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

To view additional details, such as program requirements, university policies, please visit the Student Corner.
  • Program Overview

    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.

    To see the course work and program of study, please view the Course tab. The course covers the following requirements

        • Coursework (includes core courses, electives)
        • Language competency requirement
        • Comprehensive Exams
        • Thesis (if applicable)
  • Thesis or Nonthesis?

    The Asian Center offers two tracks for its MA programs in Asian Studies:

    • Master of Arts in Asian Studies (Thesis track)

    • Master in Asian Studies (Non-thesis).

    The non-thesis track entails more coursework. Please note that some PhD programs abroad, if not in the Philippines, require an M.A. thesis as part of the application process.

  •  Areas of Specialization

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

    • Northeast Asia

    • Southeast Asia

    • South Asia

    • West Asia

    Northeast Asia majors will specialize on China, Japan OR Korea. The other regions do not entail a country of specialization. Please view the list of courses for each area of specialization in the "Coursework" tab on the left. 


    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

    Course Descriptions

    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

    Competency in an Asian language IS NOT required for application to the program. Once enrolled, Asian Center students are required to demonstrate such competency in one (1) language pertaining to their area of specialization and/or thesis.

    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 Farsi (Persian).

    There are generally three ways to comply with the language requirement

    01: The Twelve-Unit Route

    Students can pass twelve (12) units of language courses offered by and through the UP Asian Center (See Asian Language Courses below ) or by other UP Diliman units, such as the Department of Linguistics, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy.
    Extramural classes (not listed in the CRS) from the Linguistics Department do not have official course units and so their hours are counted instead. Arabic 10, 11, 12, 13 (amounting to 12 units) are taught at the Institute of Islamic Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman.

    02 The 192- or 96-Hour Requirement

    Students can complete the required number of hours of language classes (192 hours for Asian Studies majors and 96 hours for Philippine Studies majors) offered by an accredited institution outside UP Diliman.
    The extramural classes (see option 1) of the Department of Linguistics are included in this category. China majors can take up classes and accummulate the required hours at the Confucius Institute (e.g. in Ateneo or in UP Diliman). 
    Please do not enroll in any of these courses without the approval of your program adviser and the Office of the College Secretary.

    03 Certificate of Proficiency

    If they have it, students can present a certificate of language proficiency from accredited organizations, but approval/acceptance thereof is subject to certain conditions, such as expiry date and when the certificate/classes were taken or secured, among others.
    For Japan majors, N5 or better (JLPT). For Korea majors, TOPIK 1 (Beginner), Level 2. For other languages, please coordinate with the Office of the College Secretary to consult your situation.
    NOTE: Please do not take any proficiency exam without approval from your program adviser and from the Office of the College Secretary.

    04 Other Options

    Other scenarios are taken on a case-to-case basis. For instance, if you have taken language courses before entering the program, please consult your Program Adviser,  explain the details (when they were taken, how long, how many hours, what level), and ask if and to what extent such courses can be credited, if at all, or if there are other steps/options to be taken.

    Important Reminder

    Before taking any course, especially outside UP Diliman, please confirm first with the Office of the College Secretary to help ensure your planned course will indeed be credited.
  •  Comprehensive Examinations

    Upon completion of their coursework and language proficiency requirement, students can take a comprehensive examination. The exam covers:

    • General Asian history (for Asian Studies majors only)

    • Theories, perspectives, and research methods

    • 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.

    Visit the "Examinations" tab in the Student Corner to learn requirements, protocols, etc.

  • 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.

    According to the General Rules on Graduate Programs in UP Diliman,

    The master’s thesis must (1) embody an original, and significant research or creative work; (2) show the student’s capacity to make a critical evaluation of previous work done in his/her chosen research topic; and (3) demonstrate his/her ability to present research findings in a clear, systematic, and scholarly manner.

    Pages 16 onward of "General Rules" cover MA programs. Thesis-related matters—adviser, thesis committee, defense, proposal are covered from pages 20 to 23.

    To learn about requirements, protocols, relevant forms, etc., please view the Thesis tab of the Student Corner.

  • For specific program requirements, university rules, please visit the Student Corner.


    What is the coverage of the aptitude and essay exams for application?

    The aptitude exam measures abstract reasoning, among others, while the essay section tests less for objective knowledge than for one's readiness for graduate studies, as well as writing aptitude (grammar, sentence structure, clear presentation of one's ideas, etc.). It would not hurt of course to do some reading.

    When is the application exam?

    Schedule of the exam will be announced during the application period/after you apply. Generally, the exam is scheduled around a week after the deadline of submission.


    How do I get the Certificate of Transfer Credentials?

    This can be obtained at the Registrar's Office of your university. This is only for non-UP Diliman applicants.

    Do I need to submit a research plan even if I am on a non-thesis track?

    Yes, the Research Plan is required even for applicants to the nonthesis track.

    In the research plan, the number of words is indicated in some of the headings. Does this refer to the minimum or maximum word count?

    The number refers to the maximum word count. 

    Is there a GWA requirement for applying?

    At least 3.0 GWA (or its equivalent) is required. Once in the program, students are asked to maintain a GWA of 1.75 or better.

    Is there a degree requirement for application?

    Any BA or BS degree holder is welcome to apply.

    Do I need to know an Asian language to apply?

    Applicants do not need to have competency in any Asian languge when they apply. The language requirement only applies when one is already in the program.

    Do I have to type or hand-write the application forms?

    The application forms can be handwritten or typed/printed.

    Can I ask someone to submit the application documents?

    The requirements have to be submitted in person, either by you or by a representative, only on weekdays (excluding holidays or cancellation of work), 8 am to 12 noon, 1 pm to 5 pm.

    In the Personal Data Sheet/Form, do I have to list all of my unpublished work (term papers?)

    Not all of your term papers. Include your best work and, as applicable, ensure that the list also represents your scholarly interests.


    How often do you accept applications?

    The Asian Center accepts applications every semester. The first semester starts in August, the second in January. Application period generally ends a few months before the start of the semester.

    Can I submit the application documents on weekends?

    Submissions of applications are accepted only on weekdays (excluding holidays or cancellation of work), 8 am to 5 pm

    Where is the Office of the University Registrar?

    View map


    Is there a minimum number of units that I need to take per semester?

    All students, except those in residency, must take at least 6 units per semester.

    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.

    Are there Saturday classes?

    Not all classes will be offered on Saturdays, so there may be cases where working students have to leave early to attend classes on weekdays.

  •  Contact Information

    If you have a question, please check the FAQs tab first.  Please also visit the Student Corner to view detailed academic requirements of student life at the UP Asian Center.

    For more information, you may contact the Office of the College Secretary at 8.981.8500 local 3578 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Kindly look for Mr. Robert Silleza or Avel Golondrina.