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University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 15, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Asian Studies Certificate

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University of Pittsburgh
University Center for International Studies
Asian Studies Center
Emily Rook-Koepsel, Undergraduate & Graduate Advisor and Assistant Director for Academic Affairs
4109 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-648-7370​

Advanced Certificate Requirements

The Advanced Certificate in Asian Studies may be earned by U.S. and international students from any department or school at the University. The certificate combines the language training and multidisciplinary area studies necessary for both communicative and cultural competence. The certificate is designed for students who wish to intensify their study of Asia, either because they would like to be able to use their knowledge of that critical part of the world in their careers after graduation, or because they recognize the importance of an understanding of Asian history, language, and culture for all well-informed people.

  • A minimum of five upper-level courses or graduate seminars dealing with Asia, in at least two departments. The five courses must include one seminar outside the student’s major department.
    • Graduate students should complete a minimum of 6 unique credits of coursework. In other words, at least 6 credits of the course work used to complete the requirements of any graduate level certificate in UCIS must be in addition to the credits used to complete the student’s primary degree program. In consultation with the academic advisor, students may fulfill these standards through one of the following options:

      • Students may contextualize non-credit bearing internships that are required in various graduate degree programs as credit bearing experiences for UCIS certificate programs. Prior approval must be received from the academic advisor to pursue this option.
      • Students who can add content courses without affecting their tuition bill will be encouraged to do so.  
      • Students who are exempt from the language requirement because of previous coursework or heritage language skills may use language course credits towards the requirement for “additional work beyond the graduate degree.
    • The 6 credits may be comprised of the following combinations:

      • Two language courses (* see notes below)

      • A language course (* see notes below) and a content course

      • Two content courses

* Language courses may be used in the following circumstances: 

For certificate programs that require three years of language proficiency, students may count language courses in the third year (i.e. grammar, conversation, courses taught in target language) that are above the intermediate level.

For students in any certificate program who are exempt from the language requirement due to previous coursework or as a heritage speaker, the introductory courses in a second language (either LCTLs, or a commonly taught language with a clear and stated relevance to their research or professional goals) will count.

For students completing two graduate level UCIS certificates, at least nine (9)credits of the course work used to complete the certificate requirements must be in addition to the credits used to complete the student’s primary degree program. At least 3 of these credits must be in content coursework. All 9 cannot be language course credits.

  • A research paper. The student can fulfill this requirement by presenting either an interdisciplinary seminar paper or thesis (which draws upon more than one scholarly discipline). The paper can be used to complete departmental requirements for a graduate degree as well as for the certificate, but must include research using the student’s approved Asian language.
  • Demonstration of proficiency in reading and speaking an approved Asian language related to one of the student’s countries or regions of interest. Proficiency is interpreted to mean at least three years of study or the equivalent, and may be demonstrated by successfully completing courses or by passing a special examination.
  • GSPIA option: Students enrolled in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) may fulfill a more targeted set of requirements for their program. For details, visit
  • GPA requirement is 3.0 for all courses to be counted towards the Asian Studies Certificate.

Financial Assistance

Asian Studies Certificate Students are eligible for a variety of scholarships, grants, and fellowships for research, presentations at conferences, language learning, and tuition replacement. For information visit

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