Graduate Program

Ph.D. in Asian Studies

The Group also offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in Asian Studies. Only students who first complete the M.A. program at UC Berkeley can be considered for the Ph.D. program. Students in the Ph.D. program must be intellectually focused and must master the methodological aspects of the humanities and/or social sciences in pursuing their studies.

Degree Requirements

  • Five graduate level courses (course numbers 200 and above) distributed in three departments, of which only two may be reading courses (299), and one upper division course (100-199).
  • Course work must involve at least two major geographical or cultural areas of Asia, and must include substantial comparative analytical content. It must include as well the acquisition of a reading knowledge of two Asian languages.
  • The Ph.D. candidate must complete the course work proposed and pass qualifying examinations as set by a three-member Faculty Committee, augmented by two additional faculty members for purposes of the examination.
  • Upon completion of the qualifying exams, the student will advance to candidacy. At this stage, the student will write, under the supervision of the three-member committee, a dissertation that satisfies the requirements of the Graduate Division. At the committee's option, the dissertation may need an oral defense. The degree will be awarded upon successful completion of the dissertation.


  • Students must complete the M.A. degree in Asian Studies at UC Berkeley prior to applying for the Ph.D.
  • Five letters of recommendation from academic sources from pertinent units on the Berkeley campus.
  • Formation of a three-member Faculty Committee (by the applicant) to supervise the work toward the advanced degree.
  • A proposed academic plan leading toward qualifying examinations, including the types of courses the applicant plans to take.

Note: Financial support and teaching experience for advanced level graduate students in Asian Studies is very limited. An applicant should expect to be self-supporting. Persons with specific disciplinary interests should apply to the relevant departmental Ph.D. program.