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T202 Japanese Studies with Year Abroad BA Undergraduate  2019


UCAS code T202
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 4
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications

Department(s) Website
Contacts Fill out our enquiry form
Phone: +44 (0)191 334 1000

Course Summary


This is a four-year multidisciplinary degree in which the compulsory Japanese language and culture modules will be taught at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (MLaC) and in the Department of History.

You will choose a selection of other modules relevant to the study of Japan from other departments, including Anthropology, Education, Government and International Affairs, Economics, and Religious Studies.

Alternatively, you may choose to take additional modules in MLaC including European languages and Chinese. All students will spend their third year studying the Japanese language at a university in Japan. Students are not expected to have any previous knowledge of Japanese, but a pathway is available for students with an A Level or equivalent qualification in Japanese. A full list of the modules currently available can be accessed here:

Year 1

You will take a double module in Japanese language, including the four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, a module in Japanese culture introducing the philosophy, art and literature of Japan, a module in Japanese history and two option modules from an extensive list.

Core modules:

  • Japanese Language 1 or Japanese Language 2B for post-A level entrants (double module)
  • Introduction to Japanese Culture
  • A module on Japanese history taught by MLaC or History.

Year 2

You will take a double module in Japanese language, including the four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, a module in Japanese culture, a module in Japanese history and two option modules from an extensive list.

Core modules:

  • Japanese Language 2 (double) or Japanese Language 2A (single)
  • The Body and the Extremity of the Senses: Through Japanese Literature, Performance and Media Arts
  • A module on Japanese history taught by MLaC or History.

Year 3

The third year is spent in Japan studying the language full-time at a Japanese university. You are required to take all the examinations specified by your host university, but the marks for these do not count towards the final degree mark. You will complete a 5,000-word project in English with a 1,000-character abstract in Japanese on some aspect of Japan, at your choice with guidance from Durham staff.

Year 4

You will take a double module in Japanese language, a single text reading module in Japanese and a 40-credit Dissertation plus one other module

Core modules:

  • Japanese Language 4 (double)
  • Japanese Historical and Literary Texts
  • Dissertation in Japanese Studies.

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2019 entry from September 2018.

Study Abroad

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

We attach great importance to your time abroad, during the third year of your degree, which most students spend as a student at a university in Japan. This is a time of enormous linguistic and personal development from which you should gain a high level of fluency in your language(s) and enjoy a unique opportunity to make new friends, appreciate new cultures and learn to work and study in new ways. Employers at home and abroad are impressed by the lasting benefits, especially in increased linguistic confidence, intercultural agility and general self-motivation. During the year abroad you will complete an academic assignment related to each of the countries in which you stay. You will need to pass these in order to fulfil the requirements of the BA in Japanese Studies with Year Abroad.

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

Typically, a student of Japanese Studies will have 12 hours of classroom teaching per week in the three years of the degree that are based in Durham. Language modules involve six hours per week of teaching, while modules on culture, history and other topics are usually taught by means of weekly lectures and fortnightly seminars.

Classroom teaching is an important part of your learning, but this is only the beginning of your learning. It provides a starting-point for your development as an independent, self-motivated learner. The majority of your time will therefore be spent working independently, reading widely, making notes, finding sources of information, listening to and viewing audio-visual materials. For each hour of timetabled classroom teaching you will therefore be expected to carry out approximately four hours of independent study and research.

A significant proportion of this time will be spent preparing and completing assessment tasks, both formative and summative. In core language modules, heavy emphasis is placed on formative assessment as an ongoing element of the learning process, progressively preparing students for written and oral summative assessments. In other modules, most assessment is summative, largely consisting of a mix of essays and written examinations.

In addition to regular support and feedback from module teachers and conveners, your learning will be supported at the individual level by a personal Academic Adviser, who will meet with you three times a year to discuss your overall progress. This support network continues during the Year Abroad, when every student is supported by a designated Target Language Research Project Supervisor.

The Year Abroad is a key element in the progressive, developmental education that Japanese Studies at Durham seeks to provide, fostering the accelerated acquisition of language skills and expanding intercultural competence. All students will work independently during their time abroad on preparation for their final-year dissertation and the Target Language Research Project(s) submitted at the beginning of their final year.

In general, there will be an increasing emphasis on independent learning and research skills, culminating in the final-year dissertation and Target Language Research Project. Rather than imparting detailed information, the main aim of the teaching you receive will be to help you to learn how to learn – guiding you towards using resources effectively, thinking critically and formulating persuasive arguments.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors for more information. 
  • We look for aptitude in language study but there is no requirement for an A2 foreign language or equivalent qualification
  • Students taking the History route of Japanese Studies must have an A in A2 History or equivalent qualification
  • Students are not expected to have any previous knowledge of Japenese, but if you do have an A level (or equivalent) in Japanese, then you can enter the Advanced stream from Year 1
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • Typical IB score 36 to include 665 in higher level subjects
  • Key skills qualifications are welcomed, but are not taken into account as part of the entry requirements
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £19,250.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

A BA in Modern Languages from Durham will provide you with an impressive and unique portfolio of cultural knowledge, transferable skills and placement experiences that is much valued by employers worldwide. The combination of linguistic ability, intellectual rigour and cultural understanding that you acquire during your course makes you eminently employable in a wide range of careers both here and abroad. These include specialist occupations, such as interpreting, translation and teaching, but also industry, business, marketing, finance, the civil service, the European Union agencies, law and the media. In fact, statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveal that language graduates are on average 10-15% better paid than other arts graduates and have the lowest unemployment rates overall (only outdone by those in medicine and law). With the UK as a whole now producing fewer and fewer linguists, graduates in Modern Languages are increasingly sought after. As one employer put it, 'the ability to communicate internationally is becoming a pre-requisite for success'.

In particular, the Year Abroad, which is and will continue to be an integral part of all our degree programmes, will give you a headstart in the job market. There is significant evidence that the experience of working and studying abroad delivers not just improved language abilities and increased knowledge but also greatly enhanced intercultural, problem-solving and personal skills. These are a factor in landing first and subsequent jobs for over 70% of language graduates, a significant factor for over 30%, and the determining factor for about 10%. Employers are becoming increasingly aware that language graduates who have spent a year abroad are amongst the most mature, adaptable and independent people entering the job market.

For inspiring examples of where a Durham Modern Languages degree can lead to, read our MLAC Alumni Stories.

My placement during my year abroad and experience in Peru led to my return to work there after graduation, and promotion to regional manager within 5 months.

Of those students that left in 2016:

  • 92% are in employment or further study six months after graduating

Of those in employment:

  • 91% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £24,733

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2015/16 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found

Durham University Modern Language graduates enter a wide range of occupational areas including management; publishing; marketing; translation; teaching; business and finance. Our graduates find employment with a wide range of employers both in the public and private sector including the British Council; Barclay's Wealth; Deloitte; Ernst and Young; Goldman Sachs, Grant Thornton; Pharmacia; PwC; Proctor and Gamble; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; the NHS and Teach First. Roles our graduates progress into include copyright and marketing executive; banker; journalist; teacher; trainee tax advisor; research executive; buyer; live subtitler; trainee investment banker; translation checker; writer and translator.

Study and work abroad

MLaC students spend a year abroad after their second year of study. This involves studying and/or working abroad which enriches their cultural awareness and develops the essential employability skills sought by graduate employers.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

School of Modern Languages and Cultures


Employers of all kinds are looking for ‘global graduates’: people with excellent communication skills, the ability to mediate sensitively between cultures, and the confidence to adapt to different environments. At Durham University you can specialise in one or two languages and the cultural worlds associated with them – choose from Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hispanic Studies, Italian, Japanese and Russian. You will develop high-level language skills and in-depth intercultural awareness. The year abroad will give those capabilities a crucial boost, as well as providing valuable experience of work or study in different countries. We strongly emphasise the study of cultural production – a stimulating range of options, enriched by the world-class research expertise of our staff, which will enhance your critical thinking, communication, research and analytical skills. 


  • 94% of our Modern Languages and Cultures students said their course was intellectually stimulating in the National Student Survey 2017
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2018
  • In the top 5 for all languages, we offer in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.


For a current list of staff, please see the School of Modern Languages and Cultures web pages.


We have 82 teaching staff, including 16 language teaching fellows and 17 native speaker language assistants. The recently refurbished language laboratories have excellent audio-visual facilities and both main lecture rooms and small group teaching rooms are equipped for the increasing integration of film and other audio-visual material. The School’s Open Access Centre is situated in the same building, offering further self-access resources. Durham has first-class library facilities, with the main University collections supplemented by those of college libraries.