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PhD Studentship: Monster Tales: The Abnormal in Imperial China

Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University - Department of China Studies

Supervisor Names:

Principle supervisor: Professor David Goodman (XJTLU, Department of China Studies, VP of Academic Affairs) Co-supervisor: Dr Loredana Cesarino (XJTLU, Department of China Studies) Co-supervisor: Dr Will Slocombe (University of Liverpool, Department of English)

Project Description:

The Department of China Studies invites applications from suitably-qualified candidates for a full-time PhD scholarship in the field of Chinese classical literature. The successful candidate will consider the cultural significance of the “monster” in traditional China through an analysis of the so-called zhiguai 志怪tales or “accounts of the strange”. The project assigned to the doctoral candidate will complement the one undertaken by Dr Cesarino and Prof Goodman titled “Monster Tales: The Abnormal in Imperial China”, yet the student will be required to undertake his/her own independent research by focusing on a period of his/her choice between the Six Dynasties, the Tang/Song era (preferred) and the Qing dynasty.

This project requires knowledge of literary Chinese, classical Chinese literature and Chinese cultural history.

The selected candidate will be offered the opportunity to serve as Teaching Assistant (TA) in the Department of China Studies.

For more information about the doctoral scholarship and the PhD programme at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU): Please visit  

Eligibility Criteria:

The candidate should have a first class or upper second class honours degree, or a master’s degree (or equivalent qualification), in Chinese Literature, Chinese Cultural History or related field, with a focus on imperial China (Six Dynasties to Qing). Evidence of good spoken and written English is essential. The candidate should have an IELTS score of 7 or above, if the first language is not English. Due to the nature of the project, the candidate should also have an advanced knowledge of modern Chinese (proficient speaker or HSK 6) as well as demonstrable ability in literary Chinese.

This position is open to all qualified candidates irrespective of nationality.


The student will be awarded a PhD degree from the University of Liverpool (UK) upon successful completion of the program.


The PhD studentship is available for three years, subject to satisfactory progress by the student. The award covers tuition fees for three years (currently equivalent to RMB 80,000 per annum) and provides a monthly stipend of 3500 RMB as a contribution to living expenses. It also provides up to RMB 16,500 to allow participation at international conferences during the period of the award. It is a condition of the award that holders of XJTLU PhD scholarships carry out 300-500 hours of teaching assistance work per year. The scholarship holder is expected to carry out the major part of his or her research at XJTLU in Suzhou, China. However, he or she is eligible for a research study visit to the University of Liverpool of up to three months, if this is required by the project. 

How to Apply:

Interested applicants are advised to email the following documents for initial review and assessment (please put the project title in the subject line):

  • CV
  • Two reference letters on company/university letterhead
  • A personal statement outlining your interest in the position
  • Proof of English language proficiency (an IELTS score of 7 or above)
  • Proof of Chinese language proficiency (HSK certificate level 6, only if the first language is not Chinese)
  • Verified education transcripts in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
  • Verified certificates of education qualifications in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
  • A tentative research proposal of 800 words within the project framework 
Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Suzhou - China
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: ¥140,000
£15,632.68 converted salary* per annum (Covers tuition fee and stipend).
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 23rd May 2019
Closes: 3rd July 2019
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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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