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Papers and Dissertation

*The 1-Year MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (East Asian Studies) will be rescinded from 1 October 2016*

Description of Papers

Paper 1 – (EA.1) Asia in Theory

This course consists of weekly seminars in Michaelmas and Lent Terms, each of which focuses on a particular type of theory and its relevance to the study of East Asia. Topics covered include Michel Foucault, the nation, gender, modernity, and recent developments in historiography.

This Paper will be assessed by a paper of 5,000 words due at the beginning of Easter Term.

Choosing Papers 2 & 3

A choice of several options will be offered, out of which students choose two; some of them are existing courses available for students taking either the Chinese option of the MPhil or Part II of the Oriental Studies Tripos. The precise range of options will vary from year to year. Please note that no option will be offered if fewer than two students choose to take it. These options will be assessed either by means of a three-hour examination in June or by an alternative exercise (for example, a 5,000 word essay). In 2014-2015, the following options are expected to be available:

  • (K.1) Elementary Korean (Dr Michael Shin)
  • (EA.2) Chinese Anthropology (Dr Adam Chau)
  • (EA.3) The Cold War in East Asia (Dr John Swenson Wright, Dr. Barak Kushner)
  • (EA.4) Japanese Imperialism in Korea (Dr Michael Shin)
  • (POLIS) Chinese Politics (Dr Kun-Chin Lin)


In their dissertation, students will be required to demonstrate research competence in one or more of the languages of Northeast Asia (Chinese, Japanese or Korean) and to conduct research that addresses contemporary and/or historical issues normally of relevance to two or more of the countries of East Asia (incorporating both Northeast and Southeast Asia). Students are required to submit a plan of their dissertation by the beginning of the Easter Term.


The East Asian Studies course follows the existing Asian and Middle Eastern Studies MPhil rubric as set out in the general Graduate Handbook accessible to all graduate students in the Faculty:

  • three written papers on subjects approved by the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, which shall fall within one of the fields specified in the Schedule to these regulations; provided that, with the approval of the Degree Committee, a candidate may offer, in place of one or more of those papers, the same number of essays, each of not more than 5,000 words, or equivalent alternative exercises approved by the Degree Committee;
  • a thesis of not more than 15,000 words, including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography, on a subject approved by the Degree Committee. 
(Submission date 14th August, 2015)

The two parts are of equal weight and shall each count for 50% of the final mark.

For more information, please consult the Graduate Handbook.