G Asia Pac Studies

The Program

The M.A. in Asia Pacific Studies is a two-year program that starts each fall (late August) that provides knowledge and analysis of the societies, history, literature and politics of the world's most dynamic region. Asia Pacific graduate courses are offered in the evening, Monday through Thursday, which provides students the flexibility to balance their graduate studies with other career and personal responsibilities.

The graduate program in Asia Pacific Studies is open to students with a Bachelor's degree in any field. The program's Seminar courses largely focus on China, Japan and Korea, but also explore South Asia and Southeast Asia.

The program is comprised of two components:

  • Seminar Courses (24 units)
  • Language Courses (12 units)

Program of Study

Seminar Courses

Seminar classes are held one evening each week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays) in the fall and spring semesters. Each of the six core seminars is 4 graduate units for a total of 24 units in seminar classes.

The six core seminars are:

  • Comparative Modernization of East Asia
  • Cultures of East Asia
  • Literature of East Asia
  • Society and Culture in the Contemporary Asia Pacific
  • International Politics of the Asia Pacific (in some years, substituted by The Political Economy of the Asia Pacific)
  • Economies of East Asia (in some years, substituted by The Political Economy of the Asia Pacific)

See Courses for more details on the Seminar classes.

Language Courses

The integral Asian language component consists of 12 units of elementary to intermediate Putonghua ('Mandarin' Chinese), Japanese, or Tagalog language instruction. Language courses are usually offered on Monday evenings during the regular semesters, and twice a week during the Summer Language session. Students with previous native or learned Asian language competence have the opportunity to pursue other options, including directed research, and the new NGO/NPO Career Enhancement Option described below.

See Courses for more details on the Language courses.


The Program offers internship opportunities in which students work at nonprofit organizations with an Asia Pacific focus. In the internships, students gain practical skills and knowledge while earning graduate credits toward the Master's Degree. The program also offers a limited number of internships in the form of working Fellowships. Some of these Fellowships are provided by the Center for Asia Pacific Studies at USF, the MAPS Program, and at San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit organizations. Working Fellowships at nonprofits are identified and arranged by the student, and are similar to paid internships.

The Cohort and Mentor Experience

Students progress through the program as a single group (or "cohort") of peers, who start together in August and finish 21 months later. The cohort model of education allows faculty to tailor topics and projects in the courses to the unique needs and interests of individuals in each cohort.

Complementary strengths within each cohort provide students with the opportunity to learn with and from one another. First-year students are offered the option of a second-year mentor who helps guide them. The program also holds annual career and networking events, where students meet organizations and companies that seek interns and employees. The cohort structure encourages MAPS students to develop collegial and professional networks that continue well beyond the program.

Sample Program Timeline

  Year 1 Year 2
  • Comparative Modernization of East Asia
  • Language Course OR
  • Elective/Internship
  • Literature of East Asia
  • Society and Culture in the Contemporary Asia Pacific
  • Cultures of East Asia
  • Language Course OR
  • Elective/Internship
  • International Politics of the Asia Pacific
  • Economies of East Asia
  • Language Course OR
  • Elective/Internship

Other Program Options — MBA, Cert, NGO

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-on 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.

Certificate Program in Asia Pacific Studies

The Certificate in Asia Pacific Studies program (CAPS) is a 12-unit option that offers academic recognition for graduate-level education in the field of Asia Pacific Studies. CAPS does not include a language requirement. The Certificate program is flexible, short in duration, less costly and provides an opportunity for official academic recognition for professional and personal advancement.

Like the Master's degree, the Certificate program offers expert graduate education in the cultures, histories, economies and politics of East Asia, and East Asia's relationship to the larger Pacific Rim. The interdisciplinary approach employs extensive reading, focused lectures, seminar-style discussion and a range of student presentations and research projects.

CAPS students attend seminars together with Master's degree students, and share in the benefits of the program and education at USF, including:

  • Small class size
  • Dedicated faculty
  • Participation in the Center for Asia Pacific Studies' annual Executive Networking Evening
  • Access to the university's Gleeson Library and Geschke Learning Resource Center facilities
  • Use of USF's full-service Koret Health and Recreation Center

Asia Pacific Studies/MBA Dual Degree Program

For more information on the MAPS/MBA Dual Degree Program, click here.

Four-Plus-One Program — Bachelor's/Master's Program

The combined B.A./B.S.-M.A. in Asia Pacific Studies (BA-MAPS) program allows USF undergraduates to study any undergraduate major and earn both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in five years. BA-MAPS is a 'Four Plus One' program in which students complete USF's unique Master's Degree in Asia Pacific Studies in only one additional year of study after completion of the Bachelor's Degree from USF.

The ideal BA- MAPS candidate is a student who has a strong interest in Asia, especially one who has already begun the study of an Asian language. Undergraduates in this program earn up to 20 graduate units, while still pursuing their undergraduate degree (12 Asian-language units and 8 graduate seminar units). These units are then applied to the 36-unit total for the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies degree, leaving just 16 units to complete after they receive their Bachelor's Degree.

Sample Program Timeline — Combined Five-Year Program for B.A./B.S. and M.A. in Asia Pacific Studies.

The following is a sample program for students beginning the BA/MAPS program at the start of their senior undergraduate year, who will also have completed 12 or more units of Asian language study by the end of the final undergraduate year.

Year 4 — Seminars Year 5 — Seminars
  • Comparative Modernization of East Asia
  • Cultures of East Asia
  • Literature of East Asia (fall)
  • Culture & Society in the Contemporary Asia Pacific (fall)
  • The International Politics of East Asia (spring)
  • The Economies of East Asia (spring)
Click here for more details on the Five-Year Bachelor's/Master's program.

The Center for Asia Pacific Studies and Ricci Institute

The Center for Asia Pacific Studies administers graduate programs in Asian Studies, including the MAPS Program, organizes public lectures, seminars, international conferences, and outreach activities for the San Francisco Bay Area community, and sponsors research and publications.

The Center includes the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History, the home of an 80,000-volume research library focused on the encounter between China and Christianity, especially as mediated by the Jesuits from the late 16th century onwards. MAPS students often find rewarding volunteer or work opportunities at the Ricci Institute, depending on their skills and interests.

The Center for Asia Pacific Studies engages the volunteer services of a diverse and distinguished advisory board of 30 professional women and men from the Bay Area and around the Pacific Rim who are actively involved in Asia Pacific affairs and business. The Center's board members are involved in MAPS as speakers and career mentors and assist students in obtaining internships and in networking.