This area trains graduate students to produce original research on Chinese philosophical and religious thought. It also provides you with the skills and knowledge necessary to teach effectively about the religious traditions of East Asia. Students in this area learn to interpret the texts of early China in light of the various disciplines involved in the comparative study of religion, including philosophy, history, philology, and anthropology. While you will gain a broad knowledge of Chinese texts, the current focus of this area is the early period of Confucianism (roughly the 6th century BCE through the 3rd century CE). However, concentrating on another time period is possible, depending on your previous student training.
Special admissions requirements
To apply, you should have, or be finishing, a master's degree in a relevant field. In addition, you must have studied classical Chinese through the intermediate level and have acquired an elementary proficiency in modern Chinese (Mandarin).
Sample exam structure
The qualifying examination is designed to certify that you have attained a sufficient level of knowledge to eventually teach courses on not only Chinese Thought, but also on the methodologies of Religious Studies, and on the religious traditions of East Asia. As such, you are required to complete four written exams as well as a subsequent oral exam.
Typically these exams are structured around the following four areas:
- History and methods of the study of religion:
This exam will be developed from a standard bibliography plus additions determined by you and members of our faculty.
- Chinese thought:
In consultation with our core faculty, you will create a bibliography related to your planned dissertation.
- The religions of East Asia:
This exam will be developed from a core bibliography plus additions determined through consultation between you and members of our faculty.
- The minor area:
The department sponsoring the minor will develop this exam.