Asia Pacific Studies and Japanese BA

Year of entry

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
4 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB-ABB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students working in Language Zone

Cultural powerhouse and economic giant, Japan is home to a varied, changing society. In this degree you’ll develop language skills in Japanese and gain insight into Japan and the Asia Pacific region.

You’ll explore the culture, history, politics and economics of the region and its global interactions. You’ll combine this with intensive language study to become proficient in Japanese. We teach Japanese from beginner level, but if you already have some knowledge of the language we can normally accommodate you.

Core modules will build your skills in Japanese and you’ll study the Asia Pacific region from different perspectives. Topics include East Asian religions, culture and identity and the history of modern China. You’ll study at one of our partner universities for a year to refine your skills and experience life in Japan.

With the international expertise and language skills you’ll develop, you’ll be prepared for a global career.

Specialist facilities

Leeds has excellent library facilities for Asia Pacific studies, and the University Library runs a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.

For independent language study, you’ll have access to the Language Zone – the University language resource centre – with books, DVDs, magazines, audio/ video resources and language learning software. To practise your speaking skills, you can participate in language groups with other students or a language exchange with a native speaker.

Course details

Your first year will involve intensive Japanese language tuition to prepare you for your year abroad, as well as introducing you to the political, social and economic landscape of the Asia Pacific region more broadly.

In your second year, you’ll study at a Japanese university where you’ll be immersed in Japanese culture, giving you the opportunity to improve and sharpen your language skills.

When you return to Leeds in your third year, you’ll continue studying the Japanese language to refine your skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. You’ll choose from a range of optional modules allowing you to focus on Japan specifically, or explore the region more broadly from historical, political, religious and cultural perspectives.

This study continues into your final year when you’ll also be communicating in Japanese at a high level to explore social and academic issues. You’ll put your language, research and critical analysis skills into practice by working on an independently researched dissertation, translation or digital documentary on a topic of your choice. Your experience, language skills and contextual knowledge of the region will help you consider career options in a range of fields.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Asia Pacific Studies and Japanese BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Basic Japanese Language (1) 20
Basic Japanese Language (2) 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
China in East Asian History 20
Modern Japan: History and International Politics 20
Foundations of East Asia 20
Introduction to Religious and Philosophical Texts of East Asia 20
Introduction to East Asian Religions 20
Basic Thai Language and Culture 1 20
World Histories 20
Intercultural Competence: Theory and Application 20
Politics, Culture and Society 20
Discourse, Culture and Identity 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Year Abroad in Japan 120

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Japanese 2A: Written Communication Skills 20
Japanese 2B: Spoken Communication Skills 20

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Developing Your Professional Identity: Preparing for a Career in Within The Arts, Heritage and Creative Industries 20
China Since 1979 20
The Making of Modern Thailand 20
Society and Culture of Early Modern China 20
Trauma Narratives in the Contemporary Sinophone World 20
Cantonese for Mandarin Speakers 2 10
Intermediate Japanese (1) 20
Japanese Development Assistance in a Globalising World 20
East Asia's Regional Political Economy 20
Linguists into Schools 20

Year 4 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Japanese 3: Advanced Communication Skills 20

Year 4 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Japanese Development Assistance in a Globalising World 20
Advanced Japanese in Context 1: Politics and International Relations 20
Japanese Literature in Translation: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan 20
Advanced Japanese in Translation 20
Final Year Project: Extended Translation 40
Contemporary World Literature 20
Adventures of the Imagination: Crime and the Fantastic Across Continents 20
Decolonial Approaches 20
Minoritised Languages, Dialects and Cultures from Past to Present 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Our tutors are experts in their fields, and their teaching is informed by their own research, meaning what you’ll learn on this course is based on the latest findings in each field.

We use a variety of teaching and learning styles so you can benefit from the expertise of our tutors, including lectures, small-group seminars, tutorials and in some cases workshops.

Independent study is also a major part of this course – preparing for lectures and seminars by reading and researching widely, you’ll build research skills and learn to think critically about the information you find. We have plenty of resources to help you, including great library resources. The University Library runs training programmes to help you make the most of it.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We use different methods to assess your progress. Exams and essays are usually the main elements, but oral presentations and group work may also be assessed depending on the modules you choose. A wealth of support is available: we run extra classes throughout your time at Leeds on issues such as essay structure, public speaking and exam technique.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB-ABB

GCSE: 4/C in a foreign language

Other course specific tests:

If you’re taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you’re taking A Levels, this would be BBB-ABB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. Grade 4/C in a foreign language at GCSE is required. An interview and a piece of written work may also be required.



Other BTEC qualifications are also considered. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2 to D3, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

34 - 35 points overall with 16 at Higher Level and 4 in a foreign language at Standard level.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 - H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers
B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers
AABBBB in Highers
AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers
A in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers
AAAABB in Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 75-80%

Find your country to see equivalent international qualifications.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer:
BBC preferably including a foreign language at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
BCC preferably including a foreign language at A Level, an A in a relevant EPQ and pass Access to Leeds


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Tuition fees for your study abroad year
On your study abroad year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Contact us

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

This degree gives you proficiency in a major world language, as well as an insight into the fascinating culture of one of the world’s fastest-growing regions which is increasingly gaining economic importance. These will open doors into a wide range of careers, but you will also develop transferable skills that are valued by all kinds of employers.

You’ll have strong research skills, allowing you to find relevant information from a wide range of sources and draw your own conclusions from what you find. Then you’ll be able to present and defend them clearly with your advanced communication skills. Teamwork, adaptability and time management are also among the key qualities you can develop.

As a result, graduates have pursued diverse careers. Many join the Japan Exchange and Teaching programme (JET), which recruits graduates to work in teaching and international relations positions. Others have moved into teaching, business, tourism, publishing, broadcasting, PR, translating and interpreting both at home and across China, Japan and Hong Kong.

Others have continued to study languages and East Asian cultures to Masters level, either as a stepping stone for a PhD and career in academia or to further their knowledge.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Residence abroad

After your first year you’ll have the chance to follow a year-long course at a Japanese university.

It’s a great opportunity to boost your language skills and to see how the issues you have studied play out in a Japanese community. It will also demonstrate your independence and adaptability, qualities that employers always seek.

Read more about the Japanese Residence Abroad.