SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

MA Japanese Studies

One calendar year (full-time), Two or three (part-time, daytime only)

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. This is a Band 1 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply


Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

SOAS offers the most comprehensive MA in Japanese Studies available anywhere in Europe.

Students are able to choose courses that cover all of Japan’s historical periods, from the earliest to the present and ranging over the social and political sciences as well as humanities.

The students who take this degree come from many countries and have a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Some have already studied, or lived in, Japan and wish to broaden their knowledge or understanding. Others wish to focus their previous training on the region, while still others will come from Japan or other East Asian countries wishing to study Japan from the perspective of a different culture and academic tradition.

Knowledge of the Japanese language is not a requirement of the course. Language courses, however, are popular options.

SOAS has its own Japan Research Centre and shares the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures with the University of East Anglia. Both can be of great benefit to students.

Also see the Dual Degree Programme in Global Studies between SOAS and Sophia University (Tokyo).



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.

Students take three course units (three full units, six half units, or a combination). One of the units is designated as a major, in relation to which students complete a 10,000 word dissertation. Note that some courses can only be taken as a major and some, notably language courses, only as a minor.

As the emphasis in the Regional Studies programmes is on interdisciplinary study, students are required to select their three courses from more than one discipline. The two minor units can be taken from the same discipline, but students cannot take a minor unit in the same discipline as their major.

One minor unit can be chosen from a different MA programme, for example the MA Chinese Studies or Korean Studies, subject to the approval of the MA Japanese Studies convenor and the relevant course convenor.

Some disciplines, such as Anthropology, Economics, or Politics, require an appropriate qualification (such as part of a first degree) if any of their courses are to be taken as the major subject. Students interested in such courses are advised to refer to the relevant webpage for details and, if necessary, to contact the convenor. Please note that convenors have discretion in deciding if an applicant's background is sufficient for the course concerned.

All courses are subject to availability

Course Options

Anthropology and Sociology
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 0.5 Unit Term 1
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Shogunal Iconography in the Edo Period 15PARH007 0.5 Unit Term 1
Popular Practice in the Edo Period Arts 15PARH008 0.5 Unit Term 2
Available as a major only
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Economic dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region 15PECC334 1 Unit Full Year
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Japanese Modernity I 15PHIH013 0.5 Unit Term 1
Japanese Modernity II 15PHIH014 0.5 Unit Term 2
Available as a minor only
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Basic Japanese 1 (PG) 15PJKC008 1 Unit Full Year
Basic Japanese 2 (PG) 15PJKC009 1 Unit Full Year
Intermediate Japanese 1 (PG) 15PJKC010 1 Unit Full Year
Intermediate Japanese 2 (PG) 15PJKC011 1 Unit Full Year
Advanced Japanese: Contemporary Topics (PG) 15PJKC012 1 Unit Full Year
Advanced Japanese: Readings in Modern Japanese History 15PEAC004 1 Unit Full Year
Higher Advanced Japanese (Masters) 15PEAC021 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Practical Translation: Japanese into English 15PJKH003 0.5 Unit Term 2
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Syntactic Structure of Japanese 1 15PEAH006 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Syntactic Structure of Japanese 2 15PEAH007 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Japanese Traditional Drama (Masters) 15PEAH013 0.5 Unit Term 1
Modern Japanese Literature (Masters) 15PEAH012 0.5 Unit Term 2
Readings in Pre-Modern Japanese Literature (Masters) 15PJKC005 1 Unit Full Year
Readings in Modern Japanese Literature 15PJKC003 1 Unit Full Year
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Management in Japan I 15PFMC018 0.5 Unit Term 1
Management in Japan II 15PFMC077 0.5 Unit Term 2
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Japanese Transnational Cinema: From Kurosawa to Asia Extreme and Studio Ghibli 15PJKH007 0.5 Unit Term 1
Japanese Post-War Film Genres and the Avant-Garde 15PJKH008 0.5 Unit Term 2
Japanese Television since 1953 15PJKC006 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Available as a minor only
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH014 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH016 0.5 Unit Term 2
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
International politics of East Asia 15PPOC251 1 Unit Full Year
Northeast Asian politics: Japan, Korea and Taiwan 15PPOC253 1 Unit Full Year
Japan Unravelled 15PPOH033 0.5 Unit Term 2
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers 15PSRC071 1 Unit Full Year
Available as a minor only
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
East Asian Buddhist Thought 15PSRH018 0.5 Unit Term 2
Readings in Japanese religion 15PSRH041 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017


Important information for 2017/18 applicants

For the 2017 academic year, SOAS has introduced a new academic framework for all of our postgraduate taught courses. The new model will mean that taught programmes are now made up of four units each worth 30 credits – our current structure is based on three units – plus dissertation. This approach is in line with PG programmes in most other universities.

In practice this means that there will be additional choice of modules for students taking PG taught programmes in 2017. The modules set out here represent the options available in the programme in 2016. In most cases, our 2017 programmes will contain these options plus additional modules – broadening the range of what is available on your programme.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Lectures and Seminars

The style of teaching in the Japanese Studies programme varies according to subject and teacher, but in most courses there is one 2-hour class each week. This may be an informal lecture followed by a discussion or student presentation.
At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.


The 10,000 word dissertation on an approved topic linked with one of the taught courses.

Learning Resources

SOAS has its own Japan Research Centre and shares the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures with the University of East Anglia. Both can be of great benefit to students.

SOAS Library

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 1 tuition fee.

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£8,785 £18,075 £4,393 £9,038 £2,928 £6,025
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

The Prospect Burma Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


A postgraduate degree in Japanese Studies from SOAS provides its students with competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Postgraduate students develop linguistic and cultural expertise which will enable them to continue in the field of research.  Equally, they develop a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers. 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.  

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

Department of Energy & Climate Change
Ernst & Young
Gaia'S Delights
HM Forces
Nikkei Europe Inc
The Japan Society
Thomson Reuters
Al-Jazeera English
Reykjavik University
Konnichiwa-Japan, Inc.
Mitsibushi Securities

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

Executive - Japan Business Programme
Product and Operation Executive
Communications Officer
TV reporter, producer
Financial Analyst
Academic Programmer
Online Journalist
Creative Director
Investor Relations Officer
Marketing Director

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

A Student's Perspective

Aside from the incredible library, I would have to say that the commitment to learning that is shared by both students and staff members is a unique aspect of SOAS. Everyone is striving to do their best and to bring out the best in others.

Charlie Orr


Find out more

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