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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

BA Japanese Studies and ...

Duration: 3 years


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2016 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAB-ABB
  • IB: 35 (665 at HL)
  • 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.

Subjects Preferred: A foreign language at A level, or equivalent, is desirable but not essential.

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

This is a three-years degree taught entirely at SOAS (it does not include a year of study in Japan), and requires less intensive study of the Japanese language than the BA Japanese – a smaller number of language classes can be taken at various levels of proficiency from pure beginner to very advanced.

The degree provides wide-ranging coverage of disciplines taught by specialists in the Japan section (pre-modern and modern literature, theoretical and applied linguistics, history, religion, media studies and popular culture), and allows access to the disciplinary expertise of other Japan-related specialists across the school. It therefore enables students to structure their course of study with great flexibility, to develop their own individual interests.

The BA Japanese Studies degree is available as a single subject and joint subject degree.

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.


May be combined with

*Taught at Birkbeck College, London

(Students are advised to see the other departments’ websites for options required in joint degrees)


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.

Year 1
Core Unit

Core courses must be passed in order to progress to the following year of study.

1 Optional Unit

Choose one unit from list A

2 Other Units

2 units are taken from the other subject/department

Year 2
Core Unit

Core courses must be passed in order to progress to the following year of study.

1 Optional Unit

Choose one unit from List A OR one unit from List B

2 Other Units

2 units are taken from the other subject/department

Year 3
2 Optional Units

Choose two units from List B. OR, choose one unit from List B and the following course.

2 Other Units

2 units are taken from the other subject/department

List A Options
Available to Year 1 and 2 students depending on their language ability.
List B Options

Before selecting a course, student's must first check that the course is at the correct level. They must also ensure that they meet any pre-requisites.

Available to Year 2 students only
Available to Year 2 and 3 students

Please note that prerequisites or course convenor approval may be required for some of these courses. Please see Teaching & Learning tab.

Available to year 3 students only

Please note that prerequisites or course convener approval may be required for some of these courses. Please see Teaching & Learning tab

The following courses require advanced language proficiency

'Memory and Militarism on Japanese TV' can only be taken in the final year of study.

The following courses are available as options only to ‘BA Japanese studies & Linguistics’ students

The courses 'Introduction to the Study of Language Learning I & II' can only be taken in year 2.


Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

NB: The following courses can be taken as options in the 3rd year subject to prerequisites.

  • Ethnography of Japan: the prerequisite for this course is “Introduction to Social Anthropology” (Anthropology & Sociology Dept), which students can take as an option in year 2. See the Anthropology & Sociology Departments’s website for options required in the joint degree.
  • Economic Development of Modern Japan since 1868: prerequisites are either; Intermediate Economic Analysis or Economics of Developing Countries I (to be taken in year 2). See the Economics’ department website for options required in joint degrees.
  • Music of East Asia: the prerequisites are; GCSE Music or Grade 5, or clear evidence of performance skills


As a student specialising in the languages and cultures of Japan, you will gain competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of Japan. 

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 in both business and 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.

Choosing to study a joint degree programme will increase the breadth of your knowledge, and will develop additional skills with which to further your studies of Japan, or to make comparative study with other areas. Japanese Studies may be combined with a huge range of other disciplines. For more information on the extra skills you will gain from your second subject, please see the relevant departmental page. 

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

A Student's Perspective

The best thing about my time here is that there has been a huge improvement in my language skills and I have become more aware of people from various backgrounds. 

Alice Yuen