The department of Japanese Studies is in the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC).
Program structure and content
The department of Japanese Studies aims for graduates to achieve an understanding of Japan through the medium of the Japanese language and to acquire the critical intellectual skills needed to communicate that understanding effectively. It also seeks to prepare students to participate actively in an increasingly intercultural world.
Units of study are categorised as Japanese 'language' units of study or specialist Japanese 'studies' units of study. Japanese language units of study aim to develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, but with emphasis on speaking and listening, while Japanese studies units of study require development of a higher level of reading and writing skills, socio-cultural knowledge and generic skills, such as critical and analytical thinking, independent learning, essay writing, and cooperative group skills.
Language units of study are arranged in 10 levels. Students may enter at any level depending on their proficiency, which is determined by the department. Most students will enter at 1, 3 or 5:
- Japanese 1: Students with no assumed knowledge
- Japanese 3: 65 per cent or higher in HSC Japanese Beginners or less than 70 per cent in HSC Japanese Continuers or equivalent with departmental permission
- Japanese 5: HSC Japanese Extension or more than 70 per cent in HSC Japanese Continuers or equivalent with departmental permission.
Students who do not meet the standard entry criteria must consult with the department. Native and near-native speakers of Japanese are not permitted to take language units of study, but it may be possible for them to complete a major in Japanese Studies – see below.
Units of study appropriate for the various language levels are:
- Japanese 3 – 4: JPNS2660
- Japanese 5 – 6: JPNS2670 series
- Japanese 7 – 10: JPNS3670 series.
Japanese exchange units are available for students completing approved official exchange programs with a partner university in Japan.
Requirements for a major
Units of study at 1000 level are junior units of study. Students who wish to major in Japanese Studies must take at least 36 senior credit points (2000 or 3000 level) from a combination of language and studies components. A minimum of 24 credit points must be taken from language components and a minimum of 12 credit points must be taken from studies components at the appropriate Japanese language levels.
Please note: Students commencing their degree program in Semester 2 may not be able to take language units until Semester 1 of the following year, as a unit at an appropriate language level may not be available. Students with no previous knowledge of Japanese cannot commence their study of Japanese in Semester 2, and therefore may not be able to complete the requirements for a major in Japanese within the normal timeframe of a 3-year degree program.
Students who have completed first-year language studies in advanced streams may be able to commence learning a second language alongside their major from second year onward. Mid-year entry students may need to exceed the junior credit point limit of their course in order to commence a language in their second year, in which case special permission will be needed. If you are not sure, consult with the Student Advisers in the Faculty office.
The following are examples only; there are many possibilities.
- First Year: JPNS1611 and JPNS1612 Japanese 1 and 2.
- Second Year: JPNS2611 and JPNS2612 Japanese 3 and 4, plus one unit of study from JPNS2660 series.
- Third Year: JPNS2621 and JPNS2622 Japanese 5 and 6, plus one unit of study from JPNS2670 series.
- To prepare for Honours: one additional unit from the JPNS2670 series and ASNS3690 Approaches to Research.
- First Year: JPNS2621 and JPNS2622 Japanese 5 and 6.
- Second Year: JPNS3621 and JPNS3622 Japanese 7 and 8, plus one unit of study from JPNS3670 series.
- Third Year: JPNS3621 and JPNS3622 Japanese 9 and 10, plus one unit of study from JPNS3670 series.
- To prepare for Honours: one additional unit from the JPNS3670 series and ASNS3690 Approaches to Research.
Native and near-native speakers
Native speakers and near-native speakers of Japanese must obtain permission to enrol from the department. Students who took HSC Japanese Background Speakers are regarded as native speakers or near-native speakers of Japanese.
Native speakers and near-native speakers of Japanese will not be permitted to take language units of study. Provided they have completed at least 36 junior credit points in other subject areas, they may complete a major in Japanese Studies by taking 36 senior credit points made up of a maximum of four Japanese Studies (JPNS) units in the JPNS3670 series and the remainder in Japan-related Asian Studies units.
In order to qualify for entry into the honours IV program, students must have completed the requirements for a BA degree or equivalent. In addition they must have achieved a credit average or better in the major plus 12 additional senior credit points which must include ASNS3690 Approaches to Research in Asian Studies. They may include one 6-credit point Japan-related Asian Studies unit of study.
Honours IV students are required to enrol in all four generic units of study: JPNS4011, JPNS4012, JPNS4013, JPNS4014. The program is comprised of 40 per cent coursework and 60 per cent thesis. Coursework consists of two specific units of study. The thesis is an 18,00020,000 word original piece of research and writing using English and Japanese language sources appropriate to the student's level of Japanese language proficiency.
Intending honours students must consult the department during Orientation Week regarding the coursework.
Department website: sydney.edu.au/arts/japanese
Chair of Department: Dr Olivier Ansart, Brennan MacCallum, room 549, phone: +61 2 9351 4306; fax: +61 2 9351 2319; email:
Administrative enquiries should be directed to the School of Languages and Cultures by phone: +61 2 9351 2869; fax: +61 9351 2319; email: . Staff offices and Japanese Studies notice boards are located on level 5 of the Brennan MacCallum Building (A18).