Postgraduate study

East Asian Relations MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: East Asian Relations

With two of the world’s leading economic powers situated in East Asia, and a huge potential for both regional conflict and cooperation, studying East Asian Relations is as relevant and critical now as it has been at any time since the end of World War II.

For 2024, we are replacing our Masters programme in East Asian Relations with a new MSc in East Asian Studies.

The programme is distinct for its border-crossing focus, enabling you to take a transnational and comparative approach to East Asian Studies, including relations between China, Japan and Korea, or to concentrate more on one country.

With only one compulsory taught course, and options from a very wide range, the programme has been structured to give you even more freedom to design your own postgraduate coursework and research.

Our new MSc in East Asian Studies is coming soon. It will be available for 2024 entry.

Why Edinburgh

You’ll be based in a thriving Asian Studies department, with expertise in Japanese, Chinese, Korean Studies, and East Asian Relations, and a great programme of cultural events, including its own seminar series.

Our programme is carefully designed to introduce skills and knowledge in a way that is clear, coherent and interconnected, supporting your academic development and research training towards a masters dissertation.

You will benefit from the resources of a leading cultural capital city, from the University of Edinburgh Library (some two million borrowable volumes) to the National Library of Scotland. A compact, green and historic city, with excellent restaurants, cinemas and theatres, it’s a great place to live and study.

We are replacing our individual masters programme in East Asian Relations with a new MSc in East Asian Studies. This new MSc is coming soon. It will be available for 2024 entry.

You can take the MSc in East Asian Studies over one year, full-time, or two years, part-time.

By the end of the programme, you will have completed courses totalling 180 credits.

All students take our course on ‘Doing Research on East Asia: Key Concepts, Approaches and Issues’. This is worth 20 credits.

You will then choose four optional courses, each worth 20 credits. You will select these from a wide range of courses.

The final element of the programme is your dissertation. This is a piece of independent research - 15,000 words (worth 60 credits) - written with the advice and support of a designated supervisor.

We are replacing our individual masters programme in East Asian Relations with a new MSc in East Asian Studies. This new MSc is coming soon. It will be available for 2024 entry.

On completion of our new programme, you will have gained the skills to:

  • articulate and describe major events, actors, and issues impacting East Asia and/or individual countries in the region
  • critically discuss and utilise theoretical and conceptual tools for understanding the region, individual countries, and/or issues relevant to both
  • explain and critique the scholarship in your chosen subject area
  • select and utilise appropriate sources to support your arguments and research
  • apply knowledge and skills to conduct independent research

East Asia is widely perceived to be the focus of future global politics, with tensions between North Korea and the US, for example, dominating headlines worldwide.

Giving you a thorough grasp of historical and contemporary factors, our new programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge to critically engage with these developments, either as they relate to one particular country or in comparison.

You will acquire the tools to analyse, understand and articulate the complexities of East Asia and its constituent countries in a global context, and in career-ready ways.

Your skills will give you an advantage in a range of careers across the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, including in:

  • diplomacy, negotiation and international relations
  • politics, policy work, civil service and law
  • journalism, broadcasting and media
  • business, finance and commerce
  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations
  • education, outreach, advocacy and training
  • leisure, tourism and travel
  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts
  • research and development

The enhanced research skills you will develop through training, coursework and your dissertation are a valuable asset if you wish to continue on to PhD study.

We typically offer a PhD in East Asian Studies.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

If the focus of your thesis is on Japan, you may be considered for the Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentship Programme which provides studentships of £10,000.

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 06 November 2023 21 December 2023
2 15 January 2024 14 March 2024
3 11 March 2024 02 May 2024
4 20 May 2024 18 July 2024
5 01 July 2024 08 August 2024

(Revised 19 October 2023 to update application deadlines and selection dates)

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH