Shanghai

Chinese Graduate Programs

A tight-knit community with a global reach

The graduate programs in Chinese at Washington University are now in their fifth decade of growth. In addition to the MA in Chinese and the PhD in Chinese and comparative literature, in 2010 we initiated the doctoral program in Chinese language and literature wholly housed in this Department. After thirty-five years of successful programs combining the advanced study of Chinese literature with courses offered through the university’s doctoral program in comparative literature, we now offer the option of a doctoral program that emphasizes deep training in Chinese literature with a second field in another East Asian literature or in Chinese studies in another discipline.

Among our internationally-recognized Chinese literature faculty, our research strengths are in premodern poetry, religious and women’s writings, narrative and dramatic literature of the late imperial period, and modern and contemporary literature from all parts of greater China. Our research areas include book culture, gender questions, popular culture, translation theory and practice, and globalization and cosmopolitanism. Our East Asian Library has substantial collections in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and European languages, along with the major online resources for research in these areas. As one national literature program among many at WashU, our students are regularly treated to lectures by noted writers and literary scholars from around the world. Recent visitors have included Salman Rushdie, Homi Bhabha, Helen Vendler, Orhan Pamuk, and Slavoj Žižek. Among our 2010 Chinese visitors were Ma Dazheng from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, and Jiang Jin, East China Normal University, Shanghai.

Studying Chinese at WashU

Students in our programs will take a combination of advanced courses and seminars in Chinese literature, in literary theory and analysis to enhance their investigative skills, and in Chinese history and other fields to strengthen their grasp of the contexts in which literature was historically written and read. Most students will also gain teaching experience during their years of study; some may wish to take a graduate certificate as well. Our faculty are few, but all work closely with students through courses and research as well. Consequently our program has had outstanding success in placing our graduates in doctoral study (after the MA) or in academic positions (after the PhD).

As WashU’s institutional affiliations with Chinese universities grow and develop, our students have ever more chances to meet and to work with top faculty in East Asia. Recent visiting scholars include Professors Wang Ning of Tsinghua University and Guo Yingde of Beijing Normal University. Our doctoral candidates have regularly carried out research in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Taipei with financial aid from the university.

PhD in Chinese Language and Literature

Overview

The PhD in Chinese Language and Literature at Washington University enhances a traditionally broad grounding in all periods and forms of Chinese literature and a narrow field of research concentration with China-related courses drawn from several departments and programs: Anthropology, Art History and Archaeology, Film and Media Studies, History, Religious Studies, and the School of Law. It provides a balance of theory and history of Chinese literature and culture, while offering numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary research and study. In order to participate in international academic conversations on literature, students are required to take a substantial number of courses and seminars in the theory and methods of literary studies, primarily through the program in Comparative Literature. Given present faculty strengths, students in this program are encouraged to focus on the literature and culture, including visual culture, of the late imperial period through the early 21st century.

Chinese PhD degree requirements

Fully-funded program

The Graduate School regularly provides financial aid to students in PhD programs. Students who make normal progress toward completion can expect six years of awards that include tuition remission, fees, and a stipend sufficient to cover living expenses. Stipends are usually in the form of a University Fellowship. Students may apply for a Dissertation Travel Fund for the year during which they complete the degree. Students are encouraged to apply for summer support for research in East Asia or at library collections elsewhere. WashU also has several special fellowship programs such as the Olin Fellowship for Women or the Chancellor's Graduate Fellowship Program for outstanding students from underrepresented groups in American society who are interested in careers as college or university professors. Applicants for our doctoral programs from other countries may also be considered for the McDonnell Academy scholarships which include tuition remission and generous annual stipends.

More information about funding

Admission to the program

Preference will be given to applicants who have the MA degree in a relevant discipline and area and have native or advanced competence in the language of their major literature and reading competence in at least one other research language. However, students who have unusually rich undergraduate backgrounds may apply for these programs after completing the BA in Chinese or in a related field. Students who are non-native speakers of Chinese or Japanese are strongly encouraged to apply for external funding for one or more years of language study abroad while still taking courses. In addition, qualified students should seek external funding for research abroad for dissertation research to supplement financial aid provided by the Graduate School.

applying to the program

The application deadline is January 1.

How to Apply

Joint PhD with Comparative Literature

The PhD in Chinese and Comparative Literature is offered jointly with Comparative Literature. The focus of this program is comparison of the contents, theoretical bases, and methodologies of Chinese literature and a second literature (Western or non-Western), within the context of a familiarity of the cultural context and historical background of the literatures, and the critical and historical methodology of modern literary study.

Which PhD program is for me?

Students who are primarily interested in literature as a general field of study, which includes the study of critical theory and methodology and at least one literature in addition to Chinese, should choose our highly successful PhD Program in Chinese and Comparative Literature. In addition, the Department now offers the option of deep training in Chinese literature with a second field in another East Asian literature or in Chinese studies in another discipline: history, anthropology, art history, or film and media studies. Students whose interests are less comparative and more focused on China should choose this PhD Program in Chinese Language and Literature.

Students in both doctoral programs will have a variety of teaching experiences, including language teaching at several levels, grading essays in English, leading discussion sections, and giving lectures. When available, students will also have the opportunity to teach or to team-teach a course under the supervision of a faculty member.

Preference will be given to applicants who have the MA degree in a relevant discipline and area and have native or advanced competence in the language of their major literature and reading competence in at least one other research language. However, students who have unusually rich undergraduate backgrounds may apply for these programs after completing the BA in Chinese or in a related field.

Application process for joint program with Comparative Literature

Prospective students interested in pursuing a joint program with Comparative Literature should apply through the pertinent home department, which in this case is East Asian Languages and Literatures. On your application you will be able to find a degree program for all of the joint degrees, with the home department listed first and Comparative Literature listed second. When you go to "Select A Program," you will first choose "Graduate School of Arts and Sciences" as the Academic Division from the top drop-down menu, then under the department of East Asian Languages and Cultures you will see options for Chinese or Japanese. You should send your application materials to East Asian Languages and Cultures. It will, however, be vetted by both the home department and Comparative Literature.

MA in Chinese

A two-year program housed in an internationally-recognized community for research on Chinese literature, language, and culture, the MA in Chinese requires 36 units of graduate study in Chinese which may include courses from related fields, such as East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature.

Funding

Financial aid is available through the Graduate School in the form of tuition scholarships. Our masters students usually receive a high percentage of tuition remission which helps to ease the burden of pursuing a graduate degree. All applicants are automatically considered for financial aid. No additional application is required.

More information about funding available at: http://graduateschool.wustl.edu/.

Our beautiful library with the competent and helpful librarians, the nice and capable administrators, the best Chinese teachers in the US, and the knowledgeable and friendly professors, all these people make my studies at WashU an unforgettable experience.

―Rumyana CholakovaPhD '10

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