Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

Subject area: Japanese

Why choose Japanese at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We offer a comprehensive and rigorous Japanese language programme, coupled with diverse Japanese studies options taught by international experts.

  • You will benefit from a year of intensive Japanese language study at one of our partner institutions in Japan.

  • Our courses and staff are recognised for their innovative, high-quality teaching, with Japanese 2A and Japanese 2B both previously winning Best Course in the Edinburgh University Students' Association Teaching Awards.

Study abroad

The programme has something for everyone, whether your interest in Japan is related to language, culture or modern issues, and the year abroad truly is a life-changing experience!

Julia Jackson MA (Hons) Japanese graduate
Julia Jackson MA (Hons) Japanese graduate

Over the past 150 years Japan has experienced change at breakneck pace, but has nevertheless retained its fascinating cultural heritage. At Edinburgh you will receive the linguistic and academic training necessary to engage critically with this dynamic and vibrant society, as well as the skills and confidence needed to succeed in our increasingly globalised world.

Intensive language training, including a year at one of our many partner institutions in Japan, will form the cornerstone of your programme. However, you will also work with international experts to explore a variety of topics including Japanese history, politics, international relations, economics, religion, art, cinema, literature and philosophy.

Native speakers

Please note that our Japanese programmes involve beginners' language study and are not suitable for native or near-native speakers.

Year 1

You will study Japanese Language 1, an introduction to Japanese language, and Modern East Asian History.

Year 2

You will continue your Japanese language study in Japanese Language 2, and deepen your understanding of Japanese society and culture through Researching Japan: Skills, Methods and Critiques. We also offer the following option courses for first- and second-year students: Politics and Economy of Japan, Pre-Modern East Asia, and Thinking Through Japan.

Year 3

You will spend your third year in Japan, where you will develop your language skills and start work on your dissertation.

Year 4

You will continue to study Japanese language and choose from a range of option courses in Japanese history, politics, religion, culture, film and literature. You will also complete your dissertation.

Are there additional costs?

You will spend Year 3 in Japan as a compulsory part of your programme. Costs will vary depending on the location. Some scholarship money may be available, from external sources, on a competitive basis.

Our facilities

The majority of the teaching takes place within the School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures located within the University's Central Area. You will have access to the University's libraries, computer facilities and the School's language labs.

Study abroad

You will study abroad in Year 3. We have exchange agreements with many of Japan's top-ranking universities.

How will I learn?

Most of our courses are taught through lectures and tutorials. Languages are taught in small classes that use computer-assisted learning.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of exams, class exercises and coursework.

Graduates of Japanese can use their language skills to work as translators, interpreters or as teachers, following further study. Many graduates of Japanese also choose to work in areas such as finance and investment, law, or go into publishing or management consultancy.

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