study group

Our PhD programme

Tomorrow's leading academic or a professional with an expertise in East Asia?

Either way, Sheffield will help you to realise your ambition as a full-time, part-time, or remote location PhD student. Our social science research training, quality research opportunities, and high standards of physical infrastructure, including online access to vernacular newspapers and databases, attracts a range of outstanding students annually. But what is unrivalled is the quality of the teaching and research environment the Sheffield team provides. It is what led the Higher Educational Funding Council for England to designate our taught programmes as 'excellent' - the highest accolade given - and our successful bid with our counterpart at the University of Leeds to become the country's Centre of Excellence on East Asia, the White Rose East Asia Centre.

Research topics

Our research topics are constantly responding to developments in the disciplines, as well as to the dynamic changes in the region. We are certainly able to supervise dissertations in a wide range of disciplines, including politics, international relations, political economy, business and economy, demographics, sociology, culture and film, language and literature, and modern history. The focus is on Japan, Greater China, the Korean peninsula, and East Asia as a region. The topic of your dissertation can be country specific or regional. Inter-disciplinary and inter-departmental supervision is also available for students wishing to pursue research involving another part of the world or involving other disciplines.

To get an idea of where our research strengths lie, and to identify which of our staff have key research strengths in your area of interest putting them in the best position to supervise you through your PhD, take a look at our supervision page.

We are particularly keen to receive applications in the areas covered by our research clusters:

East Asian Text and Culture
Movement(s), Economy and Development in East Asia
Power, Cooperation and Competition in East Asia

Double Degree Programmes

In the School of East Asian Studies we offer two double degree programmes to a small number of students each year. These programmes allow you to spend at least one year of your PhD studying and undertaking research at The Graduate School of Law, Tohoku University, Japan or The Department of Political Science and International Relations, Yonsei University, South Korea depending on your research interests. At the end of your degree you will be awarded a degree from Sheffield and Tohoku, or Yonsei University.

Find out more about our Double Degree Programmes

The Sheffield Degree

The Sheffield degree is a three-year research degree of normal registration. As such, it is particularly flexible, with classroom work for in-house students tailored to the needs of the student for research as well as transferable skills. We are recognized as an outlet for scholarships offered by the Economic and Social Science Research Council and the Arts and Humanities ‘block grant’ scheme. With funding from the ESRC and the AHRC, other scholarships, or private funds, some of our students enter the job market with a Ph.D. after only three years of study.
Find out more about scholarships.

Doctoral Training

Study your PhD in the Faculty of Social Sciences and you will have access to world class training alongside your doctoral study. Our Social Sciences Doctoral Training programme is tailored to your individual needs to ensure you have the right skills you need to develop your research.

Our training programme is designed to exceed current UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) training and development guidelines, and gives all our social science PhD students access to ESRC-funded White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership cohort activities, regardless of your source of funding.

Find out more about our training programme

Spending part of your degree in East Asia

If, due to the nature of your research topic, you need to spend long periods of time in East Asia, this is not only acceptable but actively encouraged. Many of our students spend part of their degree conducting research in the region and we have experience in ensuring you are fully supported whilst out of the U.K.
For EU and International students not resident in the UK, the University operates a Remote Location scheme, through which you can study for a University of Sheffield MPhil or PhD by undertaking research at an overseas institution.

Research and publication

Over the years the School of East Asian Studies has produced leading academics who are at the cutting edge of East Asian studies, not only in the UK, but also in the region and more widely in the world. Some of them have published revised versions of their dissertations in international peer review journals as well as in the School's book series, from top-ranked publisher Routledge (part of the Taylor and Francis Group). The Sheffield Centre for Japanese Studies/Routledge Series is edited by Professor Glenn Hook.

Career enhancement and opportunities

If you already hold a position in higher education, but want to add value to your career by further research for the Ph.D., then we are committed to helping you conduct advanced research making the optimal use of your existing academic experience. Should you choose a career outside academia, the School's degrees are recognized by the top echelon in many spheres of activity. Whatever your own final career goal, as a Sheffield Ph.D. you will join that select group of graduates who have made their careers in government, world-class banks, brokerage firms, and as a range of professionals, whether in Britain, East Asia, or in the wider world.