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Japanese Studies

BA (Hons) - single BA (Hons) - combined

Department of English and Modern Languages

If you would like to explore Japanese society and language, then this is the course for you. Japan is a fascinating, complex and vibrant country, with the third largest economy in the world. On this course you’ll learn the Japanese language and study Japanese society and culture; from ancient Shinto customs to modern manga cartoons.

Japanese Studies can be taken as a single honours or a combined honours degree - you will find a list of all the subjects it can be combined with further down this page.

If you are interested in studying Japanese as a beginner and want to carry on with your A-level language at degree-level, you should consider Applied Languages. In your year abroad you can study in Japan for one semester, and carry out a work placement in the other language for the other semester.


Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 120

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: 4 years
  • Part time: up to 8 years

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Not studied Japanese before? You can enter this course as a complete beginner or with an existing knowledge of Japanese.
  • From art to anthropology – in addition to your language skill modules, you can pick from a wide variety of modules covering social, cultural, anthropological, and historical issues in Japan.
  • Your Year Abroad – we offer one of the widest choices of partner universities in Japan so you can study on an exchange that suits you.
  • Prepare for your career - our language teaching includes translation work and the language used in a business environment that provides useful practice for your future career.
  • Get involved – you’ll be encouraged to join the active student-run Japanese Society on campus, and be invited to attend our regular guest lectures hosted by the Europe-Japan Research Centre.
  • Invaluable support – from encouraging cultural activities to helping you plan and structure your essays, you’ll be supported to ensure you get the most out of your time with us.
The course combines Japanese language modules with the study of specific aspects of Japanese culture and society taught by specialists.
In Year 1 you will study Japanese language from beginners', GCSE or post-GCSE level. You will also take the compulsory module, Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture, which provides essential background knowledge of Japanese society, geography and history. You may choose optional introductory modules in Arts, Business, Computing or Social Anthropology as preparation for advanced work relating to Japan.
In Year 2 you will develop your language skills further. You’ll combine this with modules that allow more detailed study of the arts, culture and society of Japan, and place Japan in a broader international context.
In Year 3 you will attend a university in Japan, studying the Japanese language and key aspects of the society and culture. The intensive language courses and lectures you receive in Japan will complement your programme of studies at Oxford Brookes. You can be sure to find an exchange placement to suit you as we currently have 15 partner universities based in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kyushu.
The language modules you take in Year 4 will build on the greater fluency and range of expression you developed during your year in Japan. At the same time, you can select from a range of modules exploring specific aspects of Japanese life, institutions and culture at an advanced level.

Study modules

As courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.

Year 1

Year 1 core compulsory modules include:
  • Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture
  • Japanese Reading and Writing I
  • Japanese Language Skills - to suit your level of ability (beginner, GCSE, or post-GCSE)
Elective modules include:
  • Introduction to the Arts of Japan
  • Introduction to Social Anthropology

Years 2 and 4

  • Japanese Language Skills
  • Japanese Oral Skills
  • Japanese Reading and Writing 
  • Advanced Japanese Communication
  • Understanding Manga and Anime
  • The Making of Modern Japan
  • Contemporary Japanese Cinema
  • Japanese Religions
  • Japan at Play
  • Work and the Japanese
  • Methodology of Foreign Language Teaching
  • Advanced Japanese Communication
  • Advanced Japanese Reading and Translation
  • Minorities and Marginality, Class and Conflict in Japan
  • Japanese Cinema and Contemporary History
  • Japan: Myth and Reality
  • Tandem Language Learning
  • Japan through Contemporary Texts


Modules in detail » Module diagrams »


Study abroad

You will spend Year 3 entirely in Japan, studying at one of the universities with which we have exchange arrangements. Our partner, the University of Tsukuba, is rated within the top 10 universities in Japan by Times Higher Education University Rankings 2017.

Read about why recent graduate Andrew Banks chose Aoyama Gakuin University in Shibuya, Tokyo for his year abroad here.

Our university partners are:

  • Aichi Shukutoku University
  • Aoyama Gakuin University
  • Kitakyushu University
  • Kyushu Sangyo University
  • Kyoto Gaikokugo (Gaidai) University
  • Gakushuin University
  • Meiji Gakuin University.
  • Nagasaki University
  • Nagoya University of Foreign Studies
  • J F Oberlin University
  • Ryūkoku University
  • Tsukuba  University
  • Tsuru University
  • Yamanashi University

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.

We will provide extensive pastoral care throughout your year abroad.

Whilst studying in Japan you will pay a reduced tuition fee to Oxford Brookes (as a guide, 2016 fees: £1,350 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 dramatically 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.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

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.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Attendance pattern

You will have up to eight hours per week in Year 1 and Year 2 focusing on grammar, listening, reading and writing, and conversation. In addition, you will have up to four content modules per year. These are normally taught between two to three hours per week per credit.

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.

Teaching and learning

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, and in seminars you will explore specific issues in greater depth. You will be directed towards the study of primary and secondary texts and other cultural products.

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

Time spent in different learning activities

Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 23%77%0%
2 27%73%0%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%100%
4 20%80%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 24%76%0%
2 22%78%0%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%100%
4 15%85%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 22%78%0%
2 25%75%0%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%100%
4 12%88%0%

Approach to assessment

Assessment methods vary from module to module. Most commonly, language module assessments consist of 70% regular in-class tests and portfolio completion at home and 30% final examination.

Content module assessments are normally 100% coursework and may take the form of essays, small research projects, oral presentations or in-class tests.

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 11%0%89%
2 14%0%86%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%100%
4 4%0%96%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 23%0%77%
2 14%0%86%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%100%
4 4%0%96%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 24%0%76%
2 14%0%86%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%100%
4 9%0%91%

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module. 2019/20: £750 per single module.

International - full time: 2018/19: £13,150 2019/20: £13,410

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.

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 in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 120

A-Level: BBB or equivalent

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

IB Diploma: 32 points


  • 2 A-levels at BB plus 2 AS-levels at grades BB.
  • Vocational A-levels are also accepted at equivalent grades.
  • Other A-level equivalent qualifications will be considered.

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: English at grade c / grade 4 or above, or equivalent

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard 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.

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.

How to apply

International applicants

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

Oxford Brookes operates 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.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Oxford is the perfect city in which to study; truly multicultural and rich in heritage and entertainment, yet small enough to feel welcoming and accessible. The city’s two universities attract 40,000 students from around the world, making Oxford a meeting place of minds, a place where ideas begin.

Alongside our own Europe Japan Research Centre seminars, the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies based at St Anthony's College, Oxford University, hosts public lectures and seminars on all aspects of Japanese studies.

Support for students studying Japanese Studies

The Year Abroad Coordinator in Japanese Studies will provide you with full support and guidance to prepare you for your Year Abroad. We'll continue to keep in touch with you while you are studying at one of our partner universities.

Specialist facilities

The Department of English and Modern Languages also teaches French, German, Spanish and Mandarin, and offers e-learning technology as well as library resources to provide all the facilities that students require for their studies.

We have an authentic Japanese Room, used for teaching topics about Japan as well as for Japanese arts such as; the tea ceremony and ikebana (flower arranging).

Oxford Brookes has an active Japan Interest Group which organises regular talks, films and cultural activities, plus a large student-run Japanese Society, which organises social events and activities such as language exchange.

Brookes is home to the Europe Japan Research Centre (EJRC). You are always very welcome to attend the events that the centres hosts about topics relating to recent research and interesting aspects of Japanese culture. 

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

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.