Study modes: Full-time, Part-time
Programme website: Japanese
A Masters by Research (MScR) programme is ideal if you have a clear idea of the independent research you wish to undertake at masters level. The programme is a good stepping stone to a PhD, but is equally of value as a stand-alone qualification.
As a Masters by Research student, you will be part of a wider masters community while specialising in what most interests you right from the beginning of the programme. This is how it is different to a taught Masters (MSc).
First taught at Edinburgh in 1976, Japanese Studies has developed to encompass a thriving postgraduate research programme covering a wide spectrum of interests in history, politics, and the performing and literary arts.
In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), our research was submitted in the categories of:
- Modern Languages and Linguistics
- Politics and International Studies
- Theology and Religious Studies
The results reaffirm Edinburgh’s position as one of the UK’s leading research universities - third in the UK based on the quality and breadth of its research in Modern Languages and Linguistics alone, according to Times Higher Education's REF power ratings.
Join our community and undertake a project comprising research assignments and a 15,000-word dissertation under the guidance of an experienced and well-published supervisor.
We have particular strengths in:
- Japanese performing arts, both traditional and contemporary
- Japanese-Chinese relations
- media and politics
- the history of Japanese religion
- the Meiji period
- traditional and modern Japanese literature
- the Japanese empire
This programme is delivered and assessed through:
- two 20-credit courses on research skills, methods and problems
- two 40-credit supervised research assignments
- one 60-credit supervised 15,000 word dissertation
This programme includes training on research skills, methods and problems.
Between the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), the Careers Service and the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), you will find a further range of programmes and resources to help you develop your postgraduate skills.
You will also have access to the University’s fantastic libraries, collections and worldwide strategic partnerships.
As part of our research community, you will be immersed in a world of knowledge exchange, with lots of opportunities to share ideas, learning and creative work.
Activities range from a regular seminar series in Asian Studies (with talks by staff, research students and visiting speakers) to film and anime screenings, noh performances, and workshops, including those hosted by the Consulate General of Japan, the Japan Society, and the Japan Foundation.
Our graduates tell us that they value LLC’s friendliness, the connections they make here and the in-depth guidance they receive from our staff, who are published experts in their field.
Based in the Main University Library, the Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK. It brings together:
- a collection of more than 400,000 rare books
- six kilometres of archives and manuscripts
- the University’s collections of art, historical musical instruments and other objects
Notable collections include the East Asian Studies Collection of some 50,000 print and digital resources, of which 5,000 are in the Japanese language. We also have a specialised collection of Japanese journals and reference works.
As a research student here, you will be based at the heart of the University of Edinburgh in a world-leading festival city with a thriving East Asian cultural scene.
Many important collections are a short walk from our buildings, including those in the National Library, Museum and Galleries of Scotland.
These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.
MScR: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.
Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:
English language requirements
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.
Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:
We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Find out more about our language requirements:
Applicants to this Masters by Research programme will automatically be considered for the Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentship Programme which provides studentships of £10,000.
UK government postgraduate loans
If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.
The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:
- your programme
- the duration of your studies
- your tuition fee status
Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.
Other funding opportunities
Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:
This programme is not currently accepting applications. Applications for the next intake usually open in October.
Start date: September
Awards: MScR (12 mth FT, 24 mth PT)
If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.
The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.
For a Masters by Research programme, you should include:
- a sample of written work of about 3,000 words (this can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate degree)
- a research proposal - an outline of your proposed area of study, helping us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve
See our guidance:
Before you apply, you should look at the interests and expertise of our research community on the programme website. This will help you decide if this programme is right for you and your supervision needs.
Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes: