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).
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)
- One calendar year (full-time),
Two or three (part-time, daytime only)
- UK/EU fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2020/21 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
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, 15 is a core module and the remaining 105 are 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.
Taught Component Options
Students choose modules to the value of 105 credits from the options below.
Anthropology and Sociology
Available as a major only. Adequate background in Economics is a prerequisite for this module. Please contact the convenor for details.
Available as a minor only
Literature and Culture
Available as a minor only
Available as a minor only
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
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
- 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.
- Students will learn how to access and evaluate electronic and other data effectively and efficiently.
- Students will learn how to solve complex problems, for example concerning economic development, historical causation, literary interpretation, or political decision-making.
- Students will learn how to communicate effectively in a variety of settings and formats.
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 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second & subsequent years of study will be higher. Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.
||Part-time 2 Years
||Part-time 3 Years
||Part-time 4 Years
Intensive Language only
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
Nikkei Europe Inc
The Japan Society
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Executive - Japan Business Programme
Product and Operation Executive
TV reporter, producer
Investor Relations Officer
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
Fiorella Cerbasio, Istituto Universitario Orientale Di Napoli
London is amazing. It is a big city, there is always something going on, always something interesting to do. Also, you can move around easily and fast. It is a frenetic life, but it is just part of the fun. If you want you can also relax in a park. I particularly love parks as there are not many in my city. You can enjoy art, nature and everything else in the same city. I really think it is amazing!