Colourful Lanterns

Program options

General information


Please visit the application page


Applicants must hold, or expect to hold by September of the year of entry, a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies or related fields. Applicants are expected to have proficiency in the East Asian Language(s) most useful for the proposed graduate work (preferably three years or more of course work or equivalent).


Applicants must hold, or expect to hold by September of the year of entry, a Master's degree in East Asian Studies or related fields.

Deadline for the Fall term: January 6

Find detailed instructions on how to apply and how to upload required supporting documents.

You must pay a non-refundable application fee or your application will not be processed.

Should you decide to formally apply, all supplemental application materials and supporting documents must be uploaded directly to the McGill admissions processing system.

Uploading documents FAQ

  1. Transcripts. Your record of study from each university-level institution or college attended so far. An unofficial copy of your complete university-level academic record to date must be uploaded, using Minerva (to which you will have access upon application). Please note that uploaded transcripts will be considered as unofficial. Once you are admitted, you will be required to supply official transcripts before enrolling for courses.
  2. Two letters of reference submitted on the official letterhead of the recommending professor's department.
    You must identify on the application form two instructors, who are familiar with your work, and who are willing to write the letters of recommendation. You must provide a valid institutional e-mail address for each referee.
    McGill University will send an e-mail to each referee you identify on the application form, asking for a reference in support of your application to be admitted.  If no response is received, a reminder message will be sent every two weeks. In rare cases a referee may decline the request; you will be advised by e-mail if your selected referee declines, and you will be asked to provide an alternate. Referees will be invited to log-in to a secure portion of the McGill website, where they can upload the letter(s) of reference.
  3. Writing sample. You must provide a 15-20 page writing sample.
  4. Curriculum Vitae and research proposal. The research proposal (approximately 500 words for Master's and 5 pages for PhD) should indicate potential supervisor, the field in which the applicant wishes to pursue, and the reasons for applying to the program. A description of the proposed research project, with brief bibliography, should be included.
  5. Test scores. For all non-native speakers of English, the Department of East Asian Studies also requires proof of proficiency in English. The most common test is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). The minimum score required by the Department is 577 the paper-based test or 86 on the internet-based test. The codes for reporting TOEFL scores to the department are as follows: the Institutional Code for McGill University is 0935 and the code for the Department ("Far Eastern Languages and Literatures") is 29.

    Alternatively, students proving their English proficiency may use the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examination, for which the minimum score is an overall band average of 6.5 (academic module).

    McGill University only accepts IELTS scores submitted electronically by an IELTS test center. No paper test report forms will be accepted. An institutional code is NOT required. Applicants must directly ask the test center where the test is taken to send the test scores to McGill electronically using the IELTS system.  IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to McGill.


Applicants for the M.A. or Ph.D. programs in East Asian Studies are automatically considered for financial support. For more information on Graduate Funding and Fellowship awards contact the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office.

In addition, there are 4 basic ways to finance your graduate studies at McGill:

  • Competitive fellowships: These are scholarships awarded to students through national and university level competitions. Fellowships are the most prestigious awards because of the high level of competition. In general they range from a minimum of $5,000 per year to as high as $35,000 or more per year. Fellowships are awarded by a variety of organizations and there are a number of internal fellowships.
  • Stipends: These are scholarships paid to graduate students from a professor’s grant. Because they are paid from a professor’s grant, it is up to him or her to decide who to award it to. The value of individual stipends is determined by the professor, although some research councils set minimum levels.
  • Assistantships: Graduate students can be offered two types of assistantships; teaching assistantships and research assistantships. Both are open to all graduate students, regardless of nationality.
  • Loans and bursaries: These are based on financial need rather than merit. The McGill Student Aid Office is responsible for administering all needs–based financial aid.

Program requirements


For the M.A. program, the student is required to complete 45 credits, including 21 credits of coursework and a thesis (24 credits). The coursework typically consists of seven 3-credit graduate courses and must include one 3-credit seminar in theory/methodology and 6 further credits of graduate seminars.

A maximum of 6 credits of language courses at the 500-level or in a classical language may be counted towards course requirements. Students must have 4th level language equivalency by the completion of their MA program.


After successfully completing the MA degree or its equivalent, a student will be admitted to the second year of the PhD program. The Graduate Studies Committee will assign a committee( The Graduate Advisory Committee) to advise the student and specify the student's course program. Exceptional students with appropriate background at the undergraduate level may be admitted directly into the PhD program.

There are four requirements for obtaining the Doctoral Degree:

  1. Course work. Students must complete at least 24 course credits at the graduate level, with a grade point average of 3.5 or better. On the basis of this course work, the student should identify three distinct fields for the Comprehensive Evaluation. Students may take up to 6 credits in another department with the approval of the Graduate Advisory Committee.
  2. Language. Candidate will be required to demonstrate proficiency in a second research language, which may include either modern or literary (classical) language, in addition to the primary Asian language of their research.
  3. PhD comprehensive evaluation. The student is required to pass the Comprehensive Evaluation within one year after completing course work. Exceptions have to be approved by the Graduate Advisory Committee.
    PDF icon Comprehensive Exam Policy (PhD) for East Asian Studies
  4. Doctoral dissertation. A thesis proposal (15-25 pages) should be submitted to the Graduate Advisory Committee within six months after successful completion of the PhD Comprehensive Evaluation, after consultation with the Graduate Program Director and the thesis supervisor. Before submission of the dissertation, candidates expected to spend time in Asia researching their project. The PhD thesis should represent original scholarship.


The Graduate and Postdoctoral Support website offers research and evidence-based advice to graduate students and their supervisors on how to work together effectively and avoid common problems in supervision.


Graduate Program Director (GPD)

Associate Professor Gavin Walker
855, Sherbrooke St West, 7th Floor
Montreal, QC  H3A 2T7
Phone: 514-398-4400 Ext 09274
Email: gavin.walker [at]

Office hours: by appointment


Graduate Program Director (GPD)

Associate Professor Gavin Walker
Email: gavin.walker [at]

Graduate Program Coordinator

Ms. Sarah Curci 
Email: sarah.curci [at]
680 Sherbrooke St. W, Room 425



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