Admission to the RSEA program is extremely competitive. In an average year, the program receives 180–200 applications from around the world; however, the typical entering A.M. cohort consists of 24–28 students. The application process and offer of admission into the Regional Studies East Asia A.M. program is handled through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).

In evaluating applications, the RSEA Admissions Committee will assess the whole application and may consider any and all of the following criteria for admission: demonstrated academic excellence, the extent of appropriate language training and prior experience in East Asia, letters of recommendation, writing ability, GRE scores and, where applicable, TOEFL or IELTS scores*, together with the student’s own statement of purpose. In addition, an applicant's intended area of study is evaluated to assess the availability of suitable faculty resources to provide adequate supervision to an applicant, if admitted.

*Note: The GRE exam is required for all applications to the RSEA program. TOEFL or IELTS test scores are required for applicants needing to show proficiency in English.  GSAS will accept the GRE® General Test at home and the TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition.

Deadlines and Requirements

The application deadline for admission in Fall 2021 has passed.

The next admissions round will be for Fall 2022; the application is typically available online from September and due in December (see GSAS Admissions and Degree Programs for additional information).

GSAS requires prospective students to submit all application materials online; no materials should be sent to the RSEA program office. The full details of the admissions procedure and requirements are available directly from the GSAS website ( A complete application consists of these required items:

1. Admissions Application
2. Statement of Purpose
3. Official Transcripts

4. Official GRE General Test scores (send to Harvard GSAS using ETS code: 3451)
5. Writing Sample (not to exceed 20 pages)
6. Three Letters of Recommendation (submitted online, no hard copies)

7. TOEFL or IELTS scores (if required)


Please note that on your application, you are asked to indicate which Harvard faculty member(s) you would like to work with should you be admitted into the program. It is important for you to do so to ensure that faculty members with whom you would like to work are informed when your application becomes available for review. There is no need to contact faculty directly.

We urge all applicants to carefully read through the application and only submit the application when all materials are confirmed correct and complete. No changes or additional materials will be accepted once an application has been submitted. Only letters of recommendation from recommenders, and test scores directly from testing agencies (for tests taken prior to the application deadline) will be accepted.

Questions about the application process may be directed to the GSAS Admissions Office at Please carefully read their automated response for helpful information.