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The MA in Japanese

The Program

Asian Languages and Literatures offers a course of study leading to the Master of Arts degree in Japanese. There are two principal focuses of our program. One is the study of Japanese literature, culture, linguistics, and/or pedagogy. The second is the acquisition of practical language skills to enhance future work in such fields as translation, interpretation, teaching, journalism, business or government. Our M.A. students have gone on to work in embassies, as high school teachers and college professors, as professional translators and interpreters, and in a number of other careers.


Students entering the Master's Degree program in Japanese Language and Literature must have finished the equivalent of four years of college-level Japanese language courses. This can be accomplished by taking courses as an undergraduate; studying, living, and working in Japan; or completing the N2 level of the Japanese Language Placement Exam. Each student accepted into the program will take our language placement exam during the first week to determine the level of their language competence. If a student does not place in either Japanese 532 (Media Japanese) or Japanese 536 (Advanced Modern Japanese I), the student may have to spend an extra year in the program in order to gain the competence necessary to write a Master’s Thesis using original materials. (Students whose preparation is deficient in certain areas may be required to do remedial work after admission to the program. Such work will not be counted toward the degree. ) Students in the program are also expected to familiarize themselves with the general features of Japanese history and Japanese literary history before they arrive on campus. The student can contact the Graduate Program Director for information about how to do this.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for all applicants, including foreign applicants. The Graduate School requires all applicants whose native language is not English to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). (Please refer to the Graduate School guidelines here.) However, the standard English test scores are only one part of the application and we review all the application materials when making admissions decisions.  We also look at the applicants' background in college coursework and potential in graduate studies. Sending a writing sample separately from the application is not required. All applicants will automatically be considered for a paid Teaching Assistantship, which includes a full tuition waiver, stipend (as of May 2017, the hourly salary for TA is $25.23; most TAs work 10 hrs/week, but some on rare occasions will work 20hrs/week) and some health benefits. Although we try to cover as many of our graduate students as possible (depending upon their qualifications), we cannot always guarantee coverage. Our Teaching Assistantships can be for language teaching (depending upon a student’s qualifications) or for assisting with content courses in literature and culture. In order to determine a student’s qualifications for a language teaching assistantship, one of our full-time language teachers will call the applicant after he/she has been accepted. Keep in mind, though, that there are other fees assessed to the students with Assistantships that are not covered by the Assistantship. These generally total less than $1000.00.

Japanese MA Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete at least thirty credits of course work plus a master’s thesis (six credits). Up to six credits of appropriate course work at the graduate level from other institutions may be accepted with the approval of the graduate committee. It is expected that most suitably prepared students will be able to finish all requirements for the degree within two academic years.


Japanese 537: Advanced Modern Japanese II

Japanese 556H: Classical Japanese I

Japanese 592A: Pro-seminar in Japanese 1

Japanese 592B: Pro-seminar in Japanese 2

Japanese 660: Problems and Methods in Translation

Japanese 691: Graduate Seminar in Japanese

Japanese 692B: Advanced Thesis Writing


Japanese 532: Media Japanese I

Japanese 536: Advanced Modern Japanese I

Japanese 557H: Introduction to Classical Japanese II

Japanese 580: Teaching of Japanese as a Foreign Language

Japanese 591B: Seminar in Modern Japanese Philosophy

Japanese 591S: Japanese Women’s Literature

Japanese 591T: Tokyo through Literature & Film

Japanese 593: Heian Literary Culture

Japanese 593B: Introduction to Japanese Linguistics

Japanese 597A: Manuscript Japanese (1 credit, repeatable)

Japanese 597F: Business Japanese

Japanese 597K: Japanese Video Games

Japanese 698Y: Practicum

Up to two (six credits) from other units or departments may also be accepted with the approval of the graduate committee, if higher than 500 level.

Note that master candidates CANNOT use 400 level (taken within their department) - (or lower) courses to fulfill requirements for their degree.


Japanese 699: Thesis and Examination