About the Program

The 4+1 B.A./M.A. program, established in 2016, is a unique Master's graduate program in which all current UCI undergraduate students can build upon their undergraduate work to complete an MA in Asian American Studies in one additional year beyond the completion of the Bachelor's degree.

As the first hybrid B.A./M.A. program in the country, the program in Asian American Studies allows high performing students advanced training in the following areas:

  • Interdisciplinary theories and methods for social justice driven research.
  • Direct involvement with local, national, and global Asian American communities.

Graduates of the M.A. in Asian American Studies will be better prepared to pursue any career requiring strong communication skills, critical thinking, and intercultural competence. Some examples include:

  • Academia (Doctoral Degree, Professoriate)
  • K-12 Education
  • Social Welfare
  • Law
  • Arts
  • Non-Profit Sector
  • Public Health

Students will have the opportunity to work with UCI Asian American Studies faculty who are nationally and internationally known for their research. The curriculum is designed to be flexible, allowing for students to pursue their own research and interests.

All those interested in the program should contact Dr. Julia Lee, Director of Graduate Study, or Brenton Agahan, Academic Program Coordinator, to discuss program eligibility and coursework opportunities.

Time to Degree

Upon admission, students will begin graduate level coursework during their final year of undergraduate study. All degree requirements and the Master's thesis, creative project, or comprehensive exam will be completed within one year (three quarters) once students have transitioned to graduate student status. Maximum time to degree is two years after the Bachelor's degree.

Degree Requirements

Coursework 36 units;  9 courses

  1. ASIANAM 200A- Theories and Methods in Asian American Studies
  2. ASIANAM 200B- Contemporary Issues in Asian American Studies
  3. ASIANAM 200C- Leadership and Social Change in Asian American Communities
  4. ASIANAM 200D- Introduction to Asian American Studies Research
  5. ASIANAM 201- Graduate Topics in Asian American Studies OR ASIAN 250- Advanced Topics in Asian American Studies
  6. Three sections of ASIANAM 290 - Directed Research
  7. One elective graduate seminar

Language Other Than English

Students must complete college-level course work equivalent to UCI's sixth quarter of study (2C level, or for Latin or Greek, one 103 and one 104, or two 103s or 104s) in a language other than English or equivalent competence. The final course must be taken for a letter grade and passed with a grade of C or better.

Degree Conferral

Students will be conferred the Master's degree in Asian American Studies after the successful completion of all coursework, the language requirement, and the Master's Thesis, Creative Project, or Comprehensive Exam.

  • The Master's Thesis will be approximately twenty-five to thirty pages in length. It will consist of independent research supervised by the Faculty Advisor. 

    The faculty advisor, in addition to two UCI faculty (one of which must be another Asian American Studies faculty member), will evaluate the thesis for degree conferral. In addition to the written work, students are required to complete a Thesis defense open to the public.

  • The Creative Project (e.g. feature-length documentary film, full-length solo performance, or exhibition, for example) will have its work expectations determined by the faculty advisor. The faculty advisor, as well as two committee members (typically Asian American Studies faculty members), will evaluate the student’s work for degree conferral. In addition to the production of the creative work, students are required to complete the a Written Evaluation of the creative project (10-15 pages in length) and a Project Defense open to the public.

  • At the end of the final quarter, the M.A. candidate must pass a comprehensive exam that illustrates mastery of key concepts and methods of inquiry in Asian American Studies. The final format of the exam is determined in consultation with the faculty advisor. The exam is administered by the faculty advisor and an exam committee comprised of at least two additional Asian American Studies faculty members.


Application Eligibility

All applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible to apply to the Asian American Studies 4+1 program:
  1.  Current UCI undergraduate student status.
  2.  Cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0.
  3.  Cumulative G.P.A. of 3.3 in Asian American Studies coursework.
  4.  Applicants who are non-Asian American Studies majors must take a minimum of two Asian American Studies courses prior to applying to the program; one course in ASIANAM 50, 51, 52, 53,54, or 55 and one other course in Asian American Studies (lower or upper division).

Note: All applicants must officially apply to the program before they graduate with their B.A. For example, if an applicant is graduating in Fall, they must apply to the program by the Fall Quarter application deadline. Their application will not be accepted if they apply in Winter Quarter.


Application Process

  1. Set up an application advising appointment with Brenton Agahan, Academic Program Coordinator
  2. Complete the online application. The link to the application will be sent to the applicant after the application advising appointment.
  3. Answer the following prompts as part of the online application:
    1. Statement of Purpose - Briefly describe your proposed research project-- include literature review, objects of study, academic fields of engagement (i.e. history, film/media, political science, literature, etc.), and other specific and relevant information. What types of interventions or new knowledge would you like to produce during your time in the 4+1 program? Please list at least 2-3 faculty (both core and affiliated Asian American Studies faculty at UCI) who you would like to work with. How do you see their research interests and expertise as integral or helpful to your proposed research project? 1200 words maximum.
    2. Personal History Statement - Describe your personal background-- are there any personal challenges you have faced? And, if so, how did you deal or overcome it? What types of skills, strengths, and/or previous work/community experience do you think prepares you for the 4+1 program? 1200 words maximum.
  4. Submit the following supplemental application materials via the online application:
    1. Unofficial Transcripts of all post-secondary work.     
    2. One letter of recommendation. The letter of recommendation must be written by an Asian American Studies core or affiliate faculty member. The submission of the letter will be managed via the online application system.
    3. One writing sample. Ten pages in length (one sample of ten pages or two samples of five pages each). Writing should be academic in nature and highlight your research and writing abilities. It is preferred the writing sample(s) reflects Asian American Studies based content.