SOAS University of London

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

MA Japanese Studies

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

Fees 2018/19

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2018/19 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

2018 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

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  • Overview
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  • Fees and funding
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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 modules 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 programme 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 programme. Language modules, 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 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules. A maximum of 60 credits can be taken from one discipline and a minimum of three disciplines must be covered. For students opting to take two language acquisition modules, only one of these can be from an introductory level.

One of the modules is designated as a major, in relation to which students complete a 10,000 word dissertation. Note that some modules can only be taken as a major and some, notably language modules, only as a minor.

As the emphasis in the Regional Studies programmes is on interdisciplinary study, students may only take a maximum of 60 credits in any one discipline.  A minimum of three disciplines must be covered and, for students taking two language acquisition modules, only one of these can be at introductory level.

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

Module Options
Anthropology and Sociology
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 15 Term 1
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Shogunal Iconography in the Edo Period 15PARH007 15 Term 1
Popular Practice in the Edo Period Arts 15PARH008 15 Term 2
Available as a major only
Adequate background in Economics is a prerequisite for this module. Please contact the convenor for details.
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Economic Development of Japan 15PECH025 15 Term 2
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Japanese Modernity I 15PHIH013 15 Term 1
Japanese Modernity II 15PHIH014 15 Term 2
Available as a minor only
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Basic Japanese 1 (PG) 15PJKC008 30 Full Year
Basic Japanese 2 (PG) 15PJKC009 30 Full Year
Intermediate Japanese 1 (PG) 15PJKC010 30 Full Year
Intermediate Japanese 2 (PG) 15PJKC011 30 Full Year
Advanced Japanese: Contemporary Topics (PG) 15PJKC012 30 Full Year
Advanced Japanese: Readings in Modern Japanese History 15PEAC004 30 Full Year
Higher Advanced Japanese (Masters) 15PEAC021 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Practical Translation: Japanese into English 15PJKH003 15 Term 2
Basic Korean (PG) 15PJKC022 30 Full Year
Basic Korean 2 (PG) 15PJKC024 30 Full Year
Intermediate Korean (PG) 15PJKC013 30 Full Year
Special Course in Chinese 1 (PG) 15PCHC008 30 Full Year
Special Course in Chinese 2 (PG) 15PCHC011 30 Full Year
Special Course in Chinese 3 (PG) 15PCHC009 30 Full Year
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Syntactic Structure of Japanese 1 15PEAH006 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Syntactic Structure of Japanese 2 15PEAH007 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Japanese Traditional Drama (Masters) 15PEAH013 15 Term 1
Modern Japanese Literature (Masters) 15PEAH012 15 Term 2
Readings in Pre-Modern Japanese Literature (Masters) 15PJKC005 30 Full Year
Readings in Modern Japanese Literature 15PJKC003 30 Full Year
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Management in Japan I 15PFMC018 15 Term 1
Management in Japan II 15PFMC077 15 Term 2
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Japanese Transnational Cinema: From Kurosawa to Asia Extreme and Studio Ghibli 15PJKH007 15 Term 1
Japanese Post-War Film Genres and the Avant-Garde 15PJKH008 15 Term 2
Japanese Television since 1953 15PJKC006 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Available as a minor only
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH014 15 Term 1
Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH016 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Module Code Credits Term Availability
International politics of East Asia 15PPOC251 30 Full Year
Northeast Asian politics: Japan, Korea and Taiwan 15PPOC253 30 Full Year
Japan Unravelled 15PPOH033 - Not Running 2017/18
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers 15PSRC071 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Available as a minor only
Module Code Credits Term Availability
East Asian Buddhist Thought 15PSRH018 15 Term 2
Readings in Japanese religion 15PSRH041 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018


This is the structure for 2017/18 applicants

If you are a current student you can find structure information on Moodle or through your Faculty.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. 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. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.

More information is on the page for each module

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will acquire a comprehensive understanding of Japan’s past and present, within the parameters of the modules and disciplines chosen.
  • Students will acquire an advanced understanding of the theoretical and methodological tools of the relevant disciplines.
  • Students who choose to take language will improve their knowledge of and ability to use Japanese in their everyday life and, depending on the level achieved, professional career.
Learning Outcomes: 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 the strengths and disciplines 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 modules taken.
Transferrable skills
  1. Students will learn how to access and evaluate electronic and other data effectively and efficiently.
  2. Students will learn how to solve complex problems, for example concerning economic development, historical causation, literary interpretation, or political decision-making.
  3. Students will learn how to communicate effectively in a variety of settings and formats.

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 2018/19 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years
£9,225 £18,980 £4,613 £9,490 £3,075 £6,327
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2018-06-05 00:00

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


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