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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

BA Japanese

Programme Code: T210 BA/J Duration: 4 years

Overview

2014 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAB
  • A Level language preferred
  • IB: 36 (6/6/6)
  • BTEC: DDM
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 80%
  • French Bacc: 14/20
  • German Abitur: 2.0
  • Italy DES: 80/100
  • Austria Mat: 2.0
  • Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Minimum Entry Requirements: No preliminary knowledge of the language is required but a foreign language at A-level or equivalent is preferred.

Subjects Preferred: A foreign language at A level, or equivalent, is preferred

Interview Policy: In principle all mature students, and all Japanese nationals and all students one of whose parents is Japanese are invited for interview.

The single-subject degree in Japanese aims to provide students with the highest level of competence in all aspects of the written and spoken language, and with an introduction to Japanese culture, both classical and modern.

Pre-modern and modern literature, theoretical and applied linguistics, history and religion are taught within the Japanese Section, and other Japan-related courses may be taken as ‘floaters’ in various departments of the School.

All students spend Year Three in Japan at one of the following universities: Hokkaido University of Education (Hokkaido), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Keio University, Waseda University, Sophia University, Ochanomizu University, Hitotsubashi University, International Christian University (all Tokyo), Nagoya University, Nanzan University (both Nagoya), Osaka University of Foreign Studies, Osaka University (both Osaka), Doshisha University (Kyoto), Kansai University, Kwansei Gakuin University, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Kyushu University, Kobe University, and Ritsumeikan University. Please bear in mind that the Year Abroad is compulsory, and that no teaching is available at SOAS for 3rd year students.

In the final year, single–subject students write an Independent Study Project based on in-depth study in one of many possible fields using Japanese language sources.

Structure

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Students must take a total of four units each year
Year 1: 

The programme accommodates absolute beginners as well as those with some knowledge of Japanese. Absolute beginners are placed in J1 - Elementary Japanese (2 units), and students who know some Japanese may be allocated, after a placement test, to J1 - Accelerated Elementary Japanese Language (1.5 units).

Elementary Japanese students will additionally take Aspects of Japanese Culture I and II (total 1 unit) and one open option (i.e. a course in a subject other than those named in the student’s chosen degree title). Accelerated Elementary Japanese students will also take Aspects of Japanese Culture 1 and 2, and an additional half unit to be chosen between Introduction to the Study of Language Learning I or II, Issues in Post-War Japanese Society I, Survey of Modern Japanese Literature (in translation). The last unit may be an open option.

There also exists the possibility, again after a placement test, for entry directly into Year 2. (A grade in Japanese A-level is the benchmark for entry to Year 2.)

Year 2: 

Students take two units of Japanese language, a half-unit of Survey of Pre-modern Japanese Literature (in translation), and a half-unit of Introduction to Pre-modern Japanese Language. The remaining unit(s) are made up from other courses within the Japanese section or alternatively from courses of another department.

Year 3: 

This is a compulsory year spent in Japan for both single and two-subject degree students, and there is no tuition offered by the department. Students are expected to take the equivalent of 4 units in this year at a Japanese university.

A three-year BA Japanese Studies which does not include a period of study in Japan will be on offer from 2009/10. Please check the website for updates.

Year 4: 

The Independent Study Project (ISP: 10,000-word essay on an approved topic) is compulsory. This is combined with at least 2 other units available in the Japanese section; the fourth unit may be an open option.

Notes on degree progression for students entering in and after September 2009

Students in Year 1 of BA Japanese (single or joint subject) must meet all three of the following conditions to be eligible to progress to the second year of their degree:

  1. They must pass in all core courses prescribed for Year 1 of their degree.
  2. They must pass in courses to the minimum value of three course units.
  3. In the core Japanese course (J1Elementary Japanese 15 590 1195 or J1 Accelerated elementary Japanese 15 590 1196) they must obtain a minimum mark of 50% following the May/June examination.
*Notes to the regulation:

A. These progression requirements do not apply to BA Japanese Studies (single and joint subject).

B. Students who obtain 50% or more in J1Elementary Japanese or J1 Accelerated elementary Japanese following a September resit examination will not meet the progression requirement. Students who obtain 20% to 39% in J1 following the May/June examination may enter to take a September resit examination, but only with the aim of applying to transfer to another degree (see Note C below).

C. Students who meet conditions 1 and 2 above and either pass J1 with a mark of 40% to 49% following the May/June examination or who pass J1 with any mark from 40% upwards following a September resit examination may apply to transfer to another degree (such as Year 2 of BA Japanese Studies). Applications for transfer must be made by means of the degree transfer application form, obtainable from any Faculty Office.

D. September resit examinations are available only in respect of courses failed with a mark in the range 20% to 39%. Students who have passed a course (40%+) may not attempt a September resit examination with the aim of improving their mark.


Course Structure

1st year students will be grouped into either “Elementary Japanese” or “Accelerated Japanese” according to their current Japanese proficiency level.

1st year Elementary Japanese
Core Course

This course must be passed in order to progress to the following year of study

Compulsory Courses
Open Option

Choose one open option course from this department, or another department (i.e. a course in a subject other than those named in the student’s chosen degree title). Students may not choose a language open option during their first year.

1st year Accelerated Japanese
Core Course

This course must be passed in order to progress to the following year of study

Compulsory Courses
Choose one of the following
Open Option

Choose one open option course from this department, or another department (i.e. a course in a subject other than those named in the student’s chosen degree title). Students may not choose a language open option during their first year.

2nd Year
Core Course

This course must be passed in order to progress to the following year of study

Compulsory Courses
Open Option

Choose one open option course from this department, or another department (i.e. a course in a subject other than those named in the student’s chosen degree title). Students may not choose a language open option during their first year.

3rd Year: Year Abroad

Please see more information on the year abroad in Japan under the Teaching & Learning tab.

4th Year
Compulsory Courses
Choose at least 2 units from this list.

Students may choose 3 units from this list, instead of taking the last unit as an open option.

Open Option

Choose one open option course from this department, or another department (i.e. a course in a subject other than those named in the student’s chosen degree title). Students may not choose a language open option during their first year.

Open Option units from the Japanese section

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Year abroad

All students spend year three in Japan at one of the Japanese universities listed below. Please bear in mind that the Year Abroad is compulsory, and that no teaching is available at SOAS for 3rd year students.

Tokyo

  • Hitotsubashi
  • International Christian University
  • Keio
  • Ochanomizu (women only)
  • Sophia
  • Tokyo U. of Foreign Studies
  • Waseda

Nagoya

  • Nagoya
  • Nanzan

Kyoto

  • Doshisha
  • Kyoto U. of Foreign Studies
  • Ritsumeikan

Osaka

  • Kansai
  • Osaka U., School of Economics
  • Osaka U., School of Foreign Studies

Kobe

  • Kobe
  • Kwansei Gakuin

Fukuoka

  • Kyushu

Hokkaido

  • Hokkaido U. of Education

Teaching & Learning

Language teaching is mostly in small tutorial groups; tapes and language laboratory facilities are available for formal teaching and self-study. Non-language units are taught by lecture and seminar.

Students are assessed by a combination of written examination (and oral for language units) and coursework, including essays and translations.

SOAS Library

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Pre Entry Reading

  • R. Bowring & P Kornicki (eds), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Japan 1996
  • D. Keene, Anthology of Japanese Literature, 1980
  • A. Gordon, A modern history of Japan, 1996
  • H Paul Varley, Japanese Culture (4th edition) 1998

Destinations

Students who specialise in Japan and the Japanese language at SOAS will gain competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. You will have developed a familiarity
with the region through a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law. Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. These include written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

Bloomberg
British High Commission
British Council Tokyo
Deloitte Management Consulting Ltd.
Epop Asia
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Kimpatsu Translations
Kyushu Sangyo University
Media Development Asia Pte Ltd
Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International
NHK-Japan Broadcasting Coporation
Oxford University
Quest Japan
Save the Children
The British Embassy
The British Museum
Tokyo Chunichi Newspapers
Wall Street Associates

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

British High Commissioner
Editor and Publisher
Analyst
Head of Production
US Marketing Executive
Special Representative to  Yeman
Senior Research Executive
Director of Development and Alumni Relations
Global Projects Coordinator
Business Analyst
Project Leader, Strategic Planning
Producer
Solicitor
Architect
Research Fellow
Interactive Designer
HM Ambassador to Japan
Translator
Professor Emeritus of European Literature
Illustrator & comics artist

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

It’s a melting pot of languages and cultures where your eyes open to new things you might have never heard about on a daily basis.

Antoni Slodkowski