Overview and entry requirements
The BA Japanese programme provides students with the highest level of competence in all aspects of the written and spoken language, as well as an introduction to both classical and modern Japanese culture. From the study of contemporary Japanese society, film and popular culture, to pre-modern literature and history, the BA Japanese is suitable for both absolute beginners as well as those with some knowledge of the Japanese language.
Students will spend the third year of study in Japan furthering language proficiency and understanding of Japanese society and culture.
See Japan and Korea Department
Why study Japanese at SOAS
- UK Top 10 in the 2021 QS World University Rankings for Modern Languages
- we are home to the largest concentration of Japan specialists outside of Japan
- you will not only learn the essential language skills but also an in depth understanding of the region’s culture covering subjects from literature, history, cinema, and politics
- you will spend your third year in Japan furthering language and cultural proficiency
- you will be able to flexibly structure your programme using our central options modules to take advantage of the expertise of our other departments
- Your command of a language will set you apart from graduates of other universities
Programme Code: T210 BA/J
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
- 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 GCSE or A-level, or equivalent, is preferred
- Interview Policy: Mature students, candidates with non-standard qualifications, Japanese nationals and heritage speakers (ie, Japanese raised abroad) who meet the academic requirements may be invited for interview.
- A Levels:
- AAB - ABB
- A Level language preferred
- 35 (6/6/5)
View alternative entry requirements
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
- 4 years
Students take 120 credits per year composed of core and guided modules.
- Year 1: students will Japanese language intensely and take history/culture modules and 15 credits of academic writing.
- Year 2: students will take modules of Japanese language and history/culture.
- Year 3: students will spend the year aborad at one of the Japanese Univerisites with which we have a exchange partnership.
In the final year students will continue their study of Japanese language, write an Independent Study Project and study further modules on history/culture.
This module must be passed in order to progress to the following year of study
*Lifeboat Option: If a student is struggling with J100, they will move to Japanese 1B (155906027) in the 2nd term & write an extended essay (155901421), then move to the BA East Asian Studies Programme.
Students must take the modules below
This module must be passed in order progress to the following year of study.
Students must take the modules below
Choose modules from List A (at the relevant FHEQ level for your academic year of study) to the value of 15 credits.
Choose modules from List A /List B or Central options (at the relevant FHEQ level for your academic year of study) to the value of 30 credits.
*Year 3 (from 2021) Year Abroad: For more information on the year abroad in Japan, please see the Teaching & Learning tab.
Students must take the modules below
Choose modules from List A (at the relevant FHEQ level for your academic year of study) to the value of 30 credits.
Choose modules from List A/List B or Central options (at the relevant FHEQ level for your academic year of study) to the value of 30 credits.
Year 2: List A Guided Option Modules
FHEQ Level 5
Year 4: List A Guided option modules
FHEQ Level 6
Year 2/Year 4: List B Guided option modules
FHEQ level 5/6
Year 2/Year 4: List B Language Open Option Module
FHEQ Level 6
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching & Learning
Most modules are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorial delivered across the week. Lectures are led by an academic while tutorials are sessions in which students are expected to present reports and take a lead in discussions.
Depending on the size of the class, some intermediate and advanced level modules are less strictly divided between a formal lecture and a tutorial discussion, and instead, the topic is briefly introduced by the lecturer, followed by a seminar discussion. Advanced level modules, which are usually taught in one two-hour bloc, often take this format.
The assessment procedures involve coursework assignments, tests and unseen examinations. They provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the content and systems taught in lectures, tutorials and the literature.
All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 60, 30 or 15 credits. They are taught over 10 or 20 weeks. The programme structure shows which modules are taught over one term or the full year. It also shows which modules are compulsory and which are optional.
As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others.
More information is on the page for each module.
All students spend their third year in Japan at one of the Japanese universities listed below, following successful completion of their second year. Students will study a combination of language and non-language modules, and must pass 75% of them in order to proceed to Year 4. Please note that not all universities will have places available every year, and that each university has a limited number of places. Students indicate preferences, but final allocation will be determined by the department.
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.
- B. Frellesvig, A History of the Japanese Language (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
- K. Friday, Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850 (Westview Press, 2012)
- C. Gerteis and T.S. George, Japan Since 1945: From Postwar to Post-bubble (Bloomsbury, 2013)
- C. Goto-Jones, Modern Japan: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2009)
- J. Hendry, Understanding Japanese Society (Routledge, 2012)
- M.B. Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000)
- H. Shirane, T. Suzuki, and D. Lurie (eds.), The Cambridge History of Japanese Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
- P. Varley, Japanese Culture (University of Hawai’i Press, 2000)
Studying the BA Japanese programme will provide students with competency in language skills, as well as intercultural awareness and understanding.
- familiarity with the region through a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law
- communication and presentation skills
- analytical skills
- ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources
Graduates from the Japan Department leave SOAS not only with language 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.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
- Bloomberg L.P
- British High Commission
- British Council Tokyo
- Deloitte Management Consulting Ltd
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International
- NHK-Japan Broadcasting Corporation
- Oxford University
- The British Embassy
- The British Museum
- Wall Street Associates
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
- Financial Analyst
- Head of Production
- US Marketing Executive
- Senior Research Executive
- Director of Development and Alumni Relations
- Project Leader, Strategic Planning
- Interactive Designer
- HM Ambassador to Japan
- Freelance Japanese Translator
Find out more about Japan and Korea graduate destinations
A Student's Perspective
Not only does SOAS have a great reputation for its Japanese department and Japanese library collection, but I also believe that for language students, there’s no better city to live and study in than London