language requirements you have fulfilled.
2. Submit the form to your Thesis Advisor for her/his signature.
3. Ask your advisor to forward the signed form to your appropriate MA co-director.
4. Submit your thesis on a CD to your MA co-director.