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Japanese Studies

BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code


Start dates

September 2020



Course length

Full time: 4 years

Part time: up to 8 years


Department of English and Modern Languages

UCAS Tariff Points


  • The Complete University Guide


Are you passionate about Japan Studies and looking for a way to transform your knowledge of its culture and language? 

Embarking on a Japanese Studies degree course at Oxford Brookes means you’ll be:

  • Learning all about Japanese history and culture
  • Dissecting the intricacies of interesting topics such as Japanese manga and anime 
  • Sharpening your Japanese oral and written skills 
  • Spending a year studying or working in Japan. 

Through our Japanese Studies course, your Japanese speaking abilities will be enhanced. This is true whether you’re a complete beginner or already have existing language abilities. 

The skills you develop will be of high value in multiple career paths such as:

  • education
  • translation
  • international commerce
  • the Diplomatic Service. 

You can opt to spend your third year in Japan. In doing so, you’ll return with a more superior command of the language and a deeper understanding of the culture, country and people.


Combine this course

You can study this course as part of a combined honours degree. This course can be combined with:

How to apply

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29


Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: English at grade 4 or above

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
2020 / 21
Home/EU full time

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

Home/EU sandwich (placement)

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

Home/EU sandwich (placement)

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Year abroad

Whilst studying in Japan you will pay a reduced tuition fee to Oxford Brookes (as a guide, 2019 fees: £1,380 for Home/EU students, and £3,420 for International students). You will be responsible for your own travel, food, and accommodation costs. Living costs vary depending on where in Japan you choose to study and depend on the Yen-GBP exchange rate. Some of our university partners often offer full or partial scholarships.

Students should also note that most Japanese universities require medical appointments and medical tests as part of their application process. Such appointments and tests usually incur costs in the region of £150 - £250+ which each student will be responsible for.

 In addition, most universities in Japan require students to register with the Japanese National Health Insurance Scheme which can cost up to 20,000 yen.

Learning and assessment

Your Year 1 studies will include Japanese language from beginners, and the Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture module will provide essential background knowledge of Japanese society, geography and history.
In Year 2 you’ll focus on developing your language skills even further. Additional modules will allow a more detailed study of the arts, culture and society of Japan.
Year 3 will be a transformative one where we provide you with the opportunity to study at a university in Japan, building your Japanese language skills to a much more substantial level. Your Year 3 will bring together all that you have learned linguistically and culturally as you fully immerse yourself in all that Japan can offer.
In Year 4, you’ll be able to build on the greater fluency and range of expression you developed during your year abroad. Furthermore, you’ll be able to choose from a range of modules exploring specific aspects of Japanese life, institutions and culture at an advanced level.

Japanese Studies

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Essential Japanology

Japanese 1A (Compulsory for beginner level)

A course in practical Japanese language skills for beginners and near-beginners.

Japanese 1B (Compulsory for beginner level)

A course in practical Japanese language skills for near-beginners.

Japanese Reading and Writing 1A

A course for reading and writing language skills in Japanese at beginners' level with the development of Kanji learning.

Reading and Writing 1B

Optional modules

Introduction to Japanese Culture and Society

Introduction to Chinese Culture and Society

A study of many aspects of Chinese culture and Chinese society. Topics covered will include different aspects of traditional Chinese culture with a view to understanding contemporary Chinese society.

Understanding Language: Systems and Use

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Elements of the Japanese Language

Japanese 2A

Japanese 2B

Reading and Writing 2B

Reading and Writing 2A

Optional modules

Classical Arts of Japan

English Language Teaching to Adults

Manga, Anime and Contemporary Japanese Cinema

The Making of Modern Japan

Personhood, Gender and the Body in Contemporary Japan

This module will introduce anthropological perspectives on personhood, gender, and the body, and will examine these with reference to ethnographic material from Japan. This will also include a discussion of some issues relating to medical anthropology, including medical systems in Japan, and beliefs and practices surrounding reproductive technologies, the end of life, and organ donation.

Japanese Oral Skills

This module helps students develop oral and aural skills and knowledge necessary for effective communication at upper beginner's level. It allows students to be creative while learning essential conversation strategies and skills.

Year 3 (placement year)

Compulsory modules

Placement year

Students of Japanese language and contemporary society spend an entire academic year in Japan. They will attend one of our partner universities with whom we have established links.

Language Studies in Japan

Students of Japanese language and contemporary society spend an entire academic year in Japan. They will attend one of our partner universities with whom we have established links.

Academic Studies in Japan

Autonomous Learning in Japan

Year 4

Compulsory modules

Japan: Myth and Reality

This module provides a historical overview and critical analyses of 'Western' discourses concerning the exceptional status of 'Japan' and 'the Japanese'. As an instructive counterpoint, it will also look briefly at Japanese self-images.

Optional modules

Japanese Cinema and Contemporary History

Develops students' understanding and awareness of Japanese cinema in its historical context. It will enable students to relate the style and content of films to social and political developments in Japan during the twentieth century, and to situate films in the context of scholarly debates about the classical Japanese Cinema. The focus on the cinema of the six decades up to 1989 will complement the focus on contemporary Japanese film.

Japan through Contemporary Texts

An advanced language study in which students will gain insights into current affairs and current events in Japan through a wide range of contemporary literary texts. Students will be introduced to contemporary Japanese writing via a novel, scholarly books, journals, newspapers, magazines and so on. Students will also explore the internet to seek additional sources to supplement/complement discussion points.

Japanese Literary Texts

Japanese Translation: Theory and practice

This module covers some of the fundamental concepts in translation, such as translation briefs, textual functions, cohesion and coherence, and information structure. These are introduced with examples (not limited to Japanese) and subsequently applied in translation from Japanese to English or English to Japanese. This module also focuses on the linguistic differences between Japanese and English, and the difficulties that they pose for translation.

Japanese 4: Culture and Society or Communication and Citizenship

This module provides further knowledge and skills in Japanese focusing on reading and writing. Students will experience reading in a variety of texts in such genres as description, review and reports, using authentic materials. They learn kanji from the texts they read. Also, students practise writing in the genres introduced in the texts.

Tandem Language Learning

Researching Cross-cultural Experiences

Minorities and Marginality

This module closely examines the historical and contemporary experiences of Japan's ethnic minorities and marginalized groups, which pose important problems for (our understanding of) a Japanese society that is commonly conceived as ethnically and culturally homogeneous. Detailed discussion of minorities and marginality in Japan will be related to broader concerns with ethnic and cultural identity and conflict, class structure, (trans)nationality, hybridity and diaspora as these are now discussed in anthropology.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

We’ve designed the course to help you gain:

  • a structured knowledge of grammar, reading and writing skills
  • and develop your spoken fluency in Japanese.

On this course you’ll benefit from:

  • small class sizes with lots of participation
  • language classes taught by native speakers
  • access to the latest e-learning skills
  • Oxford Brookes’ own Japanese graded reading materials, Let’s Read Japanese
  • being taught by highly experienced language teachers.

In lectures for your content (ie non-language) modules, we will introduce you to the subject area. You will then explore specific issues in greater depth in seminars. You will be directed towards the study of primary and secondary texts and other cultural products.

You can learn more about the Japanese language and culture experts who will teach you by exploring our staff profiles.

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Placement
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.)

Year 1

  • Lectures and seminars - 23%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 77%

Year 2

  • Lectures and seminars - 27%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 73%

Year 3 (placement year)

  • Lectures and seminars - 0%
  • Placement - 100%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 0%

Year 4

  • Lectures and seminars - 20%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 80%

Learning and teaching percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.


Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment methods vary from module to module.

Language module assessments consist of:

  • 70% regular in-class tests and portfolio completion at home
  • 30% final examination.

Content module assessments are normally 100% coursework. They include:

  • essays
  • small research projects
  • oral presentations
  • in-class tests.
  • Written exams
  • Coursework
  • Practical exams

Year 1

  • Written exams - 11%
  • Coursework - 89%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 2

  • Written exams - 14%
  • Coursework - 86%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 3 (placement year)

  • Written exams - 0%
  • Coursework - 100%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 4

  • Written exams - 4%
  • Coursework - 96%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Assessment method percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Study Abroad

You will spend Year 3 entirely in Japan, studying at one of the universities with which we have exchange arrangements. 

You will attend intensive language courses and lectures which complement your programme of studies at Oxford Brookes. By carrying out an independent research project on contemporary Japan and immersing yourself in Japanese life and social activities with fellow students, you will acquire a high level of linguistic and cultural competence.

After you graduate

Career prospects

Japanese Studies will give you the communication and interpersonal skills which are increasingly demanded in the global job market. Your analytical, team-working and presentational skills will make you immediately effective in the international workplace.

The course will equip you to seek employment in global professions such as tourism, international management and media, or in linguistic fields such as translating or language teaching. 

Recent graduates have found employment at the Japanese Embassy, the Japan Foundation, and within Japanese businesses such as All Nippon Airways.

Further study

Our close links with other departments, including anthropology and film studies, make it possible for graduates to pursue specific areas of interest within Japanese studies at postgraduate level at Oxford Brookes. A number of students have also gone on to study at postgraduate level at other established institutions.

Student profiles

Our Staff

Dr Kerri Russell

Kerri’s research is mainly concerned with the origins and development of the Japonic language family, which consists of the varieties of Japanese spoken in Japan and the Ryukyuan islands. She has also worked on Ainu, Middle Korean, and several Altaic languages spoken in East Asia.

Read more about Kerri

Free language courses

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.