Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program: Chinese Literature

The Ph.D. program in East Asian languages and literatures is designed to provide students with a high level of competence in their area of specialization and a familiarity with applicable methodologies and theories. The program has four components: course work, comprehensive examination, prospectus for the dissertation, and the dissertation itself.

Specific courses and projects used to fulfill requirements must be approved by the student’s adviser, who works with the other faculty members to develop the student’s program

The Ph.D. degree in East Asian languages and literatures with a specialization in Chinese literature requires completion of a minimum of six 4 credit graduate-level courses beyond those required for the M.A. degree. Depending on the student’s background or preparation at the time of admission to the Ph.D. program, the number of required courses may be nine or twelve. Courses must be chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser.

Course Work

    1. Complete successfully:

  • Six courses in Chinese literature or film
  • Three methods courses:
    Issues in Early Chinese Literature (CHN 523)
    Issues in Medieval Chinese Literature (CHN 524)
    Issues in Modern Chinese Literature (CHN 525) or equivalents-if the student has already taken these courses
    2. Choose one of the following options:

  • Demonstrate the ability to use a second foreign language substantively in research or pass a translation examination in the language
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of a particular methodology or theory by taking three graduate-level courses, including one course in Reading and Conference (CHN 605) for which the student writes a paper applying the methodology to Chinese literature
  • Complete three courses in a secondary literature

Additional Course Work
Depending on the student’s background when admitted to the Ph.D. program, additional course work may be required.

Comprehensive Examination
Candidates for the Ph.D. in Chinese must pass a comprehensive examination that consists of six questions covering three fields. The student, in consultation with his or her adviser, will choose a committee consisting of three faculty members, at least two of whom are members of the department. With input from the student, each committee member will submit two questions based on an approved bibliography. The student will take the three sections of the examination over a period of five days; three hours is given to submit an answer to one of the two questions in each field. Students may use notes and their own laptop or a University laptop. Please make arrangements with the graduate secretary to reserve a room and arrange for the delivery of the questions. If the committee finds that the student has not performed adequately on one question, the student may, at the discretion of the committee, be allowed one opportunity to retake the examination in that subfield before the end of the following term. Students who fail more than one question may have their status as doctoral students terminated.

Prospectus and Dissertation
Immediately following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, a dissertation committee is formed by the student and the graduate secretary. This committee advises the student on writing the dissertation and approves the completed dissertation. The student presents to this committee, within one month, a dissertation proposal with a bibliography. After approval of this prospectus, the student becomes eligible to enroll in Dissertation (CHN 603).

Timeline for Completion of the Ph.D. Program

Course work: two years
Comprehensive examination and prospectus approval: one year
Dissertation writing and defense: two years