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Durham University


T202 Japanese Studies with Year Abroad BA Undergraduate 2021


Please note: 2021-22 courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.

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
Contextual Offers You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.
More information Still have questions?
Department(s) Website

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 Theology and Religious Studies.

Alternatively, you may choose to take additional modules in MLaC including European languages and Chinese. You will spend your third year studying the Japanese language at a university in Japan. You are not expected to have any previous knowledge of Japanese, but a pathway is available for is you have 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 1A 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 summative Year Abroad assignment 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 2021 entry from September 2020.

Study Abroad

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 a summative Year Abroad assignment for the language they wish to study at Level 3. The assignments will be submitted before the start of the first term of the candidate’s final year of study. Part-time candidates will be assessed at the start of the year in which the Level 3 compulsory language module is taken. You will need to pass these in order to fulfil the requirements of the BA in Japanese Studies with Year Abroad.


Placement Year

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Course Learning and Teaching

Typically, you will have 12 hours of classroom teaching per week in the three years of your degree 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. 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 you for written and oral assessments. In other modules, most assessment is 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 your Year Abroad when you will be supported by a designated member of staff.

Your 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. You will work independently during your time abroad in preparation for your final-year dissertation and the summative Year Abroad assignment submitted at the beginning of your final year.

In general, there will be an increasing emphasis on independent learning and research skills, culminating in the final-year dissertation. 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

You are not expected to have any previous knowledge of Japanese, but if you do have an A level (or equivalent) in Japanese, then you can enter the Advanced stream from Year 1.

A level offerAAB. Grade A in History is required, if taking the History option.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended DiplomaDDD. Grade A in History is required, if taking the History option.

IB Diploma score36 with 665 in higher level subjects. Please see above for subject requirements.

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
  • If you are taking the History route of Japanese Studies you must have an A in A2 History or equivalent qualification
  • You are not expected to have any previous knowledge of Japenese, but if you do have an A level (or equivalent), then you can enter the Advanced stream from Year 1
  • 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

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £21,730.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £21,730.00 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Of those students who graduated in 2018:

  • 91% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 83% are in a professional or managerial job
  • Average salary of £25,750.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here


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


In a world of increasing cultural and economic globalisation, the study of modern languages provides many opportunities.

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, Spanish (Hispanic Studies), Italian, Japanese and Russian.


  • World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2021.
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2021.
  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2021.


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


We have over 110 teaching staff, including over 40 language teaching fellows and 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.