MA program

Students in the MA program must complete 15 units of coursework and thesis to earn their degree. All students must take a minimum of 6 units from the core courses offered by our department.

Students choose one of the following two options.

(1) The long thesis option
• 6 units of coursework
• 9-unit thesis (90-120 pages)

(2) The short thesis option
• 9 units of coursework
• 6-unit research paper (70-90 pages)

Students choose one of the two Study Streams:

(1) The Regional (Area) Studies Stream

This stream covers the mechanisms and values involved in social transformations. Students explore Asian and Pacific societies in the context of globalisation and modernisation, in relation to local social and cultural practices. Limited issues around cultural politics, state formation, and global vs. local relations often form the foundation of graduate work in this stream.

2) The Literary and Textual Studies Stream

Students in the Literary and Textual Studies stream work on cutting-edge topics on the critical role narratives play in shaping, preserving, challenging, or changing social organisations and traditions. These topics focus on such diverse areas as technology, gender, ethnicities, international relations, ideologies and propaganda, and more. Students create an original, analytical thesis demonstrating an argument about a specific topic in narrative, broadly encompassing the literatures, theatres, cinemas, languages, histories, religions, and philosophies of Asia. The student conducts original research utilising primary and secondary resources in both Asian and non-Asian languages, synthesising the results of this research into a rhetorical text (the Thesis).


For the Literary and Textual Studies Stream, normally, students must complete the following 1.5 unit courses: PAAS 501, 521, 550 and 590.

For the Regional (Area) Studies Stream, normally, students must complete the following 1.5 unit courses: PAAS 500, 520, 550 and 590.

Students may also select from among the following electives: PAAS 580 or PAAS 590 (taught by a faculty member other than the supervisor).

Students may also take one undergraduate course numbered 300 or higher for graduate credit (subject to approval by the Graduate Advisor).

Additional courses may be taken from other departments, up to a maximum of 3 units, which the student will select in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and the student's supervisor, and with permission of the other departments.

As part of our multidisciplinary orientation, we encourage students to spend an extended period of time in their country of specialisation, whether carrying out work terms through Co-op, acquiring language skills, or conducting research. Our participation in the Co-op program and our extensive established contacts in Asian countries (see tab below) encourage student travel and study abroad.

Year 1

January 31, Year 1 Students confirm members of their committee.

Normally, between April 1st and and June 30th of the first year of study, students submit and defend their thesis proposal or major research paper proposal. Following this simple formality, students will continue with their program of research, and the writing of their thesis.

Year 2

Students will write the draft of their thesis, working closely with their supervisory committee, receiving feedback, and incorporating supportive suggestions. In order to complete their thesis defense by the end of April, students should complete their draft by the end of January. Their supervisor will suggest an External Examiner (the student should not contact this person directly), and will work with the student to schedule the defense.

To complete the MA

Allow your supervisor and committee members a minimum of three weeks to review the final draft of your thesis or research paper.

Submit the Request for Oral Examination form to Grad Studies once all committee members have examined the thesis and are satisfied that it represents an examinable document for the degree requirements. This form must be received by grad studies 20 working days before your oral defense (not including the day of the defense).

Allow 2 hours for your oral defense. The student will give a 15 minute presentation at the beginning, followed by a question period that starts with the External Examiner.

University of Victoria has established the agreements with several institutions in the Asia-Pacific regions.