Rachel DiNitto, Department Head
301 Friendly Hall
1248 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1248
The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures presents a wide range of courses in several programs, from introductory courses in the languages and literatures of East Asia (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) to advanced graduate-level study of linguistics and literature. Undergraduate degrees include a bachelor of arts (BA) degree in Chinese or Japanese and minors in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. The department also offers master’s (MA) and doctoral (PhD) degrees in East Asian languages and literatures. At all levels, students may choose to focus on either language or literature, though all degree programs require course work from both areas.
The department typically supports dozens of students in graduate-level study while 100 undergraduate BA majors graduate each year. Faculty members are strongly committed to promoting a rich immersion in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and undergraduates and graduate students alike are encouraged to study abroad and conduct research throughout East Asia.
The department recommends the following preparation for study leading to an undergraduate major or minor in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean:
- As much work as possible in the student’s major language, focusing on oral and written communication and reading comprehension
- Knowledge of the history, culture, and geography of the area in which that language is spoken
- Course work in literary analysis and cultural studies
Students with an undergraduate degree in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean are well prepared for graduate-level study in the humanities, social sciences, and professions (e.g., law or business). They are also suited to a range of jobs in many different sectors, including business, education, and journalism as well as government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Recent graduates have found jobs in all of these areas.
Roy Chan, associate professor (modern Chinese and Russian literature). BA, 2002, Washington (Seattle); PhD, 2009, California, Berkeley. (2013)
Weijun Chen, senior instructor (Chinese). BA, 1997, Anhui; MA, 2000, Nanjing. (2008)
Rachel DiNitto, professor (modern Japanese literature, cultural studies). BA, 1988, Pennsylvania; MA, 1996, PhD, 2000, Washington (Seattle). (2015)
Maram Epstein, professor (Ming-Qing vernacular fiction). BA, 1983, MA, 1987, PhD, 1992, Princeton. (1994)
Alisa D. Freedman, professor (modern Japanese literature and film). BA, 1991, Wesleyan; MA, 1995, PhD, 2002, Chicago. (2005)
Yukari Furikado-Koranda, senior instructor (Japanese). BA, 2002, Kobe College; MA, 2010, Oregon. (2010)
Miku Fukasaku, instructor (Japanese). BA, 2006, Tokyo Woman's Christian University; MA, 2016, Carthage College. (2016)
Denise Gigliotti, senior instructor (Chinese). BA, 1995, National Taiwan; MA, 1998, California, Los Angeles. (2002)
Alison Groppe, associate professor (Chinese culture). BA, 1989, Wellesley College; MA, 1995, PhD, 2006, Harvard. (2008)
Reiko Hashimoto, senior instructor (Japanese). BA, 1982, Chukyo; MA, 1992, Minnesota State, Mankato; PhD, 2000, Indiana, Bloomington. (2000)
Luke Habberstad, assistant professor (early Chinese literature). BA, 2003, Yale; MA, 2007, PhD, 2014, California, Berkeley. (2014)
Kaori Idemaru, associate professor (linguistics). BA, 1990, Osaka; MA, 1992, Northern Iowa; PhD, 2005, Oregon. (2008)
Rika Ikei, senior instructor (Japanese). BA, 1992, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies; MA, 1998, West Chester. (2003)
Zhuo Jing-Schmidt, professor (Chinese linguistics). BA, 1992, MA, 1995, Peking; MA, 1997, California, Los Angeles; PhD, 2005, Cologne. (2010)
Jina Kim, assistant professor (Korean literature). BA, 1993, University of Chicago; MA, 2002, University of Washington; MA, 2009, Cornell; PhD, 2006, University of Washington. (2018)
Woojoo Kim, instructor (Korean). BA, 2009, Emporia State University, MA, 2012, University of Washington (2017)
Nayoung Kwon, assistant professor (Korean linguistics). BA, 1997, Korea; MA, 1999, Korea; MA, 2003, California (San Diego); PhD, 2008, California (San Diego). (2020)
Eun Young Lee, instructor (Korean). BE, 1995, Kangnam; MA, 2013, Oregon. (2013)
Fengjun Mao, senior instructor (Chinese). BA, 2000, MA, 2003, East China Normal. (2008).
Naoko Nakadate, senior instructor (Japanese). BA, 1988, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies; MA, 1992, Oregon. (1993)
Yoko O'Brien, senior instructor (Japanese). BA, 1996, Washington State; MA, 2000, Oregon. (2007)
Thomas Glynne Walley, associate professor (early modern Japanese literature). BA, 1996, Brigham Young; MA, 2001, Washington (St. Louis); PhD, 2009, Harvard. (2012)
Yugen Wang, associate professor (classical Chinese poetry and poetics). BA, 1992, Anhui Normal; MA, 1995, Peking; PhD, 2005, Harvard. (2005)
Jean Yuanpeng Wu, senior instructor (Chinese). BA, 1982, China University of Geosciences; MA, 1990, West Virginia; PhD, 1998, Michigan State. (1996)
Stephen W. Durrant, professor emeritus. BA, 1968, Brigham Young; PhD, 1975, Washington (Seattle). (1990)
Michael B. Fishlen, associate professor emeritus. BA, 1965, Knox College; MA, 1968, PhD, 1973, Indiana; JD, 1987, Oregon. (1970)
Angela Jung-Palandri, professor emerita. BA, 1946, Catholic University, Peking; MA, 1949, MLS, 1954, PhD, 1955, Washington (Seattle). (1962)
Stephen W. Kohl, associate professor emeritus. BA, 1967, PhD, 1974, Washington (Seattle). (1972)
Wendy Larson, professor emerita. BA, 1974, Oregon; MA, 1978, PhD, 1984, California, Berkley. (1985)
The date in parentheses at the end of each entry is the first year on the University of Oregon faculty.
The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures offers undergraduate major programs in Chinese and Japanese languages and literatures. Each program enables students to achieve proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking the language and to acquire a fundamental knowledge of the literature and culture of the country. The Department also offers undergraduate minors in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Students considering a major in Chinese or Japanese should decide their major as early as possible so that they can satisfy the requirements in four years of undergraduate study. Background in languages, literature, or history at the high school or community college level is good preparation for the student majoring in Chinese or Japanese.
A major in Chinese or Japanese prepares a student for graduate study in the humanities, social sciences, and professional schools and also for careers in business, teaching, law, journalism, and government agencies. Career options for people with knowledge of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean are steadily increasing.
Chinese Flagship Program
This program is a language option for students who wish to achieve advanced levels of proficiency in Chinese.
Flagship courses as well as content courses taught in Chinese in other departments expose students to the language and content of a broad range of disciplines, including business, journalism, social sciences, sciences, and the humanities. These courses prepare students to pursue a wide variety of careers in Chinese-speaking environments. Students do not need to be Chinese majors to enroll in Chinese Flagship courses or the program. Those interested in either Flagship-level courses or formally enrolling in the program should visit chineseflagship.uoregon.edu.
Japanese Global Scholars Program
Specifically designed for advanced Japanese speakers committed to linguistic, cultural, and intellectual advancement. The program, open to majors and nonmajors, offers courses on academic topics conducted in Japanese, helping students to become proficient both in the subject areas and the language. For more information, visit the website.
Graduation with departmental honors is approved for students who
- Earn a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or better in all UO work
- Earn a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or better in major course work
- Complete, under the supervision of a faculty member, a senior thesis to be evaluated by the thesis director and one other faculty member in the department
Students must enroll for at least 6 pass/no pass (P/N) credits in Thesis (CHN 403) or Thesis (JPN 403) in addition to meeting the standard major requirements. Transfer work and P/N credits are not included in determining the GPA.
Honors Thesis in Chinese
With the support of an advisor, students may write a thesis on a Chinese topic. Thesis topics must be approved at least one term before the thesis is submitted for honors credit.
Thesis Written in English. To count toward a Chinese degree, the thesis must be on a Chinese cultural topic with a suggested length of forty pages.
Thesis Written in Chinese. With an advisor's approval, language-track majors may opt to write a thesis in Chinese with a suggested length of 12,500 characters. Students in the Chinese Flagship Program who are culture majors may petition to have a Chinese-language thesis count toward honors in the department. The thesis must be on a topic that reflects an aspect of Chinese culture.
Honors Thesis in Japanese
With the support of an advisor, students may write a thesis on a Japanese topic. Thesis topics must be approved at least one term before the thesis is submitted for honors credit.
Thesis Written in English. To count toward a Japanese degree, the thesis must be on a Japanese cultural topic with a suggested length of forty pages.
Thesis Written in Japanese. With an advisor's approval, majors may opt to write a thesis in Japanese with a suggested length of 12,500 characters.
East Asian Studies Minor
See the Asian Studies section of this catalog for a description of the minor in East Asian studies.
The University of Oregon has four overseas study programs in China and Japan. Students in University of Oregon study abroad programs enroll in courses with subject codes that are unique to individual programs. Special course numbers are reserved for overseas study. See International Affairs in the Academic Resources section of this catalog. Students are strongly advised to talk with their major advisor before they study abroad to plan their courses of study and make sure the courses they take in China and Japan will count toward major requirements.
Kindergarten through Secondary Teaching Careers
Students who complete the BA degree with a major in Chinese or Japanese are eligible to apply for the College of Education’s fifth-year licensure program in middle-secondary teaching or the fifth-year licensure program to become an elementary teacher. More information is available from the College of Education.
The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures offers programs of study leading to the degrees of master of arts (MA) and doctor of philosophy (PhD) in East Asian languages and literatures. Students may choose to specialize in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean studies.
In addition to departmental requirements, graduate students must fulfill the general requirements of the Graduate School listed in that section of this catalog.
The Chinese, Japanese, and Korean studies programs, which prepare students to work in a variety of professional and academic fields, provide intensive training in linguistic and textual analysis and an extensive exposure to literary theory, film studies, and comparative and cultural studies. The department encourages students to develop their specialization in East Asian literatures and films in broader, more comparative, and more interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives than has been the case in traditional programs. The faculty’s research and teaching interests cover the major fields, genres, and chronological divisions of Chinese and Japanese literature and film. They encourage creative connections and challenges to conventional disciplinary boundaries by exploring the relationships between literature-cinema and such areas as history, law, linguistics, politics, religion, philosophy, sociology, theater and the performing arts, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
Several members of the department’s faculty participate in the Comparative Literature Program. For more information, see the Comparative Literature section of this catalog.
The departmental Chinese, Japanese and Korean linguists work closely with the Department of Linguistics in research, teaching, and program development in theoretical and applied linguistics. Interested students are encouraged to work closely with a departmental advisor to pursue a specialization or field in East Asian linguistics and/or East Asian second-language acquisition.
In addition, several members of the department's faculty are affiliated with other UO graduate programs, including the graduate specialization in translation studies, graduate certificate in new media and culture, graduate certificate in women's and gender studies, and cinema studies.
Complete details and answers to specific questions about graduate programs in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures are available from the department’s graduate secretary.
An applicant for admission to the MA program should have completed an undergraduate major in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language, literature, or linguistics, or have equivalent experience.
An applicant for admission to the PhD program should have completed an MA degree in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language and literature, linguistics, or have equivalent experience.
Graduate program applications are submitted via an online process found at the department’s web site. In the course of completing the application, students are required to upload the following:
- Statement of Purpose. The 750-word statement of purpose should address the applicant’s specific academic preparation or experience, all areas of research interest, career goals, and reason for attending the University of Oregon. In addition, PhD applicants should include potential research questions
- Writing Sample. The writing sample must come from a course that shows up on the transcript. International students must submit a sample in English and may submit an additional sample in Chinese or Japanese
- Transcripts. Unofficial copies of undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts should be uploaded from all institutions attended. In addition, official transcripts from these institutions should be sent to the University of Oregon, Office of Admissions, 1217 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1217
- Letters of Recommendation. Three persons familiar with the applicant’s academic experience and ability to carry out independent research must be identified. The online application requests contact information (name, position, institution, telephone number, and e-mail address) from each of these people. Upon submission of the online application, each person will be notified via e-mail and provided with instructions on how to upload their recommendations
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. The GRE test is required for all applicants. Applicants should take the test in time for the official results to arrive to the university prior to January 1. The online application is self-reporting, however official GRE scores need to be sent to the University of Oregon (institution code 4846) and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (department code 2601)
Applications are due by January 1. New students are typically admitted to the program for fall term.
Graduate Employee Fellowships
A number of graduate employee fellowships (GEs) are available each year for new graduate students in the department. Students must apply to the department by January 1 for admission and appointment the following fall term. During each term of the appointment, graduate employees must register for and complete at least 9 credits of course work that can be applied to the degree program.
First-year GEs must attend an orientation and training workshop, which is held the week before fall term begins.
MA Students Seeking Entry to the PhD Program
If the student also decides to seek admission into the PhD program, the MA examination administered shall include the oral component.
An oral examination shall take place no later than the seventh week of the term in which a request for the degree has been made. It shall consist of a one- to two-hour interview with the faculty committee, which is required to be formed by the student and the advisor before the student takes the comprehensive exam, and shall include evaluation of the following:
- the student’s skills in critical thinking, reading, listening, and writing
- the student’s ability to formulate a pedagogical approach to topics appropriate to the student’s career goals
- a discussion of career options and prospects
The committee shall determine whether the candidate has successfully fulfilled the requirements for the MA degree, and shall confer one of the following grades: distinction, clear pass, marginal pass, or failure. This determination is independent of the student’s candidacy to the PhD program. As in the case of terminal MA students, should the committee determine that the candidate has not been successful, it may recommend that the student be given one additional opportunity to pass the exam during the next academic term.
Master's degree candidates must also fulfill the requirements of the UO Graduate School.
Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program
The PhD program in East Asian languages and literatures is designed to provide students with a high level of competence in their area of specialization and a familiarity with applicable methodologies and theories. The program has four components:
- course work
- comprehensive examination
- prospectus for the dissertation
- the dissertation itself
Specific courses and projects used to fulfill requirements must be approved by the student’s advisor, who works with the other faculty members to develop the student’s program.
Timeline for Completion of the PhD Program
Course work—two years
Comprehensive examination and approval of prospectus or qualifying paper—one year
Dissertation writing and defense—two years
Additional Course Work
Depending on the student’s background when admitted to the PhD program, additional course work may be required.