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The Department encourages applications from highly qualified candidates in Chinese history. Successful applicants are expected to have excellent undergraduate training as evidenced by GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and, when appropriate, samples of historical research. In addition, applicants should have a firm start (at least three and preferably four years) in the Chinese language.

Foreign Language Requirements:

For the M.A. degree, a minimum of three years of Chinese; for the Ph.D., a high degree of proficiency in Chinese, and, normally, at least one quarter of third-year Japanese. In certain cases, reading knowledge of French or German may also be required. Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. in the Chinese field requires the completion of a research seminar in the major field. You are advised that successful completion of this seminar requires the equivalent of at least four years of superior college-level language work in Chinese.

Course Requirements:

Students are expected to complete their degrees within seven years. This means completing the M.A. by the end of the second year, taking Ph.D. qualifying examinations by the end of their fourth year, and spending no more than three years researching and writing their dissertations.

The M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Chinese history are based on three tiers of graduate seminars:

1) Reading seminars (History 201L) that cover important secondary studies in English and raise significant historiographic issues in Chinese history. Recent seminars have stressed the legal-social-cultural, history of China, state and society in the late imperial and modern eras, religious culture in imperial China, the formative era of East Asia, and women in late imperial and modern Chinese history.

2) Seminars in primary source material in classical and modern Chinese (History 200L, M281) that allow students to explore Chinese historical materials in detail with the guidance of the instructor. Recent seminars have focused on Qing dynasty and Republican legal sources, documentary and inscriptional sources for the study of popular religion, source materials for the economic history of imperial China, and reference works in classical historiography. A working knowledge of classical Chinese and modern Chinese is required.

3) Writing seminars (History 282A-B) in which students prepare a significant, publishable research paper based on primary sources in Chinese and other languages and informed by secondary readings. It is hoped that a student’s writing seminar paper will eventually become a part of his/her dissertation project. Participation in more than one writing seminar series under more than one instructor is encouraged.

The faculty (Professors Bernhardt, von Glahn, and Wong) together cover both pre-modern and modern Chinese history from the Song dynasty (10th-13th centuries) to the twentieth century. In addition, students may specialize in thematic subjects: economic and social history (Bernhardt, von Glahn, and Wong), religious culture and society (von Glahn), legal history (Bernhardt), women’s history (Bernhardt). The faculty favors inter-disciplinary approaches to Chinese history, and all cross dynastic and disciplinary boundaries in their research and teaching. Professors Wong and von Glahn also teach in the History Department’s program in World History and emphasize the importance of studying China from comparative and world-historical perspectives.

For completion of the M.A. degree, the History Department requires a minimum of nine upper division and graduate courses in history, at least six of which must be graduate courses (200 series). Only one 500 series course (either 596 or 597) may be applied toward both the total course requirement and the minimum six graduate courses requirement. Courses in the 300 (teaching practicum) series are not applicable toward course requirements.

In order to qualify for Ph.D. candidacy, a student must complete two research seminars (History 282A-B), which can include courses applied toward fulfillment of the M.A. degree requirements. Faculty serving on doctoral committees may require such courses as they deem necessary for preparation for qualifying examinations.

All students must write a dissertation prospectus (which could be written for credit as History 596 or 597) expected to contain: (a) a full statement of the dissertation topic; (b) a historiographical discussion of the literature bearing on the topic; (c) a statement of the methodology to be employed; and (d) a survey of the sources sufficient to demonstrate the viability of the topic. The prospectus must be approved by the dissertation adviser prior to the oral part of the qualifying examinations. After approval, copies will be given to each member of the examining committee.

For the Ph.D., it is expected that extensive field research will be carried out in China, Taiwan, and/or Japan in addition to making use of resources available at the UCLA East Asian Library and other US collections (Hoover Library at Stanford, UC Berkeley East Asian Library, etc.).

The study of Chinese history at UCLA is enhanced by the existence of strong programs in Japanese History, European History, Women’s History, Economic History, and World History within the History Department, as well as excellent programs in classical and modern Chinese literature, East Asian Buddhism, and Korean history and culture in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. UCLA also has strong programs in a wide range of social science and humanities disciplines, including faculty specializing in China in Anthropology (Yunxiang Yan and Nancy Levine), Geography (Cindy Fan), Sociology (Cameron Campbell), Political Science (Richard Baum and James Tong), Art History and Archaeology (Hui-shu Lee and Lothar von Falkenhausen), Ethnomusicology (Helen Rees), Theater (Haiping Yan), and Law (Randall Peerenboom).

In addition to Centers for Korean and Japanese Studies, UCLA has also a Center for Chinese Studies which enhances collaboration among scholars of Chinese Studies by sponsoring visiting professors, workshops, conferences, and research projects in all areas of Chinese history, society, and culture. It also provides graduate students with fellowships and research assistantships on a competitive basis.

Ph.D Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations:

Before admission to candidacy, you must pass written and oral examinations. Students with outstanding incompletes may not be permitted to sit for these exams.
In the written qualifying examinations, you are expected to show not only a mastery of your special subject, but also an adequate grasp of the wider field of historical knowledge and an ability to correlate historical data and to explain their significance. These examinations are designed to test not merely factual knowledge, but also your power of historical analysis and synthesis, critical ability, and capacity for reflective thinking. A knowledge of the history of any area includes a reasonable knowledge of its historiography and bibliography; of its geography; and of its political, cultural, economic, and other historical aspects.

In the oral examination, you are to be examined in four fields, one of which may be an approved field in anthropology, economics, geography, language and literature, philosophy, political science, sociology, or other allied subjects. This allied field must be comparable in size and scope to the history fields listed above. You should select the fields in consultation with your faculty adviser and must receive the Department's approval of all four fields not less than three months before the written qualifying examination is taken. You will need to obtain the “Field Committee Orals” form (orals committee) from the Graduate Office. A copy of “Steps for the Orals” can be obtained from the Graduate Office. A full-time graduate student must begin the written qualifying examinations not later than the end of the ninth quarter of graduate work (See Time-to-Degree).

The written qualifying examination normally includes the major field only. The oral examination will cover all four fields and will normally be held after the written examination. In most fields, the oral examination will be held shortly after the written examination or, at the discretion of the doctoral committee, as late as six months after the written examination. The written qualifying examination is normally prepared and administered by the chair of the committee and read by the entire committee before the oral qualifying examination.

The written qualifying examination must be passed before the oral qualifying examination can be taken. The members of the doctoral committee determine whether or not an examination may be repeated (normally only once), based on their prognosis of your potential for successfully completing both the written and oral examinations within a specified period of time to be designated by the doctoral committee, but not to exceed one calendar year. The written qualifying examination is not to exceed eight (8) hours and must be turned in to the Graduate Adviser's Office no later than 5:00 pm of the day of the examination.