Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The Asian Studies MA program of the Asian Center is an interdisciplinary program that yields a deeper understanding and a wider perspective on Asia that cannot be obtained by concentrating on a single discipline. Grounding them on research methodologies and theories on area studies, and on various social sciences, the program requires students to take courses on the history, politics and governance, economic development, and culture of Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, OR West Asia.

Program Overview (Units)

Two Tracks: Thesis or Nonthesis

The Asian Center offers two tracks for its MA programs: The Master of Arts in Asian Studies (thesis track), and the Master in Asian Studies (non thesis).  The latter entails more coursework. Except for Southeast Asia, the required number of units are the same regardless of area of specialization. Three units is equivalent to one subject. 

Areas of Specialization

Regardless of track, students must specialize on one of four regions. 

    • Northeast Asia
    • Southeast Asia
    • South Asia, OR
    • West Asia (Middle East)

Northeast Asia majors will specialize on China, Japan OR Korea. The other regions do not entail a country of specialization. Click on the area of specialization to view the courses for each. 

Program of Study: List of Required Courses for Each Track and Area of Specialization

Click on the region below to view the courses for each track and area of specialization.

Coursework: Interdisciplinary

Depending on their track, students can take a certain number of electives. But whichever area of specialization they choose, they must pass four core courses (Pre-modern Asian History; Modern Asian History; Research Methods; and Theories and Perspectives on Area Studies). They must also take courses on the political, social, economic, historical, and cultural aspects of their chosen region (country for Northeast Asia majors). 

Refer to the Program of Study to determine the number and kind of courses needed depending on track and area of specialization. View list of Asian Studies courses.

Grade Requirements

There is no GWA requirement in applying for the program. But students are required to maintain a GWA of at least 2.0.

Coursework: Schedules

Generally, classes meet on weekdays once a week for three hours from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Some classes are offered on Saturdays at 8:30 a.m, 11:30 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. What these courses are depend on the teacher and the semester.

Language Requirement

Students are required to demonstrate competence in one (1) Asian language such as Bahasa-Indonesia/Malaysia, Chinese, Japanese OR any language required in or relevant to their area of specialization by:

  • Passing a language proficiency examination given by an accredited institution; by completing 196 hours of language classes offered by an accredited institution; OR
  • Completing 196 hours or 12 units of language classes offered within the University of the Philippines. Students can take and language courses in Bahasa and Japanese offered in the Asian Center or at the Department of Linguistics, UP Diliman. 

This requirement must be satisfied prior to taking the comprehensive examination. Language classes may be taken outside the UP Asian Center or outside the University of the Philippines Diliman, but before enrolling in these external courses, please ask the Office of the College Secretary if such institutions are accredited and courses taken therein will be credited accordingly. Click here to learn more about course offerings, and rules and regulations

Comprehensive Examinations

Upon completion of their coursework and language proficiency requirement, students are eligible take a comprehensive examination that covers general Asian history; theories, perspectives, and research methods; and area/country of specialization. For students in the nonthesis track, passing this exam is the last major step to qualifying for graduation.

For those who are doing their thesis, passing the comprehensive exam is required before they can enroll in Asian Studies (AS) 300 (thesis). There are no numerical grades for the comprehensive examination. One either fails, or gets a pass or high pass for each facet of the exam.

Contact Us

For more information, you may contact the Office of the College Secretary at 981.8500 local 3578 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Last Updated: 21 March 2019