UBC’s Department of Asian Studies is widely acknowledged as one of the finest in North America and offers two graduate degree programs: a Master of Arts (MA) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
The Department of Asian Studies graduate programs are led by exceptional faculty members who are specialists in languages, literature, religion, thought and history of East, South and Southeast Asia. We also offer one of the most diverse language programs which includes instruction in nine Asian languages: Cantonese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi-Urdu, Persian, Punjabi, Sanskrit and Tibetan.
Information for Applicants
Information for Current Students
Students are expected to complete their comprehensive examination within 24 months from the date of initial registration. Extension of this period may be permitted by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in exceptional circumstances.
You will need to submit a request for an extension to your supervisor and the Graduate Advisor, with a detailed and realistic timeline outlining how and when you intend to complete these exams. A strong letter of endorsement from your supervisor needs to be submitted with your request to the Graduate Advisor. If the Graduate Advisor agrees with the request, they will submit a recommendation for an extension to The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral studies requires very specific paperwork for any request for extension, leave, course audit, or withdrawal. Please read and follow the instructions below to have your requests processed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
All forms and documents are to be submitted via email, ideally as PDF, Word, or Excel documents, failing that as a PDF scans.
Requesting Leave, Audit, or Withdrawal
For a leave, audit, or withdrawal request, follow the three steps below:
- Write a separate email with your request (not replying to or forwarding a previous email); this email will be forwarded to G+PS as a part of the paperwork
- The subject line of your email should read as follows: “Your last name, Your first name, student number – Request for…”
In your email you are addressing your supervisor and the Grad Advisor (cc: Graduate Program Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org): Dear Dr. (your supervisor’s last name) and Dr. Rusk (PhD students) / Dr. Yi (MA)
- Attach any appropriate forms and documents to the email, signed electronically if possible (or PDF scans of paper documents)
- a) For an AUDIT, a Registration/Change of Registration form
Course Audit: Auditors are students registered in a credit course who are expected to complete all course requirements except the final exam. They may be given Fail (F) standing if their performance is not satisfactory. An auditing student’s academic record will list “AUD” as the grade obtained upon successful completion of course requirements.
Graduate students who wish to audit a course must:
- Inform the instructor at the beginning of the course of their intention to audit it.
- Fill out a Change of Registration form, collect signatures from the instructor and the Graduate Advisor/Associate Graduate Advisor and email it to the Graduate Program Assistant.
The Faculty of Graduate Studies will authorize audit standing in a course only if the advisor confirms that the initial registration was as an auditor. A student may not change to audit status after the normal date for adding and dropping courses.
- b) For a LEAVE, a Request for Leave of Absence form
Leave of absence: Leave is granted when a student is best advised, for personal, health, or other reasons, to have time completely away from her/his academic responsibilities. The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree. A leave will begin normally on the first day of term, for a period of four, eight or 12 months. For a leave of absence for medical reasons, the request should include a medical note. The total duration of all leaves of absence granted in a graduate program is normally limited to 24 months for a doctoral student and to 12 months for a master’s student, except for Leave to Pursue a Second Program of Study. Read more here.
Send your request to your supervisor and the Graduate Advisor/Associate Graduate Advisor stating the reasons for a leave. For personal leave you don’t need to give any reason, just write that you are requesting a leave for personal reasons, how many months (four, eight or one year) and the start date.
Since you need to sign this form download and complete the “Request for Leave of Absence” form from Grad Studies website. Obtain the signatures of your supervisor and the advisor indicating their approval and email the form to the Graduate Program Assistant.
- c) For a WITHDRAWAL, the appropriate form
Withdrawal: A student wishing to withdraw voluntarily from the program must notify the Department (your supervisor and the Graduate Advisor/Associate Graduate Advisor) in writing in order to obtain the approval. You have to state the reason and the effective date of withdrawal (the last day of the month you were in program. For example: August 31, 2016, December 31, 2016,). If approved, the Graduate Advisor will send a memo/form to G+PS asking for your withdrawal. When the withdrawal is approved, the academic record will show the date of withdrawal and a standing of “W” in all courses not completed on that date. If withdrawal is not approved, the student will remain registered in all courses and a final grade and/or standing will be assigned at the end of the term or session.
A student who does not complete formal withdrawal procedures will be liable for all assessed fees until such procedures are completed. Retroactive withdrawal requests are normally not approved by Graduate Studies.
Requesting an Extension
For an EXTENSION request (program extension or extension of time to advance to candidacy), first prepare a draft of your request and email it to the Graduate Program Assistant. The subject line of your email should read as follows:
“Your last name, Your first name, student number – Draft Request for Extension.” The body of the email should contain the following:
- When you started the program
- A brief explanation of why you haven’t finished your program/comps by the original deadline
- A description of what you have accomplished so far (e.g., wrote chapter 2, passed one comps exam)
- The start date of your extension (the first day in the month at the start of the term: September 1, January 1, or May 1)
- How much time you still need (must be 4, 8, or 12 months)—in general, ask for more time than you think you really need
- Your proposed month-by-month timeline for the remainder of your program. The timeline starts with the first day of the extension. For example, if your program ended on April 30, 2021, you would ask for an extension starting May 1, 2021.
May 2021 Chapter 2 writing
June 2021 Chapter 2 submission to committee
You can include the timeline in the body of your email or send it as an attachment such as an Excel spreadsheet. The sample time line is posted here.
After the Graduate Program Assistant has checked and approved your draft, send it to your supervisor and the Graduate Advisor. Format this email as follows:
- Start a new email with your request (not replying to or forwarding a previous email); this email will be forwarded to G+PS as a part of all the paperwork
- The subject line of your email should read as follows: “Your last name, Your first name, student number – Request for Extension”
In your email you are addressing your supervisor and the Grad advisor (cc: Graduate Program Assistant): Dear Dr. (your supervisor’s last name) and Dr. Rusk (PhD students) or Dr. Yi (MA)
- The body of the email should be copied from the draft approved by the Graduate Program Assistant
- Attach any supporting documents (such as the timeline) to the email
You must also ask your supervisor to write an email to the Grad Advisor (PhD) / Associate Graduate Advisor (MA) justifying your request. This email will serve as a memo and cannot be a single sentence as “I support this request.” Ideally it should be a report from last supervisory committee meeting. However, if an official meeting didn’t take place, your supervisor can explain that consultation with you and the committee was done through email, by phone, or in person. In the email your supervisor needs to report on your progress and how you are going to finish your thesis/comps within the extended time.
If the Graduate Advisor agrees with the request, the Department will submit a recommendation for extension to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The Graduate Program Assistant will fill complete the form that your supervisor and Grad Advisor need to sign.
Your request will be sent to G+PS only after all of the above paperwork is complete.
Relevant G+PS rules and procedures:
Program extension: University regulations establish a five-year time limit for the completion of a master’s program and a six-year time limit for the completion of a doctoral program. Please see here for information on extensions. The time that the student is on approved leave does not count in the determination of the time limit. Extensions will not be granted beyond two years.
PhD comprehensive exams extension: Students are normally expected to complete their comprehensive examination within 24 months from the date of initial registration. A student who is not admitted to candidacy within 36 months from the date of initial registration must withdraw from the program. Extension of this period may be permitted by the Dean of Graduate Studies in exceptional circumstances.
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