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 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)

  • Thesis or Nonthesis?

    The Asian Center offers two tracks for its MA programs:

    • Master of Arts in Asian Studies (Thesis track)

    • Master in Asian Studies (Non-thesis). The latter entails more coursework.

  •  Areas of Specialization

    Regardless of track, students must specialize on one of four regions. Northeast Asia majors will specialize on China, Japan OR Korea. The other regions do not entail a country of specialization.

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

  • Program of Study: List of Required Courses

    The program of study lists down the required courses according to track and area of specialization.

     Master of Arts in Asian Studies (Thesis)   Master in Asian Studies (Nonthesis) 
     Northeast Asia   Northeast Asia 
     Southeast Asia   Southeast Asia
     South Asia   South Asia
     West Asia   West Asia

    Students take courses on the political, social, economic, historical, and cultural aspects of their chosen region (country for Northeast Asia majors). View list of Asian Studies courses.

  • Class 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. There will be semesters when working students will have to leave work earlier to attend weekday classes.

  • Language Requirement

    Asian Center students are required to pass 12 units of a language course that is offered at the University of the Philippines Diliman or other accredited institutions, and is relevant to their thesis and/or area of specialization.  

    For instance, Southeast Asia majors can take up Bahasa, Thai, or Khmer, Lao, OR Burmese; South Asia majors can learn, say, Hindi; Northeast Asia majors can take up Mandarin, Japanese OR Korean; while West Asia majors can study, say, Arabic OR Persian. 

    Competency in an Asian language IS NOT required for application. But once enrolled, Asian Center students must 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 192 hours of language classes offered by an accredited institution; OR

    • Completing 192 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 before 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.

    Course Offerings @ UP Asian Center

    • Intensive Chinese A - Elementary Chinese
    • Intensive Chinese B - Intermediate Chinese

    • Intensive Japanese A - Elementary Japanese (Not offered this semester)
    • Intensive Japanese B - Intermediate Japanese (Not offered this semester)
    • Basic Bahasa
    • Intermediate Bahasa

    Language courses are also offered at the Department of Linguistics, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Arabic is taught at the Institute of Islamic Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman. Asian Center students, however, must consult with and get the approval of their program advisers and/or the College Secretary before enrolling in any of these courses.

  •  Comprehensive Examinations

    Upon completion of their coursework and language proficiency requirement, students can take a comprehensive examination. The exam 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 on the thesis track, 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.

  • Thesis

    For those on the thesis track, passing the comprehensive exam is required before they can enroll in Asian Studies (AS) 300 (thesis). View sample theses.


  • Can I shift from a thesis track to a non-thesis track, and vice versa?

    Any student in the Thesis Track (MAAS or MAPS) may be allowed to transfer to Non-Thesis Track (MAS or MPS) under the following conditions:

    ⦁ He/she writes a formal letter addressed to the Dean requesting permission to transfer, with the endorsement of the Program Adviser
    ⦁ He/she has completed less than eighteen (18) units of course work at the time he/she seeks transfer.

    A student under the Non-Thesis Track may transfer any time to the Thesis Track provided his/her request is favorably endorsed by the Program Adviser on the basis of intellectual capacity and aptitude for advanced research.

    Is there a maintaining grade?

    There is no GWA requirement in applying for the program. But starting 1st semester, Academic Year 2019–2020, students are required to maintain a GWA of 1.75 or better.

  •  Contact Us

    For more information, you may contact the Office of the College Secretary at 8981.8500 local 3578 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.