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. 


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: