UCC Postgraduate courses

Asian Studies

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Asian Studies

  • Code


  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    1 Year Full-time; 2 years Part-time; 3 years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode

    Full-time, Part-Time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.

  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees

    €6,130; €3,130 (Year 1 Part-time); €3,130 (Year 2 Part-time)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees


  • Entry Requirements

    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. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Open for EU applications, check rounds closing dates under How to Apply.

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    15 June

  • Start Date

    12 September 2022

Course Outline

The M.A. Asian Studies provides a global academic context for understanding the rise of East Asia from within and without, and equips graduates with a unique set of abilities to engage the cultural, historic, economic and political fabric of the region. Bringing together students from across the European Union, Asia and the world, the M.A. Asian Studies provides a collaborative space that appreciates the significance of Asia in our contemporary world.

Placed in Ireland, an outward looking, culturally diverse nation, and the last English-speaking country in the European Union, the programme equips graduates from Asia with the capacity to understand and effectively assess the rise of Asia in a global context. The multidisciplinary approach of the programme equips graduates from Europe and outside Asia with an unparalleled ability to navigate the multi-faceted challenges of the “Asian century”.

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.

The M.A. Asian Studies is steeped in the National University of Ireland UCC’s tradition of excellence in teaching and learning in higher education. It offers a range of taught modules in Asian Studies across several disciplines - including politics, history, economics, business, culture, religion, literature and linguistics - with further options including up to 20 credits of optional language study (Chinese, Korean, Japanese); up to 10 optional credits of relevant undergraduate modules and an option to spend a further study period in Asia. The course is designed to meet the different needs of a range of graduates with diverse interests in Asian Studies, Cultural Studies and International Relations. This course also serves as a preparatory course for students wishing to undertake a Ph.D. programme in Asian Studies.

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

Course objectives:

· 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 Requirements:

Students are required to take 90 credits; Part 1 comprising 60 credits of taught modules and Part 2 comprising 30 credits (Dissertation).

Full-time (12 months) Students take 60 credits, normally delivered in Teaching Periods 1 and 2 (September to April), and complete the 30-credit dissertation in Research Period 3 (May-September).

Part-time (24 months) In Year 1 students take 25-40 credits in Teaching Periods 1 and/or 2. In Year 2 students take the remaining taught credits required (up to 35 credits in Teaching Periods 1 and/or 2 ). In Year 2 students also undertake the 30 credit dissertation in Teaching Periods 2 and Research Period 3.

Part-time (36 months) In Year 1 students take 15-30 credits in Teaching Periods 1 and/or 2. In Year 2 students take 15-30 credits in Teaching Periods 1 and/or 2. In Year 3 students taken any remaining credits required in taught courses (up to 30 credits) in Teaching Period 1 and/or 2, and complete the 30 credit dissertation over the course of this final year.

Additional Teaching Mode Information

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


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

Course Practicalities

Lectures in UCC take place from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 6 pm.

Teaching Hours per week vary depending on module choices and language selection.

See module options in the Postgraduate College Calendar for more details but be aware timetables are not available until the term start date.

Each module has a different form of assessment. For more information please see the current Book of Modules.

Why Choose This Course

East Asia's rich history, vast population and diverse cultures make it a fascinating area of study. Its growing economic power and influence also make it an important pathway to employment.

The M.A. Asian Studies provides a global academic context for understanding the rise of Asia from within and without. It equips 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. It equips graduates from Europe with an unparalleled ability to navigate international organizations and multinational companies based in Asia and operating globally.

Bringing together students from across the European Union and Asia in Ireland, an outward looking, culturally diverse country, and the last English-speaking European Union nation, this programme provides a special collaborative space for considering the place of Asia in our contemporary world.

Skills and Careers Information

What can I do after I graduate with an MA in Asian Studies?

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.

Occupations associated with an MA in Asian Studies:

An MA in Asian Studies is an excellent qualification to prepare you for a diverse range of professional fields.

Possible careers include:

· Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs

· International Non-Government Organizations

· Policy and Research

· Intercultural communication and consultancies

· Overseas trade offices

· Conference and exhibition managers and organisers

· Public relations professionals

· Teaching and other educational professionals

· Translators

· Journalists

· University researchers -Pursue studies further and register to do a PhD

What are our graduates doing?

Shaun Gavigan completed his postgraduate studies at UCC's Department of Asian Studies in 2014.

Shaun writes: The programme gave me the opportunity to gain excellent insights into various aspects of the history and culture of several Asian countries. As well as this, I also got the opportunity to study the Korean language, something that I was most interested in and will continue to pursue in the future.

Following my time in Cork, I moved to Singapore where I worked with IDA Ireland before taking up a position with the International non-profit organization the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), also based in Singapore. In my time with ASEF, I helped the Political and Economic Department develop its flagship publication (ASEF Outlook Report 2014/15) and organized high-profile seminars and conference in Beijing, Tokyo, Milan and Brussels. In 2015, I returned to Ireland to take up the position of E.U. Grants Manager at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics based at UCC. In this position, I am helping to develop the Centre’s Horizon 2020 strategy and am working closely with researchers to support their efforts to win ambitious funding targets.


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 at UCC for further information.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please 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.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €6,130; €3,130 (Year 1 Part-time); €3,130 (Year 2 Part-time).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €16,400.


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

EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:

International Students can pay in two equal instalments once they have paid the appropriate deposit. The initial payment is due on registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay?

By Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie .

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to two courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a non-refundable €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nursing must apply on the PAC website when the programme opens for applications.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

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

Please log into the online application portal for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

5. Rounds

For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates here.

Questions on how to apply?

Please 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 15 June

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact