Students are expected to complete twelve graduate seminars during the first two years of study in addition to all necessary language classes. The Director of Graduate Studies will determine the course load in each semester in consultation with the student and her/his advisor.

The Department encourages students to do part of their coursework in other departments as appropriate and pertinent to their fields of study. Students in East Asian history are expected to take History 500 (Introduction to the Professional Study of History) in their first semester. Students in literature are encouraged to take Comparative Literature 521 (Introduction to Comparative Literature). Students in the social and cultural study of contemporary East Asia are encouraged to take an introductory course specific to their discipline, for example, Anthropology 501 and 502 (Proseminar in Anthropology)and/or 503A or B (Co-seminar). 

In addition to the official course offerings, students may ask individual faculty for an independent reading course.

While doing graduate coursework, students are expected to write final research papers (or the equivalent thereof) in each of their courses. These papers must be written in English. At the end of the first and second academic year, students should deposit one sample of their best written work in their departmental file. 

Students can take courses at neighboring institutions like Columbia University, New York University, Rutgers University, and University of Pennsylvania. Princeton is also part of the Exchange Scholar Program, a student-exchange consortium of research universities that allows students to study for a semester or a year at another participating institution.