Kaiyuan Temple, Chaozhou, Guandong. Photo by Brian Lander.

Kaiyuan Temple, Chaozhou, Guandong. Photo by Brian Lander.

EALAC Ph.D. Program (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Tibetan studies)

I. Course Requirements
II. Research Papers and M.A. Degree
III. Language Requirements
IV. Teaching Requirement
V. M.Phil. Oral Examinations
VI. Ph.D. Dissertation Prospectus
VII. Dissertation Defense
VIII. Dissertation
IX. Advanced Standing
X. Conference Travel Funds
XI. Annual Fellowship Renewal
XII. Distinction Awarded to Dissertations in EALAC

Prior to entry into the program, the student must have completed at least three years of study in the East Asian language of specialization. In addition, a student who is a candidate for the M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees must fulfill the following requirements:

I. Course Requirements

The student must take twelve one-semester courses for grade credit, at least six of which must be graduate-level colloquia or seminars. One of the twelve courses must be outside the student’s East Asian country of specialization. The student is strongly urged to take a methodology course appropriate to his or her discipline to be determined in consultation with the adviser. The student should take a bibliography course dealing with or appropriate to the country of specialization when available. The methodology and bibliography courses are counted as two of the twelve required courses. The choice of courses must be approved by the student’s adviser and by the DGS. Courses in first-year classical Chinese can be counted toward the twelve courses. Second-year classical Chinese can be counted as a graduate colloquium/seminar.

II. Research Papers and M.A. Degree

All students write the M.A. essay or its equivalent (for those entering with an M.A., a research paper), to be completed by the end of the third semester. Students who entered the program without an M. A. in East Asian Studies as well as those who have earned a M.A degree that does not match Columbia’s criteria for East Asian Studies degree should apply to the department to receive the M. A. degree upon completion of the M. A. thesis and course requirements. Two additional papers must be completed by the time of the oral examination, one paper based on research in primary sources, and one paper outside the student’s primary specialization to be chosen in consultation with, and submitted to, the adviser.

This is done by completing the following two steps:

1) Apply for the M.A. degree with the Registrar. This can be done online via their website:

http://registrar.columbia.edu/registrar-forms/application-degree-or-certificate

2) Submit the completed M.A. Degree Requirements Checklist for PhD Candidates form, signed by the advisor, to the EALAC office, 407 Kent Hall. This form is available on the department website:

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ealac/forms/PhD_MA_Degree_Requirements_Checklist_Form.pdf

III. Language Requirements

Entering students are required to take the language placement examination in the East Asia language of specialization at the beginning of the semester in which they enter the program, unless that language was the primary language of instruction at the institution from which they received the B.A. degree. The student must fulfill the following language requirements listed below by field that are applicable to his or her work.

A. The primary language

1. Chinese language requirements: Fifth-year modern Chinese, or the equivalent; two years classical Chinese, or the equivalent. The second year of classical Chinese includes Chinese W4007x (Readings in Classical Chinese, part 1) in the first semester and Chinese W4008y (Readings in Classical Chinese, part 2) in the second semester. The following courses may be substituted for the second semester: Chinese G8009 and G8030 (Seminars in pre-modern Chinese Literature), History—East Asia G8060 (Seminar in Sources of Chinese History), History—East Asian G8034 (Seminar on Korean Historical Texts in Chinese).

2. Japanese language requirement: Five-year Japanese or the equivalent for all students; one year of classical Japanese or the equivalent; one semester of Kanbun or one year of classical Chinese.

3. Korean language requirement: Fifth-year Korean or the equivalent; Korean G8010, Advanced Korean in Mixed Script.

4. Tibetan language requirement: Third-year Tibetan or the equivalent; Third-year classical Tibetan or the equivalent. Chinese language training also relevant (see below).

5. Ph.D. language examination requirements: language exemption is fulfilled by earning a B or better in required courses. Those with equivalent course(s) completed elsewhere still must pass the placement examination.

B. Second and third languages

1. Required for the study of China: For Pre-Qing history and premodern literature: three years of Japanese or the equivalent. For Qing and later history, three years of Japanese or another preferred Asian language chosen in consultation with the advisor. For modern Chinese literature, three years of Japanese or two years of a European language. All students are encouraged to take a reading course in French (FRENS1204) or German (German 1115) and pass the reading exam, but the advisor should decide whether this is necessary.

2. Required for the study of Japan: For all students: Two years of a European language, or two years of a second Asian language in their classical or modern form, in consultation with the advisor. Pre-1800 history: two years of Classical Chinese.

3. Required for the study of Korea: For all students: three years of Japanese or the equivalent; for students in premodern literature: one year of classical Chinese or the equivalent. If necessary, reading knowledge of a European language in consultation with the advisor.

4. Required for the study of Tibet: For all students: reading knowledge of one European language or Japanese, chosen in consultation with adviser. For all students: three years of modern Chinese or two years of modern Chinese and one year Classical Chinese, chosen in consultation with adviser. In exceptional cases in which Chinese is not necessary for research interests, this requirement may be waived in consultation with adviser.

C. Second European language requirements

Second European language, if required by the adviser.

IV. Teaching Requirement

Participation in the instructional activities of the department for three years. As a rule, in the second, third, and fourth years of study, students gain exposure through teaching apprenticeships in the undergraduate East Asia program, largely offered by EALAC and the Committee on Asia and the Middle East. These assignments are determined by the DGS.

V. M.Phil. Oral Examinations

The student must take a two-hour comprehensive oral examination in three or four subject areas defined in consultation with the advisor and the DGS. Normally, one of these subject areas is outside the student’s country of specialization. The committee for the oral examination, which is put together by the advisor, consists of three or more faculty members. It is up to the student to consult carefully with the advisor and DGS in constructing an effective program and schedule. The oral examination is normally taken at the end of the third year (but no later than the end of the fourth year) of PhD study.

VI. Ph.D. Dissertation Prospectus

In order to receive the M.Phil, the student must pass an oral defense of the dissertation prospectus before his or her M.Phil oral examination committee or before a dissertation prospectus committee selected by the advisor. The prospectus is usually a revision of the grant proposal submitted to outside funders at the beginning of the third year for dissertation research in Asia. The prospectus defense is normally carried out in conjunction with the M. Phil oral examination, but it may be taken afterwards, either within six months of the oral examination or before leaving for field research (whichever occurs first). For the purpose of fellowships requirements, it is possible to defend the prospectus in advance of the oral defense.

VII. Dissertation Defense

See the University rules of dissertation preparation, defense, and deposit at http://gsas.columbia.edu/content/defending-your-dissertation.

Students must be registered in the semester in which they distribute their dissertation. PhD students should be aware that if they distribute their dissertation during the summer session they incur the cost registering for the term, which EALAC does not cover, so please plan your defenses accordingly.

Dissertation defense, registration status, and deposit policies are as follows:

  1. Defense applications should ideally be submitted four – but no fewer than two – weeks before the scheduled defense date: Application for the Dissertation Defense Applications received within two weeks of the proposed defense date will not be accepted, and the defense will have to be rescheduled. GSAS no longer requires students to file the form titled Intent to Distribute and Defend. In its place, all students who intend to participate in graduation ceremonies must complete the Convocation Registration and Mailing Materials Form.
  2. In order to meet the Graduate School’s requirement for continuous registration, Ph.D. candidates must register for full-time enrollment each semester until the semester of distribution. Once a dissertation has been distributed, students are no longer required to register. If a student intends to distribute during a specific term and does not do so before the end of that term, the student must register in the following semester.
  3. To assist us in maintaining accurate information on the academic progress of our students, the committee that evaluates the dissertation proposal or prospectus must complete the Report of the Dissertation Proposal Committee form at the time of the defense of the proposal. The department should submit the completed form to GSAS immediately after the prospectus defense.

The forms used by the Dissertation Office are listed below:

VIII. Dissertation

Those students who complete the requirements for the Ph.D. program except for the dissertation receive the M.Phil. degree. Ph.D. candidates are then required to complete and submit a dissertation, which must be prepared through research by the student conducted in close consultation with his or her Ph.D. faculty sponsor. The dissertation defense is held before five faculty members, two of whom must be from outside the department. The accepted dissertation (subject to whatever revisions the defense committee may deem appropriate) must be typed in conformity with the University’s dissertation format and deposited with the Dissertation Office, whose template may be found here.

IX. Advanced Standing

Students who enter the Ph.D. program with a M.A. or equivalent degree in East Asian Studies may be eligible for advanced standing.  These include students who received the M.A degree from a Columbia’s East Asian Studies program and those who earned a M.A degree from another institution that is the academic equivalent of the Columbia’s M.A. The granting of the Advanced Standing is decided by the department, and it gives 2 Residence Units, which will shorten the student’s study period by 4 courses. At the same time, it results in reduction of the student’s multi-year funding by one year, regardless the origin of the student’s M.A. degree.

In order to receive Advanced Standing, the student must submit his or her M.A. thesis or its equivalent, a research paper, for the department’s approval. Students with advanced standing must take eight (instead of twelve) one-semester courses for grade credits at least four of which must be graduate-level colloquia or seminars. Specific course requirements may be waived, if taken for the M.A., subject to the approval of the DGS. All other requirements remain the same as those of the Ph.D. program.

X. Conference Travel Funds

Each year, EALAC offers a limited number of small match-funds to support the EALAC PhD students to present papers in domestic and international conferences and workshops. The student must apply for approval prior to travel and can be reimbursed upon return for the appropriate amount to be decided by the DGS. The application should include: GSAS Travel Reimbursement Form, letter of invitation from the organizer, conference/workshop program that includes the title of his/her paper presentation, and an electronic copy of the paper (sent directly to the DGS by email).

XI. Annual Fellowship Renewal Form

The Phd student must fill out the annual fellowship renewal form in the spring of each year in order for the fellowship to be renewed. This form contains a checklist of the requirements and a schedule for the fulfillment of requirements. It also allows the student to indicate preferences for TA appointments. The forms, which must be signed by the respective advisors, are reviewed each spring by the Committee on Admissions and Fellowships.

XII. Distinction Awarded to Dissertations in EALAC

EALAC recognizes superior academic work in dissertations that rank in quality in the top 10% defended by our students by formally designating them as “passing with distinction.” This nomination can not be initiated by the sponsor. Following a unanimous vote by the members of a dissertation defense committee, the Chair of the committee must nominate the dissertation for distinction in a letter to the EALAC Chair and Director of Graduate Studies, who will determine whether distinction will be granted. Candidates are not to be informed that the committee has voted for distinction until the final decision has been made by the EALAC Chair and DGS. This recognition is conferred at the departmental level: GSAS no longer grants distinction to dissertations, but departments are free to grant it to superb work by their students.

Dissertations defended before Commencement but not deposited until afterward will be eligible for distinction if so recommended at the time of their defense.