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Graduate Programs - General Information

There are numerous opportunities for graduate work in Asian Studies at Cornell University, so it is important that applicants understand the options and choose the course of study that will help you meet your individual goals. Please read the Department of Asian Studies material as well as the information you receive from the Graduate School carefully before applying.

The Cornell University Department of Asian Studies has two graduate program options. There is a M.A./Ph.D. program in Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture, and an M.A. program in Asian Studies. Both programs has three areas of concentration: East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

M.A./Ph.D. study in various fields:

Please note that the term "Field" has a special meaning at Cornell, since graduate study here is organized into Fields that are only loosely related to Departments and Programs. Students who wish to work toward a doctorate and have had undergraduate training in Asian Studies and in another discipline should apply to the M.A. or Ph.D. program in the appropriate field (i.e., anthropology or history). In addition to the Fields of Asian Literature, Religions and Culture, and Asian Studies, a complete list of the fields of study offered at Cornell is provided by the Graduate School. Some fields have concentrations dealing directly with Asia (i.e., Chinese history), while others allow students to create an individualized Asian Studies minor.

Admission requirements:

These vary somewhat by field and concentration. All students are required to submit GRE scores, and most students who are admitted score above 319 in the combined Verbal and Quantitative sections, the Verbal score should be 153 or above. GRE scores are valid for only three years. Any exams taken before 2012 will not be accepted. The Field of Asian Studies does not require any advanced subject tests. Foreign nationals, whose native language is not English, must take the TOEFL exam and score at least as follows: Writing 20; Listening 15; Reading 20; Speaking 22. TOEFL scores are valid for only two years. Any application where the TOEFL scores do not meet the minimums listed here will not be eligible for review.

Since all fields of graduate study at Cornell are competitive, you are advised to write a thoughtful statement of purpose, select your referees carefully and inform them of your goals, request your undergraduate records early, and complete your application as soon as possible.

The deadline for receiving completed applications, test scores, and all other application materials for the Field of Asian Literature, Religion and Culture is January 10. The Field of Asian Studies does not have a formal deadline date, but applicants are encouraged to send in their application materials as soon as possible. The selection committee also reserves the right to defer applications received later in the decision process to the next academic year. Any applications received after July 1 will be deferred to the following year admission cycle by the Graduate School. You may check with the Graduate School for the final application dates for any other Cornell University fields of study.

Financial Aid:

Most of Cornell's financial support goes to students in Ph.D. degree programs. Normally, admission to a Ph.D. field includes a commitment from the Graduate School of five years of financial support, with the expectation that the student would work as a teaching assistant for three of those years. However, there is no university funding available for M.A. students. The area programs (East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia) may have information available about outside funding sources.

Further information:

For further information about the Field of Asian Studies or the Field of Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture, contact us by e-mail at: