Admission and Application

The Department's minimum admission requirements are:

  • An undergraduate degree with an average of 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate work (or graduate work) at the University of Alberta, or an equivalent qualification from a recognized institution.
  • Four years of university-level study (or the equivalent) in the languages(s) in which the student will be carrying out research are required; an undergraduate background related to the proposed area of graduate study is preferred. 
  • Applicants with degrees/qualifications in a language other than English need to demonstrate English Language Proficiency by completing an approved English language exam. A TOEFL score of 90 with a score of at least 21 on each of the individual skill areas (internet based) or equivalent, or an IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 on each band.
Applicants who do not meet specific criteria as noted above are not automatically denied admission, since the department considers applicants based on their interests and their skill set. Moreover, requirements for admission may vary according to discipline. For example, applicants with interest in Japanese or Chinese Linguistics are expected to have advanced skills in their language of interest, while those interested in other subjects may not require the same level of fluency. The department thus encourages applicants with a variety of backgrounds in East Asian Studies, but also reserves the right to reject candidates for whom it lacks supervisory capacity.

Formal Application

Deadline for complete application is January 15 (for Fall term admission). Formal application is made through the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research online application, (that includes reference letters) - no hard copies of documents need to be mailed to the department. Please note that there is an application fee when submitting an application.

The required online application documents are (please also see the "Application Requirements for Academic Documents):

  1. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  2. Official copies of transcripts and degree certificates from all previous post-secondary schooling showing marks obtained
    Transcripts and degree certificates from foreign, non-Anglophone institutions must be submitted in the original language, accompanied by a certified English translation.
  3. Three reference letters submitted directly to the online application system
    Ideally, your letters of reference should be written by professors who can testify to your research aptitude in the field which you wish to study during your MA program. More specific letters (including a candid assessment of both your strengths and weaknesses) are more helpful to your application. Please request letters from your writers at least one month in advance of our due date, and remind them to upload them on time.
  4. Research proposal (1-2 pages)
    Your research proposal should explain clearly what specific research topic you wish to pursue during your MA program. Although you do not need to explain exactly what you will write about in your MA thesis, you should be able to explain what kinds of questions you wish to pursue about which narrow sub-field within your chosen discipline. Your research proposal should demonstrate a clear knowledge of North American research standards and methodologies, which are vastly different from those prevalent in Asian academia. (If you have not had prior exposure to North American research methods, it is strongly recommended that you read extensively in recent English-language scholarly publications in your field before beginning your application.) Your research proposal should also propose a line of research that one of our current faculty members is capable of supervising (see "People" tab). If none of our faculty members focuses on your intended research field, you should consider applying to a different program. Finally, while it is good to include in your research proposal a description of how your prior education has prepared you for this line of study, it is not appropriate to include personal information in your research proposal.
  5. Writing sample (5-15 pages, in English)
    The writing sample should be an academic paper on a subject closely related to your proposed field of graduate study. It is important that you use this writing sample, not just to demonstrate mastery of written English, but also mastery of contemporary North American research methodologies in your chosen field. You may submit a paper which you have previously turned in as a class assignment, but it is strongly recommended that you revise this paper to make it as good as possible before uploading it to our application system.
  6. TOEFL/IELTS scores when applicable

You will be able to check the progress of your application by returning to the online system, which will provide a list of outstanding documents and those received. A supervisor is not required at the time of application.