PhD Program Timeline

PhD Program Timeline

Years One and Two


Students complete the required coursework worth 4.0 FCEs. As the majority of graduate level courses are worth 0.5 FCE, this generally equates to 8 graduate level courses. At least 2FCEs must be courses offered in East Asian Studies.

An average grade of A- must be maintained in order to remain in good academic standing.

Students should choose their courses in consultation with their Supervisor. Some students may not have decided upon a final Supervisor during the first year, in which case they should choose their courses in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator.

Language preparation

At the beginning of their program students should discuss their linguistic abilities with their supervisors in order to decide what further language study (if any) is required for their future research. Students must pass a language proficiency exam (or its equivalent) in at least one language (other than English) relevant to the student’s dissertation research before they can be admitted to candidacy.

Supervisory committee

By the end of the fall session in year two students should have constituted their supervisory committee in preparation for the Comprehensive Examination. The supervisory committee is comprised of three graduate faculty of which at least two are members of East Asian Studies (some exceptions may be allowed in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator).

Year Three

The Comprehensive Examination

Students must successfully pass their Comprehensive Examination by the end of November of their third year. For more details on the Comprehensive Examination see here.

Dissertation Prospectus

Students must successfully submit their dissertation prospectus within one to three months of successfully passing their Comprehensive Examination, and by the end of their third year at the very latest. At this point they will be formally admitted to candidacy. For more details on the dissertation prospectus see here.

Years Four to Six

The Dissertation

Students will work on their dissertations in close consultation with their Dissertation Supervisory Committee. This committee is often the same as the Comprehensive Examination Committee but does not have to be.

Students must meet with all members of their Supervisory Committee at least once a year until graduation and submit the completed Supervisory Committee Meeting Form to the East Asian Studies office. The Supervisory Committee Meeting Form is available on our forms page.

The Final Oral Examination

When the Supervisory Committee deems the dissertation worthy of defense, the student will, with the help of the Supervisor, arrange for the Final Oral Examination.

The Final Oral Examination must follow SGS rules. See here for more details.
It is important to remember that an external appraiser must be recruited and must receive the final version of the dissertation at least six weeks prior to the date of the examination.

In order to avoid paying tuition fees for the following year, the revised and final dissertation must be submitted to SGS by early September (exact date available on SGS website each year).

Teaching Assistant Work

All doctoral students will be provided with Teaching Assistant positions from the beginning of their programs. The department will provide appropriate training workshops and will endeavor to provide students with a range of Teaching Assistant positions in order to better prepare them for entering the job market.

In addition, before final graduation the department will, resources permitting, try to provide each student with an opportunity to teach their own course as instructor (most likely during the summer session). This would be towards the end of the program.
For full information on Teaching Assistant obligations, students should refer to their incoming letter of offer.

For more information and resources on working as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Toronto see here.