East Asian Studies and Japanese BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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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

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 East Asian 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 accommodate you.

Throughout your degree, core modules will build your skills in Japanese and you’ll study the East Asian region from different perspectives. Topics include East Asian politics, economy, religions, culture and identity and the history of modern China and Japan. You’ll study at one of our partner universities for a year to refine your skills while experiencing life in Japan.

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

Specialist facilities

With a variety of specialist facilities and four libraries on campus, you’ll find plenty of space for study, group work and research. 

The world-class Brotherton Library is home to a wide variety of manuscripts, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections – valuable assets for your independent research. Our Japanese and East Asian Studies collection has been curated since the 1990s, alongside our Chinese holdings (since the 1960s) and a growing Thai collection. Our main library resources are also excellent, and the University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.  

The Language Centre includes digital language labs, audio/video practice booths and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). The Language Zone offers excellent learning material in more than 50 languages, including online resources and advice. The Language Exchange and the Language Groups programme provide opportunities to practice with other learners and native speakers; you can also volunteer to help other learners and enhance your CV at the same time.  

Our Martin Thomas Translation Labs feature state-of-the-art computing facilities for translation studies as well as Interpreter Training Suites – ideal if you’re considering a career in interpreting. 

Take a look around our libraries:

Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

Course details

This course, and the unique experience of living abroad, will equip you with the knowledge, skills and intercultural awareness necessary to pursue a wide range of exciting global careers.  

Core and optional modules will give you a firm grounding in both subjects as you study topics that suit your interests. You'll also develop a range of transferable skills which are highly regarded by employers, including critical thinking, enhanced communication, analytical and cultural awareness skills.  

Year 1

In your first year, you’ll study core modules that develop your language skills in Japanese, while optional modules enable you to explore Japan’s fascinating history, as well as its social and cultural life. A joint honours degree allows you to study the same core topics as students on each single honours course, but take fewer optional modules so you can fit in both subjects.  

Year 2

You’ll spend a year at one of our Japanese partner universities, building your language skills and gaining a new perspective on the topics you have studied by experiencing life in Japan.

Year 3

You’ll return to Leeds to further develop your language proficiency in Japanese, selecting optional modules on topics as diverse as Japanese religion, cinema, modern Japanese history or Sino-Japanese relations. You’ll also choose from a range of broader East Asian Studies modules covering Global Korea, South East Asian political economy and Contemporary East Asian Culture. 

Year 4

You’ll deepen your knowledge in your final year at Leeds, studying advanced language modules and working on a final-year research project. This could be a dissertation, translation or digital documentary, submitted as a podcast. You'll also have the flexibility to choose from a range of optional modules in areas that interest you. The international outlook and knowledge you develop alongside advanced language skills will allow you to 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.

Year 1 compulsory modules

  • Basic Japanese Language (1) (20 credits) - This intensive Japanese language module is suitable for complete beginners, as well as those who have limited knowledge of the language. It progresses fast and aims to help students to improve all their four basic skills in a balanced way through lectures and practicals. Students will be engaged in an interactive and communicative learning environment.
  • Basic Japanese Language (2) (20 credits) - This module will cover new grammatical points, practical exercises based on new grammatical points, listening comprehension, and reading and translation.

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

  • Modern Japan: History and International Politics (20 credits)
  • Foundations of East Asia (20 credits)

Year 2 compulsory module

  • Year Abroad in Japan (120 credits)

Year 3 compulsory modules

  • Japanese 2A: Written Communication Skills (20 credits) - This module will focus on both reading and writing skills, with special emphasis on written communication skills. Reading skills will be developed through reading various texts on familiar/social topics, and writing skills will be also improved through various writing exercises, compositions and English-Japanese translations. Grammar exercise will be also provided to consolidate intermediate grammar and expressions.
  • Japanese 2B: Spoken Communication Skills (20 credits) - This module will focus on both oral and aural skills with special emphasis on spoken communication skills. Oral skills will be developed through speech presentations and discussions on various personal and social topics. Both collective and individual pronunciation clinics will be provided. Aural skills will be also consolidated through listening dialogues, news and other authentic/semi-authentic materials.

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

  • Topics in Contemporary Asia-Pacific Societies (20 credits)
  • Japan's International Relations (20 credits)
  • Japanese Development in a Globalising World (20 credits)
  • Japanese Cinema in the World (20 credits)
  • Contemporary East Asian Culture (20 credits)
  • Global Korea (20 credits)

Year 4 compulsory modules

  • Japanese 3: Advanced Communication Skills (20 credits) - This module aims to develop both written and spoken communication skills at the highest level to deal with a wide range of social and academic issues. Grammatical and lexical knowledge will be reinforced through both intensive and extensive reading. Writing skills will be enhanced through compositions and essay-writing exercises. Oral-aural skills will be also consolidated by speech presentations, discussions and listening practice.
  • Final Year Project: Dissertation, Translation, or Podcast (40 credits) - This may be produced in either English or, subject to the approval of the Module Leader and project supervisor, the Target Language. Lectures and workshops provide the skills training necessary, whereas more specific guidance is provided through one to one supervision with a member of staff.

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

  • Modern Japanese History (20 credits)
  • Death and Religion in Japan (20 credits)
  • Sino-Japanese Relations (20 credits)
  • East Asia’s Regional Political Economy (20 credits)
  • Advanced Japanese in Context: Translation (20 credits)
  • Southeast Asia: Politics and Economy (20 credits)
  • Nature, Culture and Technology in Japan (20 credits)
  • Social Movements across Cultures (20 credits)
  • Decolonial Approaches (20 credits)

Learning and teaching

You’ll learn through a mix of seminars, lectures, workshops, group sessions and one-to-one supervisions, as well as independent learning supported by a rich range of resources. Our tutors are passionate researchers and dedicated teachers who use a range of teaching methods to help you benefit from their expertise, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops.  

Independent study is also central to this degree, as it allows you to develop your skills in research and analysis. You’ll be able to apply your skills and knowledge in a final-year research project on a topic of your own choice.  

We are committed to an innovative and inclusive approach to teaching, which draws on a variety of activities, including flipped learning, group presentations, and bespoke digital resources to prepare you for your seminar discussions.  

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 are creative in our approach to assessment, and we consistently support your independent learning to ensure assessment is fair and inclusive. 

We use a wide range of assessments including essays, exams, presentations, podcasts, literature reviews, reflective logs, and group projects. Assessments are designed to deliver the transferable skills needed for the world of work; task-based activities are designed to evidence critical thinking, demonstrate initiative, and show knowledge of a range of relevant subjects and sources. We often try to provide you with a choice of assessment type.  

Support for assessments is integrated into our teaching and you'll usually have the opportunity for formative assessments that allow you to practice your skills and do well in your formal assessments. We also 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. 

Entry requirements

A-level: 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 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
BCC preferably including a foreign language at A Level, an A in a relevant EPQ 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. 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 UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

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

You’ll gain the language and professional skills to prepare you for an international career in a wide range of sectors. As well as demonstrating that you’re intellectually versatile, your Japanese language competence will equip you with a wide range of skills across different disciplines which are attractive to employers such as: 

  • good research skills and the ability to analyse complex information from multiple sources before drawing your own conclusions 
  • communication skills, enabling you to defend your views clearly, either verbally or in writing 
  • strong organisational skills and the confidence to work independently or in a team
  • a deep understanding of cultural diversity, allowing you to work effectively with people whose backgrounds differ from yours

Leeds graduates have pursued careers across the globe and in a range of sectors, including education, the media, law, publishing, the civil service and diplomacy, business and finance and the charity sector. Many others have also pursued postgraduate study, including further training in language-based careers such as translating and interpreting. 

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

In your second year, you’ll follow a year-long course provided by one of our partner universities in Japan. During your time abroad, you’ll have the chance to practice and develop your language skills as well as immersing yourself in the culture.

Read more about the Japanese residence abroad