Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

College of Letters & Science

Chinese Ph.D. Degree

The department attempts to maintain an informal scholarly atmosphere with close contact between students and teachers. A monthly Sinological Circle discussion meeting and the departmental Reading Room, which contains necessary basic research material, manifest this policy. Strong emphasis is placed upon scholarly methodology and research based upon linguistic, literary, philosophical, and philological expertise. 


Admission to PhD Degree Applicants who do not have an M.A. degree from this department will be expected to fulfill the M. A. requirements and take a Qualifying Examination at the end of their second semester in the program. The Qualifying Examination is equivalent to the M. A. Examination. After admission, students shall spend a minimum of four semesters to satisfy residence requirements.

Application materials can be found here. 

Major Professor Note that the Qualifying Examination will be administered by the prospective Major Professor and two additional faculty members. Supervision by a Major Professor is imperative for study in the department. Any student not supervised by a Major Professor will not be able to take the Qualifying Examination or continue in the Ph.D. program.

PhD Degree Requirements Ph.D. students must take four seminars (E Asian 932 or 951 or 971) beyond the M.A. level. With the consent of the Major Professor, courses above the 700 level (exclusive of reading courses) requiring substantial research papers may be substituted for one or two of the seminars. Note that Ph.D. students may be required to take such additional courses as the Major Professor deems necessary. For example, students in modern Chinese literature are required to take a minor in English, Comparative Literature, or Theatre and Drama.

Fields of ConcentrationThe Ph.D. student is required to develop two fields of concentration. These the student shall investigate in some depth. He or she shall become familiar with both the original texts and the secondary literature pertaining to them. Examples of fields of concentration are as follows: 

1. Classical literature and criticism (e.g., Shih ching,Ch'u tz'u, Han fuWen-hsin tiao-lung, T'ang shih, T'ang ch'uan-ch'i, Sung tz'u, etc.).
2. Vernacular literature and criticism (e.g., traditional drama, fiction, folk poetry, modern poetry or prose, etc.).
3. Linguistics (e.g., phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, stylistics, etymology, lexicography, dialectology, etc.).
4. Thought (e.g., Buddhism, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Moism, Yijing, etc.).
5. History and philology (e.g., paleography, orthography, textual criticism [chiao-k'an-hsueh], folklore, mythology, religion, bibliography [mu-lu-hsuehpan-pen-hsueh], etc.).

Language Requirements The Ph.D language requirements are designed to increase the student's scholarly efficiency and capabilities and should be completed as early as possible. In addition to competence in English and modern and classical Chinese, the student must qualify in one language related to his or her research. Usually this will be Japanese, French, or German. This requirement may be satisfied either by showing evidence of two years of successful study of the language or by passing an examination.

Preliminary Examination The Preliminary Examination may be taken as soon as the student has 1) fulfilled the Graduate School minimum credit requirement, 2) satisfied the language requirement, 3) completed all major requirements except dissertation, 4) cleared all incompletes or grades of "P" in non-research courses, and 5) fulfilled the minor requirements. The "Prelim" is a written examination administered by the Ph.D. Committee and covering principally the areas of concentration. 

Dissertator Status A Dissertator must be continuously registered for three credits each semester until the Ph.D. is obtained. Ordinarily, a Dissertator registers for EA 990, Research or Thesis. Registration must be maintained every semester, regardless of whether the student is performing research on or off campus. In addition, Dissertators who are Research Assistants or who are using university facilities must also register for summer sessions. Dissertators enjoy reduced tuition rates. Failure to satisfy the continuous registration requirement results in tuition penalties as specified by the Graduate School.

Dissertation Proposal After passing the Preliminary Examination, the student shall within one semester formulate a dissertation proposal and present it to the members of the Ph.D. Committee for their recommendations and approval. Once the proposal has been approved, the student proceeds to write a dissertation under the direction of the Major Professor. Successfully passing an Oral Final Examination in defense of the finished dissertation marks the completion of the Ph.D. degree requirements.

Ph.D. Minor Students from other departments intending to take a Ph.D. minor in Chinese should choose a minor professor from the department or consult the department chairman. For the minor at least 12 credits in graduate standing (400 or above; certain 300 courses are allowable with the prior consent of the department) are required. The department also offers internal minors. Transfer students may offer up to six credits from other institutions; however, they may be required to undergo a special examination.