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Requirements | Japan Studies

Learn about the requirements for the Japan Studies program. 

Master of Arts (MA) Requirements

MA students concentrating in Japan Studies must complete 24 credits of applicable coursework and a program capstone. 16 credits must be Japan Studies courses. The remaining eight credits must be from one or more of areas below:

Students are also required to achieve proficiency in Japanese. Native speakers of Japanese must demonstrate proficiency in any other language taught at the school, which can include English.

  • 3 Japan Studies SA.760.XXX (or cross-listed) courses
  • 2 semesters of Japanese language study or proficiency 

For additional requirements, click here


Japan Studies MA concentrators must complete one of the following capstones:

  • Japan Studies Oral Exam. The exam provides students with the opportunity to cap their academic experience at the school through discourse with their professors that highlights the findings of their studies and research, particularly the US-Japan Yearbook project. Students will be expected to suggest policy implications for Japan, the US, and the world of the issues discussed. At least two Japan Studies professors will administer the exam. Discussion will focus initially on the specific findings of the student in the Yearbook Project and then branch into broader policy areas. The exam will be graded on a pass-fail basis. Makeup oral exams for students who fail must be scheduled within three weeks of the exam, with the students preparing a three-page paper addressing the areas or issues deemed insufficient by the examiners. Those who fail the makeup exam will not graduate in that term.
  • MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors — if eligible)

These requirements must be completed in addition to the requirements for your degree program.

Master of International Public Policy (MIPP) Requirements

MIPP students can add an affiliation in Japan Studies to their degree plan. At least three of your eight courses must be Japan Studies courses to complete the affiliation requirement.

These requirements must be completed in addition to the requirements for your degree program.

Learning Goals

Japan Studies concentrators will develop a comprehensive understanding of Japan and its broader place in the field of international relations. Effectively designed courses and extra-curricular activities enable students to analyze Japan’s relationship with surrounding nations and the broader world. Students gain an understanding of the significance, both economically and strategically, of Japanese political economy and the Japanese people, in the broader world, and the implications of the Japanese case beyond its own borders. Students reach proficiency in Japanese language.

  1. Students will be able to develop a comprehensive understanding of political, social, economic, and cultural issues surrounding Japan;
  2. Develop a critical understanding of Japan’s key role in the regional political economy of East Asia, as well as its central role in the broader global trade and financial systems;
  3. Understand concrete features of the Japanese political economy, organizational behavior and culture well enough to apply Japan’s experience to international problems in other parts of the world, assessing the implications that Japan’s rapid economic development and policy innovation, as well as its occasional rigidity, may have for other advanced and developing nations;
  4. Reach proficiency in the Japanese language at the intermediate mid-level or higher; and
  5. Gain experience dealing with real-world policy issues relating to Japan, through participation in the US-Japan Yearbook project and other applied courses and extra-curricular activities.