Housed within Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, the Master of Arts in Asian Studies (MASIA) program provides students a unique combination of functional training and regional expertise. This degree equips students with the necessary skills to engage with private and public sector interests in Asia while solving global issues related to the region. MASIA at Georgetown is a terminal, 36-credit (12-course) program, where students have the opportunity to study core disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences as they relate to Asia. Students also pursue one or more thematic/geographic concentrations. A thesis option is available.

This innovative balance of traditional area studies and functional training offers students a package of scholarly expertise and substantive skills that enhances the intellectual value and the marketability of their degree, whether they pursue employment or a Ph.D. after graduation.

Learning Goals

Learning Goals and Assessments for Asian Studies at Georgetown

Georgetown aims to produce students in our Asia program who are conversant at the expert level in the languages, politics, economics, history, and societal aspects of Greater Asia. These students will have superior skills and knowledge that will be sought after by higher-education graduate programs, the private sector, the public sector, and other communities with an interest in Asia and U.S. relations with Asia.

Students who graduate from the curriculum on Asia offered at Georgetown will be assessed in terms of their learning objectives in the following areas: Demonstrated proficiency at the advanced level or higher in one or more of the difficult languages of the region (Chinese, Japanese, Korean). A capacity to communicate beyond merely social situations, to include scholarly research, vocational work, and advanced level or higher reading, speaking, and writing.

Demonstrated regional expertise of the highest order in the politics, society, history, economics, business, and culture of East Asia and U.S.-East Asia relations. Some students may possess knowledge that is specific to one of the major countries in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea) or the region more generally.

Demonstrated expertise through coursework concentrated in one or two functional concentrations: politics and security, political economy and business, and history, society and culture. These functional concentrations will have applicability to the region and countries of China, Japan, and Korea.

Demonstrated additional expertise through coursework concentrated in a second sub-region of Greater Asia (in addition to East Asia) to include either South Asia or Southeast Asia. This additional empirical expertise will be in the politics, society, history, economics and/or security of the region or specific countries in the region.

Demonstrated writing and presentational expertise on the above topics in the form of written papers and oral presentations. One form of fulfilling this requirement can be through the writing of a thesis. A special emphasis will be placed on maintaining a tradition in the Asian Studies at Georgetown of encouraging students to submit finished pieces of written work to professional conferences and to professional journals for publication.

Understanding and engagement in the professional and academic networks related to Asia and U.S.-Asia relations in Washington, D.C. Active participation in research assistanceships, internships, employment in universities, schools, think-tanks, NGOs, IOs, government, and private sector organizations related to Asia and U.S.-Asia relations.

Students will be assessed in their accomplishment of these learning goals by the faculty and staff at Georgetown in the following ways:

  • Grade-based assessment through satisfactory completion of the course curriculum
  • Grade-based assessment through satisfactory completion of at least three original research papers in the course curriculum
  • Satisfactory grade-based completion of the thesis and related seminar or tutorial (for those who choose the thesis option).
  • Recognition of superior achievement through publication of work in professional publication outlets including academic and public policy journals, newspapers, and expert websites
  • Oral interview and numerical assessment with the Asian Studies director, assistant director, or director of studies on a semester-by-semester basis
  • Final oral pass/fail evaluation with the Asian Studies director, assistant director, or director of studies in the final semester of the program.

Degree Requirements

Georgetown University's M.A. in Asian Studies (MASIA) is a 36 credit (12 course) degree program. Students are required to take three foundation courses in their first semester of study:

  1. ASST 668- Theory and Policy in Asia
  2. ASST 511- International Political Economy of East Asia
  3. A course that focuses on History, Culture or Society of Asia - Students may choose from a variety of courses to complete this requirement.

In addition to the three foundation courses, students must take at least three courses towards a single concentration. Additional coursework can be used to fulfill a second concentration, apply towards one of Georgetown's graduate certificate programs or serve as available credits for electives. Asian Studies students have the option of writing an M.A. Thesis.

To graduate on time, students must successfully complete 4 courses plus 1 language class (if applicable) each semester.


  • ARST-457 China-Arab Relations
  • ARTH-171 Buddhist Art
  • ASST-509 Imperialism/Colonialism: Asia
  • ASST-511 Intl Pol Econ: East Asia
  • ASST-516 Risk & Innovatn in 21st C Asia
  • ASST-520 Growth:Chinese Military Power
  • ASST-530 Illicit Economies in Asia
  • ASST-531 Sovereign Risk & Asia
  • ASST-532 China's Economy
  • ASST-668 Theory/Policy in Asia
  • ASST-706 Explor Limits of SE Asia Diplo
  • ASST-711 Politics & Societies:SE Asia
  • ASST-715 Japan's Domestic Politics
  • CHIN-011 Intens First Lev Chinese I
  • CHIN-013 Intens Frst Lev Chin:Adv Begin
  • CHIN-111 Intens Second Lev Chinese I
  • CHIN-211 Third Level Chinese I
  • CHIN-311 Integrated Advanced Chinese I
  • CHIN-313 Advanced Oral Communication
  • CHIN-321 Business Chinese I
  • CHIN-362 Intro to Classical Chinese
  • CHIN-391 Intro to Chinese Linguistics
  • CHIN-459 Senior Seminar
  • CHIN-464 Modern Chinese Drama
  • GOVT-374 Dept Sem:Sr Res Sem on Asia
  • HIST-107 Pacific World
  • HIST-109 The Islamic World
  • HIST-122 History of China I
  • HIST-124 History of Japan I
  • HIST-126 South East Asia I
  • HIST-325 Modern China:Fiction & History
  • HIST-363 Muslims in the West
  • INAF-250 Modern Asia
  • INAF-347 Dept Sem:Sr Res Sem On Asia
  • INAF-367 Trade in Asia Pacific
  • INAF-378 Asean: Past & Present
  • INAF-431 South Asia: Iss of War/Peace
  • INAF-449 China's Evolving Role in Afr
  • IPOL-423 Pol & Soc in Modern South Asia
  • JAPN-011 Intens First Lev Japanese I
  • JAPN-111 Intens Second Lev Japanese I
  • JAPN-211 Third Level Japanese I
  • JAPN-311 Integrated Adv Japanese I
  • JAPN-322 Business Japanese II
  • JAPN-391 Intro to Japn Linguistics
  • JAPN-459 Senior Seminar
  • KREN-011 Intens First Lev Korean I
  • KREN-111 Intens Second Lev Korean I
  • KREN-211 Third Level Korean
  • KREN-311 Integrated Advanced Korean
  • KREN-321 Business Korean I
  • KREN-341 Gend&Sexlty:KorCltr(English)
  • KREN-406 Stdies in Korean Thoughts/Relg
  • KREN-456 Society & Culture in N. Korea
  • PPOL-608 Asian Economic Development
  • PPOL-681 BRICS & The Global Economy
  • REES-428 C. Asian Pol in Anthro Perspct
  • SEST-573 Security Iss in South Asia
  • SEST-583 China and its Military
  • SEST-696 Maritime Conflict in Asia
  • SOCI-174 Sociology of Chinese Film
  • SOCI-227 Economy & Society in East Asia
  • SOCI-249 Family & Gender in Japan
  • THEO-050 Islamic Thought & Practice
  • THEO-057 Hindu Religious Tradition
  • THEO-139 Chinese Religions
  • THEO-167 Intro to Buddhism


The M.A. in Asian Studies (MASIA) program offers three functional concentrations and two subregional concentrations. Students simply take three courses focused upon one of these five options. It is possible for students to achieve two concentrations within their degree program. Since MASIA offers a large emphasis on the study of East Asia, students who wish to specialize in South Asia or Southeast Asia can pursue one of the two sub-regional concentrations.

Functional Concentrations:

  • Politics and Security of Asia focuses on the study of traditional security issues including deterrence, nuclear proliferation, arms control, and alliances. It also looks at transnational and non-state security challenges including terrorism, radicalism, religious conflict, and energy security.
  • History, Society and Culture of Asia focuses on the in-depth study of the history and historiographical approaches to Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Central Asian, Southeast Asian or South Asian history and society, as well as literature, religion, philosophy, classics and other areas related to the study of the unique histories, cultures, and societies in Asia. Courses on pre-modern Asia would also count toward fulfillment of the concentration.
  • International Political Economy/Business of Asia emphasizes the relationship between power and wealth in Asia, the prospects for free trade, international business, and finance in Asia.
  • The Energy, Environment and Transnational Issues provides for a focus on topics that transcend national boundaries and emphasizes interdisciplinary areas to include energy, climate, environment, demography, development, health, among other subjects.

Subregional Concentrations:

  • South Asia concentration would offer candidates the opportunity to supplement their study of East Asia with a three-course concentration on the society, politics, economics, culture, and history of South Asia.
  • Southeast Asia concentration would offer candidates the opportunity to supplement their study of East Asia with a three-course concentration on the society, politics, economics, culture, and history of Southeast Asia.

Thesis Option

Students have the option of completing an M.A. thesis in conjunction with a faculty supervisor, upon approval of the Director of Asian Studies. If the candidate chooses to write an M.A. thesis, the candidate must enroll in a thesis seminar (or independent tutorial), which is traditionally taught in the second semester of the program.


Students must demonstrate proficiency in an Asian language at the completion of the program by:

  • successful completion with a grade of B+ or better of advanced language study equivalent to third year at Georgetown or a comparable language program during their time in the M.A. in Asian Studies Program; or
  • specified grade of proficiency in US Government or equivalent language testing while as a graduate student at Georgetown; or
  • pass a proficiency test at Georgetown University; or
  • successful completion of other testing approved by the Director of Asian Studies and the Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Culture.

Upon arrival at Georgetown, all students planning to further their language studies will be required to participate in a language placement exam. Advanced language learners who wish to test out of continued language study while at Georgetown must pass a proficiency exam to satisfy the language requirement. Native speakers of an Asian language, as determined by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Director of Asian Studies, are considered exempt from the language proficiency requirement.


In addition to regular degree requirements, students may use elective courses to complete a certificate in one of the following areas:

  • African Studies
  • Arab Studies
  • Diplomatic Studies
  • Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies
  • International Business Diplomacy
  • Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies


The Asian Studies Program strongly emphasizes career development for the M.A. Asian Studies students. The creation of Georgetown University’s M.A. Asian Studies degree was intended to train and develop the next generation of leading Asia specialists. As a result, the leadership team at the Asian Studies Program works closely with current students to help them enjoy a meaningful education and to assist them in their pursuit of their professional objectives.

The Asian Studies Program offers in-house professional development events to prepare students for their current internships/work experience along with their post-Georgetown graduation plans. Current students have participated in opportunities such as the Asian Studies Speed Networking night, “Lunch with the Ambassador” series, MASIA Career Strategy Group, etc. Opportunity for MASIA students is without limit given Georgetown’s location in America’s center of international relations. Asian Studies staff members regularly update students with upcoming on-campus and off-campus programming.

Students meet with the Supervisor of Academic Programs for 30 minute sessions each semester to discuss their professional objectives and on-going preparation to meet such goals. Students are also welcome to meet with the Supervisor of Academic Programs throughout the year to discuss internship/fellowship/career planning, academic issues, and campus life. Additionally, Georgetown faculty are not only accomplished academics and practitioners, but they are a wealth of information and contacts for current students interested in government service, diplomacy, business, think-tank research, non-profit work, and academia. MASIA students study under top faculty who are leading academics and practitioners in their field, and they benefit greatly from receiving an education that combines the necessary tools of theory and practice. One of the many benefits of the MASIA curriculum is that students can largely tailor their education to their future objectives as the program’s requirements offer multiple relevant choices within the required options.

The faculty and staff at the Asian Studies Program delight in the success of the students. Current MASIA students have been successful in landing valuable internships with the U.S. State Department, CSIS, the Stimson Institute, consulting firms, and other leading organizations in the Washington, DC area and around the world.

Graduate school of foreign service (GSFS) career development centeer

The Asian Studies Program also works closely with the Graduate School of Foreign Service (GSFS) Career Development Center, which serves as an invaluable resource for MASIA students. The Center offers daily walk-in hours during the academic year for students to ask their quick questions. Students are also able to schedule 30 minute appointments to meet with one of the Center’s professional counselors. To assist graduate students with vital skills such as interviewing, networking, salary negotiation, social media, the Center offers regularly scheduled career workshops. Every two weeks during the school year, the Center’s e-newsletter featuring several upcoming employer sessions, internship postings, workshops, off-campus events and more is sent to MASIA students. The Career Center manages the Symplicity database; this online portal is regularly updated with new jobs, internships, and fellowships. Students are also welcome to post their resume onto Symplicity for employers to review. Given the experience of SFS alumni, it is not uncommon for students to find their first post-Georgetown job through this source.

Cawley career education center and other career centers

The Cawley Career Education Center is another office that offers MASIA students with numerous career development resources. The Career Education Center works closely with the GSFS Career Development Center to offer students the following services: on-campus recruitment, career fairs, alumni connections, US Government employer information sessions, and workshops.

Georgetown University also features career development offices at the McDonough School of Business, the Graduate Public Policy Institute, and the Law Center. MASIA students will want to focus their attention to the GSFS Career Development Center, but career events at any of the Georgetown career centers may be open to MASIA students. Typically, such information will be included on Symplicity.

Cost & Fees

Enrollment Fall 2017 (Credit Hours) 12 9 6 9
Tuition & Mandatory Fees $51,041 $39,071 $23,971 $32,876

Entry Requirements

To apply for Georgetown University's M.A. Asian Studies Program, applicants will need to submit the following materials:

  1. Georgetown University Graduate School Online Application
  2. Online Application Supplemental Form
  3. Academic Writing Sample (10-15 pages)
  4. Statement of Purpose (500-700 words)
  5. Three Letters of Recommendation
  6. Official College or University Transcripts from All Post-Secondary Institutions Attended (Community Colleges, Study Abroad, etc.)
  7. Official Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
  8. TOEFL/IELTS Scores (International Applications Only)
  9. Resume or CV
  10. Application Fee
  11. Applicants must have one year of university level language training in an Asian language, with a grade of B or above

Hardcopy materials such as official transcripts should be mailed to the following address: Georgetown University
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Graduate Admissions, Box 571004
3520 Prospect Street, NW, Room CB-207
Attn: MA Asian Studies Application
Washington, DC 20057-1004

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated August 15, 2019
This course is Campus based
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