Graduate Certificate Program

Graduate students wishing to intensify their study of a country or region in Asia will gain a deeper and broader perspective by enrolling in the Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies. The graduate certificate entails a combination of foreign language training and multidisciplinary area studies necessary for communicative and cultural competence. The goal of the certificate program is to promote the study of Asia from global, interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives. Students from any school or department have the opportunity to study or conduct research in Asia. Typically, students earn this additional academic credential at no extra tuition cost and with minimal additional investment of time and work.

Why do the Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies?

Students wanting to stretch their intellectual understanding beyond a single Asian culture or discipline will benefit from this program. The Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies is suitable for students who intend to use their Asian studies knowledge in careers such as social and public policy programs, the US Foreign Service, international NGOs, multinational corporations, and advanced education. This credential alerts prospective employers to the student’s expertise and scope of knowledge.

Academic Requirements

The graduate certificate entails a combination of foreign language training and multidisciplinary area studies necessary for both communicative and cultural competence. It has three academic components: Asian language proficiency, Asian studies courses, and a capstone research paper.

  1. Asian Language Proficiency: A student must demonstrate proficiency in reading and speaking one approved Asian language related to one of the student’s countries or regions of interest. Proficiency means at least three years of college-level study or the equivalent; it may be established by completing language courses or by passing a special examination.
  2. Asians Studies Courses: A minimum of five upper-level courses or graduate seminars focused on Asia, in at least two departments. The five courses must include one seminar outside the student’s major department.
  3. A Research Paper: The requirement for a research paper on Asian societal forces from a cultural, historical, health, political or economic perspective can be fulfilled when the student submits either a seminar paper or a thesis. The paper or thesis may be used to complete departmental requirements for a graduate degree as well as for the certificate, but it must include research using the student's approved Asian language.

Options for GSPIA Students

Students enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) have three options to earn a Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies. The certificate is awarded only upon completion of a GSPIA degree.

  1. Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies – GSPIA track: In addition to the language proficiency and Asian studies courses described above under Academic Requirements, a GSPIA student must also undertake:
    1. Three required GSPIA courses for the Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA) or Master of International Development (MID) program and prepare a research paper with a focus on economic, social or political problems germane to no more than three Asian countries
    2. Two required GSPIA electives that involve work on the problems germane to no more than three Asian countries
    3. The terminal option (capstone course for the MPIA or MID program or the dissertation in the PhD program) which must be focused on issues relevant to Asia
  2. Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies – GSPIA non-language track: The requirements a., b. and c. above for the GSPIA-track certificate must be met, however students do not have to meet the language proficiency requirement.
  3. Graduate Related Concentration in Asian Studies – GSPIA track: The requirements a., b. and c. above for the GSPIA-track certificate must be met, however students have flexibility with the language proficiency requirement: three years of Asian language study may involve up to three languages.

Admission Process

Graduate students should seek admission to the certificate program as soon as they have been admitted to the University of Pittsburgh.

Please fill out the appointment form here to schedule a meeting with our Academic Adviser and discuss admission into the program.

Scholarships

All certificate students are eligible to apply for Asian Studies Center scholarship funds. Held each year, scholarship competitions are made possible by endowment funds, grants from private sources, and funds from the US Department of Education.