Programme Description


The Comparative Asian Studies (CAS) PhD is a research-based, interdisciplinary degree programme designed to provide graduate students with a competitive and comprehensive training in the study of Asia.


The CAS PhD programme offers an intensive course of study that promotes a trans-regional understanding of Asia.  Students will be exposed to ideas designed to shift attention beyond the conceptual boundaries of area-studies scholarship towards the dynamics and processes that connect the region’s vast peoples, cultures, and worldviews.


Qualified candidates will have training in at least two geographical/cultural areas (South, East, Southeast, Northeast, West Asia) enabling them to explore the varying methods, debates, and issues that have shaped those respective fields comparatively. Every candidate will also be exposed to scholarship and conversations drawn from Inter-Asia Studies that highlight the interconnectedness within the broader Asia region.


Participating faculty members, located in our area-studies departments and disciplinary-based departments, represent one of the largest concentrations of Asia-focused scholars in the world.  FASS’s research clusters bring together graduate students and faculty regularly to explore topics in (but not limited to): comparative religions, transnational flows, and global histories.  Taken together with the CAS PhD programme’s innovative curriculum, participating candidates have the opportunity to not only engage with leading specialists of Asian Studies, they also contribute to the process of producing knowledge about Asia from within the region.


The CAS PhD programme welcomes students who have a deep commitment to transnational research and who are curious about places, peoples, and processes in the region that do not fit easily within the conventional approaches to the study of Asia.



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