Program Details

The M.A. in Asia Pacific Studies is a two-year, 28-unit 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. The 28 units consist of five to six core courses, which includes the Capstone Project, and two elective courses. The program offers two emphases: one in Humanities/Social Science and one in Business.

In addition, two years of a university-level Asian language is required for the degree. These two years of language study may be satisfied before enrollment in the graduate program, or during enrollment in the Master's program. At USF, these two years of language study are an additional 16 units of coursework.

The graduate program in Asia Pacific Studies is open to students with a Bachelor's degree in any field. Courses are held in the late afternoon or evening, Monday through Thursday, which provides students the flexibility to balance their graduate studies with other career and personal responsibilities. The core and elective courses largely focus on China, Japan and Korea, and also explore South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Program of Study

The program offers two emphases: Humanities/Social Science or Business. In each emphasis, students complete five core courses, two elective courses, and any necessary language study.

Core Courses

Core courses help students gain important foundational knowledge in key areas of the Asia Pacific, including history, culture, literature, politics, and economics.

  • Comparative Modernization of East Asia
  • Cultures of East Asia: Religion and Philosophy
  • Literatures of East Asia
  • Society and Culture in the Contemporary Asia Pacific
  • International Politics of the Asia Pacific
  • Political Economies of Asia
  • Capstone Project

Language Courses
At USF, language courses are offered in Mandarin, Japanese or Tagalog. Students with previous native or learned Asian language competence have the opportunity to pursue other options, which include internships, directed study or other selected courses.

In addition to the required core courses, MAPS students can choose from a variety of innovative and unique elective courses. Such courses allow students to build upon existing academic and cultural knowledge and further study in areas of their interest. Students can also explore directed study options in the form of research projects and internships.

See Courses for more details.


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.

MBA/Asia Pacific Studies Dual Degree Program

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

4+1 Bachelor's/Master's Program

The Bachelor's/M.A. in Asia Pacific Studies is a 4+1 program that allows current USF undergraduates to study in an undergraduate major, complete graduate-level courses and requirements, 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 program's unit total for the M.A. in Asia Pacific Studies.

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.