New York University's Department of History offers a Ph.D. in East Asian History in a field that builds on the strengths of its core faculty, in close connection with faculty in related departments (East Asian Studies, Religious Studies, Art History, Anthropology, Sociology, and so on). Focusing on the early-modern to modern period of Chinese and Japanese history (17th century onwards), the field aims to locate East Asia within a larger global framework. It intends to encourage students to engage broadly with historical questions that emerged from within and that have helped shape the various East Asian societies, in their interactions with each other and in the larger worlds of global commerce, culture, and capitalism.
Specific course guidelines are flexible and are tailored to the needs and abilities of each student. To qualify as PhD candidates, students normally take exams in three fields: a major field, a minor field, and a thematic field. The major and minor can be two separate chronologies of the same national history (e.g. Ming/Qing China, modern China), or two national histories (e.g. modern China and modern Japan). The thematic field should be a theoretical area of interest (e.g. gender studies, social theory, theories of nationalism, etc.); this latter field can be constructed in accordance with student interests and in consultation with a faculty advisor. The exam committee normally consists of three faculty, two of whom should be from the History Department and one of whom can be from a closely affiliated Department or another University (if necessary).