Application and Information



EALC offers both a Master's program and a PhD Program. You may apply directly to either program. It is not necessary to apply for the Master's program before going on to the PhD. Students in the PhD program are encouraged to apply for the MA as soon as they are eligible.

Decisions for admission are the same for domestic and international applications, and are made without regard to the applicant's need for financial support. Admitted PhD students are fully funded for five (5) years. There is no funding for Master's students.

There are no minimum requirements to apply. It is expected, however, that the applicant will have at least majored as an undergraduate in the field for which they are applying and so would have had a minimum of six semesters of their primary East Asian language as well as some literature, history, or religion courses. Some background in a second East Asian language is preferred.

The fee to apply to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is $90.00, payable by major credit card. Application deadlines are noted below. A complete application consists of:

  • Application
  • Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose. Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create. Your statement should also include your career and research goals, how EALC's program in particular can help you achieve those goals and which faculty members, if any, with whom you would like to work.
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation. Unfortunately, letters submitted through Interfolio cannot be uploaded into the application at this time. If you wish to use Interfolio for your recommendation letters, Interfolio MUST email the letters to
  • Copies of all college-level transcripts. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the purposes of your application. If you are admitted, however, two copies of your official transcripts must be sent before you can matriculate.
  • GRE scores. In light of the upheaval caused by the pandemic and of the uneven progress in returning to a more stable situation, the GRE requirement is waived for applicants to our graduate programs for the academic year 2025–26. We shall revisit this policy again next year. In the meantime, you are welcome to send your scores to the department if you wish.
  • TOEFL score or IELTS score for non-native speakers of English. There is no minimum score to apply. However, most admitted students achieve an average score of 100 or above on the TOEFL exam and 6.0 on the IELTS. Applicants who have received a BA or MA degree in the United States or from an English-speaking university may request a waiver of the TOEFL requirement by emailing Scores should not be older than two years and tests should be taken by December 1, 2024. Report TOEFL scores to Institution Code 2926; Department Code 29. IELTS paper score reports should be sent to the EALC Department office.
  • Writing Sample. A writing sample is required. It may be of any length on any topic and should be indicative of your ability to research and write on a graduate level. Please submit only papers written in English.


The online application opens on October 1, 2024. You can request more information by completing the format this link.


The Fall 2025 PhD application deadline is December 1, 2024. Students admitted to the PhD program receive full funding including tuition, fees, health insurance, and a living stipend. Master's applications will be accepted as late as February 1, 2025 but  Penn does not offer fellowships for the MA program. A limited number of Foreign Area Studies Fellowships are available to U.S. citizens on a competitive basis.