Majoring in East Asian Studies
For students following the old EAS Major requirements, please see this page. Students who declared an EAS major before Spring ’17 have the option of following the old or the new requirements.
The Department offers a major for both Columbia College and General Studies students, as well as a minor for SEAS students. All majors, regardless of language of specialization, receive grounding in courses that are East Asia-wide, and that require a serious encounter with the historical past of the region, not just of a single country. That is why all majors must take three introductory courses, dealing with great texts of East Asian traditions, as well as at least two civilization courses chosen from among China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, and Vietnam. (Note: these introductory courses are preferably taken before embarking on electives in more specific subject areas.)
SEAS and Barnard students interested in East Asian courses should receive advising from their respective school advisors.
All majors should be in contact with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Prof. Paul Anderer, firstname.lastname@example.org). The Director will provide basic advice to everyone, in regards to registration, requirements, study abroad, and the Honors Senior Thesis. He will also facilitate contact with other East Asian faculty, for more detailed advice about preferred course-sequencing in sub-fields of the student’s interest.
Students must meet the following prerequisite prior to declaring the EALAC major:
- Two years of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Tibetan, or the proficiency equivalent (to be demonstrated by placement examination).
- Third-year Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Tibetan (completion of the UN3005-UN3006 level in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean; TIBT UN3611-UN3612 level in Tibetan), or the proficiency equivalent (to be demonstrated by placement examination). Students of Chinese may also complete UN3003-UN3004 to meet the third year requirement.
- Students who test out of three years or more of a language must take an additional year of that language or another East Asian language at Columbia in order to satisfy the language requirement.
- AHUM UN1400 “Colloquium on Major Texts” (4 points)
- Any two of the following four 4-point East Asian Civilization courses: ASCE UN1359 China Civ, ASCE UN1361 Japan Civ, ASCE UN1363 Korea Civ, ASCE UN1365 Tibet Civ, ASCE UN1367 Vietnam Civ
- First-year students and sophomores, prior to declaring an East Asian studies major, are strongly urged to take one or more of the introductory courses.
- EAAS UN3990 “Approaches to East Asian Studies”
- Four elective courses in East Asian studies, to be chosen in consultation with the DUS. Two of these courses must be EALAC or AMEC courses.
- A second East Asian language (1-year minimum) or one semester of a classical East Asian language may count for one elective course.
If you have any questions about the undergraduate major, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Paul Anderer (email@example.com). Office hours are held every Friday, from 3-5 p.m. in 414 Kent Hall.
East Asian Studies majors who wish to write a senior thesis apply to the EALAC Senior Thesis Program at the end of their junior year. Students must have at least a 3.6 GPA in courses taken in the major at the time of the application. Students interested in applying to the Senior Thesis Program should submit a hard copy of the EALAC Senior Thesis Program Application (see Undergraduate Planning Sheets and Forms) to the EALAC Academic Coordinator, in 407 Kent by Friday, May 1st at 5:00 p.m. Decisions will be made by June 1, when grades for the second semester have been received.
All potential thesis writers are required to enroll in Senior Thesis Research Workshop (EAAS UN3999 Research in East Asian Studies) in the fall of the senior year. Students who perform satisfactorily in this workshop, successfully complete a thesis proposal, and find a faculty advisor will then write the Senior Thesis itself in the spring semester under the direction of the advisor and a graduate student tutor (EAAS UN3901).
How long should a senior thesis be? As a rule of thumb, the senior thesis should be about 30-35 pages of text (double-spaced, normal typeface and margins) and 5-8 pages of references. Under no circumstances should a thesis exceed a total of 50 pages including references) without the special permission of the advisor. It is quality that counts, not quantity.
Successful completion of the thesis by the April 6 deadline in the spring semester will be necessary but not sufficient for a student to receive Departmental Honors. (Because honors can be awarded to a maximum of 10% of the majors, not all thesis writers will receive honors.)
All senior thesis writers will be recognized with a gift for their special achievements at an awards luncheon named in honor of EALAC alumnus Oscar Lee, sponsored by EALAC alumnus and Oscar’s friend, Norman Hanson (CC ’79).
Students enrolled at Columbia College, SEAS, Barnard, and the School of General Studies may apply for early admission to the M.A. program in East Asian Languages and Cultures and begin their M.A. coursework in their senior year while completing their undergraduate degree.
Students seeking early admission into the M.A. program should contact the Director for Graduate Studies in the second semester of the junior year. Applications for early admission to the M.A. program are subject to the same standards for admission as regular-year applications to the free-standing M.A. program. Applicants should submit the usual set of materials including statement of propose, resume, GRE scores, academic transcripts from all undergraduate programs attended, and three letters of recommendation. Applications should be submitted no later than May 30 of the student’s junior year, for admission in the following fall semester. Decisions will be announced no more than three months after the deadline for applying.
Successful applicants for early admission will have:
- An overall GPA of at least 3.50
- At least one year of study in the language of the country on which they intend to focus for their M.A. degree
- Completion of ASCE UN1359, UN1361, UN1363, UN1365, or UN1367 (Introduction to East Asian Civilizations) and AHUM UN1400 (Colloquium on Major Texts of East Asia)
The department encourages applications not only from qualified majors in East Asian Languages and Cultures but also from students in any other major or concentration who have completed appropriate coursework and have excellent academic records.
The requirements for Columbia and Barnard undergraduates seeking early admission are otherwise the same as the regular admissions requirements.
Credit points and registration
Coursework taken to satisfy any requirement of the undergraduate degree – i.e. courses taken to complete a major, a concentration, the science requirement, or the 124-point requirement – cannot be applied towards the requirements of the M.A. program. After the senior year, an undergraduate dean will certify what excess courses specifically did not count for the BA degree and therefore can be applied to the M.A., and an EALAC M.A. director will decide on the suitability of the courses for acceptance to fulfill the six course M.A. requirement in observance of the following:
- No more than three courses taken before the end of the senior year may count toward the M.A.
- These courses must be in relevant fields and at the 4000 level or higher,
- In addition, the student must have earned in each of them a grade of at least B
- Classical Chinese, Classical Japanese, Advanced Korean in Mixed Script are acceptable; no other language courses can be accepted
Students should consult with deans and advisors before the senior year when designing a course of study for completion of the B.A. and then the M.A. degree.
Students who receive early admission to the EALAC M.A. program will have up to one residence unit of advanced standing credited towards their M.A. degree, depending on the number of courses they take toward the M.A. degree before receiving their bachelor’s degree.
Students entering the M.A. program through early admission must register as full-time M.A. students when they enter their fifth year at Columbia. Upon completing the two Residence Units required for the M.A., students who have not yet completed all course requirements register for Extended Residence.
The process of placement in language courses, curriculum, and degree requirements for students who are admitted early to the M.A. program are otherwise the same as for regularly admitted students.
Admission in the M.A. program may be revoked if after admission students fail to maintain a 3.50 GPA or are found to have violated College or University rules (for example, rules of academic integrity).
When students are enrolled in the M.A. program and have finished their fourth year, they officially become students of GSAS. As such, they will lose their rights to undergraduate housing and undergraduate financial aid once they are enrolled in the M.A. program and have finished their fourth year. However, at that point they will be eligible for M.A. housing and financial aid.
Careers that East Asian Studies students have pursued include academia, law, medicine, business, the arts, journalism, and government, and stretch from fashion to food. For more detailed information on career opportunities pursued by EALAC majors, please visit the Center for Career Education.
In order to qualify for departmental honors, students must have a GPA of at least 3.7 in classes for the major and have submitted an honors senior thesis of distinction. The faculty of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures submits recommendations to the College Committee on Honors for confirmation. Normally no more than ten percent of the graduating majors in the department receive departmental honors. In addition, EALAC students are eligible to receive both Latin and Phi Beta Kappa Honors conferred by Columbia College and Phi Beta Kappa inductees.
In addition, the Japanese language program awards the Keiko Chevray Award and the Mary Hue Award for Japanese language; the Korean language program awards The Center for Korean Research Manhae Prize for Korean Language; and students in the Chinese language program are eligible for the Columbia Award for Chinese Language Study.