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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

MA ... and Intensive Language (Japanese)

Duration: 2 yr pathway: full time (2 years) or part time (4 years).


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Who is this programme for?:

The two-year language pathway is directed at students with a professional and academic interest in Japan. The intensive training in Japanese language aims at supporting students’ ability to tackle their disciplinary interests by engaging with written texts and in oral communication in Japanese.

Your chosen discipline is combined with intensive Japanese language over two years, making this programme unique in Europe.

Access to the Japanese language pathway is currently available for students with a post-beginner level of proficiency: as a point of reference, this would correspond to having completed Minna no Nihongo, Volumes 1 and 2 (or an equivalent text), knowledge of approximately 500 kanji, and tuition time of about 220 hours in total.

Students’ proficiency levels will be assessed through a placement test during registration week (specific dates will be provided to the applicants).


May be combined with


Once you have checked the structure for this programme via the structure tab, please click into the above discipline that you would like to study. You will then see the full list of optional courses available to you.


In the two-year language pathway, students take 2 intensive language units and one discipline unit in their first year.  During the summer, they participate in a summer school abroad.  Upon their return, in the second year, they take one intensive language unit and two discipline units.  They also choose a dissertation topic within their Major.
Students must pass all of the language units in order to qualify for the degree with Intensive Japanese.

In the two-year language pathway, the intensive language courses will be assessed by a combination of exams and continuous assessment, involving in-class tests.  The assessment of the summer school element is conducted upon return to SOAS.

Two years full-time:

Year of study              Course title
1                                  Intensive Japanese 1 (2 units)
1                                  1 unit in discipline
Summer of year 1        Intensive Japanese 2 (1 unit)
2                                  Intensive Japanese 3 (1 unit)
2                                  2 units in discipline
2                                  Dissertation in discipline

Four years part-time:

Year of study              Course title
1                                  Intensive Japanese 1 (2 units)
Summer of year 1        Intensive Japanese 2 (1 unit)
2                                  1 unit in discipline subject
2                                  Intensive Japanese 3 (1 unit)
3                                  1 unit in discipline subject
4                                  1 unit in discipline subject
4                                  Dissertation (1 unit)


Please check the Programme Specification for further information. 

Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

Learning outcomes will vary depending on the combination of courses chosen by individual students.  Learning outcomes for each course can be found under the information provided on the relevant list of postgraduate courses on the departmental page of the SOAS website.

  • Students will acquire a comprehensive understanding of Japan’s past and present, within the parameters of the courses and disciplines chosen.
  • Students will acquire an advanced understanding of the theoretical and methodological tools of the relevant disciplines.
  • Students will improve their knowledge of and ability to use Japanese in their everyday life and professional career.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  • Students will learn how to assess data and evidence critically from a variety of sources and how to resolve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations.
  • Students will learn to evaluate the strengths of particular disciplinary and theoretical approaches, cultivating their ability to draw on a variety of such approaches.
  • Students will learn how to design and manage an independent research project, formulating the problem to be addressed, identifying the data to be analyzed, and synthesizing the findings to present well-supported conclusions.
Subject-based practical skills
  • Students will learn how to read critically, to participate effectively in seminar discussions, and to present their work in both oral and written form.
  • More specific skills will depend on the particular courses taken.
  • Students will acquire/develop linguistic skills which will enable them to tackle written and spoken tasks in contexts relevant to them.
Transferable skills
  • Students will learn how to access and evaluate electronic and other data effectively and efficiently.
  • Students will learn how to solve complex problems, for example concerning economic development, historical causation, literary interpretation, or political decision-making.
  • Students will learn how to communicate effectively in a variety of settings and formats.

A Student's Perspective

London is amazing. It is a big city, there is always something going on, always something interesting to do. Also, you can move around easily and fast. It is a frenetic life, but it is just part of the fun. If you want you can also relax in a park. I particularly love parks as there are not many in my city. You can enjoy art, nature and everything else in the same city. I really think it is amazing!

Fiorella Cerbasio, Erasmus