Certificate in Asian Studies

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The Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies is offered by the Boston University Center for the Study of Asia (BUCSA). It can be earned by post-baccalaureate students in any Boston University graduate or professional program who fulfill the following requirements, in addition to the requirements of their degree programs. No additional coursework is required because courses completed for the Asian Studies Certificate also fulfill course requirements toward the MA degree. Please note that some classes accepted toward the Asian Studies Certificate may not count toward an MA degree in International Relations. Students should be careful to choose courses that will be accepted toward both the certificate and their degree program.

While in theory the Asian Studies Certificate may be combined with any of our MA programs, in practice the relatively complex course requirements of some of our joint programs make it difficult to complete the certificate. The certificate can easily be undertaken by students in the MAIA, IRRN, IRIC, IR/MBA, and IREL programs. Combination with other degree programs may prove difficult.


  • Students must successfully complete at least 16 credits of coursework (4 standard courses) in courses primarily focused on Asia, with a minimum grade of B in each course.
  • Concentration requirement:  At least three of the four courses must focus on a subregional or substantive area (e.g. East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia; comparative government, cultural/archeological preservation, Buddhism).
  • Courses must be chosen from at least two departments or schools.
  • No more than 4 credits can be earned through directed study or research, except with written permission of the Director of BUCSA.
  • Students must complete a piece of significant independent work such as an MA or MFA thesis, a doctoral dissertation, or two substantial research papers in graduate-level seminars.
  • Students must demonstrate reading knowledge of an Asian language relevant to the course of study.  Language proficiency will be demonstrated by passing the language proficiency test of the student’s own department.  For students in schools or departments that do not offer language proficiency testing, BUCSA will arrange an assessment of reading proficiency based on a dictionary-aided, timed translation of a professionally-relevant scholarly (or equivalent) document.
  • Students must receive approval of completion from the Director of BUCSA and the student’s departmental faculty advisor.  Students are expected to consult with the BUCSA Director at the beginning of their studies in order to ensure that their planned courses will fulfill the goals of the certificate program.

Approved Courses

A list of approved courses can be found here.  Other courses may be applied to the certificate with the permission of the director of BUCSA.

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