Cultural Studies in Asia Phd Programme Requirements

Cultural Studies in Asia is a field of teaching and research which challenges conventional disciplinary boundaries to rethink received knowledge on existing issues and to address emergent concerns thrown up by the rapid changes and impact on cultural practices, brought on by new technologies and the new phase of global capitalism. Adopting a multidisciplinary methodology, the Programme will provide teaching and research skills in the analysis of the flows and exchanges of popular cultural practices in contemporary Asia, across fluid and porous national and cultural boundaries.


The aims of this graduate programme are to (1) promote specialist and expert study and research of contemporary cultural practices in Asia, and (2) provide the necessary intellectual training that equips individuals for a variety of careers in the creative industry, in both the private and public sectors.

Please visit the Cultural Studies in Asia blog site for updates on the programme. Please click on image on the right to download the programme brochure.

Duration of Candidature

Research candidates pursuing full-time studies are expected to commit themselves to at least 40 hours per week of study. The University does not encourage full-time students from taking up employment during term time that might interfere with their studies. Foreign students pursuing studies on a Student's Pass must pursue their studies on a full-time basis.

The maximum period of candidature for a doctoral candidate is 60 months from the date of the registration. The maximum period of candidature is inclusive of periods of approved study leave, but may exclude periods of approved leave of absence, subject to Faculty approval. It is inclusive of any period of preparatory study that may be required by the Department where the candidate is pursuing his/her studies.

Residency Requirements

Candidates must spend a period of residence in Singapore for a minimum of 18 months for the PhD degree during their candidature. Period of study leave and overseas fieldwork do not count towards residency.

Please note that candidates who are awarded NUS scholarships must reside in Singapore throughout the duration of the scholarship award.

Termination of Candidature

The candidature of a student can be terminated when:

  • performance in coursework and/or research is unsatisfactory; or
  • a disciplinary case is brought before the Board of Discipline.

Students whose candidature are terminated from the University after Instructional Week 2 of the semester will be liable to pay fees for the entire semester. Please refer to this website for information on the fees payable upon termination of candidature.

Curricular Requirements

Candidates admitted must pursue in the University a course of advanced study comprising no fewer than 8 modules and research approved by the Faculty under the supervision of one or more academic staff of the Faculty.

Three core modules are compulsory for all candidates, so as to provide a common grounding in the field. All elective modules will be drawn from existing relevant postgraduate modules on offer from the different departments in FASS. In addition, one special topic module will be conducted each academic year by a visiting scholar. For a complete listing of modules applicable to the programme, please click here.

For PhD students, at least 50% of the total MC requirements must be at level 6000. Up to 25% of the total MC requirements may be at level 4000. The remaining MCs must be at level 5000 or 6000.

PhD Qualifying Examinations (QE)

All PhD candidates are required to pass the Qualifying Examination (QE) within the first two years of their candidature. They must satisfy the conditions set by the Faculty before proceeding to the PhD QE which comprises:

  • Comprehensive Examinations (CEs) as determined by the Programme
  • An oral defence of the PhD thesis propsoal (for which a 30- to 50-page thesis proposal is expected)
  • Additional Programme requirements, where applicable

Thesis and Oral Examinations

Other than completing the required coursework and Qualifying Examination, a candidate is also required to complete and submit a thesis for examination within the maximum period of his/her candidature after completing the course of advance study and research.

A thesis should not exceed 80,000 words (including footnotes but excluding appendices, bibliography, maps, charts, statistical tables, graphs, illustrations, etc.). All theses must be written in English.

Continual Requirements

A candidate’s Cumulative Average Point (CAP) should not fall below 3.00 for two consecutive semesters or 3.50 for three consecutive semesters.

Termination of candidature will result if a student fails to maintain the minimum Cumulative Average Point (CAP) as stipulated. For any semester in which a candidate’s Cumulative Average Point (CAP) falls below that required for graduation (3.50 for a doctoral degree), he/she will be issued a warning. If, in the following semester, the candidate’s Cumulative Average Point (CAP) again falls below the graduation requirement, but not sufficiently to warrant immediate termination, he/she will be placed on probation.

A candidate may also be issued a warning or placed on probation for poor performance on the Qualifying Examination, research thesis or other programme requirements.

Graduation Requirements

  • Obtain a minimum Cumulative Average Point (CAP) of 3.50 for the required modules;
  • Must not fail more than two modules;
  • Where applicable, obtain satisfactory grades (at least grade C) in the graduate English modules conducted by the Centre for English Language Communication at advanced level, with the exception of students from the Department of Chinese Studies who are required to achieve an intermediate level of proficiency;
  • Pass Qualifying Examination;
  • Pass PhD thesis; and
  • Pass Oral Examination.

A candidate will be recommended for award of degree once he/she has met the requirements stated above. A candidate may read more than the minimum necessary modules (comprising all required modules within the curricular requirements and in the subject/related disciplines). Generally, only the grades for the minimum necessary modules shall be considered in assessing whether the student has met the degree requirement.

Award of Degree

A candidate may be recommended for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy if he/she has paid all fees prescribed and met the following requirements at the end of the course:

  • Obtained a minimum Cumulative Average Point of 3.50 for the required modules;
  • Must not have failed more than two modules;
  • Passed the Doctor of Philosophy Qualifying Examination;
  • Passed the Doctor of Philosophy thesis; and
  • Passed the Oral Examination

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