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Japanese courses

Would you like to develop your written and spoken Japanese language skills so you could live or work in another country? Are you interested in learning about Japan’s history, literature and culture? If so a modern languages course in Japan and/ or another European language may be for you. Courses often include time abroad studying at a university, or teaching. Possible careers include translating and interpreting, journalism, law, publishing, museum curator or working for an international company.

Studying japanese at university

Example course modules

  • Japanese language and linguistics
  • Japanese history and culture
  • Modern Japanese society
  • Religion in Japan
  • Contemporary Japanese popular culture
  • Language and society
  • Constructing words and meaning: morphology
  • Modes of reading
  • Japan: Geography, economy and society
  • Japan in war and peace

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 56%
    Male : 44%
  • Mature : 27%
    School leaver : 73%
  • Full-time : 95%
    Part-time : 5%

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • No Specific Requirements

Useful to have

  • history
  • Politics
  • English literature
  • Any modern language

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Relatively few students graduate with world language degrees each year, so it's still a fairly unusual and specialist area to pursue and we'd recommend going on open days and speaking to tutors about what previous graduates went on to do. One in five Japanese graduates went to work aboard in a variety of roles where they can apply these language skills and cultural & historical knowledge. These can include roles as teachers, interpreters and translators, as well as within the tourism and finance sectors. But remember – whilst employers rate graduates who have more than one language, you need to have them as part of a whole package of good skills, even if that language is rare and valuable to business.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Teaching and educational professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Translator
  • Teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL)

Other real-life job examples

  • Housing officer
  • Information analyst
  • Financial advisor

What employers like about this subject

Language and literature degrees can provide students with a range of subject-specific skills, including an understanding of the language and culture of the countries under study; the way that literature and language interacts with society and, of course, how to communicate effectively in the chosen languages. Students on these courses often take a year abroad in the country of study. Students of languages can also learn a number of useful transferable skills including communication, time management, research and critical thinking and project management, and these skills are in demand from employers, including schools, translation services, accountants and advertising agencies.