Asian studies

Bannière Etudes asiatiques
Program type Initial Training
Degree Master's
Graduate program(s) Religious Studies, Historical Sciences
Domain(s) Humanities & social sciences
Discipline(s) Anthropology, Archeology, Geography - Geopolitics, History, Art History, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious sciences, Sociology
Teaching language(s) French
Place Paris

PSL host school


The Master’s degree in Asian Studies from Université PSL offers France’s most extensive advanced training in Asian studies.
This multidisciplinary curriculum coupled with research in the humanities and social sciences is a collaborative effort between the French School of Asian Studies (EFEO), the École Pratique des Hautes Études–PSL (EPHE- PSL) and the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS). It aims to develop researchers and experts who can reflect critically on the specific nature and characteristics of Asian societies over time.

This master's degree is part of the graduate programs in Historical Sciences and Religious Studies.

Learning outcomes

The goal of this Master’s degree program is to provide students with the tools they need in order to understand and study the Asian world in all its complexity over time. They will acquire in-depth knowledge of specific periods, regions or topics as well as disciplinary skills in fields such as history, sociology, anthropology, geography and economics as well as paleography, art history, archeology and the study of religions. The faculty, which brings together nearly 120 research professors whose work focuses on Asia, has developed a demanding curriculum in Asian studies in cooperation with top-ranked research centers in the humanities and social sciences.
Refer to the specific tab to learn about the program in detail.

Academic tracks

The program is structured into two academic tracks that reflect different scholarly traditions in approaching Asian societies. Although these two tracks both take a history-based approach, they each have a distinct (but complementary) historical focus. In particular, they differ in the types of disciplinary approach they follow, their periods of reference, the methodological tools they use for analysis and, first and foremost, the topics they cover.

  • Track “History, Philology and Religion” (EPHE–PSL and EFEO): This course of study, developed by EPHE–PSL in collaboration with EFEO, is aimed at students who wish to conduct research on ancient Asia based on a thorough understanding of written or material sources and using methods specific to philology, paleography, archeology and epigraphy. In particular, the emphasis is on analyzing primary source materials, generally written in the various Asian languages. This track also devotes particular attention to the study of religious phenomena over time.
  • Track “History and Social Science: Sites, Texts and Images” (EHESS and EFEO) : This academic track, offered by EHESS in collaboration with EFEO, is targeted to students who wish to develop their research in connection with modern and contemporary Asia. Applying basic disciplines to a range of cultural areas using a method unique to the program, this track focuses on a host of societal issues examined from a comprehensive and firmly comparative perspective, with an emphasis on the flow and transfer of ideas, dialogue and cross-disciplinarity in the social sciences.

For both of these academic tracks, work conducted in Asia (internships, gap year, field work) is strongly encouraged. This training and research abroad will draw on EFEO’s research centers and France’s research institutes around the world (UMIFREs), as well as their partner schools and institutes.

Who should apply?

Students who hold a Bachelor’s degree in the humanities and social sciences (or the equivalent), particularly in the fields of history, anthropology, ethnology, art history, archeology and world and regional languages and civilizations, but also geography, sociology, political science and development studies.


The Asian Studies Master’s degree program primarily provides training in conducting research, both for students who wish to pursue doctoral studies (higher education and research) and students planning a career that interacts with the world of research (librarians, journalists, archivists, teachers in secondary education, curators, design or research engineers, etc.).


  • Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CASE)
  • Center for Studies on China, Korea and Japan (CECMC, CRJ, CRC)
  • Center for Indian and South Asian Studies (CEIAS)
  • Center for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Central Asia Studies (CETOBAC)
  • Center for Research in East Asian Civilizations (CRCAO)
  • Iranian and Indian Cultures (M2i) (FRE2018)
  • GSRL – Society, Religions, Secularism Group

Teaching location

  • EFEO: 22, avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
  • EHESS: 54, 96, 105, boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris
  • EPHE–PSL: 17 rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris ; 54, boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris ; 22, avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris ; INHA, 2 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris
  • An interdisciplinary seminar on the core curriculum, coordinated and taught by a lecturer. The seminar focuses on cross-disciplinary topics and includes appearances by outside speakers.
  • Classes devoted to research methodology and writing in the social sciences (bibliographical tools, sources, observation and field work, written and oral communication, etc.) to accompany the core curriculum.
  • Special access to training in the digital humanities.
  • Immersion in ongoing research: access to more than 100 seminars on specialized topics and research at EPHE–PSL, EFEO and EHESS as well as at outside institutions (introductory seminars).
  • Participation in international networks: student training and research activities will draw on the network of EFEO’s research centers and France’s research institutes (UMIFREs) located in Asia, along with their local partner universities.
  • Personalized support for students from researchers and instructors: academic tutors serve as the primary support resource for students throughout their Master’s experience. In particular, they monitor each student’s academic path (orientation, research thesis, internships) and verify their level of mastery of the ancient or modern languages they need for specific projects.
  • An unequaled campus life in the very heart of Paris, benefiting from the opportunities offered by PSL to meet students from several schools and move among a variety of campuses.

Chacun des deux parcours de la formation, du M1 vers le M2, est structuré de la même manière, combinant un enseignement de tronc commun, des séminaires de spécialisation et de recherche, ainsi que des cours de langue étrangère. La première année donne lieu à la réalisation d’un mémoire préparatoire alors que la seconde implique la préparation et la soutenance d’un mémoire de recherche plus approfondi. De plus, un stage ou un séjour de terrain est obligatoire en M2.

Master 1 (60 ECTS)

  • Enseignement de tronc commun obligatoire et séances de méthodologie
  • 6-7  séminaires de spécialisation ou de recherche au choix
  • 1-2 cours de langue étrangère (ou FLE)
  • 1 mini-mémoire de recherche

Master 2 (60 ECTS)

  • Enseignement de tronc commun obligatoire seulement pour les primo-arrivants en M2
  • 2-4 séminaires de spécialisation ou de recherche au choix
  • 1 stage
  • 1 mémoire de recherche

Prerequisites to apply for Master’s Year 1 (M1)

  • Bachelor’s degree in the humanities or social sciences or 180 ECTS credits in those fields of study (or the equivalent).
  • Certificate of proficiency in French for degrees obtained outside France.
  • Proficiency in an Asian language is desirable and may be required for certain research projects.

Selection process

Round 1 - Online application (M1 and M2) from March 22 to April 18, 2023

-MASTER 1: depending on your profile (nationality, etc.), applications must be submitted on the new French platform "Mon Master" OR on the PSL application portal. Please consult this page to learn about the new 2023/24 modalities and the procedure to follow according to your profile.
-MASTER 2: on the PSL application portal for all applicants, French and international.

Round 2 - Online appication from August 29 to September 6, 2023
MASTER 1 - Track “History, Philology and Religion” only, on the PSL application portal for all applicants, French and international.

Application items

  • Cover letter
  • Research project (Master’s Year 2 only)
  • Résumé
  • Copies of degrees earned (Bachelor’s, etc.). Degrees earned outside France must be translated into French.
  • Copies of academic transcripts (baccalaureate, Bachelor’s degree, etc.). International transcripts must be translated into French.
  • List of Bachelor’s level coursework or official program of courses taken abroad.
  • Approval of the future academic tutor
  • For international applicants, a copy of the certification or degree in French language study may be attached (optional).
  • Non-French-speaking applicants must have at least a B2 level of proficiency on the DALF/DELF. Students who are unable to provide official proof of their French language proficiency may be assessed during an interview and will be required to take a placement test before courses begin.

Tuition fees:
Annual tuition: env. 243 €, plus the Student Life and Campus Contribution (CVEC tax), which is €100 per year. Learn more about the CVEC tax.

Schools for registration:

  • Track “History, Philology and Religion”: EPHE–PSL and EFEO
  • Track “History and Social Science: Sites, Texts and Images”: EHESS

Degree issued: National Master’s degree issued by

  • Université PSL for students enrolled in Track “History, Philology and Religion"
  • EHESS for students enrolled in Track "History and Social Science"


Jan Houben ( & Rémy Delage (

Further information:

Stay in touch

Find your course

By education level
  • By degree
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • PhD
  • Other
By discipline
  • By discipline
  • Anthropology
  • Archeology
  • Archives – Documentation
  • Plastic Arts
  • Astrophysics
  • Banking - Finance - Insurance
  • Chemistry
  • Communications - Journalism
  • Sustainable development
  • Law
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Geography - Geopolitics
  • Business Administration - Management
  • History
  • Art History
  • Digital Humanities
  • Computer Science
  • Languages
  • Literature
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanics and Materials
  • Médecine
  • Fashion and design
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Human Resources
  • Health - Medecine
  • Political Science
  • Cognitive science
  • Space Science
  • Earth sciences
  • Engineering Science
  • Data Science
  • Life Sciences
  • Religious sciences
  • Social Science
  • Sociology
  • Drama
  • Quantum engineering