Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Applications for Fall 2024 enrollment are now open on the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences online portal. The deadline is February 22, 2024.

The MARSEA program does not have a Spring Semester admissions cycle.

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 Asian 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 personal statement (up to 1,000 words)
  • A curriculum vitae or resume
  • Three letters of recommendation (up to four will be accepted; at least 2 must be academic)
  • GRE Score (recommended but not required)

  • TOEFL or IELTS Score (if language of instruction for undergraduate/previous graduate degree was not English)

  • 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. Please see the MARSEA Funding Opportunities page and the GSAS website for more information about scholarships and financial aid.

For Fall 2022, the acceptance rate was 27%. For Fall 2023, the acceptance rate was 20%.

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. In addition, admissions decisions for the MARSEA program are based on a holistic and careful review of all application materials. 


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

The MARSEA program can be completed in 2-4 semesters. The length of program varies from student to student; each student will have the opportunity to formally discuss their timeline for completion with the Director and the Student Affairs Officer when they start the program. 

Please read here for the updated cost of attendance.

After you have accepted an offer of admissions, please send official final transcripts from each post-secondary institution you have attended (including study-abroad semesters and summer programs) to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Office of Admissions (Click here for more information about document submission instructions).



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 Coordinator, Lin King ([email protected]).