East Asian Studies - UTU Masters
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Master's Degree Programme in

East Asian Studies

Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Turku

Gain in-depth knowledge on today’s East Asian societies and become a specialist in the most dynamic region of the world!

The Master’s Degree Programme in East Asian Studies (EAST) gives a unique opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge on the dynamic societies of contemporary East Asia.
The application period for the studies starting in autumn 2019 is 3 December 2018 – 31 January 2019.

Students gain expertise on East Asian contemporary history, politics and societies and learn social science research methods to become area specialists on East Asia. East Asian languages are studied as part of the degree to support students’ acquisition of knowledge and Master’s thesis research.

Students in the Programme have good opportunities for student exchange in East Asian universities as well as to receive East Asian study and research scholarships. The Programme provides expertise to enter international public, private and third sector professions. Students also become qualified to apply to PhD programmes and to pursue an academic career.


Programme structure

For a detailed information about the courses, please see the electronic Curriculum.

Academic excellence & experience

The Centre for East Asian Studies specializes in research on contemporary East Asian societies, with special focus on various manifestations of civil societies in China, North and South Korea and Japan. For China, academic staff conducts research, for example, on disaster management, social movements and protest, urban governance, and environmental issues. For South Korea, on popular culture and social movements, as well as on South Korean foreign aid. For North Korea, on social and economic transformation. For Japan, on social movements and civic society.

The research by the academic staff is directly reflected in the Master’s programme: students get up-to-date teaching on topical issues and societal and political developments in East Asian societies. Students also receive individual thesis supervision firmly anchored in the East Asia expertise of the teaching staff.

Master's thesis & topics

Students conduct independent research on their chosen topic and write a Master’s Thesis (40 ECTS). This trains students to apply social science methods, carry out research, analyse research data, present their findings orally and in writing, be engaged in argumentation and debate, and communicate their research findings in accordance with scientific standards.
Examples of thesis topics:

  • Place and belonging – an ethnography of rural migrant children in Beijing
  • Cosmetic surgery and rites of passage in Korean society – a study on cosmetic surgeries after the university entrance exam
  • Remembering the war and aggression: a discourse analysis of Japan’s state apologies and commemoration speeches on August 15th 1995–2015
  • From the Great Famine (1958–1962) to the food waste problem: the role of memory to enhance the awareness in the city of Shanghai
  • Japan’s shining women: young women negotiating the transition to adulthood in Japan
  • South Korean presidents and the alliance with the United States 1998‒2012: a case study of the Free Trade Agreement

Check out the complete list of Master’s theses written by our graduates from the programme’s webpages


An international programme

Students in the Master’s Degree Programme in East Asian Studies have very good study exchange opportunities in the People’s Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, in the partner universities of the University of Turku.

It is common that students spend one or even two academic terms abroad during their second year in the Programme and also conduct field research for their Master’s thesis during that time.

Students of the Programme also have a chance to study for one year in the Master of China Studies programme at the Zhejiang University in China as part of their Master’s Programme in Turku.


Competence description

In this Master’s Degree Programme, you will gain in-depth knowledge on contemporary East Asian societies.

You will learn:

  • about present developments, debates, social phenomena and competing perspectives in East Asia, and you learn to put them in contemporary historical context
  • East Asian languages as part of your training and become familiar with intercultural communication
  • methods in social science as related to East Asian studies
  • how to carry out independent research through your Master’s thesis project
  • how to analyse research data and communicate your research findings by writing a Master’s thesis
  • communication, computer and organisational skills
Job options

Those graduating from the Master’s Degree Programme in East Asian Studies find employment in public, private and third sector jobs, such as in diplomatic service, international organisations, and companies where knowledge on East Asia and dynamic regions is in demand.

Career in research

Graduates of the Programme are eligible to apply to the doctoral programmes at the University of Turku and other universities in the fields of social sciences and East Asian studies.


General degree requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled in order to apply to the master’s programme in East Asian Studies (EAST):

  1. A bachelor’s degree of at least 3 years in length. Persons who have the Finnish first-cycle polytechnic degree called “ammattikorkeakoulututkinto” and have completed courses on scientific thinking, writing and research methods in areas relevant to the Programme are also eligible to apply.
  2. Verified proficiency in the English language (see below for recognized qualifications, required levels and exemptions)
Programme-Specific Degree Requirements

The following criteria will be used to rate each applicant:

  1. East Asia contents and  relevance of previous degree studies; this includes exchange studies in East Asia
  2. Academic performance in previous studies
  3. Proven knowledge of East Asian languages (transcripts, certificates etc. required)
  4. Letter of motivation

For the assessment of each criteria a grading scale of 0–1 (0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1.0) is used.

Language Requirements

Applicants must prove their English language proficiency in one of the following ways:

  1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 575 on the paper-based test (PBT) or minimum overall score of 92 and no individual score below 20 on the internet-based test (IBT).
  2. International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) test (Academic) with an overall band score of 6.5 and no individual score below 6,0.
  3. PTE Academic test with a minimum overall score of 62 and no individual score below 54.
  4. Cambridge ESOL’s Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with pass grade A, B or C.
  5. Cambridge ESOL’s Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) with pass grade A, B, or C.
  6. Bachelor’s (or higher) degree conducted in English language in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States or in an EU/EEA country.
  7. Secondary education received in English language in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom or United States
  8. Finnish matriculation examination in English language, minimum grade of magna cum laude approbatur (or a corresponding minimum English language grade of 5 from the International Baccalaureate degree, grade 7.00 from the European Baccalaureate degree or grade 8 from the Reifeprüfung degree).

No other language tests or statements of the applicant’s language skills will be accepted. The language test results must be valid. Please note that the language test is valid until the expiry date given by the test organiser.

More information about the Language tests: http://masters.utu.fi/how-to-apply/


Application Form and Enclosures

Applications are done on the Studyinfo portal (www.studyinfo.fi). Search for the Master’s Degree Programme in East Asian Studies, University of Turku.

The application period is 3 December 2018 – 31 January 2019 at 15:00 (local time in Finland, GMT +2) for studies starting in September 2019.

Applicants must submit the following documents until the deadline:

  1. The original degree certificate (in the original language) AND an English, Finnish or Swedish translation of the degree certificate.
    ➤ Applicants graduating after the admissions deadline must include a certificate or a statement from the home university or institute stating the expected date of graduation. The degree and the required studies have to be completed and the related enclosures (certificates) received by the Faculty of the Social Sciences by 8 July 2019 at 15:00 Finnish time.
  2. The original transcript of study records (in the original language) AND an English, Finnish or Swedish translation of the transcript of records.
  3. Certificate of English language proficiency
  4. Curriculum Vitae (resumé) (preferably in Europass format)
  5. Letter of motivation (500-800 words) to be inserted in the electronic application form, and NOT submitted as a separate file
    ➤ It includes a brief description of the applicant’s study background, how she/he became interested in studying East Asia, main areas of study and research interests including a tentative thesis topic, the choice for CEAS/Turku, and future aspirations. It is also required to include the name, affiliation and contact information (e-mail) of two academic references, of whom at least one has been the main supervisor of the applicant’s previous studies. (It is recommended to draft the letter in advance as a separate document and copy and paste the text to the application form.)

NB: Only complete applications will be considered.

All translations must be made either by an authorized translator or by the degree awarding institution. Each page of an official translation must bear the translator’s stamp and/or signature. Official translations must be exact translations of the original documents. Translations done by the applicant him- or herself are not accepted.
More information about the required documents: http://masters.utu.fi/how-to-apply/

The transcript must cover the full length of studies. If the degree includes course units that the student has completed at another institution and the transferred credits are not indicated in detail on the transcript of records, a separate transcript of records regarding the transferred credits should be submitted. Please also note possible Country specific requirements


Fill in the online application form. The online application is open only during the application period, so make sure you will finish your application before 31 January 2019 at 15:00:00 (Local time in Finland, GTM+2).


Collect the required application documents.


Submit your application and all the required enclosures electronically by the end of the application period.


Master’s Degree Programme in



Degree: Master of Social Sciences

Duration: 2 academic years, 120 ECTS credits

Mode of study: Full-time

Faculty / Department: Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for East Asian Studies

Location: Turku, Finland

Language of instruction: English

Start date: September 2019

Application period: 3 Dec 2018 – 31 Jan 2019

Tuition fee for citizens of EU/EEA countries or Switzerland:  None

Tuition fee for citizens of non-EU/EEA countries:  €8,000 / academic year

Scholarships available: check the website


Academic director of the Master’s Programme,
University lecturer Sabine Burghart

Educational coordinator Anna Väre (application process)

Internet: https://www.utu.fi/en/university/faculty-of-social-sciences/ceas 

Future with UTU

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