At PhD/MPhil level, we aim for students to make the transition into fully-fledged, independent academic researchers, with the skills necessary to present their research orally as well as in writing. Our prime concern is with enabling research students to produce top-quality work that in one way or another questions the boundaries of the disciplines we work in and seeks to bring new materials, theories and methods into them. Such independence is achieved on the basis of a full appreciation of the hallmarks of good scholarship, such as original thought, the proper use of references and background material, appropriate use of methodology and accountable reporting procedures, and it is these priorities that we aim to impart to our students. Once equipped with the generic and discipline-specific tools for carrying out research, you will pursue your particular research interests, supported by regular meetings with your supervisor and attendance at PhD/MPhil seminars. We seek to create a mutually supportive environment, informed by discussion and dialogue. MPhil students may be required to take appropriate courses from the MA Japanese Cultural Studies programme in their first year.
Entry requirements A good honours degree with Japanese studies as a main component. Graduates in other subjects may be asked to take a qualifying examination. You will also need to submit a 1000-word research proposal prior to interview.
Japanese (PhD / MPhil)
Staff research areas
The expertise of the academic staff covers a range of subjects in Japanese: twentieth-century cultural history; historical consciousness, identity and nationalism; twentieth-century Japanese literature, especially women’s writing; gender and sexuality studies; contemporary popular culture; and Japanese film and visual culture. Interdisciplinary research projects are encouraged, and joint supervision can be arranged with other academic Schools at Birkbeck.
Japanese is taught in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Culture, which has built up an excellent team of research students. Research students collaborate through departmental and School research seminars and are encouraged to publish and give papers at conferences. There is a School Research Forum for Culture and Communication, which organises a lecture series, graduate seminars, and the research skills course forming part of the first-year research training provisions. You will have access to computer workstations with email and Internet facilities.
The Department also offers Japanese language courses, as well as advanced text reading classes specifically designed for research students and their requirements.
As a research student, you will be given help to establish contacts in Japan with universities and individual scholars working in your subject area. We encourage our research students to carry out fieldwork and research in Japan and, to that end, provide support for grant applications.