SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Independent Study Project in Japanese Language and Culture

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 4
Taught in:
Full Year

A full unit essay on an approved topic in Japanese studies. 

Students will present a seminar paper on their topic during the second term. After preliminary reading on a topic of their interest, students wishing to take this module are required to approach the module convenor in order to discuss the range and nature of their proposed topic and gain approval for supervision. This should preferably be done in Term 3 of the academic year before that in which the ISP is to be undertaken. 

For topics falling outside the Section, a staff member with expertise on Japan outside the section may be approached (in consultation with the Section)

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The Independent Study Project (ISP) is a unique opportunity for a student to work on his or her own initiative, and to gain advanced training in academic research and writing. Undertaken during the final year, it involves researching and writing up a long essay, on a topic usually related to other modules which the student has already studied or is about to study. The utilisation of primary sources is encouraged, and the use of Japanese language sources is compulsory. Writing an ISP is particularly useful for students thinking of doing postgraduate study, or taking employment involving some kind of research component.

The focus of the project will be agreed with the module convenor and the prospective supervisor. Supervision of up to ten hours will be provided by the supervisor and will include advice on research methodologies, basic advice on reference sources and the structure and content of the project. The main purpose of this study project is to increase knowledge in specific areas in Japanese language and culture, and to enhance skills in undertaking and writing up independent research.

The learning outcomes will depend on research topic. However, the objective of the project generally speaking should be to enable students to develop research skills consonant with the requirements of professional research in the field of the Japanese language and culture.


Students will attend training seminars in the first 5 weeks of term 1 and will work on their individual projects with their supervisor for a maximum of 3 hours after the training seminars over term 1 and 2.

Method of assessment

One 10,000 word essay (in English) due Friday week 1, term 3.

Suggested reading

A reading list will be determined by the choice of topic.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules