Asian Languages and Civilizations

The MA in Asian Languages and Civilizations may be pursued with a specialization in Chinese or Japanese. Graduate students work in a broad interdisciplinary context, requiring a study of literary, historical, and cultural texts across the millennia of Chinese and Japanese written materials.

The PhD in Asian Languages and Civilizations offers specializations in Chinese or Japanese with concentrations in literary and/or cultural studies of either the pre-modern or modern periods.

Faculty research includes various specialized topics in Chinese and Japanese literature and cultural history, from early times to the present day, in fields such as poetry, literary criticism, manuscript studies, religious and intellectual history, as well as fiction, drama, and film.

Degrees Offered


Degree Details

Requires 24 hours of approved graduate course work plus a thesis, or 30 hours of coursework without a thesis.

Requires a minimum of 45 credit hours in graduate courses numbered 5000 or above in Chinese or Japanese, and 30 credit hours of dissertation work beyond the required coursework. PhD students may transfer to the department up to 21 hours of acceptable graduate-level credit. Academic preparation is expected in both classical and modern language.

Admissions Requirements

Following is a partial summary of admission requirements. Further details are available on our website, or by contacting the department.

Applicants must:

  • Hold a baccalaureate or its equivalent from an accredited college or university.
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
  • Have successfully completed the equivalent of the CU Boulder undergraduate major in Chinese or Japanese, with advanced competence in modern Chinese or Japanese, an introduction to classical Chinese or Japanese, an understanding of the interrelationship of Chinese or Japanese language and society, and a familiarity with the history and major writers and works of Chinese and Japanese literature.
  • All international students whose native language is not English must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score to be considered for admission.
  • The GRE is strongly recommended for applicants seeking fellowships, scholarships, or any other financial support.
  • Submit a CV, transcripts of all previous academic work, a writing sample, and three letters of recommendation.
  • PhD applicants: In addition to the requirements fo the University of Colorado Graduate School for regular degree students, the department requires all entering PhD students to have superior proficiency in the target language and broad general knowledge of the literary and cultural tradtions of their region of concentration. Academic preparation is expected in both classical and modern language. Applicants for the Japanese program who have not studied the classical language should be prepared to complete two semesters of classical language. The department will evaluate all applications for admission based on previous academic achievements and on the quality of the writing sample.

Fall Domestic Application Deadline

January 5, 2017

Fall International Application Deadline

January 5, 2017

Spring Domestic Application Deadline

October 1, 2016

Spring International Application Deadline

October 1, 2016

Contact Information

University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations
Humanities 240A
279 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0279
Phone 303-492-6639
Fax 303-492-7272

Asian Languages and Civilizations website