Graduate Program, Master of Arts in Asian Civilizations

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Admission to the Asian Civilizations M.A. program is limited. Before completing an application, we invite you to contact the department for more information.

The graduate program in Asian Civilizations provides preparation for doctoral study in a variety of disciplines. It is also of interest to students with nonacademic career plans for whom graduate-level work in an Asian language and culture would be useful. Students in professional programs are encouraged to consider working toward a concurrent degree in Asian Civilizations.

The Master of Arts in Asian Civilizations requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of approved coursework, 24 of which must be taken in residence at The University of Iowa. By the end of the first semester in residence, students propose a plan of study developed in consultation with their advisor and in accordance with guidelines for specializations within the program. 

All students must maintain a 3.00 minimum grade point average. Detailed information on degree requirements and application procedures can be found at

Information about the graduate program in Asian Civilizations can be found at  If you have additional questions, please email

Please use the following links to view the curriculum requirements for the various tracks and emphasis areas within the Asian Civilizations MA program:

  • Chinese tracks 
  • Japanese tracks (applications not being accepted for this track)
  • Sanskrit track (applications not being accepted for this track)
  • South Asian Studies track (applications not being accepted for this track)

By the end of the final semester in residence, students are expected to demonstrate, either by departmental examination or the successful completion of courses at the appropriate level, advanced competence in Chinese, Japanese, or Sanskrit, defined generally as corresponding to the fourth-year level of language coursework in Chinese or Japanese and the third-year level in Sanskrit.

The following apply to all MA candidates:

  • The MA Program in Asian Civilizations comprises 30 semester hours of course work, 24 of which must be taken in residence. Students may petition for additional non-residence credits in approved study abroad programs taken after entering the MA program. Such additional credits must have the approval of the department and the dean of the Graduate College.
  • Students will be expected to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
  • Students who fall below a 3.0 GPA will be put on probation for one semester.
  • If students fail to reach a cumulative 3.0 GPA within the following semester, they will be asked to withdraw from the program.
  • By the end of the first semester of residency, students are expected to propose a plan of study made in consultation with her or his advisor.
  • The student's plan of study and any subsequent changes in the plan must have the approval of, and be signed by, the student's advisor and the chair of the department.
  • The plan of study may include a limited number of appropriate courses taken outside the program.
  • A maximum of 6 semester hours of essay or thesis may be counted toward the 30 s.h.
  • Each student is required to successfully complete with a grade of "B" or better at least one approved seminar or an advanced reading course requiring a seminar level paper. With the advisor's approval, a student may substitute an MA Thesis, Essay, or Project for the seminar course.