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.
I chose UBC as its cultural diversity provides great opportunities for graduate students to exchange thoughts with each other within and beyond academic programs. Also because of the close relationship among the faculty community, its encouragement of learning innovation, as well as its openness for international collaboration.
Contact the program
Meet a UBC representative
Aligning your Graduate Program and Career GoalsDate: Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Time: 11:00 to 12:00
Join Danielle Barkley, Educator and Career & Professional Development Advisor at UBC's Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, and Shane Moore, Marketing and Recruitment Manager. They'll be talking about aligning your graduate program with your career goals. They'll also be providing an overview of the wide range of career and professional development opportunities and support available at UBC. This session will be helpful to those still thinking about which graduate program is right for them, as well as applicants who know their program of study and want to better understand the support and guidance available at UBC.Register
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
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 6.5
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
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date01 October 2020
3) Prepare Application
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.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Asian Studies (PhD)
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
|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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
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.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
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.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
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.
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.
Completion Rates & Times
|2015||Dr. Toleno studied food and morality in the history of premodern Chinese Buddhism. Translating passages from a tenth-century Buddhist encyclopedia, he found eating portrayed as a skilled activity rather than one governed by rules. His study will help scholars of Chinese religion re-evaluate the question of what motivated Buddhist food practices.|
|2014||Dr. Hall studied representations of gay men in Japanese novels and films from the 1980s to the 2000s. He showed that the concerns and desires of gay men in Japan are articulated and transnational gay culture and identity are reflected. He demonstrated that supportive, political messages can be found, even in texts with problematic representations.|
|2014||Dr. Lovins examined the reforms of King Chongjo in 18th century Korea. He argues the King substantially expanded royal power during his reign while his institutional reforms failed to carry this success into future reigns. His research reveals Chongjo's reign as a challenge to the "continuous decline" model of early modern Korean history.|
|2013||Dr. Clerici examined the relationship between subculture and literature in modern Japan through his introduction of the concept of "subcultural affects." Using the writing and reception of author Yumeno Kyusaku as a test case, this research deals with questions of marginality, narrative and how texts travel through time and space.|
|2013||Dr. Fujiwara studied northeastern Japan in the nineteenth-century. He demonstrated ways in which natavist scholars located their community within a larger imperial nation. His work illustrates the complex construction of identity and multiple layers of community during a time of transition from early modernity to modernity.|
|2013||Dr. Deng studied the life and literature of a sixth-century Chinese poet named Xiao Gang. Her research challenges the traditional criticism of Xiao and his Palace Style poetry and contributes to a long-needed reinterpretation of Chinese literature during the Period of Division.|
|2012||Dr. Sze studied the ways in which Chinese people in early medieval times understood and built Buddhist stûpas, the monuments housing sacred relics. She found they did not adopt the unique symbolic meanings narrated in Buddhist scriptures, but considered them to be just like other Buddhist buildings, and often linked them with political dignitaries.|
|2012||Dr. Park studied stories written in Classical Chinese which are included in Korean story collections from the 17th- to the 19th century. Her research highlights the diversity of the historical contexts of that period, challenges existing nationalistic scholarship, and opens up new possibilities for studying Korean literary culture.|
|2012||Dr. Ivanova studied 11th century Japanese women writers, and how their work was adapted in the 16th to 19th centuries. She found the images of those women were transformed as political contexts, readerships, and socio-cultural conditions changed. She demonstrated the role of genre and gender in the canonization of Japanese women's literature.|
|2012||Dr. Kim examined multiple images of Korean shamanism, both positive and negative. His goal was to discover how those images affect the shamans' view of themselves, and influence their rituals. It is hoped this study will contribute to overcoming criticisms against various shamanic practices which are not regarded as following the traditional way.|
Sample Thesis Submissions
Further Program Information
Asian Studies encompasses Chinese, Japanese, Korean, East Asian Buddhism, and South Asian culture, including literature, visual and popular culture, linguistics, pre-modern history, religion, and philosophy.