Admissions Process

All applicants are required to apply through the Division of Humanities online application. Paper applications are not accepted.

All application materials must be submitted to the Division of the Humanities via the address provided on the application website.

Materials sent directly to the department will not be accepted.

Applications are considered in early winter. Applicants will be notified of their status by the Humanities Admissions office in March.


  • A sample of current scholarly writing in English, related to your proposed area of study in East Asian Languages & Civilizations.  Writing samples should be at least 10 pages, but samples of 30 pages or more are not likely to be read in their entirety.
  • All applicants for whom English is not a primary language may be required to submit current scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Current scores are no more than two years old at the time of application submission. A complete description of the English proficiency policy may be found on the UChicago GRAD page on Proof of English Proficiency. Questions about the English proficiency requirement should be directed to
  • Refer to the Division of the Humanities for any additional admissions requirements.

Areas of Study

The admissions form will allow you to choose from 6 areas of study. We understand that many of our applicants have cross-area interests. Please choose the area you consider your primary field of interest.

  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Early China (up to 2nd c.)
  • Middle Period China (7th through 13th c.)
  • Early Modern China (Yuan, Ming, Qing)
  • Modern China (late 19th - 21st c.)

International Students

Further information about resources available to international students can be found on the Division's page on International Student Resources.

Admissions Decisions

All admissions decisions will be released through the online application in mid-February. No decisions will be given by phone or email. Unless you are contacted by the department, please direct all questions about your application directly to the

Funding and Aid

Students admitted to doctoral study in Summer 2020 and after will be guaranteed to have funding support from the University of Chicago, external sources, or a combination of the two for the duration of their program.  This includes full tuition coverage, annual stipends, and fully paid individual annual premiums for UChicago’s student health insurance. Funding is contingent on remaining in good academic standing and making progress towards completing degree requirements.

Pedagogical training is a vital component of the educational experience at the University. Pedagogical training plans vary by department but are inclusive of the expectation that students will receive mentorship as course assistants and have the opportunity to teach their own stand-alone course.


Can you send me printed material on your program?

All of the material on our program is contained on our website. We no longer print brochures on the program. If you have additional questions about the program, we're happy to answer them through email and on the phone. Please contact the department at or 773-702-1255.

Do you require GRE scores?


What are your English proficiency requirements and how do I fulfill them?

If you are a native of or studied in full-time status for at least one academic year within the last five years in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or an English medium university in Canada or South Africa, you are considered to have fulfilled the English proficiency requirement. Having studied in English in other countries — for example, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore — would not make you exempt from the English language requirement.

If you have not fulfilled the requirement by the means noted above, you must take the TOEFL or IELTS exam. In order to be issued a visa, you must score at least 104 overall, with sub scores of 26 each, on the internet-based TOEFL, or at least 600, with sub scores of 60 or better, on the paper-based TOEFL. The TOEFL is valid for two years. If you take the IELTS, you must take the Academic Reading/Writing test and score at least 7 overall with no sub score lower than 7.

What is your language requirement for entering students?

Although there is no formal requirement for entering students, accepted applicants have a strong background in at least one East Asian language. While students may spend some time perfecting their language skills during the first two years of coursework, students will be expected to conduct research using sources in the original language of their primary field.

I've looked through your webpages and it doesn't look like you have faculty in my area. Can I study economics/history/ etc.?

All of our faculty are listed. We are primarily a literature and language department with cross-disciplinary interests in art history, history, cinema, cultural and religious studies. Attaining a match with faculty interest is crucial in your ability to complete a PhD. Students with interest in business or economics should consider applying to programs in their respective field. Students with cross-disciplinary interests should consider the methodology they plan to follow in their research when choosing departments for applications.

What is your average time to degree?

Our students average 8 years from entry to completion of their degree. This varies widely based on the experience and and research plans of the candidate. Prospective students should assume a minimum of 6-7 years to complete their degree.

I applied last year, can I reactiveate my application?

Applicants to our PhD programs may no longer reactivate an application in a subsequent year, but must complete a new application, and send in new copies of supplemental materials.

Do you offer an M.A.?

The department does not have a terminal Master's degree program. Although the department does offer M.A.s, they are in conjunction with the pursuit of a Ph.D. degree. Students interested in a terminal M.A. degree should contact the University of Chicago Master of Arts Program in the Humanities or the Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences.

I have a Masters Degree from another university. Can I transfer credit from that degree towards your Ph.D. requirements?

We require all students, regardless of degrees already held, to take two years of coursework, write a directed translation and a Master's thesis as part of the process toward admission to Ph.D. candidacy. Students who enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. degree from another university may petition the Director of Graduate Studies to accept certain courses and/or their master's thesis from their previous institution toward fulfillment of their M.A. requirements here. This should be done as early as possible after matriculation.