Course Requirements

The RSEA program is designed to be flexible and to allow students the opportunity to pursue their own particular East Asia-related interests, whether wide-ranging or relatively focused, within the guidelines of the RSEA requirements. There are a a large number of courses relating to East Asia across the many Harvard schools.  The Harvard Course listings may be found at  

In the normal two-year program of study, students take a total of sixteen four-credit courses. Some students may choose to take some of their courses in subjects related to their academic interests but outside the East Asian studies field. All students must graduate with at least eight RSEA-approved four-credit courses. These eight approved courses must meet the following conditions:

All eight courses must receive a minimum grade of B or better in compliance with GSAS policy.

At least six courses must be Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) courses, even though RSEA students are permitted, within GSAS guidelines, to take up to two courses per semester (no more than half their enrollment each term) through cross-registration at other Harvard schools or allied universities.

 At least six courses used to count towards RSEA course requirements must be courses on East Asian topics, as indicated by course descriptions or approved by the RSEA Committee.  Courses that deal with East Asia as part of a broader context or courses that provide the theoretical underpinnings of a disciplinary approach may be approved if the student’s final paper or project primarily deals with East Asia.

 Only two East Asian language courses may be used to fulfill the RSEA course requirement (however, language courses cannot be counted among the six East Asian content courses). Such language courses must be at or above the fourth-year level in the case of a primary East Asian language, or in the case of a second language, at least at the second-year level. 

All first-year RSEA students are required to take “RSEA 350 (aka 200): Topics in Regional Studies East Asia: Proseminar.” This course is graded SAT/UNSAT.  

Students must consult their Faculty Academic Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies regarding their proposed course of study. Any exception to the above rules must be approved in advance of taking the course by the Faculty Academic Advisor in writing, then approved by the DGS and filed in the RSEA office.  

Current students should refer to the RSEA Student Guide for additional details and specific policies.