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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD) in Japanese and Korean Studies

Overview

The Department is able to supervise MPhil and PhD degrees by research and thesis in a wide range of cultural and linguistic subjects. Intending research students should not feel constrained to limit their choice of topics to those indicated against the names of current staff members (postgraduate students have recently been working on a range of topics that include Japanese cinema, Kabuki texts, modern Japanese linguistics and literature, Meiji historical texts, Korean linguistics and literature, Korean colonial and eighteenth century history). Research undertaken at MPhil and PhD level is based on literary, documentary, and archive material available at SOAS and also gathered during fieldwork in Japan and Korea.

Academic Staff and their Research Areas

Dr Stephen H Dodd BA (Oxon) MA PhD (Columbia)
Admissions Tutor – Japanese
Modern Japanese literature, with particular interest in representations of the native place (furusato), gender/sexuality and modernity

Professor Andrew Gerstle BA (Columbia) MA (Waseda) PhD (Harvard)
Japanese literature, drama and thought, primarily of the Tokugawa period, with particular interest in Bunraku and Kabuki theatre and the plays of Chikamatsu

Dr Anders Karlsson MA PhD (Stockholm)
Postgraduate Tutor / Admissions Tutor – Korean 
Korean language; literature and society; history of 19th century Korea

Ms Misako Kanehisa BED (Ehime) MA (Leeds)
Lector in Japanese

Ms Miwako Kashiwagi BA (Osaka) MA (Indiana)
Lector in Japanese

Dr Griseldis Kirsch MA PhD (Trier)
Lecturer in Contemporary Japanese Culture
Contemporary Japanese culture, with particular interest in Japanese visual media and popular culture

Dr Mika Kizu BA (Nazan) MA (California) PhD (McGill)
Theoretical linguistics; Syntax; Japanese linguistics; Second Language Acquisition

Dr Grace Koh BA (American Univ. Paris) MST, DPhil (Oxford)
Korean and East Asian literary traditions (prose and fiction); literary and intellectual history; travel literature and cultural encounters; critical theory and comparative literature

Ms Kyung Eun Lee BA (Dongduk) MA (Ewha)
Lector in Korean

Dr Owen Miller BA MA PhD (London)
Social and economic history of late 19th and early 20th century Korea; urban history; Korean nationalist and Marxist historiographies; economic history of North Korea

Dr Barbara Pizziconi BA (Rome) MA (Tokyo Univ. Foreign Languages) PhD (Naples)
Japanese applied linguistics; language teaching methodology; second language acquisition with emphasis on pragmatic aspects; linguistic politeness

Dr Isolde Standish BA (Ballarat) BA, PhD (London)
Reader in Film and Media Studies 
Japanese and Korean cinema

Professor Jae Hoon Yeon BA MA (Seoul) PhD (London)
Head of Department
Korean language and linguistics, especially morphosyntax and linguistic typology; structure and history of Korean language; Korean language teaching and translation; modern Korean literature

Structure

All students register in year 1 of the programme as MPhil students. The upgrade from MPhil to PhD takes place at the end of the first academic session for full time students (or at the end of the second academic session for part time students).

All new MPhil/PhD students are provided with a supervisory committee of three members, comprising a main or primary supervisor, and a second and third supervisor. The split in time commitment across the supervisory committee is 60:25:15. In the first year students are expected to meet their main supervisor on a bi-weekly basis for a period of at least one hour.

The student’s primary supervisor is always a member of the Department in which the student is registered. The second and third supervisors, who act in a supplementary advisory capacity, may be from the same Department, or other Departments/Centres in the Faculty of Languages and Cultures or in Departments/Centres in the other Faculties of the School.

Depending on the nature of the research, joint supervision is sometimes recommended, under the direction of two primary supervisors. In such cases the student has only one further supervisor on their committee.

The student’s progress is further overseen by a Departmental Research Tutor.

In the first year, students prepare for research by following a research training seminar series (RTS) convened at the Faculty level by the Associate Dean for Research and supported by the generic training on offer in the Academic Development Directorate (ADD). See http://www.soas.ac.uk/add/

Students working in the fields of literature and cultural studies are also invited to participate in the additional training offered in the Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS). See http://www.soas.ac.uk/cclps/degrees/phd/

Students may also be encouraged by supervisors to attend additional taught courses relevant to their research and to their training needs. These may include specialist disciplinary, language or regional culture courses or research training in other Departments outside the Faculty.

Year 1 full time students (year 2 for part time students)  are required to submit a core chapter and research proposal (of about 10,000 words) by Friday 10th May 2013, typically including the following elements:

1. Research rationale and context of proposed research
2. Main research questions
3. Literature review
4. Theoretical and methodological framework and considerations
5. Proposed research methods
6. Ethical issues (where applicable)
7. Outlining structure of PhD dissertation
8. Schedule of research and writing
9. Bibliography.

Adjustments to one or more of these sections, including additions or deletions where appropriate, are possible by prior arrangement between the students and lead supervisors.

The upgrade process from MPhil to PhD status is based upon an assessment of the core chapter by the student’s research committee, and upon on a 20-30 minute oral presentation, followed by a discussion. The oral presentation is given to Departmental staff and research students.The three supervisors meet separately to discuss the outcome of the upgrade and to inform the student. On successful completion of the extended proposal, students are formally upgraded to PhD and proceed to the second year. (If the assessors consider there to be shortcomings in the upgrade proposal, students will be asked to revise it to their satisfaction before the upgrade to PhD status can be confirmed.) Students are not normally permitted to proceed to the second year until the upgrade process has been completed.

The second year (or part time equivalent) is normally spent engaged in research. This may be by any combination of fieldwork and research in libraries and material collection as agreed between the student and the supervisor(s).

The third year (or part time equivalent) is devoted to writing up research for the PhD thesis. During this time, students will normally give a presentation in a research seminar organised by the Departmental Research Tutor, comprising a select number of staff members with special expertise in the topic and other research students. During the third year (or part time equivalent) students will present draft chapters to their main supervisor for comment, before completing a final draft of the thesis. Once a full draft is complete, the work is assessed by all members of the supervisory committee and the student can either submit the thesis or move on to Continuation Status to be given a further 12 months to complete the thesis and submit for examination. The thesis must be completed within 48 months from the time of registration (or part time equivalent).

The thesis – not to exceed 100,000 words in length - is examined by two leading authorities in the field, one of whom is internal to the University of London and one of whom is external to the University.

PhD Degrees are awarded by SOAS from registration in 2013 and are subject to SOAS regulations.

A Student's Perspective

The best thing about my time here is that there has been a huge improvement in my language skills and I have become more aware of people from various backgrounds. 

Alice Yuen