If you wish to read for a doctorate in any field of the humanities related to early and imperial Chinese society, you may apply to Oxford via one of two routes. If you have good Classical and Modern Chinese and no Master’s degree you should apply for the MSt in Chinese. If you already have a Master’s degree in a closely related field and can read Modern and Classical Chinese at an advanced level you may apply for the Doctor of Philosophy in Oriental Studies course. You are then applying for Probationer Research Student (PRS) status. The PRS counts as the first year of the D.Phil. but students have to fulfill the requirements described below by the end of their first year in order to transfer to D.Phil. status. You can also apply for PRS status if you have the necessary language skills and funding tied to a doctoral course.
If you wish to read for a doctorate in Modern Chinese Literature or Chinese Cultural Studies you should apply for either the MSt Oriental Studies (Chinese) or the Doctor of Philosophy in Oriental Studies/PRS status. As set out above, only those who already have a Master’s degree in a closely related field or have the necessary skills and funding tied to a doctoral course may apply for PRS status.
Course of Study
For the PRS, the first year of graduate study in the Oriental Studies Faculty is regarded as a qualifying period and students are required to attend courses on topics such as research methods in Chinese Studies, Classical Chinese reading, Japanese and other subjects, as specified by their supervisor. These will usually be taken together with the MSt students. Before the end of the third term the PRS will normally seek transfer to D.Phil status and will be required to submit a piece of formal written work relevant to the field of their research of between 5,000 and 10,000 words in length and an outline of the proposed subject of the thesis. He/she will also be interviewed by two assessors. On the basis of the results of this assessment, the Faculty Board will decide whether the student should be accepted for admission to D.Phil. status. The MSt student seeking admission to D.Phil status will, in addition to having passed their Master’s at the end of the third term, be expected to submit an outline of their thesis and attend an interview by two assessors.
For further information see the M.St. in Chinese Studies page.
Subsequent to the transfer to D.Phil. status and no later than the ninth term after admission to PRS status (or the MSt), students will present part of their doctoral dissertation to two readers, normally experts in the field at Oxford or beyond. Upon a positive evaluation of their work, students receive confirmation of status and will work towards the completion of their dissertation.
For further detailed information on the course and the student-supervisor relationship, see the Graduate Students’ Handbook.
Application Procedures and Funding
For further information and links to online graduate admissions, department and college funding, visit the Faculty’s general admissions page.