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East Asian Studies: Graduate Programs


The Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona offers programs leading to the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees with majors in East Asian Studies. Graduate training in East Asian Studies affords students important opportunities for careers in teaching, research, international business, international law, government and diplomatic service, and journalism.

Graduate courses are offered in a number of disciplines with content focuses on China and Japan, including literature, linguistics, history, anthropology, thought and religion, cultural studies, women’s studies, and Asian American studies. MA students may major in East Asian Studies (general or professional concentration), Chinese Studies or Japanese Studies. An accelerated MA program allows UA undergraduates to pursue a Master’s degree in less time. Ph.D. students will choose a China-area or Japan-area focus.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

General Expected Outcomes for Masters Students:

• Speak, comprehend, read, and write the target language at advanced-level proficiency.
• Formulate research questions, evaluate current research, assess methodologies, collect data, analyze collected information, and communicate conclusions drawn effectively in speech and writing.
• Analyze how specific historical and cultural contexts shape particular perceptions, practices, and products of individuals, for example literary texts.
• Develop an area of special academic interest and assess and apply appropriate bibliographic tools to find relevant bibliographic sources for their research topics and assess the credibility of such sources.
• Demonstrate practical teaching skills by actively leading classroom discussion and/or teaching language classes, by leading small group for problem solving, and by giving presentations in class.

General Expected Outcomes for Ph.D. Students:

• Superior ability to communicate orally and in writing in Chinese and English, or Japanese and English and reading competency in a third language.
• Develop an area of special academic expertise and evaluate current research in this area of interest.
• Design and conduct independent research using primary and secondary materials in the target language.
• Assess current methodologies in the field and apply these methodologies where appropriate to the collection and analysis of data.
• Collect and organize data and articulate conclusions drawn from these data in the form of a thesis or dissertation.
• Produce publishable research papers or research reports presentable at professional meetings on topics relevant to an area of students’ specialty.

Assessment Activities: 

1. Matriculation Interviews: all entering students are interviewed individually about their long-term career goals and immediate course and exam plans by the faculty in the first two weeks of the fall semester.

2. Graduate Program Advisors’ Evaluation: the two Graduate Program Directors (China- and Japan-area) work with the faculty academic advisor of the individual student to continuously assess his/her performance, largely through regular, required personal meetings.

3. Annual Assessment: Each spring a graduate student will fill out a progress report form that details her academic activities in the past year. The major academic advisor will review the form and then report to the entire EAS faculty at the last departmental meeting of the semester. The Graduate Program Directors will place the form with comments from the faculty in the student’s file.

4. Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations (Ph.D. students only): a faculty committee provides a clear and graduated assessment of each student’s general and more specialized knowledge in appropriate subject areas.

5. Thesis Supervision and Thesis Defense: the thesis is written under the close and constant supervision of a faculty director. Each MA thesis or Ph.D. dissertation is read and evaluated by a committee of faculty members, who attend the oral defense, at which time they determine both the outcome of the defense and, in conjunction with the student, formulate a plan for any revisions and for the thesis’s final acceptance.

6. MA examinations: MA students in the Chinese or Japanese linguistics track take an examination in lieu of writing a thesis. A faculty committee provides a clear and graduated assessment of each student’s general and specialized knowledge in her area of study.

7. GAT Evaluations: assessment of graduate students’ teaching skills and knowledge are done through classroom observations by faculty members who supervise them and the directors of language programs. They also monitor GATs’ course evaluations.

8. Assessment of proficiency level of the target language (Chinese/Japanese): students’ proficiency is assessed by faculty members who teach the advanced language courses.

9. Exit Surveys are administered to all graduating MA and Ph.D. students to measure their satisfaction with their programs of study in the areas of courses, exams, and advising, as well as with more general aspects of the graduate program.

Assessment Findings: 

In AY 2015-16, by way of APR and other assessment activities, we learned that students had concerns with issues of graduate course availability, integration of disciplinary contents, and socialization of student life.

Change in Response to Findings: 

In response to the assessment findings, EAS decided to add: 1. an annual assessment procedure outlined above; 2. an exit survey of graduating students; 3. three new 2-credit courses required for all incoming graduate students. These courses will introduce each year’s new cohort of M.A. and Ph.D. students to the themes and methodologies involved in three areas of study: premodern East Asian studies, modern East Asian studies, and East Asian linguistics.

Updated date: Thu, 02/02/2017 - 15:06