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East Asian Studies & Public Health (MA/MPH)

There is a growing appreciation that promoting health in East Asia will require close collaboration between East Asian studies specialists and public health professionals. In order to achieve significant progress in global health, new forms of international cooperation must be developed. Increased global mobility and trade have also increased the potential transfer of health-related risks such as infectious and food borne diseases. Health related issues such as the marketing and trade of harmful goods or the pricing of pharmaceuticals--set new challenges for international agreements, sovereignty and global accountability. Increasingly, health is seen as an issue of foreign relations, international law, trade negotiations and security. Many health problems can no longer be contained through action of individual nation states and call for a redefinition of national interest. Prime examples are found in the extreme health inequalities between developed and developing nations and the destabilizing spread of HIV/AIDS.

Consequently, the East Asian Studies (EAST) graduate program within the Council on East Asian Studies and the Yale MacMillan Center and the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences jointly with the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) offer a joint degree program for students who plan careers in which public health issues in East Asia promise to be significant. The joint degree combines the EAST two-year Master of Arts degree (MA) with the YSPH two-year Master of Public Health degree (MPH). The joint degree program normally requires three years of full-time study, and the MA and MPH are awarded simultaneously at the conclusion of the three-year period.

A joint degree is more than simply a list of courses taken in both programs. It is an integrated educational program which is designed to achieve a combination of the two programs in a way that is complementary to both while protecting the integrity of each separate degree program.


The standard pattern of joint degree candidates is to spend the first year almost exclusively in one program and the second year almost exclusively in the other. In the third year, students register for one semester in each program. Though they may take courses in the other program provided, at the end of the year, they meet the necessary core and distribution course requirements for the degree in each program. For the EAST/MPH joint degree, the strong preference is for students to spend the first year in the EAST program.

The two programs have made accommodations in order to make possible the completion of the joint courses of study in three years, instead of the four years required to complete both degrees consecutively, by enabling completion of course requirements on a three-semester per program basis. Joint degree candidates must fulfill all of the requirements of both programs in which they are enrolled. Barring unusual circumstances, joint degree students must fulfill the course and language requirements of the EAST MA program and complete all requirements of both programs before receiving either degree. All courses must be allocated to one degree or the other and may not be double counted in both.

Course planning for joint degree candidates should be carried out in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies of EAST and the Yale School of Public Health, and must satisfy the following general requirements:

The East Asian Studies Component

In general, students focus their coursework either on the study of China, Japan, or transnational East Asia. Some students may prefer to focus their coursework on one or two disciplines, in addition to language study and courses focused on East Asia. Others may create a highly interdisciplinary program, taking courses in the traditional disciplines such as history, literature, political science, art history, or anthropology, as well as in Yale’s professional schools.

Students who wish to complete the East Asian Studies Master’s Degree must show evidence of having completed at least two years of intensive Chinese or Japanese language study or the equivalent at the time of matriculation.

The program of study for completion of the EAST MA degree in two years would normally consist of sixteen term courses, including two to four term courses of language study (for those who have met the language requirement in one language at matriculation, two of the required sixteen courses may be advanced training in a particular discipline [e.g., economics, history, political theory, statistics, etc.] with no explicit focus on East Asia, but related to the student’s professional goals). Under the joint degree with YSPH, the EAST requirements would still require two to four semesters of language courses to attain the required proficiency levels plus eight to ten additional EAST courses. The course of study must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. This joint degree agreement is designed for students in the two-year EAST MA track, rather than those eligible to pursue the one-year track.

The program of study for completion of the degree in one year consists of eight term courses that must include two terms of language study at or above Yale's third-year level (unless the language requirement has already been met through previous study or native fluency), plus six other courses selected from the University’s offerings of advanced language study and seminars related to East Asia at the graduate level. For those who meet the language requirement at matriculation, two of the required eight courses may be advanced training in a particular discipline (e.g. economics, history, political theory, statistics, etc.) with no explicit focus on East Asia, but related to the student’s professional goals. The course of study must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. If the one year EAST masters degree is possible, then the student is encouraged to complete the EAST and YSPH degrees in sequence, beginning with the EAST courses, and focus the YSPH course-work, the internship and thesis writing activities on appropriate EAST topics in consultation with the appropriate EAST faculty.

The Graduate School permits up to two credit courses from YSPH to be counted against the EAST requirements. Joint degree students, however, must take at least twelve graduate level courses in Arts and Sciences Departments or in Professional Schools other than YSPH. Further, under no circumstances will a student be allowed an EAST concentration in a YSPH functional area.

The Public Health Component

Joint degree candidates must complete all of the core MPH courses as described in the School of Public Health Bulletin. All MPH students must complete the following core courses:

  • EPH 100a – Professional Skills Series (no credit)
  • EPH 505a - Biostatistics in Public Health
  • EPH 507a - Social Justice and Health Equity
  • EPH 508a - Foundations of Epidemiology and Public Health
  • EPH 510a - Health Policy and Health Care Systems
  • EPH 513b - Major Health Threats: Determinants and Solutions

Students must also complete all departmental requirements, an internship/ public health practice experience and the thesis/ capstone course. Students in any of the YSPH academic departments are eligible for the joint degree program.

The following exceptions to the standard YSPH curriculum apply to joint degree students:

The total number of YSPH course units required for the joint degree is reduced from 20 to 15. The MPH thesis counts as two course units. (If a student obtains an exemption for a required course, an elective must be substituted; an exemption does not reduce the total number of required course units below 15.) The YSPH Committee on Academic Progress reviews each student’s progress toward the YSPH component of the joint degree.

Tuition and Financial Assistance

Joint degree candidates will owe three terms of full-time tuition to EAST (MacMillan/Graduate School) and three terms of full-time tuition to YSPH. Tuition is paid to the school where the student is in residence. Students requesting financial aid during a particular semester must take arrangements with the school charging tuition that semester. Tuition, fees, and financial aid policies may differ between the two schools. Each school according to its own policy will judge financial aid applications. Students should consult the financial aid officers in each school for a description of their respective policies.