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Graduate: Asian and Asian American Studies

  • Program Overview

    M.A. in Contemporary Asian and Asian American Studies

    The Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, within the College of Arts and Sciences, was established in 2002.  It is one of the few departments in the U.S. that integrates the study and teaching of both Asian and Asian American studies.  It focuses on Asian and Asian American languages, cultures, and intellectual histories over time and in contact with other global cultures. 

    This Master’s program focuses on contemporary Asian and Asian-American cultures, politics and societies, contemporary philosophical and religious orientations in Asia, as well as the role of global processes in the transformation of Asia and Asian America. 

    The following individuals are encouraged to apply:

    1. Undergraduate majors or minors in Asian Studies and/or Asian American Studies who would like to pursue a graduate degree to enhance their employment prospects;
    2. Individuals with an academic background in Art, Business, Education, Journalism, Health Professions, Engineering and other fields who would like to develop expert knowledge about Asia and Asian America;
    3. Individuals who are planning a career in Arts and Culture, Business, Advertising, Education, Journalism, Diplomacy, International Relations, Health Sciences, and Industry in today’s globalized job market;
    4. Mid-career professionals who would like to enhance their job prospects by building expert knowledge about Asia and Asian America;
    5. Teachers of ESL, EFL, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, French, Italian, and other global languages who would like to seek relevant advanced professional training.

    Asian and Asian American Studies

    E.K. Tan

    Graduate Program Director 
    Gregory A. Ruf, Humanities Building 1126

    Graduate Secretary
    Lynne Foerster, Humanities Building 1046 (631) 632-4030

    Degrees Awarded 
    M.A. in Contemporary Asian and Asian American Studies

    Web Site


  • Admissions

    Admission to the M.A. Program in Contemporary Asian and Asian American Studies

    Applicants for admission to the Master’s program are expected to hold a Bachelor’s degree (in any field) and have basic proficiency (two years of formal study or equivalent) in at least one Asian language.  Applicants are required to submit the following materials:

    • Undergraduate transcript
    • Official report of GRE scores
    • Statement of purpose (500-1000 words)
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Official report of TOEFL scores (for international applicants from non-English speaking countries)

    The Asian language requirement may be met in the following ways:

    A.         Equivalent course-work: Students who have completed at least two years (12 credits) of college-level course-work in an Asian language will be deemed to have met the language eligibility requirement.

    B.         Individualized Plan: Students who do not meet the language eligibility requirement through previous course-work must, upon entering the program, consult with the Graduate Director to develop an individualized plan to establish basic Asian language proficiency through one of the following four options:

    1.         By passing a Challenge Exam in an Asian Language

    2.         By passing another examination approved by the Graduate Director.

    3.         By completing Asian Language Coursework after admission (NB: Such course credits are remedial, however, and as such will NOT count toward completion of the M.A. degree)

    4.         By participating in a semester-long or year-long academic Study Abroad program in an Asian country

    C. Special Reading Courses (reading course credits will NOT count toward completion of the M.A. degree)

  • Degree Requirements

    Requirements for the M.A. Degree in Contemporary Asian and Asian American Studies

    30-credits, including 24-credits of course work and 6-credits of thesis/project work, over two semesters.  More specifically, students are required to take the following:

    1)      a fall pro-seminar in research methods (3 credits)

    2)      one course in each of five categories (15 credits):

    • Language and Cross-Cultural Communication
    • Religions and Philosophies of Asia
    • Culture and Heritage
    • Politics and Society
    • Contemporary Asian Diaspora

    3)      two elective courses in any field of interest, chosen in consultation with and subject to approval of the Graduate Director (6 credits)

    4)      a thesis or final project (6 credits)

     An optional Asian language track is provided for students with a strong background and interest in a particular Asian language.  These students may take graduate level Asian language courses as their two elective courses for the MA program. 

  • Facilities

    Program faculty and students will be able to draw upon a wide range of academic, professional, and cultural resources.  These include academic programs in Asian & Asian American Studies, China Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, and South Asian Studies, as well as Cultural Analysis and Theory, Business, Journalism, Media Studies, Linguistics, Religious Studies, Philosophy, History, and various social sciences.  In terms of professional development, PEP (Professional Education Program) coordinates with the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies and Foreign Language Teacher Preparation Program to offer teacher certification programs for Chinese, Japanese and Korean.  Moreover, the Language Learning and Research Center (LLRC) offers a state-of-the-art multimedia language center at Stony Brook University, with a wide variety of materials and technologies to assist scholars and students of Asian languages. The Center for Multilingual and Intercultural Communication (MIC) provides opportunities for research across languages and cultures.  Master’s students seeking to pursue a study abroad opportunities during their graduate training will work with the Office of the International Academic Programs and Services.  In addition, there are a variety of social and cultural activities and services offered through the Mattoo Center for India Studies, the Japan Center at Stony Brook, the Center for Korean Studies, the Charles B. Wang Center, as well as the diverse student organizations represented on campus.

  • Faculty

    Distinguished Professors  

    Sridhar, Shikaripur N., SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, Ph.D., 1980, University of Illinois: South Asian Linguistics; Kannada Grammar and Sociolinguistics; Multilingualism; Psycholinguistics; second Language Acquisition and Teaching; World Englishes; India Studies; Kannada Literature and Translation of Indian Literacy Classics.

    Full Professors

    Chittick, William C.  Ph.D., 1973, University of Tehran:  Islamic intellectual history, Sufism, Persian literature.

    He, Agnes Weiyun, Department Chair, Ph.D., 1993, UCLA:  discourse and communication, language socialization, heritage language, Chinese.      

    Murata, Sachiko, Ph.D., 1971, University of Tehran:  Islamic thought in the Chinese language, Islamic law, Islamic cosmology.

    Associate Professors

    Balce, Nerissa S., Ph.D., 2002, UC Berkeley: postcolonial theory and the cultures of 1898; race, American visual culture and feminist epistemologies; state violence and Filipino culture; and Asian American literature and culture.

    Kim, Hongkyung, Ph.D., 1993, Sungkyunkwan Unviersity in Seoul, South Korea: Korean Intellectual History, Confucianism and Daoism.

    Nicholson, Andrew J., Ph.D., 2005, University of Chicago: philosophies of India; Hinduism; Indian intellectual history: philosophy of religion; Sanskrit.

    Ruf, Gregory. Ph.D. 1993 Columbia University: cultural anthropology, Gender & Social Organization, Historical Anthropology, Cultural Ecology & Environmental History, Maritime Studies, Social Theory, Ethnographic Methods, Research Design, Ancient China, Modern China.

    Sridhar, Kamal K., Ph.D. 1980, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:  Applied Linguistics, TESOL, Sociolinguistics, Bilingualism, World Englishes.

    Assistant Professors

    Sato, Eriko, Ph.D., 1996, The State University of New York at Stony Brook:  linguistics; second language acquisition; translation studies.


    Christoff, Peggy Spitzer, Ph.D., 1984, American University: US-China scientific and technological relations; women’s oral history; Asian American Pacific Islander voting patterns.

    Diaz, Mary Ph.D. 2002, Stony Brook University: Japanese Literature and Religious Studies.

    Hwang, Jiwon, Ph.D., 2011, Stony Brook University: Second Language Acquisition, Korean linguistics, language processing

    Nagase, Eva, Ph.D. candidate, Stony Brook University:  Japanese language, culture studies, material culture, travelogue, Japanese literature, Japanese art.

    Sohn, Heejeong, Ph.D., 2014, Stony Brook University:  Modern Korea, visual culture, representational techniques, gender, Korean language and culture.

    Zeng, Dongmei, Provost's Outstanding Lecturer, D.A., 1997, SBU: Chinese language maintenance and shift, second language acquisition and pedagogy, Chinese linguistics.

    Affiliate Faculty

    August, Timothy K., Ph.D., 2014, University of Minnesota: Critical refugee studies, Asian American studies, Diasporic Vietnamese literature and film, Postcolonial theory and criticism.

    Lim, Shirley Jennifer, Ph.D., 1998, UCLA: Asian American history, race/ethnicity, gender, film, popular culture.

    Santa Ana, Jeffrey, Ph.D., 2004, University of California, Berkeley: Associate Professor of English, Asian American and Asian-Pacific diaspora studies, postcolonial literature and criticism, gender and sexuality (queer studies), environmental humanities and ecocriticism, memory studies.

    Tan, E.K., Ph.D., 2007, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Sinophone Studies, Modern Chinese Literature, Culture and Film, Postcolonial Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, Cultural Translation.

    Wilson, Nicholas Hoover, Ph.D., 2012, UC-Berkeley:  Assistant Professor.  Empire and Imperialism, Corruption, Sociology of Knowledge and Culture, Historical Sociology.


  • Contact

    Asian and Asian American Studies

    E.K. Tan

    Graduate Program Director 
    Gregory A. Ruf, Humanities Building 1126

    Graduate Secretary
    Lynne Foerster, Humanities Building 1046 (631) 632-4030

    Degrees Awarded 
    M.A. in Contemporary Asian and Asian American Studies

    Web Site