Regional Studies–East Asia (RSEA) is a vibrant interdisciplinary area studies program designed to accommodate a wide range of interests and needs for graduate training in the languages, societies, and cultures of East Asia. The program affords students interested in a professional career of engagement with Asia an opportunity to pursue a flexible and varied course of instruction related to their career interests; it also serves the needs of students who wish to enter a PhD program but require further background training in the field of East Asian studies. RSEA prepares students for careers in higher education, politics, the military, journalism, international organizations, and the business and financial sectors.

RSEA dates back to 1946, when renowned China scholar John King Fairbank launched a full-time seminar leading to a master’s degree known as Regional Studies–China; the seminar was later expanded to include Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, and became the AM program known as Regional Studies–East Asia.

For more than half a century, RSEA transformed the field of East Asian Studies and produced over a thousand alumni in all walks of life. Many of RSEA’s alumni have achieved distinction in the academic world or in the world of public service.

Admissions Requirements

In evaluating applications, the RSEA admissions committee may consider any and all of the following criteria for admission: proven academic excellence, the extent of appropriate language training and prior experience in East Asia, letters of recommendation, writing ability (as demonstrated by a writing sample no longer than 20 pages), GRE scores and, where applicable, TOFEL or IELTS scores (a score of at least 100 on the iBT TOEFL or at least 7.5 on the IELTS is required), together with the student’s own statement of purpose and proposed subject of study. In addition, each study plan is evaluated to assess the availability of suitable faculty resources to provide adequate training and supervision to an applicant, if admitted.

Please note that on your application, you are asked to indicate which Harvard faculty member(s) you would like to work with should you be admitted into the program. It is important for you to do so to ensure that faculty members with whom you would like to work are informed when your application becomes available for review. There is no need to contact faculty directly.

Regional Studies–East Asia provides more information and an admission FAQ. GSAS Policies details program requirements. 

Regional Studies–East Asia Faculty