Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

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.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

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. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

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:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 90

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

6.0

Other Test Scores

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:

The GRE is not required.

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

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.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Asian Studies (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
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.

Financial Support

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.

Program Funding Packages

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 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 $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 10 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $31,123.
  • 5 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 5 students was $12,054.
  • 5 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 5 students was $8,317.
  • 4 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 4 students was $640.
  • 8 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 8 students was $25,852.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their 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.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

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 Education
Simon Fraser University (2)
University of Lethbridge
Montana State University
City University of Hong Kong
Miyazaki Sangyokeiei University
SUNY New Paltz
Augustana College
Oita University
University of Macau
University of York
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Independent Scholar
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These 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.
Career Options

Recent PhDs in Asian Studies have landed postdoctoral fellowships and academic positions at institutions across the globe, including teaching positions at the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, Victoria, Lethbridge, and Winnipeg in Canada; University of Cincinnati, Harvard, Stanford, SUNY New Paltz, and the University of Montana, in the US; and York (UK), Ritsumeikan (Japan), and the University of Indonesia.

 

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Asian Studies (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20222021202020192018
Applications5752554053
Offers7011715
New Registrations40517
Total Enrolment3635353642

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 60% based on 25 students admitted between 2010 - 2013. Based on 12 graduations between 2019 - 2022 the minimum time to completion is 5.12 years and the maximum time is 10.13 years with an average of 8.17 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs.

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Friday, 5 April 2024 - 12:30pm - Room 200

Xiaoyi Ze
The "Short-Lived" Challengers: The Qing Merchants in Late Chosŏn Korea, 1882-1895

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Asian Studies (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.
 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

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.

  • 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.)
  • Sherpa, Pasang (Climate change and Indigeneity among Himalayan communities, Nepal and the Himalayas, Environment)
  • Shin, Leo (Later imperial China)
  • Siddiqui, Hasan Zahid (Early Modern South Asia)
  • Sunar, Kiran (literature, religion, and culture in Punjab)
  • Thobani, Sunera (Critical race, postcolonial and feminist theory )
  • Wu, Helena (Critical identity, ethnic and race studies; Media, visual and digital culture; Critical film studies; Theories of cultural studies; Globalization and culture; Other cultural studies, n.e.c.; Hong Kong cinema, literature and culture; Asian screen cultures; Media narratives; Creative industry and spectatorship; Identity and cultural flows; critical theory; postcolonialism; Thing theory)
  • Yang, Renren (Comparitive Literature; Modern Chinese Popular Culture; 20th-and 21st-century Chinese culture; Modern Chinese literature; Modern Chinese cinema; Literary and media analysis; Literary celebrity and social media; Time-travel imagination in East Asia; Surveillance narrative and cinema; Communication in the age of digital culture)
  • Yi, Christina (Asian history; Cultural Studies; genre; Japanese colonial repatriates; Language politics; Linguistic nationalism; Modern/Contemporary Japanese literature; National identity; Postcoloniality; Resident Koreans; “Repatriation literature” (hikiage bungaku); “returned” Nikkei)

Pages

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2020 Dr. Johal's research seeks to understand how shame and stigma have shaped women's participation in Punjabi theatre, and to analyze the factors that can enable female participation and success in the face of constraint. Her research focused on the life stories of four women who have made significant contributions to Punjabi theatre.
2019 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.
2019 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.
2019 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.
2019 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.
2019 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.
2018 Dr. Lushchenko has shown how medieval historical texts were used to create guides to leadership in seventeenth-century Japan. He examined the content and context of several previously unstudied commentaries that offer advice to rulers on governance and ethics. His findings clarify new aspects of pre-modern statecraft, education, and scholarship.
2018 Dr. Yang studied the life of an eighth-century Buddhist monk of mixed Indian and Sogdian descent. He illustrated how a religious system of Indian heritage was integrated into the state institutions in China. His work enriches our understanding of cross-Asian cultural exchange and the relationship between the state and Buddhist church in medieval times.
2017 Dr. Ashton studied new historical texts to examine how theories of human psychology were used to design early political institutions. He demonstrated a correlation between the rise of China's first empire and the rituals that affect people's emotions. This research changes our understanding of early political and religious history.
2017 Dr. Ober studied the revival of Buddhism in modern India. He traced the ways that 19th and 20th century South Asians and Europeans rewrote and reinvented the very way we understand Buddhist history and practice. Dr. Ober's research, which is of interest to historians and practitioners alike, shows Buddhism's transformation in a modern, global age.

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Further Information

 
 
 
Supervisor Search
 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update contact details for application inquiries, please use this form.

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