Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


February 4th, 2021 for Fall 2021 Admission

To apply to the Master of Arts in Regional Studies–East Asia (MARSEA) program please visit Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Admissions webpage.

Prospective students apply using the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ online application. Applicants should specify “East Asia: Regional Studies” under Program of Study and indicate their country of specialization (China, Japan, Korea, or Tibet) under “Subfield of Study.” A complete MARSEA application includes the following:

  • A statement of academic purpose (up to 1,000 words)
  • A curriculum vitae or resume
  • Three letters of recommendation (up to four will be accepted)
  • GRE Score Due to COVID-19, the GRE exam will be optional as an admissions requirement for Fall 2021 MA applicants.

  • TOEFL or IELTS Score (if applicable)

  • A 10-15 page sample of scholarly writing
  • Transcripts from all previous post-secondary education
  • Payment of the GSAS application fee

All applicants are considered for Weatherhead East Asian Institute academic year funding at the time of admission. U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents are also encouraged to apply for the U.S. Department of Education’s Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship which provides $33,000 toward advanced East Asian language study during the academic year. Please see the GSAS website for more information about scholarships and financial aid.

For Fall 2018 Admissions, the acceptance rate was 26%.

MARSEA does not have a minimum GPA or GRE requirement. GPA and GRE scores are measured competitively among the pool of applicants every year. For non-native English speakers, a minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL internet-based test or score of 7.5 on IELTS is required in order to be considered for admission to the MARSEA program.

Due to COVID-19, the GRE exam will be optional as an admissions requirement for 2021 MA applicants.

Applicants whose native language is not English and who have received an undergraduate degree from an institution in a country where the official language is not English and/or applicants who have received an undergraduate degree from a non-English speaking country and are now studying at the graduate level in the U.S. or another English-speaking country must take the TOEFL or IELTS. More information about the TOEFL or IELTS.

Other Matters

Please read here for the updated cost of attendance.

Please send your final transcript to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Office of Admissions. Please see here for more information about the Office of Admissions.

Please contact Columbia University Apartment Housing (UAH) with questions regarding your application. Please note that housing is not guaranteed for M.A. students. GSAS offers information on resources to assist you in the search for off-campus housing. Please visit the above link for more information.

For additional inquiries about the MARSEA program, please contact WEAI’s Student Affairs Officer, Elizabeth Peiffer (