Doctoral Studies in Premodern Japanese History
at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles

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The Project for Premodern Japan Studies at USC is pleased to issue this call for applicants to the Doctoral Program in Japanese History at USC, where a distinguished faculty of Japan and East Asian specialists provides superb interdisciplinary training for those wanting to specialize in the history of premodern Japan, in the broad context of East Asian history and humanities. This year’s deadline for applications is December 3, 2018.

Graduate students in Premodern Japan Studies at USC benefit from the wide range of historical and East Asian coursework available on the USC campus, and they also have access to classes and library resources of the University of California Los Angeles. On occasion, there are also joint courses with nearby institutions—last spring, for example, there was an inter-campus graduate seminar in Tokugawa historiography.

The Visitors’ Program of the Project for Premodern Japan Studies (PPJS), as well as that of the USC Center for Japanese Religion and Culture (CJRC) and the East Asian Studies Center (EASC), present a rich calendar of events, conferences, and workshops that bring specialists from all over the world to campus, often for multiday visits. This year’s PPJS Visitors’ Series will include the annual USC-Meiji University Faculty and Graduate Student Research Exchange, now in its eleventh year. The Exchange brings together faculty and graduate students from the two institutions, with visitors from the LA metropolitan region, for bilingual discussions of ongoing research.

In terms of research opportunities, the USC East Asian Library has developed one of the best collections for classical and medieval materials in the United States. Graduate students at USC also benefit from ongoing thematic research groups, including those focused on East Asian Law, Medieval Estates and the Economy, and the Ôbe Estate Research Group. PPJS and EASC Research Associates are members of these groups and often serve as mentors for graduate students. Annual summer Kambun Workshops are co-led by faculty from USC and Japan. During these intensive month-long sessions, for which the instruction time is equal to that of a full academic year, participants learn to read historical sources written in Sino-Japanese (kambun). The workshops are conducted in Japanese, preparing members for participation in research seminars in Japan. Results of the workshops—annotated translations in digital and print form—serve as teaching materials and references for a worldwide audience, and publications from the workshops provide graduate students with early opportunities for publication.

Graduate students in premodern Japanese history at USC have good access to funding for research in Japan at all stages. The usual Graduate Funding Package in the History Department supports five years of training, including three years of experience as a Teaching Assistant. Students frequently obtain additional years of support in the form of FLAS, Fulbright, Japan Foundation, and other external and internal fellowships. Meanwhile, our active collaborative programs with the University of Tokyo Historiographical Institute, Meiji University, and the newly established Kyoto Institute (Kyoto University with the Kyoto Prefectural Library and Archives) provide numerous opportunities for making contact with peers and mentors beyond USC, in Japan and around the world. USC is also a member of the consortium that operates the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, and we encourage students needing advanced language training to attend their programs. PPJS and USC provide generous travel funding for graduate students to participate in conferences around the world.

Five doctoral students have completed their degrees in recent years. Three are now in tenure-track posts; two are a postdoctoral fellows, one of whom has submitted a completed book manuscript to press. More details about them and their work can be found on the USC History Department Graduate Studies website. For more information on applying to the History Department’s Graduate Program, contract Prof. Joan R. Piggott, Director of the Project for Premodern Japan Studies through our site’s contact form above.

East Asian Studies Master of Arts at USC

Those wishing to begin professional training at the Master’s level, to work on post-baccalaureate language and disciplinary studies, should apply to the East Asian Area Studies Master of Arts Program, which is administered by the East Asian Studies Center at USC. It is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide advanced academic background on East Asia. Candidates are able to design a program of study based on individual scholarly and professional goals, concentrating on one country (China, Japan, or Korea) or developing region-wide expertise. For more information on the admission requirements for the East Asian Area Studies MA Program, click here.

Applications are accepted for the fall semester only. All applicants must apply through the USC online application system. Timely submission of required test scores and supporting documents by the application deadline in early January is necessary for your application to be considered complete. Only after you submit your application will it be available for review by our Admissions Committee.

How to Apply

Degree Requirements

Learning Objectives

Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact EASC at easc@usc.eduf if you have any questions regarding the EAAS MA program.

Faculty in East Asian Historical and Humanistic Studies at USC

David Bialock, Premodern Japanese Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures Department

Bettine Birge, Premodern Chinese History, East Asian Languages and Cultures Department/History Department

Rebecca Corbett, Early Modern Japanese History & Culture, Japan Studies Librarian in the Doheny East Asian Library

Josh Goldstein, Modern Chinese History, History Department

Kyung Moon Hwang, Korean History, History Department

Rongdao Lai, Chinese Buddhism, East Asian Languages and Cultures Department

Sonya Lee, Premodern Chinese & Buddhist Art, Art History Department

Lori Meeks, Japanese Buddhism, School of Religion

Joan Piggott, Premodern Japanese History, History Department

Brett Sheehan, Modern Chinese History, History Department

Satoko Shimazaki, Early Modern Japanese Theater/Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures Department

Ben Uchiyama, Modern Japanese History, History Department

Jason Webb, Classical Japanese Literature/Comparative Literature, Comparative Literatures Department

Duncan Williams, Japanese Religions, Buddhism, School of Religion

Kerim Yasar, Modern Japanese Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures Department