Minimum Admission Requirements

Applicants must have completed:

  • A baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university, with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
  • 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 or Japanese literature.

For PhD applications: In addition to the requirements of 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 traditions 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 will be asked to complete two semesters of classical language while in the program. The department will evaluate all applications for admission based on previous academic achievements and on the quality of the writing sample.

Application Requirements

All applicants must submit a completed online application, including:

  • CV
  • Statement of Purpose (ca. 800 words)
    Your Statement of Purpose should highlight your expertise and research interests, and explain why you think our program would be a good match for your research interests.
  • An unofficial copy of your transcript(s)
    PDFs of all unofficial transcripts should be uploaded to the online application. If you are offered admission and accept, then we will request that you have your official transcripts sent to Graduate Admissions. International applicants should submit transcripts in the original native language as well as English translations issued by the school or a professional translator.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Writing Sample (ca. 15-20 pages, double spaced)
    Your writing sample should demonstrate your approach to a text or cultural phenomenon that you explore, as well as your ability to create a convincing argument. The writing sample does not need to pertain to your current research interests.
  • If International applicants, official TOEFL or IELSTS scores
    Official TOEFL or IELSTS scores should be no older than 2 years. The exam is not required if you have completed at least one year of full-time academic study at a U.S. institution (or at an institution in a country where English is the native language) at the time you apply, and within two years from your desired admission term. Enrollment in an English language program, including within the USA, does not fulfill this requirement.
    MA applicants: TOEFL score of at least 95 (internet-based), IELTS score of at least 7.0, or Duolingo score of at least 115.
    PhD applicants: TOEFL score of at least 105 (internet-based), IELTS score of at least 7.5, or Duolingo score of at least 125.
  • GRE scores (Not Required)
    In our department, we do not consider GRE scores for our admission decisions, so please feel free to do without the test. If you have taken the test, you are welcome to submit your scores, since they might be useful for any Graduate School fellowships or other college-wide funding opportunities. 


Fall Admission - December 1
Spring Admission - October 1


Please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information or contact


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