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Graduate Admissions

I began my PhD in Judaeo-Arabic philology at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge (funded by a Cambridge Home European Scholarship Scheme (CHESS) Award) in October 2014, under the supervision of Prof. Geoffrey Khan. The PhD’s lack of structure in comparison to my undergraduate and MPhil degrees was initially daunting. However, with the generous guidance of my supervisor and the other faculty staff, the plethora of opportunities open to me as a PhD student here soon became apparent.  

Additional funding for fieldwork from the Rothschild Hanadiv (Europe) Foundation allowed me to travel to Paris, Jerusalem, New York and London for archival research, and Princeton, Helsinki and Strasbourg to present at conferences.

The opportunities for development in Cambridge itself were also plentiful, ranging from speaking at faculty-based seminars to helping organise international conferences. I also attended supplementary language-learning classes at FAMES, and audited linguistics seminars in other departments.

In the final stages of my PhD, the University’s Careers Service provided much-needed assistance in the form of CV advice and mock interviews, as well as being a great online resource.

While support and guidance were always on hand, I experienced a great degree of freedom during my PhD, which helped to improve my time-management and project-management skills, and generally gain confidence as an independent researcher.

Magdalen Connolly (September 2018)

I started my PhD in modern Chinese history (supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council doctoral scholarship) at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (FAMES) in 2012 after having read Chinese as an undergraduate here before. Making the transition from being an undergraduate to becoming a PhD student was somewhat daunting at first. While I enjoyed the new freedom to follow my interests and delve into my research on foreign banking in late 19th and early 20th century China, in the beginning I was at times not sure how to actually do a PhD. Fortunately, both the guidance of my supervisor and advisor and the courses at the University’s Researcher Development Programme quickly helped me develop a clear research plan and structure my studies in terms of what classes to attend and audit, what seminars to attend and how to prepare my first-year progress reports. The DEAS Postgraduate Seminar gave me the opportunity to start presenting my work in a friendly environment and to meet other graduate students in the faculty. Starting from the first year of my PhD, funding from the Faculty and my College also enabled me to spend several Easter and summer breaks collecting archival materials in British and German archives.

During my first year, I also discussed my plans for archival work in China with my supervisor. Not only did he suggest possible sources of funding but through a partnership he had established with East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai I was able to find a Chinese advisor and an affiliation with a Chinese university for the period of my archival work, which made everything much more convenient and easy to organise. Subsequently, research funding from both the German Academic Exchange Service and the partnership programme with ECNU allowed me to spend sixteen months conducting archival work in China. Spending such an extended period of time in China allowed me to visit numerous archives in China from Tianjin and Beijing in North China to Nanjing and Guangzhou in the South and unearth many hitherto unused primary sources crucial for my research. Throughout the period I spent in China, I kept in touch with my supervisor and also benefitted from the guidance of my Chinese advisor and the history faculty at ECNU. Contacts of the Faculty to the Academia Sinica in Taiwan also allowed me to spend a month collecting sources in archives in Taiwan.

After my return to Cambridge, I began writing up my thesis. In the writing-up process, I again benefitted from the guidance of my supervisor and other members of faculty in East Asian Studies. Participating in the weekly China Research Seminar at FAMES, which brings many prominent scholars in Chinese Studies to the Faculty, as well as in the numerous seminars at the Faculty of History provided the ideal intellectual environment for the writing-up process. Moreover, financial support from both the Faculty and my College allowed me to present my work at national and international conferences, where I could receive useful feedback and meet with other researchers in my field. I was able to organise a panel for the annual Association for Asian Studies conference, the biggest and most important conference for Asianists. As my doctoral career is drawing to a close, both my supervisor and other faculty members at FAMES and the University’s Careers Service have provided invaluable help in preparing my job applications. In sum, FAMES has provided me with an ideal environment that proved to be both intellectually stimulating and extremely supportive throughout my PhD career.

For further testimonials, please visit our Faculty website.

Ghassan Moazzin (April 2017)

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Key Information


3-4 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2019
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2020
Course Starts
April 11, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Michaelmas 2020

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
June 2, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2019
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2021

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2021
Course Starts
April 17, 2021

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 9, 2019

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