Japanese BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2024

Register your interest for our October Open Days. Register here

UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
4 years full time
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
ABB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview


This course allows you to develop your Japanese language skills and understanding of Japanese politics, history and culture. It’s open to students coming to the subject as an absolute beginner, as well as those with intermediate-level Japanese.

Japan plays a significant role in both the global economy and international politics. It is home to a rich culture and history and a varied, changing society, boasting cultural ‘cool’ and high-tech innovation. However, it also faces complex social changes, all of which your studies will help you understand.

You’ll become part of a community of staff and students in East Asian Studies at Leeds, whose expertise spans both Northeast and Southeast Asia. This means you’ll gain an understanding of both Japan and the broader region around it. In addition to travelling to Japan in your second year you can take modules on Chinese literature, Korean society and the broader East Asian region.

This course is intended for non-native speakers of Japanese only. 

Specialist facilities

Our Language Zone gives you access to free learning resources, including space for personal study, language learning software, and video, audio, books and magazines. You'll also have access to our translation computer labs equipped with specialist software and our interpreter training booths to explore different career options. 

With four libraries on campus, you’ll find space for study, group work and research. Our Japanese Studies collection has been curated since the 1990s, alongside our Chinese holdings (since the 1960s) and a growing Thai collection. The world class Brotherton Library holds a wide variety of manuscript, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections – valuable assets for your independent research.

You’ll have access to free classes and workshops so you can learn how to find resources and develop your study skills. 

Course details

Our first-year language tuition is aimed at beginners, but we also have post-beginner level modules for those with some prior knowledge of Japanese language: self-study, GCSE or A-level. Either way, you’ll develop your Japanese language while choosing optional modules which explore the country’s fascinating history, as well as its social and cultural life. You can also learn about Japan’s development through the lens of East Asian history and society. 

This is the perfect way to prepare for your residence abroad in your second year, which you’ll spend at one of our 15 Japanese partner universities. You will build your language skills and gain a new perspective on the topics you have studied by experiencing life in Japan. 

In your final two years back at Leeds you will take advanced language classes to refine your Japanese, attaining a high degree of fluency by the time you graduate. At the same time, you’ll be developing your critical and research skills as you choose optional modules exploring various aspects of life in Japan, from Japanese religion, visual cultures and modern Japanese history to Sino-Japanese relations. You will also be able to choose modules which explore Japan’s important position as a cultural, economic and political powerhouse in the East Asian region more broadly.  

In your final year, you’ll apply the critical and research skills you’ve developed to produce your Final Year Project – an independently researched project on a topic of your choice. 

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

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.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Modern Japan 20

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

Module Name Credits
Basic Japanese Language (1) 20
Basic Japanese Language (2) 20
Intermediate Japanese (1) 20
Intermediate Japanese (2) 20
Modern China: History and Culture 20
Premodern East Asia 20
Foundations of East Asia 20
Introduction to East Asian Religions and Philosophies 20
Introduction to Audio-Visual Culture 20
Language: Structure and Sound 20
World Histories 20
Intercultural Competence: Theory and Application 20
Politics, Culture and Society 20
Worlds of Literature 20
Discourse, Culture and Identity 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
LCS Year Abroad 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
Japan's International Relations 20
Global Korea in Context: Sociocultural and Political Dynamics 20
Japanese Development Assistance in a Globalising World 20
China Since 1979 20
Contemporary East Asian Culture 20
Trauma Narratives in the Contemporary Sinophone World 20
Chinese Cinema 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
Final Year Project: Dissertation 40
Final Year Project: Extended Translation 40
Final Year Project: Digital Documentary (Podcast) 40
Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector in Contemporary China 20
Southeast Asia: Politics and Economy 20
Trauma Narratives in the Contemporary Sinophone World 20
East Asia's Regional Political Economy 20
Japanese Cinema in the World 20
Death and Religion in Japan 20
Advanced Japanese in Translation 20
Sino-Japanese Relations: Past and Present 20

Learning and teaching

Your lecturers are all experts in their fields, so you’ll be able to benefit from their knowledge in lectures, workshops, small-group seminars and tutorials. You’ll build your language skills in practical and highly interactive classes, and as you progress, some modules may be taught in your target languages.

Independent learning is also a major part of the course, allowing you to build your research skills and think critically about the information you find. The University Library runs comprehensive training programmes to help you make the most of our resources.

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 ensure inclusive assessment by making sure all our students are assessed in a range of ways. Listening, speaking, writing and reading are all tested, and our range of assessments includes essays, exams, literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, digital projects, poster presentations and translation projects. We offer training and support in these areas as well to equip you with the transferable skills you will need for your future careers – for example, we run extra classes on skills such as public speaking, structuring essays and exam technique that you’ll be able to attend throughout your time at Leeds.

You’ll regularly receive detailed feedback on your coursework, helping you to keep track of your progress.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB

GCSE: 4/C in a foreign language

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the 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 are taking A Levels, this would be BBB 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.



Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2 to D3, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall including 16 at Higher Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2 H2 H2 H3 H3 H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers OR AABBBB in Highers TO AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR A in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR 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%

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 a contextual 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 contextual admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBC preferably including a foreign language at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year.


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: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

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

Read more about paying fees and charges.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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 Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Contact us

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions

Email: artsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

A degree in Japanese equips you with the knowledge and skills to pursue a range of careers. Our graduates have gone on to work in the media, translation and interpreting, teaching, business and finance, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, amongst many other fields.

We are committed to helping you achieve your career ambitions. You’ll benefit from bespoke support and opportunities in the School and the University.

Our experts in the award-winning University Careers Centre will support you to make informed decisions about your career path, understand the opportunities available and the steps you need to take to pursue your choices. You’ll be encouraged to attend on-campus events including graduate recruitment fairs, employer networking and information sessions, and meetings with our alumni.

Leeds University Union provides career-related support through the part-time job hub, student societies and other activities throughout the year. Clubs and societies are a great way to get involved in lots of activities and explore your interests. They’re also a great way to develop your skills such as team working and leadership. For example, you could be a key player in an award-winning sports team, or become a committee member and chair society meetings, or you could even project manage a volunteering trip overseas. The Union is home to School Reps who are appointed by students to represent the views and be the voice of students in your School.

At Leeds, you can access support to help you start your own business. Whether you want to learn about enterprise or become an entrepreneur, we offer award-winning specialist support.

Careers support

The School of Languages, Cultures and Societies regularly hosts employability events where you can listen to Leeds alumni talking about their careers and ask them for advice.

As a student with us, you will be guided in your career choices and prepared for life after your degree in a variety of ways. Workshops and events are organised for you by the School throughout the year and focus on networking, understanding the value of your language skills, hearing from alumni about their career experiences and hosting graduate recruiters who want to hire you.

We’ll also keep you informed of other part-time and volunteering opportunities that you can fit around your studies.

This high-level knowledge provides access to many careers, but you’ll also acquire a range of transferable skills that are highly desirable to employers. You’ll be a clear communicator with strong presentation skills, as well as being a critical thinker who draws your own conclusions from the information available to you.

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

Study abroad

You’ll spend your second year in Japan, where you’ll be immersed in Japanese culture and society whilst strengthening your language skills. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about another culture, and, when you’re not in your intensive language classes there will be plenty of time to travel and explore. For many of our students, it’s the highlight of their course.

You'll study at one of our many partner universities, spread across Japan, at an institution that has been selected for its high-quality methods of teaching and success in running Japanese language courses. You will also have the opportunity to take some non-language courses depending on the institution.

You'll have access to support and advice before, during and after your study abroad year and you’ll be able to network with returning students for first-hand advice about living overseas. You'll also have meetings with the residence abroad tutor and access to online information before you relocate.

We’ll be in touch with you during your year abroad and you’ll have support at your host institution too. On your return, we’ll ask you to share your experiences and help you to make the most of your new and improved skills and experience.