Temple lanterns in Chaozhou, Guangdong. Photo by Brian Lander.

Temple lanterns in Chaozhou, Guangdong. Photo by Brian Lander.

Five Year Combined BA-MA Program

Early Admission to the Master’s Degree Program in East Asian Languages and Cultures for Columbia and Barnard Undergraduates

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, or UN1365 (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

Chen Wu teaching Third Year Chinese

Chen Wu teaching Third Year Chinese

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.