Program Structure

1. Language courses and program differences according to academic background

The MEAS program offers two different course schedules designed to meet the needs of its two student groups. Students with a background in economics, law, political science or another social science, history or anthropology concentrate on acquiring East Asian language skills on a beginner level. Courses offered on a regular basis are Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Indonesian. Students with a background in cultural studies and advanced proficiency in an East Asian language are offered intensive language training at an advanced level. Moreover, they will additionally visit seminars from the elective module.

2. Core lectures

The core lectures form the backbone of the Master’s program. The lectures begin in the winter semester and stretch over two semesters. Students can choose two out of four lectures covering the core disciplines of the MEAS program: economics, law, political science and history. During the core lectures, students learn to apply concepts, theories and methods from these fields to East Asia.

3. Electives

During the entire MEAS Program, students have the choice between a variety of elective courses on special problems and phenomena encountered in East Asian countries. The variety of electives allows students to specialize in a certain area of interest. Students can substitute one elective module for participation in a Summer School offered either by Goethe University Frankfurt or of one of the various partner institutions of the program.

4. Research skills

The Research Skills module aims to prepare students for the Master’s thesis. It contains the Young Scholars Forum and Skills & Competences seminars. The former is a paper reading colloquium, which focuses on interdisciplinary group work on current economic, legal and socio-scientific topics in Asia. The latter provides students with the opportunity to deepen their skills in a particular area of interest by attending advanced courses on quantitative or qualitative methods used in social sciences. It also includes courses on academic writing and the academic specifics of East Asian languages.

5. Professional, Language or Research Track

In the third semester, the program gives the opportunity to further specialize in one of three different tracks:

a) Professional Track: Students reflect and extend their academic knowhow in an Asia related professional environment via internship. The internship module is completed with a comprehensive internship report and an internship colloquium;

b) Language Track: Students refine their language skills in the respective East Asian country. The module Language Study in Asia is completed with a standardized language test in the chosen language (HSK for Chinese, JLPT for Japanese, TOPIK for Korean or Indonesian on the GER level B1 for beginners or B2 for advanced students);

c) Research Track: Students concentrate on analyzing and conducting empirical research. This specialization requires them to additionally visit seminars within the Elective and Research Skills modules. Moreover, the Research Training module makes them familiar with the newest research topics in East Asia related fields. Students will attend conferences, workshops and/or talks at the International Centre of East Asian Studies (IZO) and approach their own small research project specified with the help of one of the MEAS professors.

These tracks are scheduled for the third semester and require students to plan ahead, in the second semester. However, it is also possible to combine these tracks with studying one more semester abroad without extending the overall study phase of 4 semesters. For example: In the second semester, students could take the required language courses and up to three Elective seminars at a university in East Asia. For the third semester, they then return to Goethe University to concentrate on the Research Track. For more information, see study schedule 3a (below). Please note that this schedule requires students’ early planning, preferably during the application phase.

6. Master’s Thesis

The fourth and last term of the MEAS Program is dedicated to the Master’s Thesis. In their respective theses on an economic, legal or socio-scientific topic with focus on East Asia, students are required to display their methodological and theoretical knowledge acquired in the program in a manner that satisfies high academic standards. The work on the thesis is accompanied by a colloquium in which students are expected to present their findings to their student fellows and the core faculty of the MEAS.


Examples of courses, seminars and lectures offered in the previous semesters:

Core Lecture

Prof. Dr. Cornelia Storz “Institutions and Innovations”

Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig “State and Society”

Prof. Dr. Moritz Bälz “Law in East Asia”

Prof. Dr. Iwo Amelung “Transformations of China since 1800”


Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig “Political Ideologies in China's Reform Era”

Dr. Sebastian Biba “Water in China's Domestic Politics and International Relations”

Patrick Hess “China’s Financial System‎: Introduction and Assessment”

Prof. Dr. Cornelia Storz / Egbert Amoncio “East Asia and Innovation: Then and Now”

Dr. Qian Ma “Chinese Business Law”

Prof. Dr. Moritz Bälz “Rule of Law in Japan”

Dr. Ruth Achenbach “Migration in East Asia”

Prof. Dr. Iwo Amelung “Conflict and Law in Late Imperial and Republican China”

Prof. Dr. Arndt Graf “Economic and Social Change in Southeast Asia”

Prof. Dr. Yonson Ahn “Korea in East Asia: Nationalism and Conflict”

Skills & Competences

Jun. Prof. Dr. Jin-Young Choi “Fundamentals of Econometrics”

Prof. Dr. Lars Schweizer “Advanced Management”

Prof. Dr. Claudius Wageman “Research design”

Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig “Academic Writing”

Dr. Meiling Jin “Techniques of Scientific Translation of the Chinese Language”

Prof. Dr. Bälz / Dr. Hiroki Kawamura “Reading Japanese Legal Texts”

Young Scholars Forum

Dr. Ruth Achenbach / Ryanne Flock “Doing Empirical Research in China & Japan”

Dr. Ruth Achenbach / Ryanne Flock “Research on Social Inequality in Contemporary East Asia”