The Student Experience

A majority of our students, both past and current, affirm the value of studying in the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS) program. Drawing from their rich, transformative experiences in the program, students have offered positive feedback about the innovative, dynamic academic curriculum and the exciting range of professional development opportunities.


In terms of academics, our systematic approach to the study of Asian societies, regions, and cultures gives students a wide exposure to historical and contemporary topics, research methodologies, and expansive information networks. While other graduate programs provide training in specific disciplines or career paths, MAPS is broadly interdisciplinary and flexible.

At the same time, the curriculum is also well balanced so as to advance learning goals benefiting each and every student. Tailored to their own interests and abilities, MAPS students develop an intellectual and practical “skill set” applicable to a variety of career-related goals. Our excellent faculty provides dedicated guidance and encouragement, helping students shape their own paths and visions.

John Nelson and Students
Professor John Nelson and MAPS students
Yuxi and David
MAPS students Yuxi Ding, David Krakow
Zhoumin and Oleksiy
MAPS students Zhuomin Wang, Oleksiy Kodash
Mengyan and Tiger
MAPS students Mengyan Zhao, Tiger Vu
Student Field Trip
MAPS student field trip

Our Commitment to You

We are well aware of the considerable time and financial commitments required for graduate study. As such, our commitment to you is to provide a meaningful educational experience that promotes excellence in the study of Asia Pacific regions, while at the same time nurturing personal and career development through a variety of local resources.

Personal and Career Opportunities

Imperial Court Conference

Each student in the program will encounter exceptional opportunities to develop and deepen their understanding and appreciation about the amazingly vibrant characteristics of contemporary Asia. Some of these prospects include analyzing and interpreting primary and secondary source materials, conducting fieldwork related to student research, and acting as a faculty teaching assistant, research assistant, or program tutor/mentor.

Additionally, our students compete for fellowships, present original research at academic conferences, and study abroad at university programs in Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines, or elsewhere in Asia. Finally, our students have access to the USF Ricci Institute, which contains rare archival material related to East-West cultural exchange for study and research.

Professional mentoring and internships are additional resources that enhance the experience of being a MAPS student. Students gain academic credit as well as valuable experience from internships with Bay Area organizations. The program also helps students connect with organizations interested in the unique skills that MAPS students offer: an in-depth knowledge of the societies and cultures of the Asia Pacific region, linguistic proficiency in one or more Asian languages, and bilingual/translation abilities.

Together with the Center for Asia Pacific Studies and JET Alumni Association of Northern California, the MAPS program sponsors an annual Career and Networking Forum, where students meet representatives of numerous organizations looking for interns, employees, and volunteers.

All these opportunities allow students to grow academically and create the kinds of relationships that enable career-related development. Read on for some impressive examples of individuals who have made the most out of their time at the University of San Francisco and their experiences in the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies Program.

Career and Networking Forum
MAPS Career and Networking Forum
Brandon Oliva and Participant
MAPS student Brandon Oliva and Forum participant
Kilby Hammond
Kilby Hammond, MAPS student
Casey Hart and Katrina Belda
MAPS student Casey Hart, Katrina Belda
Tiger Vu and Prof Dempster
MAPS student Tiger Vu and Professor Dempster

Research Projects

Featured Research Projects

Tiffany Crow

"The Plight of North Korean Women in China: Evaluating the Relationship between Refugee Status, Human Trafficking, and Prostitution"

This research project looks at critical issues pertaining to North Korean women trafficked into China. Specifically, because of legal and cultural dynamics, these human rights victims are manipulated and coerced into situations that leave them vulnerable and powerless; moreover, the cultural and social advocacy of trafficking, along with legal corruption, leave these victims without adequate support and trapped in harmful situations, violating international protocols pertaining to both refugee and women's rights.

Tiffany Crow is a 2014 graduate of the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies program at the University of San Francisco (USF) and a recipient of the 2014 Graduate Student Leadership Award. She received a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology. As an active member of the USF community, she worked with the Graduate Student Senate and the Ricci Library. Her sympathy for underrepresented populations has led her to pursue research and writing on this social issue facing Asian peoples, and she hopes to continue her work studying populations in Asia who are victims of human trafficking.

Amethy Zihui Lu

"Noh Theater and Postwar Japanese Film"

This research aims to demonstrate Noh theater's continuing influence on contemporary Japanese film. Different kinds of films produced after the Second World War are analyzed in this case study.

Amethy Zihui Lu received her Bachelor's Degree in English in Soochow University, China, and then came to the University of San Francisco to study in the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS) Program. She has published several essays in Chinese, and the biography she wrote for Liangshu Lu, the former president of China Agricultural Science Academy, is also in press. Her current research interests are East Asian theater and cinema, along with the interaction among different genres of East Asian visual entertainment, with an emphasis on China and Japan. Currently, she is the Chinese Editorial Project Manager and Editor for Encyclopedia Britannica.

Fang Qi

"A Terra Nullius Place? An Investigation of the Sovereignty over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands Before 1895"

The territorial dispute over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands has long been one of the most complicated international controversies since the early 1970s, when both China and Japan started to show great concern and interest in this seemingly insignificant place. Pro-China scholars claim that China firstly discovered, named and utilized the islands as early as Ming Dynasty, while pro-Japan scholars assert that the islands were actually terra nullius (unadministrated territory) before 1895.

Fang Qi is a graduate of Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies student at University of San Francisco (USF) and a graduate of Shanghai International Studies University with a major in Japanese. At USF she has worked as a research assistant at the Center for the Pacific Rim and the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History, teaching assistant for the history class East Asian Civilizations, and Chinese language tutor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. Her primary academic interests include the comparative history of East Asia and Pan-Pacific international relations. She is also very interested in drawing mangas and making traditional Chinese handicrafts.

More Student Research Projects

Students in the Asia Pacific Studies Program write research papers in conferral with professors and their expertise in methodology, bibliography and research design:

  • "Breaking Through the Glass: Challenges for Women in Japanese Management" - Sharon Aretsky
  • "Dangerous Ground: The South China Sea Territorial Dispute" - John W. Batcheller
  • "The Feminine Face of Imperial China: A Lyrical Review of China's Historic Women and their Contribution to Politics, Poetry, Art and Society" - Paul C. Bellows
  • "Myanmar: A Potential 'Asian Miracle?' Prospects for Myanmar Analyzed in the Context of the Indonesian Development Framework" - Sarah E. Thorn Douglas
  • "Copyright or Censorship? The History of Provisions on Printing and Publishing in China from the Invention of Printing through the Leadership of Mao Tsetung" - Leslie Dudbridge
  • "Peaceful Evolution: Mongolia's Steps Towards a Free Market Economy" - David Fennell
  • "Is the Blood of Empire Black or Red? The Economics and Politics of the Asia-Pacific Opium Trade, 1500 - 1940", Aaron Gilbert
  • "Vietnam: Building Foundations for Continued Growth" - David Gordon
  • "The Sea of Fertility: The Last Testament of Yukio Mishima" - Scott Huber
  • "The Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia: Catalysts for Development" - James Hubert
  • "Sports Marketing and Sports Sponsorship in Asia" - Danny Hudson
  • "The Yen-US Dollar Exchange Rate vs. Japanese Trade Surplus Trajectory: Causes and Consequences" - Leon Kaufman
  • "Junichiro Tanizaki: An Uneasy Relationship with the West" - Greg Knittel
  • "Financing Environmental and Energy Infrastructure Projects in Asia" - Elizabeth Krauth
  • "Reluctant Reparations: The Interpretation of History and the Politics Behind Japan's Wartime Apologies" - E. Joan Lee
  • "The Prospects for Chinese Reunification" - Reena Medina
  • "Necessary Lessons: The Sino-Vietnamese Conflict and Chinese Military Modernization" - Mark Stephen Mir
  • "The International Relations of a Unified Korea" - Naina Monokandilos
  • "The Japanese Consumer" - Valerie Morgan
  • "A Study of Bi-lingual and Japanese Immersion Education in Elementary Grades in California" - Jacqueline Nagatsuka
  • "Urban Poverty: The Philippines" - Larry Ong
  • "Economic Development and Child Labor in India and Southeast Asia" - Elisa Oreglia
  • "Tansu: A Window into Life in Nineteenth Century Japan" - Andrew Scal
  • "Human Resources in Hong Kong" - Yeet May Wong

Mentorship and Professional Development

Mentorship Program

The Mentor Program is a voluntary, non-credit option offered to students at any time during their two years of study in the MAPS Program. It presents students with a broad spectrum of possibilities as to how they might apply their degree to their chosen career field and connects students with professionals in their field of interest. The Mentor Program is coordinated by members of the Center's Executive Advisory Board and the Board's Mentorship Committee.

The MAPS Professional Development Program (PDP)

The Professional Development Program offers MAPS students opportunities to broaden their familiarity with potential career paths and to meet with professionals in fields of potential career interest.

The PDP relies heavily on the expertise and voluntary services of working professionals to staff its programs. The majority of these professionals are members of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies' Executive Advisory Board of over 35 professionals involved in Asia Pacific affairs. The Advisory Board's Professional Development Committee advises the Center for Asia Pacific Studies on the administration and direction of the PDP.

Executive Networking Event

Periodically students in the MAPS Program are invited to the Executive Networking Evening held on campus in collaboration with the Center for Asia Pacific Studies. Graduate students have the opportunity to meet many of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies' Board members and other professionals in a range of fields and organizations.

Job Search Training

MAPS students may request training and advice on pursuing a job in an international field, including resume,design, mock interviews and other job training skills.