2023-24 Edition

Asian American Studies, M.A. (4+1)

The combined Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Asian American Studies is designed for UCI undergraduate students looking to engage in the most critical issues at the forefront of the field. At the conclusion of the program, graduates are trained in interdisciplinary theories and methods for social justice-driven research as well as have developed an understanding of issues facing local, national, and global Asian American communities through first-hand interaction and engagement.

All students wishing to participate in the program should first meet with the Academic Program Coordinator to discuss eligibility and coursework opportunities. In order to be considered admissible, at minimum, students must meet the following criteria:

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis during the final year of undergraduate study. There is a fall quarter application deadline for fall graduates and a winter quarter application deadline for winter and spring graduates.

The process to apply is as follows:

  • Set up an advising appointment with the Academic Program Coordinator.
  • Complete an online graduate application through UCI Graduate Division.
  • Submit the following supplemental application materials:
    • Unofficial transcripts of all post-secondary work
    • One letter of recommendation from an Asian American Studies core or affiliate faculty member
    • A writing sample (10 pages in length).
      • Writing sample may be one of 10 pages or two writing samples of five pages each, and it should reflect the applicant’s research ability and preferably be of Asian American Studies based content.
Course Requirements

All students at the graduate level of the B.A./M.A. program must complete a total of nine courses (36 units) for the degree.

A. Complete the following:
ASIANAM 200A Theory and Methods in Asian American Studies
ASIANAM 200B Contemporary Issues in Asian American Studies
ASIANAM 200C Leadership and Social Change in Asian American Communities
ASIANAM 200D Introduction to Asian American Studies Research
ASIANAM 201 Graduate Topics in Asian American Studies
or ASIANAM 250 Advanced Topics in Asian American Studies
B. Complete three of the following:
ASIANAM 290 Directed Research
C. Select one graduate level elective
Language Requirement

Students must complete college-level coursework equivalent to UCI’s sixth quarter of study (2C level, or for Latin or Greek, one 103 and one 104, or two 103s or 104s) in a language other than English or equivalent competence. The final course must be taken for a letter grade and passed with a grade of C or better.

Degree Conferral

M.A. students may complete one of the following options as their degree capstone. Regardless of capstone track, all students must have a minimum GPA of 3.5. Thesis and Creative Project options both require a public defense to earn the degree.

Plan I – Thesis: The thesis, approximately 25 to 35 pages in length, is a piece of independent research reviewed and approved by the faculty advisor and the thesis committee. The faculty advisor, in addition to two UCI faculty members (one of which must be another Asian American Studies faculty member), will evaluate the thesis for degree conferral. In addition to the written work, students are required to complete the thesis defense open to the public.

Plan II – Creative Project: Students can choose to produce a piece of creative work as part of the M.A. program. Guidelines of work expectations for a creative project will be determined by the faculty advisor. The faculty advisor, as well as two additional committee members (typically Asian American Studies faculty members), will evaluate the student's work for degree conferral. In addition to the production of the creative work, students are required to complete the written evaluation of the creative project (10-15 pages in length) and the project defense open to the public.

Plan III – Comprehensive Exam: At the end of the final quarter, the M.A. candidate must pass a comprehensive exam that illustrates mastery of key concepts and methods of inquiry in Asian American Studies. The final format of the exam is determined in consultation with the faculty advisor. The exam is administered by the faculty advisor and an exam committee comprised of at least two additional Asian American Studies faculty members.

Time to Degree

Students complete all degree requirements and the Master’s thesis/comprehensive exam within one year (three quarters) once they have transitioned to graduate student status. Maximum time to degree is two years after the Bachelor’s degree.