M.A. Program

Currently, students are not admitted to an M.A. only degree program. In special circumstances, students may be granted an M.A. degree in recognition of progress toward the Ph.D., normally after six quarters of coursework and submission of two approved seminar papers, which will serve as the M.A. examination.

Doctor of Philosophy in East Asian Studies

Requirements for Admission

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to graduate study at UCI, specified by UCI Graduate Division, all students must present the following for review by an Admission Committee composed of East Asian Studies faculty members:

  • Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal history statement and statement of purpose
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (if applicable)
  • Writing sample
Although the Department does not require entering students to have received an undergraduate degree comparable to its own, it recommends as much preparation in an East Asian language as possible. The Department also welcomes applications from students whose language training may not be as extensive but who have shown promise in the study of related disciplines. The study of another appropriate language is encouraged as well.

For more information, please refer to the APPLICATION PROCESS.

General Program Requirements:

Upon admission to the program, the student will be assigned a Faculty Advisor who will help the student plan a program of study consisting of 15 graduate-level courses of work beyond the B.A. in the appropriate specialization.

Before advancement to candidacy (normally after three years of graduate study), the student must:
  • Complete required coursework as detailed in the appropriate specialization
  • Prepare one paper of publishable quality with approval of the Faculty Advisor
  • Complete all language requirements as listed in the appropriate specialization
  • Prepare five research reports (i.e. critical reviews) on current scholarly materials (books or significant articles) to be decided upon in consultation with the Faculty Advisor
  • Submit the Ph.D. Exam Reading List (with a rationale for the four topics chosen) for approval from all members of the Ph.D. Exam Committee at least one quarter before the intended exam date
  • Pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination.

All graduate students (including Teaching Assistants and Teaching Associates) must enroll for a minimum of 12 units each quarter to be considered full-time students. Any exception must be approved by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. It is departmental policy that part-time graduate students must enroll in 8 units. Students on a fellowship or grant are responsible for meeting the specific requirements of their individual situation. International students must check with the International Center to determine whether part-time study is an option commensurate with their visa status.


Upon acceptance to the doctoral program and in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, the student is assigned a primary Faculty Advisor and an alternate Faculty Advisor (in case the primary advisor is temporarily absent). In accordance with the student's stated interests on the application for admission, the Faculty Advisor and Director of Graduate Studies will help the student map out an appropriate course of study that prepares the student for the qualifying exams and the writing of the doctoral thesis. The Faculty Advisor and Director of Graduate Studies will, if applicable, evaluate the transcripts of students who transfer from other graduate programs in order to determine which courses will apply toward requirements for the Ph.D.

All students are required to meet quarterly with their Faculty Advisor no later than the second week of instruction. The purpose of these meetings is to advise students in their courses of graduate study, monitor their progress towards the timely completion of the Ph.D. degree, and keep them up-to-date on departmental and university requirements. If necessary, the Faculty Advisor may hold a meeting of professors with whom the student has studied to evaluate academic progress and performance.

The Faculty Advisor will head the Ph.D. Exam Committee and presumably (although not necessarily) direct the dissertation. The Faculty Advisor chairs the Ph.D. Exam Committee and works with the Graduate Coordinator to organize and coordinate the qualifying exam. In addition, the Faculty Advisor informs the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Coordinator about the qualifying exam (dates, committee membership, and outcome). The student may petition the Department Chair and Director of Graduate Studies for a change of advisor or committee (except between the qualifying exam and any retake). Any change must be approved by the Department Chair and Director of Graduate Studies.


As the date of the Qualifying Examination approaches, the Faculty Advisor will work with the student to form the Ph.D. Exam Committee. The Ph.D. Exam Committee is comprised of five faculty members, including a faculty member from another department at UCI who will serve as the "outside member." At least three of the Ph.D. Exam Committee members must hold primary or joint appointments in the department. The committee, chaired by the Faculty Advisor, will read the student's written exams and participate in the oral exam. The Ph.D. Exam Committee will determine by unanimous vote if the student passes the Qualifying Examination.

To refer to the Qualifying Exam Checklist, please go to FORMS.

Upon completion of the Qualifying Examination, the results should be submitted to UCI Graduate Division on the Ph.D. Form I. The Ph.D. Form I must be signed by all committee members at the time the candidacy examination is concluded, and submitted even if the student failed the examination. Original signatures by all committee members are required; stamped or electronic signatures are not accepted. Students will also indicate on the Ph.D. Form I which members of the Ph.D. Exam Committee will serve on the Dissertation Committee. If the unanimous recommendation of the Committee is favorable, the $90 Advancement to Candidacy Fee must be paid to the campus Cashier's Office, by the student, which validates the Ph.D. Form I after which it should be submitted to UCI Graduate Division. The Candidacy Fee is subject to change. Current fees are available on the Registrar's website. The signed Ph.D. Form I serves as the application for advancement to candidacy and must be submitted to Graduate Division by the appropriate advancement deadline in each quarter. The candidate and graduate program will be notified of formal advancement and the appointment of a Ph.D. Dissertation Committee by UCI Graduate Division.

After successful completion of the qualifying exams, some members of the Ph.D. Exam Committee may comprise the Ph.D. Dissertation Committee, which is composed of three members including the Faculty Advisor who serves as the Dissertation Chair and two faculty members, although additional faculty can serve if the student wishes. A majority of the committee shall be affiliated with the department. The main functions of this committee are to participate in the dissertation proposal, read drafts of the dissertation distributed by the Dissertation Chair, submit commentary to the Dissertation Chair to be relayed to the student at the Dissertation Chair's discretion, participate in the defense of the dissertation, and to ultimately accept the finished dissertation by signing on the title page.

Advancement to Candidacy (ABD)

Students who complete the qualifying examinations successfully will become ABDs, i.e. will become Ph.D. candidates. They will then write a doctoral dissertation on a topic developed in consultation with the Dissertation Committee. Some period of study abroad, for enhancement of language proficiency and/or dissertation research, is strongly encouraged.


The Ph.D. candidate must allow the Dissertation Committee members at least three weeks from the time the manuscript is received until the committee members' signatures are needed. The faculty will not assume responsibility for missed deadlines and additional enrollment fees if this three-week reading period is not provided by the candidate. The Dissertation Committee certifies that the completed dissertation is satisfactory through the signatures of all committee members on the signature page of the completed dissertation. Original signatures by all members of the Dissertation Committee are required. Stamped or electronic signatures are not accepted.


Upon completion and approval of the dissertation, the Dissertation Committee recommends, by signing the Ph.D. Form II, the conferral of the Ph.D. subject to approval of the student's dissertation by the University Archives and final approval of the student's filing degree forms from Graduate Division.


The submission of the dissertation is the last step in the program leading to the award of an advanced degree. All dissertations submitted in fulfillment of requirements for advanced degrees at UCI must conform to certain University regulations and specifications with regard to format and method of preparation. The Dissertation Director and student are responsible for the content and final presentation of the manuscript. Students are encouraged to attend information sessions offered each quarter at the library, which review the correct manuscript preparation and filing procedures.

The dissertation is then submitted to the library for formatting review and approval. See UCI Dissertation - Electronic Submission for details. The librarian will inspect the manuscript for completion and proper preparation (e.g. appropriate paper type, margins, pagination) according to the UCI Thesis and Dissertation Manual. Library Archives has the responsibility of ensuring that the established procedures and standards for manuscript preparation are upheld.

Friday of the tenth week of classes is the deadline for submitting a completed Ph.D. Form II and all additional required items for filing (including approval of the final dissertation from the Library Archives) to Graduate Division in order for the Ph.D. degree to be conferred during that quarter. Please refer to Graduate Division's Filing Deadlines.