Traditional East Asia MPhil

Portrait of Admiral Kang Mincheom in the early Goryeo dynasty. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The MPhil examines the Sinitic tradition and its adaptations in Korea and Japan. It will appeal to students wishing to develop an intimate knowledge of the region for academic purposes or as preparation for careers in museology, libraries, journalism, diplomacy, international banking, business, law, government service, secondary education or non-governmental organisations.

First year

In the first year, you will prepare a 2,000-word essay every two weeks.

You should have some proficiency in an East Asian language (Chinese, Korean or Japanese). A three-hour qualifying examination in a modern language is held at the end of the third term. If your proficiency in your main language is not up to academic standards you will prepare for the examination in that language. If on arrival your proficiency is up to academic standards you will choose a different modern East Asian language for research purposes and prepare for the examination in the selected language.

You will be required to follow a general course in Classical Chinese, Classical Japanese or Middle Korean for another three-hour qualifying examination at the end of the third term. Instruction may take the form of lectures and/or text classes. You will prepare and present English translations in text classes. Depending on your ability you may be permitted to follow more than one classical language, but must choose only one for your qualifying examination.

You will attend general overview graduate seminars, for which you receive a reading list and write four 2,000-word essays per term. Students meet together every two weeks in a 90-minute seminar to present the gist of their essays. The qualifying examination for the general overview consists of an assessment of your three best essays from the twelve prepared over the year.

Second year

In the second year, you will spend a good portion of your time researching and writing your dissertations.

There are no modern language requirements in the second year, but you may opt to monitor or audit any of the first year classes in a modern language that you were unable to study.

The classical language requirement consists of reading prescribed texts in Classical Chinese or Classical Japanese or Middle Korean. Texts are chosen in consultation with one of the Course Coordinators and drawn from canonical literature in the areas of history, literature, and philosophy. The final examination is a three-hour written examination at the end of the second year. You have eight one-hour classes spread over three terms.

For the Bibliography and Methodology requirement, you will choose a country specialisation (China, Japan or Korea) and prepare answers to a series of exercises requiring you to find specific and general information in the classical bibliography of one of the three countries. You have eight one-hour classes spread over three terms.

You will also prepare a thesis of up between 20,000 and 30,000 words, using information gathered through at least one East Asian language. You will present your interim research results at one public colloquium held at the end of the fifth term. The dissertation is due during the sixth term.

At the end of the sixth term, you will sit examinations in classical language and in bibliography and methodology.

Graduate destinations

Oriental Studies graduates have found employment in many and diverse fields including museology, libraries, journalism, diplomacy, but also international banking, business, law, government service, secondary education and non-governmental organisations.

For further information please refer to the Course Handbook.

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