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  • KATSUYA HIRANO: Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2004.
    Early modern and modern Japan; Colonialism; Critical Theory; Marxian Theory of History
  • WILLIAM MAROTTI: Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2001.
    Modern Japanese history; Everyday life; Cultural-historical issues
    310-825-4368; marotti@history.ucla.edu

Emeritus Faculty

  • HERMAN OOMS: Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1973.
    Pre-modern Japanese History; Cultural Theory
    310-825-3221; ooms@history.ucla.edu


The UCLA History Department is acknowledged as one of the great centers for the study of history in the world. The Japan field constitutes a vital and respected part of the department, with a long history of distinguished scholarly activity, and dozens of graduates teaching at prestigious institutions throughout the country. Its current faculty (Hirano and Marotti) offer complementary approaches and cutting-edge research and instruction across the early modern and modern periods. Our highly selective graduate students form a collegial and energetic cohort, with a diversity of research interests and backgrounds, and receive flexible and comprehensive training facilitating innovative new work. Beyond the resources within the department, students avail themselves of research, instructional, and collaborative activities across the university and the region through a variety of interdisciplinary, regional and intercollegial institutes and exchanges.

Requirements for the Doctorate in Japanese History


For the M.A. degree, two years of Japanese required. For the Ph.D., French, German or another pertinent European  language; four years of Japanese coursework (or its equivalent--demonstrated ability in specialized Japanese that will allow one to read source materials (e.g. coursework or its equivalent in Kanbun, sorobun, bungotai, Meiji documents). Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. in the Japanese field requires the completion of a research seminar in the major field. You are advised that successful completion of this seminar usually requires the equivalent of a least four years of superior college-level language work in Japanese.


As a candidate for the Ph.D., you must meet (a) the special requirements for admission to the doctoral program listed on the Department’s website under Academics/Graduate/Admission Information; and (b) the general requirements set forth under the Graduate Division. An excellent command of English, spoken and written, the ability to read at least two foreign languages, and an acquaintance with general history are expected of all candidates. You are required to complete at least one continuing two-or three-quarter seminar, or alternatively, a continuing sequence of at least two graduate courses approved by the GGCC. This seminar, or its alternative, must include completion of a substantial research paper based at least in part on primary sources.

All students must write a dissertation prospectus (which could be written for credit as a history 596 or 597) expected to contain: (a) a full statement of the dissertation topic; (b) an 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.

Faculty serving on doctoral committees may require such courses as they deem necessary for preparation for qualifying examinations. Courses taken to fulfill M.A. degree requirements may also be used to satisfy Ph.D. requirements.

Doctoral Written and Oral 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.

  • Written examination

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.

  • Oral examination

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, 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. Both the written and oral examinations are to be considered by the committee as a whole in arriving at a judgment of your performance. 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.