The Graduate Application is submitted electronically; the online application becomes available in September for admission effective the following year. See the Graduate Division website for details. All applicants must use the online application.
ALL APPLICATIONS FOR FALL 2023 ADMISSION MUST BE SUBMITTED ON OR BEFORE: DECEMBER 1, 2022.
Minimum Requirements for Admission
The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:
- A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
- A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
- If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale; and
- Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.
Required Documents for Applications
- Transcripts: Upload unofficial transcripts with the online application for the departmental initial review. Upload a transcript from every post-secondary school you have attended, including community college. You do not need to send the department paper copies. Official transcripts of all college-level work will be required only if admitted. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) you have attended. Request a current transcript from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.
- Letters of Recommendation: Send three letters of recommendation from three recommenders familiar with your work, preferably in an academic setting. We will accept online letters of recommendation only. Instructions on how to submit letters are included in the Graduate Admissions application.
- Academic Writing Sample: Writing samples must be 5-7 pages in length (spacing does not matter) and in English. Examples include an essay or book review. You can upload the writing sample as part of the online application. Do not send or email writing samples to the department.
- *Evidence of English Language Proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Myanmar, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. Scores must be sent directly by ETS to UC Berkeley (institution code 4833). Do not send test scores directly to our department.
- Statement of Purpose: 1-2 single space pages in 12 point font. Please read about the SOP here.
- Personal History Statement: 1-2 single space pages in 12 point font. Your Personal History Statement gives you an opportunity to add some personal details and depth to the information provided in your Statement of Purpose. It can include information about who you are as a person, your family background, cultural background, socioeconomic status, educational advantages and/or experiences growing up. It is intended to give you the opportunity to provide a narrative about your diverse personal experiences.
*If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from the British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.
†A GRE test is no longer required for this program
Profile of a Successful Applicant
The profile of a successful applicant admitted recently would include such attributes as:
- Two or more years of relevant Asian language preparation.
- An upper division grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher: In evaluating grade point average, particular emphasis is placed on the applicant’s last two years of undergraduate study and on his or her work in the area in which he or she intends to specialize.
- A writing sample of high caliber.
- Excellent letters of recommendation from academic sources that can comment in detail on scholarly attributes.
- A concise, mature, and directed statement of purpose that fits within the interdisciplinary Asian Studies program requirements and capabilities.
*Students with a focus on the contemporary political economy or international relations of Asia may fit better with, and therefore may have a better chance of, admission to our Global Studies MA program. See detailed information here. Those with a focus on the humanities should apply to the Asian Studies MA. If you are not sure about which program works better for you, please contact Grant Tompkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree
The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.
Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.
Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.
The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:
- Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
- Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.
*Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle