Ph.D. in Japanese Literature and Culture

The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students for a doctoral degree in Japanese literature and culture.

Students should consult the most up-to-date version of the degree plan on the Stanford Bulletin as well as the EALC Graduate Handbook. Each student should meet with their faculty advisor at least once per quarter to discuss the degree requirements and their progress.

Degree Requirements for the Ph.D. in Japanese Literature and Culture

Admission to Candidacy

Candidacy is the most important University milestone on the way to the Ph.D. degree. Admission to candidacy rests both on the fulfillment of department requirements and on an assessment by department faculty that the student has the potential to successfully complete the Ph.D.

Following University policy (GAP 4.6.1), students are expected to complete the candidacy requirements by Spring Quarter of the second year of graduate study.

Pre-Candidacy Requirements

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in modern and classical Japanese by completing the following courses or demonstrating equivalent linguistic attainment by passing the appropriate certifying examinations.

    • Fourth-Year Japanese (take the entire sequence through to the following):
      • JAPANLNG 213 - Fourth-Year Japanese, Third Quarter (2-4 units)
    • Classical Japanese (take both of the following):
      • JAPAN 264 - Introduction to Premodern Japanese (3-5 units)
      • JAPAN 265 - Readings in Premodern Japanese (2-5 units)
  2. Proseminar sequence: Complete the following courses for a letter grade of B or higher.
    • EALC 201 - Proseminar in East Asian Humanities I: Skills and Methodologies (3 units)
    • EALC 202 - Proseminar in East Asian Humanities II: Current Scholarship (1 unit)
  3. Additional course requirements:
    • Complete eight advisor-approved courses numbered above 200 from among the offerings of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. At least four of these eight courses must be advanced seminars numbered above 300. At least one of these eight courses must deal with Japanese linguistics. For students focusing on modern literature, at least two of these eight courses must deal with premodern material. For students focusing on premodern literature, at least two of the eight courses must deal with modern material.

    • Complete two upper-division or graduate-level courses in two supporting fields for a total of four courses outside of Japanese literature or linguistics. Supporting fields, to be determined in consultation with the student’s primary advisor, may include Japanese anthropology, art, art history, history, philosophy, political science, religious studies, Chinese literature, Korean literature, comparative literature, etc.

  4. Qualifying paper
    • All Doctoral students must complete an MA qualifying paper. An MA thesis is accepted instead of a qualifying paper for students initially admitted as EALC MA students. Students seeking an MA en route to the PhD must secure approval from the primary advisor and submit an MA thesis.

    • A graded MA qualifying paper or thesis must be submitted to the DGS and SSO with an accompanying note from the student’s primary advisor by week five of spring quarter of the second year of study for the annual review and candidacy decision.

    • During the quarter when students complete the MA qualifying paper or thesis (25-30 pages), they must enroll in EALC 299.

Teaching Requirement

  1. Complete the following course during spring quarter of the year before serving as a teaching assistant. Typically, this occurs during spring quarter of the second year of graduate study.
    • DLCL 301 - The Learning and Teaching of Second Languages (3 units)
  2. Demonstrate pedagogical proficiency by serving as a teaching assistant for at least three quarters, starting no later than autumn quarter of the third year of graduate study. The department may approve exceptions to the timing of the language teaching requirement.

Post-Candidacy Requirements

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in at least one supporting language to be chosen in consultation with the primary advisor according to the candidate’s specific research goals. Students concentrating on classical Japanese literature usually are expected to fulfill the supporting language requirement by completing kanbun, JAPAN 265 - Readings in Premodern Japanese (2-5 units). For the supporting language, students must be proficient at the second-year level, at the minimum; a higher level of proficiency may be required depending on the advisor’s recommendation. Reading proficiency must be certified through a written examination or an appropriate amount of coursework to be determined on a case-by-case basis. When deemed necessary by the student’s advisor(s), working knowledge of an additional supporting language may also be required.

  2. Pass a comprehensive qualifying examination that tests the candidate’s breadth and depth in the primary field of research and methodological competence in the relevant discipline before advancing to Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status.

  3. Students should submit a dissertation prospectus before advancing to Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status. The prospectus should comprehensively describe the dissertation project and include sections on the project rationale, key research questions, contribution to the dissertation’s field, literature review, chapter-by-chapter description, a projected timeline, and bibliography.

  4. Pass the University Oral Examination (dissertation defense). General regulations governing the oral examination are found in Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures (GAP 4.7.1). The candidate is examined on questions related to the dissertation after acceptable parts have been completed in draft form.

  5. Following university policy (GAP 4.8.1), submit a dissertation demonstrating the ability to undertake original research based on primary and secondary materials in Japanese.

Qualifying Paper

Japanese Literature and Culture Ph.D. students must complete a Qualifying Paper by week 5 of spring quarter of the second year as part of the Candidacy evaluation process. The Qualifying Paper should be 25-30 pages in length not including bibliography and must demonstrate the ability to develop and carry out an original research project using primary and secondary materials in Japanese. The Qualifying Paper can be an extension of a seminar paper, but its topic should be discussed with the student’s primary advisor prior to writing.

Dissertation Prospectus Defense

The Dissertation Prospectus Defense constitutes the first step toward faculty approval for the student’s proposed dissertation project and should be completed before the student begins to apply for external funding to conduct doctoral research in Japan – typically by Spring quarter of the third year, but sometimes in Spring or Summer quarter of the second year if the student’s research agenda is already well defined by that time. The defense is a two-hour oral exam conducted by the student’s dissertation reading committee (minimum of three faculty members, including the primary advisor). The prospectus, 12-15 pages not including bibliography, must be submitted to committee members at least two weeks prior to the defense.

Comprehensive Exam

The Comprehensive Exam is a two-hour oral exam on Japanese literature with three examiners. The reading list (maximum 150 titles) must be approved by them at least one quarter in advance. The list must include primary texts in Japanese literature as well as core texts in methodology; students may also add a subfield and a fourth examiner if deemed necessary by their primary advisor for their research and credentialing. To pass the exam students must demonstrate competency in literary history and critical issues for the field of Japanese literary studies, selected methodologies, and key issues in any subfield. The Comprehensive Exam must be completed by the end of the fourth year.