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Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time; 2 Years Part-time; 3 Years Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

Our Asian Studies MA at University College Cork provides a global academic context for understanding the rise of East Asia. On this programme we will equip you with a unique set of abilities to engage with the cultural, historic, economic, and political fabric of Asia.

This MA programme is offered by the School of Asian Studies at UCC and brings students together from all parts of the world, providing them with a collaborative space to consider the significance of Asia in our contemporary world. Our School takes a multidisciplinary approach and this equips our graduates, from Europe and outside Asia, with an unparalleled ability to navigate the multi-faceted challenges of the ‘Asian Century’.

MA Asian Studies is designed to meet the different needs of a range of graduates with diverse interests in Asian Studies, Cultural Studies and International Relations. We offer a range of taught modules in Asian Studies across several disciplines – including politics, history, economics, business, culture, religion, literature, and linguistics including the option to spend a further study period in Asia.

The combination of content modules together with language training taught by our diverse and international specialists, prepares our graduate students for promising careers in international organizations, think tanks, or multinational companies engaged with Asia in a variety of ways.

Programme Details

The MA programme may be taken full-time over one year or part-time over two or three years from the date of first registration.

Course Objectives of MA Asian Studies

  • To increase understanding of Asia’s cultural, economic, and political significance in a connected world.
  • To equip students with an appreciation for East Asian history, philosophical thinking, and languages.
  • To create the ability to engage the diverse social, environmental, class- and gender-related aspects of Asian modernity.
  • To provide the analytical tools for a successful international career in an Asia-related context.

Programme Content

Students take 90 credits total including 60 credits of taught modules in Part I and 30 credits in Part II (Dissertation). 

The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours. 

  • 1 Year: 12 months full-time
    Students take 60 credits, normally delivered in Semesters 1 and 2 (September to April), and complete the 30-credit dissertation in Semester 3 (May-September).
  • 2 Years: 24 months part-time
    In Year 1 students take 25-40 credits in Semesters 1 and/or 2. In Year 2 students take the remaining taught credits required (up to 35 credits in Semesters 1 and/or 2). In Year 2 students also undertake the 30-credit dissertation in Semesters 2 and 3.
  • 3 Years: 36 months part-time
    In Year 1 students take 15-30 credits in Semesters 1 and/or 2. In Year 2 students take 15-30 credits in Semesters 1 and/or 2. In Year 3 students take any remaining credits required in taught courses (up to 30 credits) in Semesters 1 and/or 2 and complete the 30-credit dissertation over the course of this final year.

Part I
Students take 60 credits in Part I, combining their credits from the options listed below:

  • AS6000 Transcultural Asia: Past, Present, and Future (10 credits)
  • AS6009 Intellectual History of Korea: From Mountain Gods to Sages (10 credits)
  • AS6215 Translation in Contemporary Japanese Culture and Current Affairs (10 credits)
  • AS6300 Film and the Study of Japanese Culture (10 Credits)
  • AS6400 Translation in Contemporary Korean Culture and Current Affairs (10 credits)
  • CH6032 Business, Innovation and Globalisation in China (10 credits)
  • CH6207 The Sinosphere: China in Transnational Asian Politics, Culture and Trade (10 credits)
  • CH6334 Ethnicity, Class and Gender in China (10 credits)
  • GV6010 Contemporary Global Politics (5 credits)
  • GV6012 Global Economic Policies and Institutions (5 credits)

Undergraduate Modules (Optional to the value of 10 credits - subject to approval.)

  • AS2002 Korea’s Modern History and Economy (10 credits)
  • AS2010 History of Japanese Culture (10 credits)
  • CH2010 Wars and Revolutions - China in the 19th and 20th Century (10 credits)
  • CH2020 State-Society Relations and Economic Reform in China (5 credits)
  • LC1101 English for Academic Study (10 credits)

Language Modules (Optional to the value of 20 credits)
In addition to the above, students may opt to take up to 20 credits in language modules at a level appropriate to the student's proficiency which will be determined by the relevant language tutor. Students may not take two modules in the same language at the same proficiency level. Applicants cannot study their own native Asian language (ie Korean, Japanese, Chinese). Students will be assessed on entry and directed to the appropriate class.


  • CH1001 Chinese Language (Mandarin) Level 1 (10 credits)
  • CH2103 Modern Chinese Business Language - Level 2 (10 credits)
  • CH2107 Chinese Language (Mandarin) Level 2 (10 credits)
  • CH3021 Chinese Language (Mandarin) Level 2.5 (10 credits)
  • CH3017 Chinese Language (Mandarin) Level 3 (15 credits)
  • CH3011 Modern Chinese Business Language - Level 3 (15 credits)
  • CH3020 Chinese Language (Mandarin) Level 2.5 (5 credits)


  • AS1501 Japanese Language Level 1 (10 credits)
  • AS1502 Japanese Language Level 2 (10 credits)
  • AS1503 Japanese Language Level 3 (10 credits)
  • AS1504 Japanese Language Level 4 (10 credits)


  • AS1601 Korean Language Level 1 (10 credits)
  • AS1602 Korean Language Level 2 (10 credits)
  • AS1603 Korean Language Level 3 (10 credits)
  • AS1604 Korean Language Level 4 (10 credits)

Part II

  • AS6100 Dissertation in Asian Studies (30 credits)

Note: Not all modules may be available every year.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

Lectures in UCC take place from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm. Teaching hours per week vary depending on module choices and language selection. See module options in the Academic Calendar (MA Asian Studies) for more details but be aware timetables are not available until the term start date. Each module has a different form of assessment: see the Book of Modules for more information.

Why Choose This Course

Following my time in Cork, I moved to Singapore ...

Shaun Gavigan, Graduate, MA Asian Studies

Find Out More

East Asia's rich history, vast population, and diverse cultures make it a fascinating area of study, and its growing economic power and influence ensure its importance in seeking employment in this area.

Our MA Asian Studies faculty provide a global academic context for understanding the rise of Asia. We equip graduates from Asia with a capacity to understand and more effectively engage global, particularly Western reactions to the rise of Asia in international relations and multinational trade. In addition we equip graduates from Europe with an unparalleled ability to navigate international organizations and multinational companies based in Asia and operating globally.

Please see our Department of Asian Studies page for more information and also explore available scholarsip opportunities.

Skills and Careers Information

Our graduates go on to careers in diplomacy, the public sector, state-funded and international organizations involved in trade and cross-culture communication, multi-national companies based in Ireland, and elsewhere in Europe dealing with Asian partners, Asia-based companies and organizations dealing with Europe, and a range of non-government organizations.

This is an excellent qualification to prepare you for a diverse range of professional fields and possible careers include: conference and exhibition managers and organisers; diplomacy and foreign affairs; intercultural communication and consultancies; international non-government organizations; journalists; overseas trade offices; policy and research; public relations professionals; teaching and other educational professionals; translators; and university research.

This course also serves as a preparatory course for students wishing to undertake a PhD programme in Asian Studies.


Applicants should hold a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8), or equivalent in one of the following areas: Arts, Humanities, Social Science, History, Business, Science, or Engineering. Applicants may be required to attend an interview prior to selection.

Applicants who do not meet the normal academic or requirements may also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) following a review of their individual qualifications by the course committee. Admission of such applicants will be subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.            

Prospective applicants should contact the School of Asian Studies for further information.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Open until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact