Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

College of Letters & Science
HomeGraduate ProgramsApplication and Admissions Information

Application and Admissions Information

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC) offers MA and PhD degrees in Chinese linguistics, literature, and thought, and in Japanese linguistics and literature.

Applicants should review the Graduate School's admission processGraduate School's minimum requirements, and program requirements and information (see below) prior to submitting the online application and fee.  The application fee cannot be waived or refunded.

 Program Admission Requirements

Prior to submitting their application and materials, applicants should read through each program's requirements.  Click here for admission requirements and specifics on materials.  If you are an international student interested in either program, the admission requirements are the same; however, international applicants must show English proficiency scores.


Our department offers financial assistance in the forms of Teaching Assistantships (TAship)and fellowships.  These forms are highly competitive as applicants are competing against other applicants across the department and the campus (fellowships).  Please make note of the deadlines for fellowships and TAships.  Please allow adequate time for our department to recieve all of the necessary materials (especially test scores).

Teaching Assistantships

If you are interested in a Teaching Assistantship (TAship), please review our selection criteria through our TA Policies and Procedures page.  Applicants must submit the Chinese TA application or the Japanese TA application and necessary materials by the deadlines noted below. 

Occasionally, our department will hire TAs outside of our department.  If you are a current graduate student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, please complete the Chinese or Japanese TA application and submit the required materials to the Student Services Coordinator in 1212 Van Hise.


Online Fellowship Information

Graduate Studies Costs

For tuition and living costs, please view the Cost of Graduate School page.

International applicants recommended for admission to the Graduate School are required to show sufficient funds to attend the University during the course of studies (tuition, food and housing, incidentals, and health insurance).  If you are an international applicant and receive a fellowship or TAship, please make note that you will likely be required to show additional financial documentation to meet the minimum required for your official acceptance to the Graduate School. 

Important Deadlines

We accept applications for the fall term only. In order to be considered for Fellowships and Teaching Assistantships, all application materials must be in by the dates below.  Applicants are encouraged to apply early and should take into consideration the amount of time for the department to receive materials if they are mailing them. 


  Chinese Japanese
Fellowship December 1 December 1
Teaching Assistantship December 1 January 15
Fall term admission, no funding May 1 April 15


Application Materials

New applicants to UW-Madison apply to departments through the Graduate School application process.  Complete the online Graduate application and select the Chinese (major code 171) or Japanese (major code 583) program.  

Application Checklist:

Please upload documents in PDF format. All correspondence must be in English. Please note that if possible it is best to upload all your documents at once. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to upload additional materials, only edit the materials that you have already uploaded.

1.  Graduate School Application and Application Fee.  Our department only reviews completed applications submitted through the Graduate School online application process. The application fee is required and is non-refundable. In a very few circumstances applicants may apply for a fee waiver.  If you previously applied in a prior academic year, you will need to resubmit your Graduate School application and pay the application fee again.

Included in the online application is the departmental supplemental application. Please indicate your degree option when filling out the supplemental application.

2.  Reasons for Graduate Study or Statement of Purpose.  Please upload (PDF document preferred) your statement of purpose to your online application.  Please click here for additional guidelines and suggestions on your statement of purpose.

3.  Letters of Recommendation.   Letters should be written in English by people qualified to judge the applicant's academic ability. There are no special forms for this. It will be the applicant’s responsibility to contact recommenders and ask them to submit the letters online at the Graduate School application website.

4.  GRE Scores.  GRE scores are required for admission to the Japanese and Chinese programs. The Admissions Committee will accept GRE scores taken within the last five years.  Send test scores to institution code 1846.  There is no department code.

5.  English Proficiency Test Scores.  Applicants, whose native language is not English, must follow the Graduate School’s guidelines for proof of English proficiency

Please note that non-native English speakers applying to the Japanese Linguistics program are still required to submit English proficiency test scores even if the applicant meets the Graduate School guidelines for meeting the English proficiency requirement.  Although a waiver may be granted for applicants who meet the Graduate School's English proficiency requirement, please note that many fellowships and scholarships require English proficiency test scores.

6.  Academic Writing Sample or MA Thesis -(Ph.D applicants only).  A MA thesis should be uploaded to the Graduate School on-line application if applying to a PH.D program. A significant academic paper can be submitted in lieu of an MA thesis if an MA thesis cannot be provided.    

7.  Official Transcripts.  US transcripts should be requested and sent through the Graduate School on-line application system. International transcripts can be scanned and uploaded with your supplemental application.  International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. 

Upon acceptance for admission, applicants will need to provide 2 official transcripts or academic records from each institution attended. Documents must be issued by the School with the official seal/stamp and an official signature.  Please check the Graduate School web site for requirements for specific information on academic records required from a specific country.

8.  Copy of GRE scores

9. CV or resume

TA Application.  If interested in applying for a Teaching Assistantship within our department, please fill out and upload the necessary materials for the Chinese TA Application and the Japanese TA Application. You should submit these documents to your supplemental application.

Please write the link to your youtube or other web-based, online accessible recorded autobiographies on the top of your TA application.

TAships are competitive and an applicant must have been admitted to the program and have all materials submitted and received by the department before the deadlines noted above.

If you encounter questions or difficulties with the application process, please email the Graduate Coordinator at


 Currently Enrolled UW-Madison Graduate Students

If you are a currently enrolled UW-Madison graduate student and would like to add or change your current graduate program to Chinese or Japanese, you do not need to fill out the online application.  You will need to submit the following to the ALC Graduate Coordinator (1212 Van Hise):  1) ALC Departmental Application form; 2) Grad School "Add/Change Program" form (click on link and look for form in the "Academic Forms" box); and, 3) letters of recommendation and statement of purpose.