Graduate Admissions

Admission to the Asian Studies Graduate Programs

We welcome individuals who are interested in studying Asia from interdisciplinary perspectives to apply to the Master of Arts in Asian Studies (MAAS), Master of Asian International Affairs (MAIA), or the Graduate Certificate (GCERT) program.

**Applicants are strongly encouraged to read carefully the School of Pacific and Asian Studies’ Application Tips for Graduate Students.**

Students are admitted to advanced degree programs by Graduate Division in the fall and spring semesters only. Outreach College does not fulfill the degree requirement for number of semesters “in residence.”  Students who wish to take course work at the graduate level during a summer session, but who have not been admitted to an advanced degree program before that session begins, must register as “post-baccalaureate unclassified” (PBU) students.

Admission to Outreach College does not imply or guarantee eventual admission to Graduate Division; however, appropriate credits earned from Outreach College courses prior to formal admission to Graduate Division may be applied toward an advanced degree with proper application (not to exceed 12 credits). All appropriate credits earned in Outreach College after admission to a degree program are applicable toward that degree.

Application Procedures

Students applying for admission to the Asian Studies graduate degree programs must apply online.

There are two sets of documents you must submit before your application is complete. Incomplete applications cannot be considered. Please start your application process early to ensure that your application is complete by the priority deadlines of September 1 (for Spring) and January 15 (for Fall).

  1. required documents that must be submitted by all graduate applicants at UH-Manoa; AND
  2. Supplemental Documents, which are specific to the Asian Studies Program.

Documents Required by the Graduate Division: 

The following materials may be submitted to the UHM Graduate Division’ online application site. (Please note: All  Graduate Division forms for are available here).

  • The UHM Graduate Admissions Application form, with fees.
  • Official copy of academic transcript from each post-secondary school attended. The transcript should be sent from the school you attended directly to UHM Graduate Division. Do not send the transcripts yourself.
  • Applicants to the MAAS program with undergraduate degrees from the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore or United Kingdom: Official GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score report, aptitude test only. (Choose “Area Studies” for department). We may waive the GRE requirement for certain applicants who have already completed graduate degrees; we reserve the right to do so on a case-by-case basis. Note: Applicants to the MAIA and GCERT programs do not need to submit GRE scores.
  • International applicants: TOEFL score. The minimum TOEFL score required for acceptance at UHM is 100 on the IBT; lower scores above 61 will be considered on a case by case basis. Students who are admitted with TOEFL scores between 61-100 will be required to attend courses in the English Language Institute, in addition to all Asian Studies Program requirements.

Applicants who qualify to pay resident tuition at UHM based on residency status or Board of Regents exemptions must also submit a Residency Declaration Form.

International students must also submit:

  • a copy of your passport identification page(s) or national I.D. card;
  • Proof of English proficiency (an official TOEFL or IELTS score report) [note: applicants with undergraduate degrees from the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore or United Kingdom are excluded from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. Applicants from these aforementioned countries must submit GRE scores instead of TOEFL/IELTS];
  • Proof of sufficient funding
  • For more information about applications from international students, please see International Admissions Requirements.

Supplemental Documents Required by Asian Studies:

For Applicants to the Master of Arts in Asian Studies (MAAS):
After you have submitted your UHM Graduate Admissions Application, the following Supplemental Documents must be submitted to the Graduate Application Supplemental Documents Upload Website.

  1. the Asian Studies Grad Program Application Form.
  2. A Statement of Purpose clearly stating your academic interests and career goals in pursuing a Masters degree in your chosen area of Asian Studies. The Statement of Purpose should follow the guidelines found here. Following these directions is extremely important to your application.
  3. Writing sample: an academic paper of which you are the sole author, which demonstrates your ability to interpret, analyze, and cite scholarly sources. Minimum length: 10 pages.
  4. Two letters of recommendation, preferably from people who know your academic work well.
  5. Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate institutions.

 For Applicants to the Master of Asian International Affairs (MAIA):  

After you have submitted your UHM Graduate Admissions Application, the following Supplemental Documents must be submitted to the Graduate Application Supplemental Documents Upload Website.

  1. the Asian Studies Grad Program Application Form.
  2. A statement of purpose clearly stating your career goals and reasons for pursuing the MAIA degree.
  3. A resume or curriculum vitae detailing your professional experience.
  4. A short piece of writing demonstrating your aptitude for analytical thinking and written communication.
  5. At least two letters of recommendation from academic or professional mentors.

Deadlines for receipt of applications: if you wish to be considered for scholarships or Graduate Assistantships, the application deadline is January 15 for the fall semester and September 1 for the spring semester. Applications received after the January 15 deadline will still be considered for admission, but cannot be considered for scholarships or funding opportunities. Many scholarships have January or February deadlines (see the page on Funding for specifics). Students may apply for UH Manoa scholarships at the STAR website; more information is available on the Funding page.

Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Division and Asian Studies after all documents are received. Notification of acceptance or denial is sent to each applicant as soon as possible after a decision is reached.

Deferral of Admission Per Graduate Division policy, admission may not be deferred. It is valid only for the semester for which it is offered. For example, admission for Spring 2019 is valid only for Spring 2019. It may not be deferred until Fall 2019 or Spring 2020. If you cannot attend, you must re-apply. Normally your original application will be kept on file for 2 years, but there is no guarantee.

Residency requirements Normally, it takes 2 years to complete an Asian Studies MA degree. Thus, you may be interested in knowing about establishing residency to reduce your tuition cost.

For questions about applying to the MAAS or MAIA programs, please contact the Asian Studies Graduate Chair, Dr. Young-a Park,  at yapark@hawaii.edu.

WICHE – WRGP 

The Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE)’s Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP)

The Asian Studies Program at UH Mānoa is a member of the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP). This program allows master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral students who are legal residents of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) member states to pay Hawai’i resident tuition when attending the UH-Mānoa Asian Studies Program. The WICHE states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

WICHE WRGP applicants applying to UH-Mānoa must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher or possess certain exceptional abilities as affirmed by the UHM graduate program to which they apply.

To be considered for the Hawai’i resident tuition rate through the WRGP program, you must identify yourself as WICHE WRGP applicant at the time you apply.* You must fulfill all the usual requirements for admission as set by the Asian Studies Program and Graduate Division at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and meet all admission deadlines. You must also provide documentation as proof of your legal residency in a WICHE state when requested by UH-Mānoa. (This documentation may include tax returns, voter certificates, active bank accounts, proofs of employment, proof of property ownership, lease agreements, among others).

For more information, please see:

UH-Mānoa Office of Graduate Education information on WICHE WRGP

WICHE WRGP website

*Please note: due to the requirements of residency determination, nominations and approvals for WRGP status can only be done at the time of application. It is not possible to “switch” into the WRGP once you have started your graduate program at UHM.


Admission to the Graduate Certificate Program

Students applying for admission to the Graduate Certificate Program program are encouraged to apply online. There are two sets of documents you must submit: required documents that must be submitted by all applicants to graduate programs at UH-Manoa, and Supplemental Documents, which are specific to the Asian Studies Program.

If you are already admitted to or registered in a UHM graduate degree program, please submit the following:

On the UHM Graduate Admissions Application website:

On the Supplemental Document Upload site:

Please note: For students already enrolled in a UHM graduate program, you must apply for the Graduate Certificate at least one semester prior to graduation.

If you are not currently enrolled in a UHM graduate degree program, please submit the following:

On the UHM Graduate Admissions Application website:

  •  the UH-Manoa Graduate Admissions Application Form and required fees;
  •  transcripts from each of the post-secondary institutions you have attended;
  •  evidence of English language proficiency if you are not a native speaker.

On the Supplemental Document Upload site:

  • the Asian Studies Grad Program Application Form.
  • a one-to-two page Statement of Purpose outlining why you wish to pursue the Graduate Certificate;
  • two letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to comment on your suitability for advanced study.

Please note: The priority deadlines for receipt of applications are January 15 for the fall semester and September 1 for the spring semester.

For questions about applying to the Graduate Certificate Program, please contact the Asian Studies Graduate Chair, Dr. Young-a Park, at yapark@hawaii.edu.