Ph.D. Program (China/Japan Area Ph.D)


The same general conditions regarding preparation and admission noted for the M.A. program apply to the doctoral program. However, candidates for admission to the doctoral program must have a 3.5 GPA. Candidates for admission to the doctoral program must have the support of one faculty member within, whose general area the student proposes to work. 

The department may admit a student with a B.A. directly into one of the Ph.D. programs if that student shows exceptional promise in his or her field and if there is strong backing from at least one faculty member. In such cases, the student is responsible for fulfilling all normal requirements for the appropriate M.A. program before beginning work for the Ph.D.

General Information

The Ph.D. program must be designed with care, in discussions between the student, the student’s advisor, and the graduate advisor. The designing of the major and minor fields should be discussed with and agreed to by the student’s major academic advisor. All requirements established by the Graduate College must be satisfied. Any academic deficiencies identified by the advisors and the student’s Comprehensive Examination Committee must be remedied.

The Graduate Catalog explains the basic academic unit and residence requirements for Ph.D. students. The completion of the program requires passing the Comprehensive examination and the preparation and defense of a dissertation.


The equivalent of at least six semesters of full-time graduate study is required for the Ph.D.  A minimum of 36 units of coursework in the area of the major subject, 9 units in the minor subject, and 18 units of dissertation must be completed.

All students must fulfill 6 units of the three-part EAS 595a Graduate Colloquium, to be taken in the first two semesters if possible.


Students in the China-Area/Japan-Area Program must attain fluency in Chinese/Japanese language. Depending on the student's course of study, attainment of proficiency in another language may also be required.

Application of MA Units and Transfers toward Ph.D. Requirements:

With departmental approval, a student's MA units earned here or at another approved institution may be applied toward the Ph.D. requirements up to 30 units.  Students should be advised that the Graduate College requires that 30 units of graduate credit (at least 12 regular graded units plus 18 dissertation units) must be earned at the University of Arizona.  Ph.D. students must also meet residence requirements. 


At the end of the first semester if possible, but not later than the completion of the second semester of residence in the Ph.D. program, the student and the Graduate Advisor will select, on a tentative basis, the five members of the doctoral committee. These committee members will represent the proposed fields of study of the candidate; in the case of a split minor, the Committee will be expanded to six. The student will obtain the consent of each faculty member, along with initial suggestions for the student’s development in each of his/her fields. The original faculty sponsor of the student will ordinarily serve as the student’s major academic advisor and chair of his or her committee.

The committee members will also sign the “East Asian Studies Ph.D. Committee” form, to indicate formally their willingness to serve as the continuing doctoral committee of the student. After this form is completed by the student, it must be filed with the Graduate Coordinator. This form is to be submitted to the department before the end of the second semester of study. Student must also submit the "Doctoral Committee Appointment" form submitted to the Graduate College via GradPath.

Doctoral Plan of Study

During the third semester in residence, students must file the "Doctoral Plan of Study" Form via GradPath, which lists the courses that will comprise the student’s program.

Academic Progress

Late in the fourth semester of the student’s Ph.D. program, the major academic advisor will convene the student’s Committee to assess the student’s progress and to make recommendations to the student on the continuation of the program. The Committee’s evaluation and its recommendations will be written up and placed on file in the departmental office, using the “Committee Progress Report” form. A copy of this record will be given to the student by the major academic advisor and thoroughly discussed.

Ph.D. Examinations for China/Japan Area STudies

These include the Qualifying Examination, the Comprehensive Examination, and the Final Defense. All doctoral oral examinations are conducted in English.

Qualifying Examination

The Ph.D. Qualifying Examination may be given if it is necessary to determine if students are equipped with sufficient analytical abilities and background knowledge in the field and to allow them to pursue studies in the Ph.D. program. The committee will complete the “Report on the Qualifying Examination” form to be filed in the departmental office. 

Comprehensive examination

Both the written and the oral portions of the Comprehensive Examination for the Ph.D. Program have a two-fold purpose: (1) to determine students’ competence in their major and minor areas of specialization and (2), their readiness to undertake dissertation research. 

Each member of the student’s committee will prepare written questions for the student to answer as parts of this examination. The written portions of the examination must have been substantially completed before the student can schedule the oral portion of the exam.

It is expected that the Comprehensive Examination will be completed within four years of enrollment in the program. Any exceptions must be approved by the Head. Students ordinarily will have completed all required course work prior to taking the exam, or be in their last semester of classes. The language proficiency requirements must also be completed before the Comprehensive Examination is scheduled. 

The semester before the Comprehensive Examinations are to be taken, (by November 1 or April 1), the candidate should request that the advisor get approval of the programs of study in major (and minor) areas of specialization within East Asian Studies from the committee. If the minor is outside East Asian Studies, the candidate is responsible for getting approval for the minor course of study from the minor department.

Committee Makeup and Responsibility

The Committee for both the written and oral portions of the exam will be composed of three faculty in the student’s major area of concentration and two faculty in the student’s minor. The Comprehensive Committee must be approved by the Head. In addition one representative of the graduate college will attend. The Chair of the Committee will be appointed by the Head, in consultation with the candidate. The "Comp Exam Committee Appointment Form" must be filed with the Graduate College via GradPath.

Candidates should have input to the exam, including giving the committee a brief statement of interest, with a bibliography of items they consider important in their area. This input should be given consideration in preparation of the examination but should not necessarily determine or limit its content.

Format and Procedures

The members of the committee have responsibility for preparing questions for the written portion of the exam. Each committee member also decides if his or her portion of the examination is to be a take-home or a sit-down examination. In practice, after taking the first examination students usually space the remaining exams out over several months, the rule being that all written exams must be completed within the two semester deadline set by the Graduate College for elapsed time between written and oral comprehensive examination. Normally two or three broad, integrative questions will be considered appropriate for the major (taking into account the three purposes listed above) and two for the minor. If the minor is not in East Asian Studies, the minor department has the right to require a different format for its component.

The candidate will have seven days (including Saturday and Sunday) to complete each EAS exam as a take-home. Unless instructed otherwise by the Committee Chair, the candidate may have access to books and notes during the exams, but may not discuss the questions with anyone. If procedural questions arise, the candidate should address them to the Chair of the Committee or to the Head.

The oral portion of the Comprehensive Examination is to be scheduled no sooner than three weeks and no later than six months after the completion of the written portion. The candidate has the responsibility for scheduling both written and oral portions of the examination with the Committee. The "Announcement of Doctoral Comprehensive Exam" form must be filed with the Graduate College via GradPath. 

The candidate is normally informed of the results of the examination at the end of the oral.

Dissertation Proposal

In the selection of the dissertation topic, the same procedure described above for the development of the MA thesis/departmental paper topic should be followed. The dissertation proposal is a 10-20 page double-spaced document laying out the nature of the problem the student intends to focus on for the doctoral dissertation. The proposal demonstrates that (a) the problem selected is of the appropriate scope, importance, and relevance for a dissertation; (b) the student controls the core literature for the topic selected; and (c) the student has selected a reasonable approach (theoretical and methodological) to follow in solving the problem, at least in the initial stages of the research. The student gives a public presentation of the proposal (which should be scheduled once the committee chair agrees the student is ready to present) and then has the proposal approved by the student’s dissertation committee. The presentation and the approval should be completed within three months of the successful completion of the oral comprehensive examination.  If this deadline falls during the summer, it may be extended at the discretion of the dissertation committee.

Time Limitation

The Ph.D. program must be completed within 10 years of the earliest course work listed on the student’s "Doctoral Degree Plan of Study.” The department must formally review any student in the program for four years who has not yet completed the comprehensive exams before allowing the student to continue. Those who do not have an approved dissertation topic within one year of passing the comprehensive exam will be reviewed by the faculty before being allowed to continue.

China-Area Ph.D. Program

This Ph.D. program is offered in Chinese Cultural Anthropology, History, Linguistics, Literature, and Religion and Thought.  Two of these fields constitute the major; one constitutes the minor.  One field may be taken in the student's major discipline but focused upon another country or cultural area. 

The Chinese Cultural Anthropology Major

    *  Chinese anthropology

    *  Popular Culture

The Chinese History Major

    *  Pre-modern

    *  Ming-Ch'ing

    *  Modern China

The Chinese Linguistics Major

    *  Chinese linguistics

The Chinese Literature Major

    *  Criticism and theory

    *  Classical

    *  Modern

The Chinese Religion and Thought Major

    *  Pre-Ch'in and Han thought

    *  Buddhism in China

    *  Neo-Confucianism

Minor Requirements

The minor field(s) must be chosen from any of the fields of study acceptable to the Graduate College. (See the College's list, "Major Fields for Doctoral Degrees". The minor must be drawn from the same list). The minor could be taken from a department other than the student's home department and it must be discipline based. The minor department/program sets the minimum number of units of work required. 

Two doctoral fields constitute the minor. The minor fields must be chosen from any of the fields of study acceptable to the Graduate College. See the College’s list, “Graduate Catalog and Programs Descriptions: Doctorate". The minor is often taken from a department other than the student’s home department, and it must be discipline based. The minor department sets the minimum number of units of work required.  

Japan-Area Ph.D. Program

This Ph.D. program is offered in Japanese Anthropology, History, Linguistics, Literature and Religion.

    The Japanese Anthropology Major

    *  Japanese anthropology

    *  Popular culture

    The Japanese History Major

    *  Early Modern history

    *  Modern history

    The Japanese Linguistics Major

    *  Discourse Analysys/Conversation Analysis

    *  Sociolinguistics

    *  Second Language Acquisition and Teaching

Format and procedures for Japanese Linguistics Comprehensive Examination:
For the written part of the Japanese Linguistics comprehensive examination students must submit four papers to the committee.  One of them should be a publishable quality research paper in the student’s area of specialization.  It can be a stand-alone research paper or a pilot study for their dissertation.  It may be a paper newly written for the exam, or it may represent further exploration of a topic about which the student has previously written. The paper may include material from an M.A. thesis or papers written for courses, but it cannot be merely a resubmission of earlier material.  
The other three papers should be response papers in which students answer written questions which each member of the committee writes.  Two of them should be in the student’s major field and one should be in their minor field. Each of the three papers should be at least 2500 words in length (generally 10 double spaced pages, excluding references). If the minor is outside of Japanese linguistics, there may be an examination format imposed by the minor department or program, and that exam will replace one of the three response papers.
Students (must) should turn in their research paper at least two weeks before they write the three response papers.  After that students will have two weeks to complete three response papers after questions are given.  Students will prepare the written portion of the examination, i.e., a research topic of a research paper and a reading list and potential questions for each response paper, in close consultation with their committee members.  No later than 30 days before the exam begins, the student will provide the committee with a finalized reading list for each response paper.
Each of the four papers must receive a grade of “pass” (on a scale of “high pass,” “pass,” “resubmit” or “fail”) for the student to continue with the oral portion of the exam.  The oral portion of the comprehensive examination is to be scheduled no sooner than three weeks and no later than six months after the completion of the written portion.

    The Japanese Literature Major

    *  Pre-modern literature

    *  Modern literature

Core Curriculum for all students. (Substitutions to this core curriculum may be made only with the approval of the chair of the student’s Committee.)

  • 4 survey courses in Japanese literature (2 in modern, 2 in pre-modern: JPN 546a, JPN 546b, JPN 547a, JPN 547b)
  • 3 seminars in Japanese literature (JPN 596a [rpt/3]. Modern specialists will take 2 modern lit. seminars and 1 pre-modern lit. seminar; pre-modern lit. specialists will take 2 pre-modern lit. seminars and 1 modern lit. seminar.)
  • For modern lit. specialists: 1 course from the following: ENG 515 or ENG 554.
  • 1 course in Japanese religion: JPN 585, JPN 586, or JPN 589.
  • 2 courses in Modern Japanese Reading [JPN 521, JPN 522]; for native speakers this requirement is waived; the same holds true for non-native speakers who have fulfilled this requirement through testing or previous course work.
  • Other language requirements: All students are required to take 1 semester of classical Japanese language. Pre-modern students will take one further semester of classical Japanese language, and may be required to demonstrate mastery of either classical Chinese or Kanbun. This can be met by completing 2 semesters of classical Chinese or 2 courses requiring the reading of Kanbun texts. Modern literature students must demonstrate mastery of one approved European language (usually French or German), or modern Chinese. This can be met by demonstrating ability equivalent to 4 semesters of study either through completion of course work or through testing.