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  • ANDREA S. GOLDMAN: Ph.D, University of California, Berkeley, 2005.
    Cultural and social history of early modern and modern China; Urban history; Performance; The Politics of Aesthetics; Gender Studies
    310-825-3368; goldman@history.ucla.edu
  • RICHARD VON GLAHN: Ph.D., Yale University, 1983.
    Social, economic, and cultural history of China, 10th-18th centuries; Popular religion, Urban history, Popular social movements; Comparative economic history; Global economic integration, 1000-1800; World history
    310-825-3087; vonglahn@history.ucla.edu
  • R. BIN WONG: Ph.D., Harvard University, 1983.
    Chinese patterns of political, economic and social change since the eighteenth century; Political Economy; Asian Studies
    310-267-5462; wong@history.ucla.edu


The faculty (Professors Goldman, von Glahn, and Wong) together cover both pre-modern and modern Chinese history from the Song dynasty (10th-13th centuries) to the twentieth century. In addition, students may specialize in thematic subjects: socio-economic history (von Glahn and Wong); socio-cultural and urban history (Goldman), religious culture and society (von Glahn), political economy (Wong), gender history (Goldman). The faculty favors inter-disciplinary approaches to Chinese history, and all cross dynastic and disciplinary boundaries in their research and teaching. Professors Wong and von Glahn also teach in the History Department’s program in World History and emphasize the importance of studying China from comparative and world-historical perspectives.

The study of Chinese history at UCLA is enhanced by the existence of strong programs in Japanese History, European History, Gender History, Economic History, and World History within the History Department, as well as excellent programs in classical and modern Chinese literature, East Asian Buddhism, and Korean history and culture in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. UCLA also has strong programs in a wide range of social science and humanities disciplines, including faculty specializing in China in Anthropology (Yunxiang Yan and Nancy Levine), Geography (Cindy Fan), Sociology (C.K. Lee), Political Science (James Tong), Art History and Archaeology (Hui-shu Lee and Lothar von Falkenhausen), Ethnomusicology (Helen Rees), Theater (Sean Metzger), Urban Planning (Rui Wang), and Law (Alex Wang).

In addition to Centers for Korean and Japanese Studies, UCLA has also a Center for Chinese Studies which enhances collaboration among scholars of Chinese Studies by sponsoring visiting professors, workshops, conferences, and research projects in all areas of Chinese history, society, and culture. It also provides graduate students with fellowships and research assistantships on a competitive basis.


The Department encourages applications from highly qualified candidates in Chinese history. Successful applicants are expected to have excellent undergraduate training as evidenced by GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and, when appropriate, samples of historical research. In addition, applicants who are non-native speakers of Chinese should have a firm start (at least three and preferably four years) in the Chinese language. 

Requirements for the Doctorate in Chinese History


For the M.A. degree, a minimum of three years of Chinese; for the Ph.D., a high degree of proficiency in Chinese, and, normally, at least one quarter of third-year Japanese. In certain cases, reading knowledge of another foreign language may also be required.Students in the Chinese history field must have a minimum of three years of Chinese. Ordinarily, the Chinese language requirement is fulfilled by successful completion of a History 282A-B research seminar.

Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. in the Chinese field requires the completion of a research seminar in the major field. You are advised that successful completion of this seminar requires the equivalent of at least four years of superior college-level language work in Chinese. A minimum of three years of Chinese; for the Ph.D., a high degree of proficiency in Chinese, and, normally, at least one quarter of third-year Japanese. The Japanese requirement can be fulfilled by successful completion of Japanese 100A or its equivalent. In certain cases, reading knowledge of another foreign language may also be required. Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. in the Chinese field requires the completion of a research seminar in the major field. Successful completion of this seminar requires the equivalent of at least four years of superior college-level language work in Chinese. In cases where the field deems it appropriate, coursework or alternate languages may be used to fulfill the language requirements, subject to the approval of the field coordinator and faculty adviser.


Students are expected to complete their degrees within seven years. This means completing the M.A. by the end of the second year, taking Ph.D. qualifying examinations by the end of their fourth year, and spending no more than three years researching and writing their dissertations.

The M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Chinese history are based on two tiers of graduate seminars:

1) Reading seminars (History 201L) that cover important secondary studies in English and raise significant historiographic issues in Chinese history. Recent seminars have stressed late imperial socio-economic history, urban culture in the late imperial and modern eras, religious culture in imperial China, the formative era of East Asia, and gender in late imperial and modern Chinese history.

2) Writing seminars (History 282A-B) in which students prepare a significant, publishable research paper based on primary sources in Chinese and other languages and informed by secondary readings. It is hoped that a student’s writing seminar paper will eventually become a part of his/her dissertation project. Participation in more than one writing seminar series under more than one instructor is encouraged.

For completion of the M.A. degree, the History Department requires a minimum of nine upper division and graduate courses in history, at least six of which must be graduate courses (200 series). Only one 500 series course (either 596 or 597) may be applied toward both the total course requirement and the minimum six graduate courses requirement. Courses in the 300 (teaching practicum) series are not applicable toward course requirements.

In order to qualify for Ph.D. candidacy, a student must complete two research seminars (History 282A-B), which can include courses applied toward fulfillment of the M.A. degree requirements. Faculty serving on doctoral committees may require such courses as they deem necessary for preparation for qualifying examinations.

All students must write a dissertation prospectus (which could be written for credit as History 596 or 597) expected to contain: (a) a full statement of the dissertation topic; (b) a historiographical discussion of the literature bearing on the topic; (c) a statement of the methodology to be employed; and (d) a survey of the sources sufficient to demonstrate the viability of the topic. The prospectus must be approved by the dissertation adviser prior to the oral part of the qualifying examinations. After approval, copies will be given to each member of the examining committee.

For the Ph.D., it is expected that extensive field research will be carried out in China, Taiwan, and/or Japan in addition to making use of resources available at the UCLA East Asian Library and other US collections (Hoover Library at Stanford, UC Berkeley East Asian Library, etc.).

Doctoral Written and Oral Examinations

Before admission to candidacy, you must pass written and oral examinations. Students with outstanding incompletes may not be permitted to sit for these exams.

  • Written Examinations

In the written qualifying examinations, you are to be examined in three fields, one of which may be an approved field in anthropology, economics, geography, language and literature, philosophy, political science, sociology, or other allied subjects. You are expected to show not only a mastery of your special subject, but also an adequate grasp of the wider field of knowledge and an ability to correlate historical data and to explain their significance. These examinations are designed to test not merely factual knowledge, but also your power of historical analysis and synthesis, critical ability, and capacity for reflective thinking. A knowledge of the history of any area includes a reasonable knowledge of its historiography and bibliography; of its geography; and of its political, cultural, economic, and other historical aspects. The allied field must be comparable in size and scope to the history fields listed above. You should select the fields in consultation with your faculty adviser and must receive the Department's approval of all three fields not less than three months before the written qualifying examination is taken. The written qualifying examination is not to exceed four (4) hours and must be turned in to the Graduate Adviser's Office no later than 5:00 pm of the day of the examination.

  • Oral Examination

The oral examination is based on the dissertation prospectus, and is scheduled once the three written examinations have been successfully completed. A full-time graduate student must begin the written qualifying examinations not later than the end of the ninth quarter of graduate work (see outline of time-to-degree under Coursework above).

The written qualifying examination must be passed before the oral qualifying examination can be taken. The members of the doctoral committee determine whether or not an examination may be repeated (normally only once), based on their prognosis of your potential for successfully completing both the written and oral examinations within a specified period of time to be designated by the doctoral committee, but not to exceed one calendar year. You will find more information on how to form your doctoral committee on the Graduate Intranet.