Harvard College Concurrent Degree

The Regional Studies East Asia (RSEA) Program offers a concurrent AB-AM degree which allows Harvard College students to obtain a master’s degree (AM) in RSEA in addition to their bachelor’s degree (AB) during their four years at Harvard.

The program is open to Harvard undergraduates who have a deep interest in East Asia and have demonstrated at least third-year level proficiency in an East Asian Language by the end of their Junior year. Interested students should review information about the Concurrent AB/AM Degree (https://oue.fas.harvard.edu/concurrent-masters) at the Office of Undergraduate Education.

Formal Requirements:


A total of eight half-courses, six must be on an East Asian topic with at least four at the graduate level. These courses must be letter-graded with a grade of B or higher, except for RSEA 350 and RSEA 300 which must receive a grade of SAT.

Four graduate-level courses with a focus on an East Asian topic must be allocated for use solely towards the AM degree requirement. The courses allocated solely towards the AM degree requirements cannot be used for Harvard College AB degree requirements.

Four other courses may be used simultaneously towards both the AM degree requirement and the Harvard College AB degree requirements, of which at least two must be focused on East Asia content. Up to four graduate-level courses taken before the fourth year can be allocated for either sole AM use or joint AB-AM use. Candidates for the AB/AM degree must allocate these courses by the start of the final term before graduation.


Proficiency above the third-year Harvard level in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese. The language used to fulfill this requirement must be the main language utilized in research for the master’s degree thesis.


A thesis that meets the minimum standards set by the RSEA Committee:

The thesis should demonstrate original research and fresh interpretation of a subject.
The thesis should demonstrate significant use of original-source materials in one or more East
Asian languages.

The thesis should demonstrate the candidate's familiarity with previous scholarship related to the subject matter.
The thesis should follow the appropriate scholarly format and include proper scholarly apparatus,
including footnotes and bibliography.

The body of the text (i.e., excluding bibliography and other supplementary material) is expected to be 60-80 pages in length (approx. 25,000-35,000 words), or of a length deemed appropriate by the student’s thesis advisor.

The RSEA 300: Thesis Reading and Writing Course is not required to write a thesis in the RSEA Program; however, it may be helpful to some students to have a course to complete this requirement.  RSEA 300 is supervised by a student's thesis advisor and the structure is decided by mutual agreement between the faculty member and the student.


Students admitted to the AB/AM program will be assigned an academic advisor by the RSEA Committee from the faculty whose primary focus is on East Asia for their AM work at Harvard. The student will independently reach out to faculty who will work closely with them in developing the thesis topic and throughout the writing process and agrees to serve as their Thesis Advisor.


In their junior year, students must apply for admission to the AB/AM program through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences by the Graduate School’s stated deadline (which is typically in December). This application is a graduate school application and amongst other things requires letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and a writing sample preferably on an East Asian topic. The Statement of Purpose should include a student’s academic or intellectual background in relation to their proposed plan of study.

For more information, please feel free to contact the Program Administrator, C. Rose Cortese at crcortes@fas.harvard.edu to discuss the Concurrent AB/AM.

Further details on the application process are available at the GSAS website at https://gsas.harvard.edu/admissions/apply.