BA Japanese (combined)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

From the study of pre-modern Japanese literature and history to contemporary cinema and TV, we are the home to the largest concentration of Japanese specialists in Europe. The BA Japanese Combined Honours Degree provides students with the highest level of competence in all aspects of the written and spoken language, as well as an introduction to both classical and modern Japanese culture, and is suitable for both absolute beginners as well as those with some knowledge of the Japanese language.

Students will spend the third year of study in Japan furthering language proficiency and understanding of the local business practices and culture. Additionally, the nature of the Combined Honours Degree will allow you to create a specialist niche for yourself by studying another subject.

May be combined with:

  • Chinese Studies, (Jap/Chi) TT21
  • Development Studies
  • Economics, LT12 BA/JEC
  • English, QT32
  • History, TV21
  • History of Art/Archaeology, VT32 BA/HAAJ
  • International Relations, (LTF2 BA/IRJ)
  • Korean Studies, TT24
  • Linguistics, QT12 BA/JKG
  • Music, TW23 BA/MSJ
  • Politics, LT22 BA/POLJ
  • Social Anthropology, LT62 BA/SAJ
  • Study of Religions, TV26 BA/SRJ
  • World Philosophies, T202

Why study Japanese Combined Honours at SOAS?

  • We are home to the largest concentration of Japan specialists outside of Japan.
  • You will not only learn the essential language skills but also an in-depth understanding of the region’s culture covering subjects from literature, history, cinema, and politics.
  • You will spend your third year in Japan furthering language and cultural proficiency.
  • We are specialists in the delivery of more than forty African and Asian languages. Your command of a language will set you apart from graduates of other universities.
  • Choosing to study a Combined Honours programme will allow you to take advantage of the expertise of one of our other departments allowing you to create a specialist niche for yourself.


Studying this programme will provide students with competency Japanese language skills as well as intercultural awareness and understanding. Choosing to study a joint degree programme will increase the breadth of your knowledge, and will develop additional skills with which to further your studies of Japan, or to make a comparative study with other areas.

Skills gained include:

  • familiarity with the region through a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law,
  • communication and presentation skills,
  • analytical skills,
  • the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

Graduates from the Department leave SOAS not only with language and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • Bloomberg L.P
  • British High Commission
  • British Council Tokyo
  • Deloitte Management Consulting Ltd.
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International
  • NHK-Japan Broadcasting Corporation
  • Oxford University
  • The British Embassy
  • The British Museum
  • Wall Street Associates

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Financial Analyst
  • Head of Production
  • US Marketing Executive
  • Senior Research Executive
  • Director of Development and Alumni Relations
  • Project Leader, Strategic Planning
  • Solicitor
  • Architect
  • Interactive Designer
  • HM Ambassador to Japan
  • Freelance Japanese Translator


Students take 120 credits per year composed of core and optional modules, which allows students to design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals. Students take 60 credits of the Japanese language, and the remaining 60 credits from their other subject in each year apart from Year 3.

The third year is spent at one of the twenty-plus Japanese universities that we have exchange programmes with. During the year in Japan, you will study the Japanese language as well as modules of your choice in Japan, and be able to have an important adventure in your life.

In the final year, you have the opportunity to research a topic of your choice in an Independent Study Project.

Year 1 Students without previous knowledge of Japanese

Core Language Module

Core modules must be passed in order to progress to the following year of study.

  • J100: Elementary Japanese

Second Subject

Students choose 60 credits from the second subject.

Year 1 Students with previous knowledge of Japanese

Core Language Module

Core modules must be passed in order to progress to the following year of study.

  • J100: Accelerated Elementary Japanese

Core Module

Students must take the following module:

  • Cool Japan: Manga, Anime, Sushi

Second Subject

Students choose 60 credits from the second subject.

Year 2

Core Language Module

Core modules must be passed in order to progress to the following year of study.

  • J200: Intermediate Japanese

Second Subject

Students choose 60 credits from the second subject.

Year 3 Year Abroad

Year 4

Compulsory Modules

Choose a Japanese Language module(s) from List A or List B below to the value of 60 credits.


Modules from the Second Subject to the value of 60 credits.

List of modules (subject to availability)

  • List A (Language use modules)
    • Independent Study Project in Japanese Language and Culture
    • J400: Advanced Japanese
    • Modernity and Identity in Modern Japanese History 1868-1912
    • Nation and Empire in Modern Japanese History 1868-1945
    • Reading Pre-modern Japanese Texts 1
    • Reading Pre-modern Japanese Texts 2
    • Self, City and Sexuality in Modern Japanese Literature 1868-1945
    • Writing from the Margins: Minority Voices in Modern Japanese Literature, 1945 to the Present
  • List B - (Non-language based disciplinary modules)
    These optional modules are only available to students in year 4.
    • Early Modern Japan
    • Modern and Contemporary Japan
    • History and Memory in East Asian Cultures
    • Japanese Language Ideologies
    • Japanese Traditional Drama
    • Japanese New Wave Cinema: Youth, Sex and Protest
    • Modern Japanese Literature
    • Japanese Cinema: a Critical Survey

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

To apply for an undergraduate degree at SOAS (including students wishing to transfer from another university) you must apply through the UK's central universities application organization, UCAS. An application form and details of courses can be found on their website. UCAS charges an applicant's fee for handling the application.

You can apply to up to five choices of higher education institutions or course on the UCAS form. How you utilise the choice is up to you. In other words, you could apply to do the same subject, for example, economics, at five different universities, or five different courses at the same university, or any combination of subject and institution. Nor do you have to use up all five choices. Whatever you choose you should list your choices in the order they appear in the UCAS handbook.

Entry Requirements

No preliminary knowledge of the language is required but a foreign language at A-level or equivalent is preferred.

  • Subjects Preferred: A foreign language at A-Level, or equivalent, is preferred.
  • A-Levels: AAB - ABB
    A-Level language preferred
    IB: 35 (6/6/5)
  • Interview Policy: Mature students, candidates with non-standard qualifications, Japanese nationals, and heritage speakers (i.e., Japanese raised abroad) who meet the academic requirements may be invited for interview.

Alternative entry requirements

  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 5 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 80%
  • French Bacc: 14/20
  • German Abitur: 2.0
  • Italy DES: 80/100
  • Austria Mat: 2.0
  • Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
London , Singapore + 1 More Less