Structure of the MEAS Programme

This is a short overview. For more detailed information, please have a look at the documents in our download section.

 1. Language courses and programme differences according to academic background

The MEAS programme consists of two different course schedules designed to meet the needs of its two student groups. Students with a background in social sciences such as law, economics, political science, sociology, anthropology or history concentrate on acquiring East Asian language skills on a beginners’ level. Beginners’ courses offered on a regular basis are Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian as well as Korean (in German only)*. Students with a background in cultural studies and advanced proficiency in an East Asian language attend intensive language training in Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Indonesian at an advanced level. Moreover, students with advanced language skills will additionally attend seminars from the elective module. Please note that native speakers of one of these East Asian languages cannot enroll in advanced language courses of their native language. Students who have already reached an advanced level of language proficiency, have the opportunity to learn a new East Asian language on the beginners’ level. Alternatively, individual options to attend additional courses on the advanced level might be discussed.

*For the time being, Korean beginners’ courses at the department of Korean studies are taught in German only.

2. Core lectures

The core lectures form the backbone of the Master’s programme. The lectures begin in the winter semester and stretch over two semesters. Students choose two out of four core lectures covering the main social science disciplines of the MEAS programme – law, economics, political science and history. The core lectures are given by the four founding professors of the programme: Prof. Dr. Moritz Bälz teaches about “Law in East Asia”, Prof. Dr. Cornelia Storz about “Institutions and Innovations”, Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig concentrates on “State and Society”, and Prof. Dr. Iwo Amelung on the “Transformations of China since 1800”. Through the core lectures, students strengthen their disciplinary profile and learn to apply concepts, theories and methods from these social-scientific fields to East Asian countries.

3. Electives

During the entire MEAS programme, students are required to attend a variety of elective courses on empirical phenomena encountered in East Asian countries. Electives mostly approach one East Asian country from a perspective of social sciences, giving insights embedded in the disciplinary theories and methods. The variety of electives allows students to specialize in a certain area of interest in accordance with their disciplinary profile. The MEAS curriculum generally makes sure to include at least one elective on each of the East Asian countries covered by the programme – China, Japan, Korea, and Indonesia – every semester. For examples of electives taught in previous semesters, please see below.

4. Research skills

The Research Skills module prepares students for their Master’s thesis. It contains the Young Scholars Forum (YSF) and Skills & Competences (S&C) seminars. The former is a paper reading colloquium, which focuses on interdisciplinary group work and on law, economy, society or its historical roots in East Asian countries. In Skills & Competences seminars, students deepen their skills in a particular area of interest by attending advanced courses on quantitative or qualitative methods used in social sciences and East Asia related cultural studies.

5. Research, Language or Professional Track

In the third semester, students further specialize in one of three different tracks:

a) Research Track: in this track, students concentrate on analyzing and conducting empirical research. They deepen their knowledge on methods and theories in their social scientific field. This specialization requires them to additionally attend seminars within the Elective and Research Skills modules. Moreover, in the Research Training module, they engage with the newest research topics in East Asia related fields. Students will attend conferences, workshops and/or talks at the Interdisciplinary Centre for East Asian Studies (IZO) and approach their own small research project specified with the help of one of the MEAS professors.

b) Language Track: students refine their language skills in one of the East Asian countries covered by the programme. They complete the Language Study in Asia with a standardized language test in the respective language (HSK for Chinese, JLPT for Japanese, TOPIK for Korean or Indonesian on the GER level B1 for beginners or B2 for advanced students). Please note that, while informational support is provided, students organize their study abroad themselves.

c) Professional Track: students reflect and extend their academic knowhow in an East Asia related professional environment via internship. The internship module is completed with a comprehensive internship report and an internship colloquium. Please note that, while informational support is provided, students organize the internship themselves.

These tracks are scheduled for the third semester and require students to plan ahead in their first two semesters.


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

Core Lecture

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

Prof. Dr. Cornelia Storz “Institutions and Innovations”

Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig “State and Society”

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


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

Dr. Anna Shpakovskay “Digitalization of Politics in China”

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. Bertram Lang “Civil Society and Philanthropy 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

Prof. Dr. Gutknecht “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”

Mirjam Tröster “Research Tools in Chinese Studies”

Young Scholars Forum

Mirjam Tröster / Ryanne Flock “Fieldwork in East Asia Between Corona-Restrictions and Digital Opportunities”

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