SOAS University of London

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

BA Japanese Studies and ... (2019 entry)

Select year of entry: 2019

  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


Please note that this BA programme will undergo a structural reform for 2019/20. Although the overall scope and learning outcomes will remain mostly unchanged, there may be minor changes to the core module and the selection of guided options. These changes are designed to improve the student experience and engagement with the subject matter, based on feedback from current and previous students.

From the study of pre-modern Japanese literature and history, to contemporary cinema and TV, we are the home to the largest concentration of Japanese specialists in Europe. The BA Japanese Studies Combined Honours Degree provides students with the opportunity to study Japanese culture in depth, along with the study of the language. It will not only provide you with a thorough grounding in Japanese culture but will allow you to create a specialist niche for yourself by studying another subject.

What subjects can you combine it with?

Other disciplines -  Economics, History, History of Art/ Archaeology, International Relations, Linguistics, Music, Politics, Social Anthropology, Study of Religions, World Philosophies.

Languages - Chinese, Korean, Korean Studies

Why study Japanese Studies Combined Honours at SOAS?

  • 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
  • choosing to study a Combined Honours programme will allow you take advantage of the expertise of one of our other departments and help you create a specialist niche for yourself
  • we are specialists in the delivery of more that forty African and Asian languages. Your command of a language will set you apart from graduates of other universities

Apply now via UCAS or visit our upcoming Open Day.

Find out more about how to apply.

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

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: Mature students, candidates with non-standard qualifications, Japanese nationals, and heritage speakers (i.e., Japanese raised abroad) who meet the academic requirements may be invited for interview.
A Levels:
35 (665 at HL)

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

Featured events

3 years

Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.


May be combined with:

*Taught at Birkbeck College, London

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

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data


Students take 120 credits per year composed of core and optional modules, which allows for students to design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.

This is a three-year degree and requires less intensive study of the Japanese language than the BA Japanese degree. A smaller number of language classes can be taken at various levels of proficiency from pure beginner to very advanced.

Year 1
Compulsory Modules

Students will take both of the modules below:

Module Code Credits Term
Cool Japan: Manga, Anime, Sushi 155901416 15 Term 2
Reading and Writing East Asian Studies 155901439 15 Term 1

Compulsory Module

Choose a Japanese Language module(s) from List A at and appropriate level below to the value of 30 credits


60 credits are taken from the syllabus of the second subject.

Year 2
Compulsory Modules

Students will take both of the modules below:

Compulsory Module

Choose a Japanese Language module(s) from List A or List B at and appropriate level below to the value of 30 credits


60 credits are taken from the syllabus of the second subject

Year 3
Compulsory Modules

Compulsory Module

Choose module(s) from List A and List B to the value of 60 credits


60 credits are taken from the syllabus of the second subject

List of modules (subject to availability)
List A (Language use modules)

Available to Year 1, 2 and 3 students depending on their language ability.

Module Code Credits Term
Japanese 1 A 155906026 15 Term 1
Japanese 1 B 155906027 15 Term 2
Japanese 2 155900875 30 Full Year
Japanese 3 155901345 30 Full Year
Japanese 4 155901346 30 Full Year
Japanese 5 155901255 30 Term 1
Modernity, Nation and Identity in Japanese History (1853-1945) 155900882 15 Term 2
Reading Pre-modern Japanese Texts 1 155901424 15 Term 2
Self, City and Sexuality in Modern Japanese Literature 1868 to present day 155901426 15 Term 1
Writing from the Margins: Minority and "Outsider" Texts in Modern Japanese Literature 155901427 15 Term 2
List B (Non-language based disciplinary modules)

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

Module Code Credits Term
H120 The Confucian World 154800229 15 Term 1
Fieldwork methods in language and culture 155901417 15 Term 2
Identity and social relations in Japanese 155901418 15 Term 1
Japanese Art 154900110 30 Full Year
Visual Culture of Early-Modern Japan 154900120 30 Full Year
Musical Traditions of East Asia 155800078 15 Term 2
Pop and Politics in East Asia 155800077 15 Term 1
Queer Cinema in Asia 155907000 15 Term 2
Ethnography of Japan 151802081 15 Term 1
Japanese Traditional Drama 155901422 15 Term 1
Reading Pre-modern Japanese Texts 1 155901424 15 Term 2
Modernity, Nation and Identity in Japanese History (1853-1945) 155900882 15 Term 2
History and Memory in East Asian Cultures 155903015 15 Term 2
Extended Essay in East Asian Studies 155900854 15 Term 2
Contemporary Issues in the Japanese and Korean Economies 151030020 15 Term 1
Finance in Japan and Korea 151030021 15 Term 2

Programme Specification

Important notice

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 and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 60, 45, 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.


The following Open Option modules can be taken as options in the 3rd year:

  • Economic Development of Modern Japan since 1868. The prerequisites are either Intermediate Economic Analysis or Economics of Developing Countries I (to be taken in Year 2).
  • Musical Traditions of East Asia. The prerequisites are GCSE Music or Grade 5, or clear evidence of performance skills.

Modules are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials, usually one hour a week of each. Sometimes, one follows the other in a two-hour bloc. Sometimes, the tutorial is at a different time or on a different day than the lecture.

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.

The Independent Study Project (ISP)

These can be taken by final-year students only. Like the Special Subject dissertation, its aim is to provide an opportunity for students to conduct original historical research on their own initiative, to engage in in-depth analysis of particular subjects and to use a range of primary historical sources. It too involves no formal classes and is assessed by a single 10,000-word dissertation (including notes but excluding bibliography).

Learning Resources

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.


Studying this programme will provide students with competency Japanese language skills as well as intercultural awareness and understanding. Choosing to study a Combined programme will increase the breadth of your knowledge as you develop additional skills with which to further your studies of Japan, or to make comparative study with other areas. 

Skills gained include:

  • a 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
  • 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

Graduates from the 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.

Find out more about Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea Destinations

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
  • Solicitor
  • Architect
  • Interactive Designer
  • HM Ambassador to Japan
  • Freelance Japanese Translator

Find out more