The 36-unit Master's Program in Asia Pacific Studies is comprised of six graduate seminar courses as well as Asian language courses. Students select courses in consultation with an advisor. Seminar courses are held Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings; language courses are held Monday evenings and during the summer.

The program's calendar involves four 16-week semesters and one 8-week Intensive Language Summer session. During the summer session, language classes are held two evenings per week. There are no seminar classes during the summer.

The program has two components:

  • Seminar Courses — Six seminar classes
  • Language Courses — Asian language component that includes a language-only summer session and as many as 12 units of study.

Required Seminar Courses

Each seminar course is 4 units for a total of 24 units. The following list describes the two seminars for first-year students and the four seminars that second-year students complete.

Year 1 — Cultural Foundations

The first year of the MAPS program emphasizes the primacy of cultural origins and language in understanding the complexities of the modern Asia Pacific. The two seminars provide a comprehensive overview of the events and ideas that have exerted the greatest influence on the development of modern East Asia.

Comparative Modernization of East Asia (Fall)
The historical process of political and social modernization in China, Japan, and Korea. Emphasis is on the evolution of traditional societies in the classical and medieval periods and their transformation in the modern era. Both the influence of contact with the West, and the effects of internal pressures for change are examined from a comparative perspective.

Cultures of East Asia (Spring)
The religious and philosophical traditions of China, Japan, and Korea, especially as they affect the lives of contemporary East Asians. Emphasis is on the development of Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist and other schools of thought, their spread through South, Southeast, and East Asia, and the story of how they shaped and were in turn shaped by the cultures of the region.

Year 2 — Contemporary Cultural, Political, and Economic Trends

The four seminars in the second year focus on the "new Asia" of the 20th and 21st centuries, moving from the enduring influences of traditional literature, through an examination of East Asia's social and cultural response to the forces of modernization and post-modernism, and culminating in studies of the international political relations of the Asia Pacific and the problematic exuberance of Asia's economic powerhouses.

Literature of East Asia (Fall)
Comparative survey of influential traditional and modern literary works from China, Japan, and Korea, investigating the cultural assumptions and historical conditions under which they came into being. Emphasis is on utilizing the lens of literature to examine the society it reflects and shapes and on gaining an understanding of the role literary arts play in the cultural life of each country.

Society and Culture in the Contemporary Asia Pacific (Fall)
Comparative study of the social and cultural aspects of contemporary China, Japan, and Korea. Emphasis is on the symbols, ideologies, social orders, and politics that lend themselves to the construction and maintenance of national and cultural identities. The continual modification of these identities under the pressure to meet the challenges of the 21st century will also be explored.

International Politics of the Asia Pacific (Spring)
Comparative analysis of the international politics of Japan, Korea, 'Greater' China, Southeast, and South Asia in the 20th century. Emphasis is on regional and international political developments, including those involving the United States, and on examining policies and strategies used by countries to compete and cooperate while assuring their national security.

Economies of East Asia (Spring)
Comparative study of the economic systems of East Asia with a focus on Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Emphasis on East Asian economic developments in the 20th century with a focus on the applicability of competing economic theories and models of economic development to current economic problems and opportunities in the East Asia region.

Language Courses

The Asian Language component of the MAPS program lays a firm foundation in the target language or advances language competency previously acquired. An understanding of Chinese, Japanese or Tagalog opens a unique window into the peoples who speak these languages and the cultures they have constructed. The language skills offered by the MAPS program form the basis for a quantifiable, career-building asset that opens opportunities that are otherwise closed to students.

The integral Asian language component consists of 12 units of elementary to intermediate Putonghua ("Mandarin" Chinese) or Japanese language instruction; the study of Tagalog may be pursued through the undergraduate Yuchengco Philippine Studies curriculum.

Eight of the 12 language units are earned in weekly classes taken throughout the two semesters of the first year. The other 4 units are earned in the intensive language-only summer session between years one and two. During the summer session, classes meet two evenings a week for just over 3 hours each evening. No seminar courses are taken during this summer session.

Students who start the Master's program with previous Asian language experience are given a proficiency interview to determine oral and listening competence and are placed in a class that most closely matches their level. Every effort is made to accommodate each student's language learning needs.

Students who have already achieved Asian language competence equal to or surpassing the level achieved in the Asian language classes are encouraged to consider the following elective options.

Elective Options

Students who start the program with an Asian language competence equal to, or surpassing, the level typically attained in the course of the program may choose one or more of the following elective options to complete their degree requirements: 

Take the New MAPS NGO/NPO Career Enhancement Optional Courses
Starting in Fall 2012 new optional courses are being offered in the MAPS program (as shown in the table above) to allow students with a strong career interest in the work of non-profit and non-governmental organizations in the Asia Pacific to gain invaluable skills and knowledge from working practitioners in the field. "NGO/NPO Operations in the Asia Pacific" explores the mechanism that lies at the heart of the work of such organizations, so-called "project cycle management"; students in this class will study NGO operations with experienced professionals, gaining unique insight into the nuts and bolts of the non-profit sector. 

In Spring 2013, the follow-up course, "Policy Challenges and Practitioners in the Asia Pacific: Structures, Strategies, Outcomes" will examine the work of a variety of non-state actors involved in solving regional Asia Pacific issues, giving students the perspective needed to understand the broader context of NGO and NPO work in the greater Pacific Rim. 

For students with a strong interest, it may be possible to follow these two courses with a related internship either in San Francisco or overseas. 

Contact program administrators today to find out more about this exciting new option.

Take Other Approved Graduate Courses (in other USF Graduate Programs) 
MAPS students have always been able to consider taking appropriate USF graduate courses in other programs (subject to instructor approval), including selections from the Master of Arts in International Studies, the MBA program, and the School of Education.

Transfer of Units
Graduate students, with the approval of the MAPS program, may transfer up to 8 (eight) units of approved ASIAN LANGUAGE credit from a previous university-level institution to count towards the Master's in Asia Pacific Studies degree. Students with previous coursework may petition to have such units accepted in lieu of up to 8 (eight) units of Asian language in the program if they have demonstrated competence in an Asian language. (NOTE: no non-language credit from outside institutions will be accepted for completion of the USF MAPS degree.)

Please Note: Transferred language units may be from either undergraduate or graduate study. (A grade of 'B' or better is required. 'Pass-fail' grades are not accepted and the content of the courses whose units are transferred must not duplicate content of language courses subsequently taken at USF.) The remaining 4 (four) or more units of the 12 (twelve) normally associated with language study must be completed using one or more of the options listed below.

Continued Language Study
A student may enroll in MAPS Asian language courses and continue to pursue their study of an Asian language at an advanced level. Within the limits of our resources, students are accommodated in a regular or directed study language class with other students of a similar level.

Directed Research
Directed Research is an option that allows a student to explore a research topic in depth. Students secure and confer with an advisor to develop practical and relevant ideas for research. The faculty advisor supervises the writing of the research paper. Directed Research is organized on an ad hoc 'contract' basis, which requires the student to complete a specified amount of reading and research writing to earn the specific number of units agreed on. A student may be approved for up to 12 (twelve) units of Directed Research.

MAPS students are encouraged to seek out approved internship opportunities in suitable companies and organizations that offer meaningful involvement with issues and activities related to their studies in the program.

Students have held intern positions with the Asia Foundation, the Japan Society and other non-profit organizations, and with such for-profit companies as Matthews International Funds, Coca Cola Corp. and Meridian Resources. Students in good standing may submit internship proposals to receive 1 (one) or more units credit in lieu of Asian language courses. Internships can also be done on a non-credit basis.