|Degree:||Master of Arts (MA)|
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The master's programme in East Asian Economy and Society (EcoS) is a multidisciplinary programme dealing with contemporary societal, political and economic aspects of the East Asian region as a whole. It is offered at the Department of East Asian Studies of the University of Vienna in English language.
We regard East Asia as more than just the sum of countries in that region. Rather than offering "light-versions" of Chinese, Japanese or Korean Studies, we focus on current transnational and regional issues as well as on comparative approaches. Reflecting the common traditions as well as the growing interrelation between Northeast Asia (China, Japan and the two Koreas) and Southeast Asia, we expanded our regular activities in research and teaching to include the ASEAN countries.
We believe that it is impossible to achieve a proper understanding of regional and country-specific issues without a solid foundation in established theories and methods of social science. Acquiring and utilising such methodology is therefore a core characteristic of our programme. However, even the best methodological skills are unlikely to produce optimal results if they are applied out of context. Historical and cultural tradition, customs, and values limit the number of actually available options and influence choices in East Asian societies just as anywhere else. It is therefore no coincidence that our programme is based at an area studies department.
The objective of the programme is to train experts in social science methods who apply their methodological skills to the East Asian region using a multidisciplinary approach. Accordingly, emphasis is put on transnational and regional issues and on comparative analyses.
The master’s programme consists of modules on the following subject areas:
In module 1, the fundamentals of one East Asian language (Chinese, Japanese or Korean) are taught. Students who already hold a bachelor's degree or a similar qualification in one of these languages are required to take courses in a language in which they do not hold such degree or qualification. In modules 2 and 3, students examine economic and political aspects of the East Asian regions within four core mandatory seminars on East Asia’s economic systems, economic development, political systems and international relations. In module 4, students are given a certain degree of flexibility when they study East Asian societies from a cultural-historical perspective, including history, religions and intercultural negotiation. In module 5, previously acquired skills are refreshed and applied to a research topic which leads to the master's thesis. Students conclude their studies with a master's examination in form of a public defence of their master's thesis.
Course contents in modules 2, 3 and, especially, module 4 correspond with the key areas of research of our EcoS staff. These are state socialist systems, climate change, environment and energy, new religious movements as well as cooperation and conflicts in Southeast Asia. Students are encouraged to dive deeper into these topics by holding presentations and writing term papers and master's theses.
EcoS courses are characterised by an international spirit, as more than half of our students come from various countries within Europe or overseas. Students share their knowledge attained from previous studies, creating an inspiring and creative atmosphere. Three students' representatives provide counselling for students, organise tutorials and student round tables and serve as mediators between students and EcoS staff.