1. I lived in Vietnam for 2 years and am verbally fluent but am weaker in reading and writing. Will this qualify the language requirement for admission?
    Perhaps, but you would also be required to demonstrate a proven ability to learn languages. The reason we require 2 years of college-level study is because we are preparing you for an academic career that will require reading and writing in your chosen language, so you need to arrive with a strong academic background in that language.
  2. Are GREs required for admissions to your program?
    Submission of GRE scores is now optional. A student’s admission decision will not be affected by not submitting a GRE score.
  3. Even though it is now optional, can students be penalized for not submitting GRE scores?
    No, we won’t penalize an applicant for not submitting something that we say is optional.
  4. Is the TOEFL required? To what extent do my TOEFL scores influence my selection?
    All applicants from countries/regions in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. For information on specific countries, and TOEFL exemption qualifications visit the Grad Div Admissions Requirements page. The purpose of the TOEFL scores is to demonstrate sufficient English proficiency to fulfill the requirements of the program. Note that a careful review of your statement of purpose, personal statement, writing sample(s), and educational background will be undertaken to supplement the information provided by TOEFL results.
  5. Can I apply for an application fee waiver?
    Click here for how to request an Admissions Fee Waiver.
  6. I’m very interested in your program, but if I don’t see my preferred regional language listed as a language of emphasis, does this indicate it is not a good fit?
    All of our MA/PhD students work under the supervision of a Faculty Advisor whose academic focus best matches their own. Consult our faculty’s areas of expertise to ascertain whether any of them can serve as an appropriate advisor in your chosen field; if in doubt, write to them directly.
  7. I have formally only taken a total of four college- or graduate-level courses that focused on Southeast Asia. Does time spent informally studying and/or working in my country of emphasis count toward the eight-course minimum?
    While life experience can certainly enhance one’s application, proper preparation for our PhD program can only be demonstrated by a clearly relevant academic foundation. For a more tailored response to your situation, please, consult directly with a faculty member who works in a related field, as well as our Faculty Head Graduate Advisor.
  8. I already have an MA in another subject. Will this put me on an expedited path in the joint MA/PhD program? Or will I need to get another MA in South & Southeast Asian Studies as part of the PhD journey?
    Students enrolled in the MA/PhD program, who have not completed an MA in the field of South- or Southeast Asian Studies, will be required to complete a new MA in the course of their work towards the doctorate.
  9. What are the criteria for determining the likelihood and level of financial support of students coming into the program?
    Under normal circumstances, all admitted PhD prospective students are offered a basic five-year funding package, as described above, regardless of their financial situation.
  10. Is financial support normally offered to students enrolling in the MA program?
    Only students entering the combined MA/PhD program will be eligible for the standard PhD funding package.
  11. How does the MA in SSEAS differ from the MA in Asian Studies?
    The MA in Asian Studies provides students with a more ecumenical exposure to the various disciplines through which to learn about the region, while the MA in SSEAS provides a more intense Humanities focus, including advanced mastery of at least one language, the acquisition of the ability to work with primary texts, and a solid grasp of the methodology in the field.
  12. Does the University offer Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions as part of the funding package? As part of the basic PhD five-year funding package, students are normally required to serve as Graduate Student Instructors, assisting with the teaching of undergraduate courses, for four semesters. It is common for graduate students to apply for teaching positions once they have exhausted their  five year funding package.
  13. Is there any chance I could start your MA/PhD program this Fall, even though I’ve missed the admissions deadline?
    Admissions guidelines are set by UC  Berkeley’s Graduate Division and we don’t offer exceptions.
  14. How do I convert my grades, earned at different institutions using different scales, into the UC Berkeley GPA scale?
    This information is provided on the UC Berkeley Graduate Division website.  Other helpful tools include:
    Tools such as this online GPA Calculator or Converting GPAs document. *These tools notwithstanding, the process may be confusing. Rest assured that the Department performs a holistic analysis of each application, and the summary GPA is just one part of that.
  15. What is the SSEAS department code?
    The institution code for UC Berkeley is 4833 for Graduate Programs. Our department does not have a separate code so please use 4833 when asked.
  16. I will send my previous {GRE/TOEFL} score by December 15th, but cannot send my newest score in time to meet the deadline. Will the department accept my newest score, even if it arrives late?
    Yes, you can send late or updated test scores after the application deadline, and your application will be updated
  17. I have a writing sample that is longer than 40 pages. Is there an upper page limit for the writing sample?
    There is no upper limit; just submit your best and most representative work.
  18. I am an international applicant to the PhD program in South & Southeast Asian Studies. Do I need to upload the degree certificate in the Academic History section, as it only requires the transcript?
    Yes, probably. We require different diplomas, degrees, or graduation certificates, depending on which country you have studied in. For specifics, please contact our Graduate Student Advisor.