Doctor of Philosophy in Asian Studies (PhD)
UBC's Asian Studies Department is the flagship Asian Studies department in Canada and is widely acknowledged as one of the finest in North America. The Department awards a PhD in Asian Studies to students working in a variety of regions and disciplines.
The department boasts over 20 graduate faculty, as well as a many tenure-track instructors and lecturers with wide-ranging expertise. Our more than 60 graduate students specialize in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and South Asian Studies and craft individual programs within and across various humanities disciplines, including linguistics, literary study, history, philosophy, religious studies, and popular and visual culture. The Department offers instruction in the following languages: Cantonese, Modern and Classical Chinese, Hindi/Urdu, Modern and Classical Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, and Sanskrit.
The department is a hub for research activities related to Asia, including large collaborative projects, multiple lecture series and workshops, and professional development opportunities, which provide students ample opportunities to develop their expertise, pursue their interests, and develop professional connections with scholars from around the world. It also regularly hosts postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars. In addition to the guaranteed four years of funding to all PhD students, the program offers a range of funding opportunities and support for research activities.
What makes the program unique?
In addition to our strengths in language and literary studies, the Asian Studies Department stands out for the geographic and disciplinary breadth of its faculty. It offers a range of coursework, from specialized research seminars to comparative Pan-Asian, methodological and professional development courses, drawing on the diversity of faculty and student specializations.
The UBC Library is the second-largest research library in Canada and the Asian Library boasts one of the finest Asian collections in North America, with a particular strength in East Asian materials.
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
English Language Proficiency
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.
This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.
Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.
30 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 4 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 24 graduates:
RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher EducationSimon Fraser University (2)
University of Lethbridge
Montana State University
City University of Hong Kong
Miyazaki Sangyokeiei University
SUNY New Paltz
University of Macau
University of York
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationIndependent Scholar
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Completion Rates & Times
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Ahmed, Rumee (Islam,Muslims,law,theology,Quran,Koran )
Baker, Donald Leslie (Cultural and religious history of Korea)
Chen, Jinhua (East Asian state-church relationships, monastic (hagio/)biographical literature, Buddhist sacred sites, relic veneration, Buddhism and technological innovation in medieval China, and Buddhist translations)
Chiu-Duke, Josephine (Chinese and Taiwanese history, political thought and institutions, liberal democracy)
Duffy, Kay Jane (Premodern Chinese Literature, Early Medieval China , Sinographic Sphere)
Fulton, Bruce (Literary translation, Modern Korean fiction, women)
Hur, Nam-Lin (Japanese, cultural foundations, religion, international relations)
King, Ross (Korean linguistics, dialectology,language pedagogy, history of language )
Laffin, Christina (premodern Japanese literature, medieval Japanese history, women's writing, Japanese women's history, travel writing, autobiography, Japanese poetry, literacy, socialization, wet nursing, narratology)
Li, Duanduan (Chinese linguistics, applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, Chinese language and culture, second language acquisition, language socialization, Chinese heritage language education, bilingualism and multilingualism, Applied Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Multilingualism, Second Language Acquisition, Heritage language Teaching and Learning, Language Socialization, Research Methodology, Technology in Language Teaching, Language Teaching Material, Development, Chinese Applied Linguistics)
Lynn, Hyung Gu (South Korea, North Korea, Japan, politics, economics, popular culture, society, international relations, Korea and Japan, ranging in chronological coverage from the late-19th century to the present, and in subject matter from international relations to contemporary popular culture)
Main, Jessica (Buddhism, Ethics, and Human Rights; Modern Buddhist Institutions, Law, and Governance; Buddhists and Buddhist Institutions Active in Modern Society: Social Welfare; Healthcare and Healing; Protest Movements; Rehabilitation, Incarceration and Corrections; Youth Culture, Physical Culture, and Scouting; Modern Japanese Religions and Society; Japanese True Pure Land Buddhism)
Mostow, Joshua Scott (Inter-relations between text and image, especially in Japanese culture, Japanese women)
Murphy, Anne (Cultural history, Early Modern Studies, Punjabi Studies, South Asian Studies)
Nosco, Peter (17th-18th century Japan construction of individuality and individual identity during the early modern Tokugawa period)
Oberoi, Harjot Singh (South asia, how classical empires shaped the British Raj in India, critical theory, the formation of private libraries, law and society, transnational cultures, and complex systems)
Orbaugh, Sharalyn (modern Japanese culture (literature, film, manga, animation, kamishibai); East Asian women’s issues; anti-racist pegagogy, Japanese narrative and visual culture)
Rea, Christopher (Modern Chinese literature and cinema since the 19th century, Chinese cartoons and visual culture, Chinese print and popular culture, Chinese internet culture, humour and satire, Taiwan, Chinese culture, modern Chinese history, translation )
Rusk, Bruce (Early Modern China, Confucianism, Authentication Studies)
Sathaye, Adheesh (early medieval Sanskrit drama, aesthetics, and narrative literature; Sanskrit epics, Marathi devotional performance traditions, and theories of textual production, performance, and folkloristics; South Asian folklore, narrative theory, and cultural studies)
Shakya, Tsering (confluence of politics, ethno-national identity and religious practice in cultural production and social transformation across both historical and contemporary Tibet and the Himalayas; contemporary minority policy and social media in the PRC.)
Shin, Leo (Later imperial China)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Jee-Yeon Song
"Dr. Song examined the newly created autonomy among female Catholic virgins of nineteenth-century Korea under the intensified control of French missionaries. This research invalidated the established conclusion in Korean history that Catholicism liberated Korean women and contributed to destroying the patriarchy in Choson Korea." (November 2019)
- Dr. Guy Shimon Shababo
"Dr. Shababo studied the life and work of the seventeenth century Korean scholar and statesman Yun Hyu. In his research, he demonstrated how insights from cognitive sciences can improve our understanding of historical data and particularly of religious motivations." (November 2019)
- Dr. Jiyoung Suh
"Dr. Suh examined chamber music which was loved by the upper-middle class audiences in eighteenth and nineteenth century Korea. She brought light to the chamber music scenes through the position of musicians, placing musical issues as a window through which to explore the multiple realities of the pre-modern Korean society." (November 2019)
- Dr. Yinzong Wei
"Dr. Wei studied the reading practices and scholarly culture of Qing Dynasty China. He studied a variety of writings and symbols drawn by readers in the margins of books called marginalia. This study explores how this culture took form, gained momentum, and shaped styles, as well as the scholars' lives, thoughts, and mind-states in the Qing dynasty." (November 2019)
- Dr. Eunseon Kim
"Dr. Kim asks what socio-historical contexts led to a linguistic understanding of the epithet 'Nation of Propriety in the East' for Korea. She traces the genealogy of representations of linguistic politeness, and examines how Koreans and non-Koreans constructed saturated cultural images of Korean honorifics." (May 2019)