Graduate Programs at Indiana University

With graduate school applications due in the next few months, I’d like to put a plug in for our MA and PhD programs here at Indiana University. In particular we are looking for students interested in early Confucian thought (roughly the 6th century BCE through the 3rd century CE).

All of our students are admitted with full funding (tuition, insurance, and a living stipend). This includes MA students (and we are planning to expand the number of MA admits over the next few years). Funding may come by means of working as a teaching assistant or by scholarships that provide the equivalent funding with no teaching obligations (scholarships are usually for a year or two, after which students work as teaching assistants).

The Department of Religious Studies at IU is one of the few departments outside of East Asia to have two faculty members specializing in Chinese thought (Aaron Stalnaker and myself). The departments of Philosophy and East Asian Languages and Cultures also provide additional training for our students.

Studying Chinese thought in a religious studies department may be different from studying Chinese thought in a philosophy or East Asian department. We would like to think that we offer a more interdisciplinary approach; integrating approaches from philosophy, anthropology, and comparative religion. At the same time, our programs are flexible enough to allow for an approach closer to what one would find in a philosophy department.

While it is unlikely that our PhD students will secure tenure track positions in philosophy departments, we have a good record of placement in religious studies departments. In the recent past, the department has placed students studying Chinese religion in tenure track positions at Dartmouth College, Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Vermont, and the University of Virginia.

As a related side note, Indiana University Press, which was already publishing books such as the Nienhauser translation of the Shiji, has also made a stronger commitment to publish monographs on Chinese philosophy. The World Philosophies Series is “dedicated to exploring the rich philosophical traditions and inventive spirit of contemporary philosophy in non-western countries and cultures around the globe.” One of the first books in the series is Frank Perkins’ Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy, due out next year. The editors at the press have expressed their enthusiasm for publishing more monographs on Chinese philosophy.

Further information about our graduate programs can be found here, and information specific to our doctoral field in Chinese thought can be found here.

Either Aaron, who is also the Director of Graduate Studies, or myself would be happy to answer questions about the programs.

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