PhD Fellowships: The Asian Sphere

Janet Goodwin's picture

From Michal Biran

Crosspost from H-Asia


The Asian Sphere: Trans-Cultural Flows Program


The Asian Sphere offers a unique opportunity for outstanding candidates, at the MA and PhD level, to enroll in a multidisciplinary and inter-university graduate program that deals with the Asian continent.

The Asian Sphere is a joint Israeli program between the University of Haifa and the Hebrew University, funded by the Humanities Fund of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel (VATAT) and Yad Hanadiv. It is a structured graduate program of excellence that deals with the entire Asian continent as a continuous civilizational zone and addresses cross-regional contacts and processes among Asian societies, cultures and states and to a lesser extent between Asia and other continents throughout history until present time.

Apart from a dynamic and exceptional environment of learning and research, the program offers a large number of scholarships for graduate students. The scholarship for PhD students are in the amount of 60,000 NIS per year + full tuition for three years.

The Asian Sphere accepts students from different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, such as Asian Studies, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Art History, Archaeology, Geography, Political Science, International Relations, Cultural Studies, History, Religious Studies, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, and more. Research topics are open and can deal with past or current societies. The core of the Asian Sphere teaching activity revolves around high-level seminars on trans-regional, trans-continental and trans-cultural themes, each taught by two or more internationally renowned scholars. In addition, students that are accepted to the program will participate in yearly academic retreats, research trips in Israel and abroad, academic conferences and other activities.


Criteria for the selection of candidates for the Asian Sphere Program scholarship:

  • Proven academic excellence.
  • Preliminary research topic and interest that address cross-Asian topics such as analysis of contacts or comparison between two or more regions or cultures in Asia.  
  • Candidates should indicate the advisor (or preferably advisors) of their thesis, from one or both universities and will be enrolled at one of the relevant departments or faculties in either the University of Haifa or the Hebrew University.


Requirements of the Asian Sphere Program and Renewal of the scholarship:


  • Doctoral students must participate in at least three of the program’s interdisciplinary seminars and actively participate in the program yearly academic retreat as well as other activities of the program.
  • Annual renewal of the scholarship will depend on demonstrated progress of the Asian Sphere Program fellows and on continued recommendation of their thesis supervisor.
  • To pass from the first to the second  year, Ph.D students will have to participate in at least two of the program’s seminars, successfully write at least one seminar paper, complete their Ph.D. proposal which will be approved by their advisor(s), and successfully advance from stage A to stage B in their doctorate program.
  • To pass from the second to the third year, Ph.D. students will have to submit a report with regard to their academic progress and complete at least one chapter of their dissertation approved by their advisor(s).
  • Ph.D. students will be encouraged to submit research articles to refereed journals and required to present at least one paper in an international conference held during either the second or the third year of the program.


Interested individuals are requested to send one electronic and one printed copy of the following documents (in English whenever applicable). The electronic copy should be in one file.


  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Report of grades  (BA, MA, PhD if applicable).
  • Abstract of one’s Master's thesis and samples of writing (e.g., a seminar paper, parts of the Master’s thesis, or a paper that is already published).
  • A document describing one’s research interests, presenting the research questions that interest the candidate, the research context, methodology and how the research topic is related to the goals and scope of the Asian Sphere Program (up to 500 words).
  • Two letters of recommendation to be sent separately to the program coordinator  at
  • PhD. Candidates should obtain a written consent from the proposed advisor(s) of their thesis.


For additional information regarding terms of acceptance and the procedures, contact Prof. Gideon Shelach ( and Prof. Rotem Kowner (


All the documents should be sent to the Asian Sphere Scholarships Committee by February 28, 2015.

Applications should be sent to this address:

The Asia Sphere Program

The Hebrew University, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem




Email address: