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MA Japanese Literature

Course Description

This programme covers both pre-modern and modern literatures of Japan. It includes the study of literary works written in the original languages, as well as an introduction to literary theory.

This degree is designed either as an end qualification in itself or to prepare the student for more advanced graduate work (MPhil/PhD).

Incoming students will be expected to have completed the equivalent of the first two years of undergraduate language study at SOAS in Japanese.


Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/japankorea/programmes/majaplit/


Students are required to complete three compulsory courses and a language option, as well as a 10,000 word dissertation. The compulsory courses include two half-unit literature courses using Japanese texts in English translation. Students select one language option from the list below as a minor subject.

10,000 words based on Japanese and Western sources on a topic agreed in conjunction with advisor.

MA Japanese Literature- Programme Specifications 2012/13 (pdf; 27kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/japankorea/programmes/majaplit/file80725.pdf

Teaching & Learning

The taught part of the course consists of core lectures introducing basic concepts, theory and methodology; and additional seminars that extend the core material into other areas. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.
A 10,000-word dissertation written over the summer offers students the opportunity to develop original research in an area of special interest.

- Learning Resources

SOAS library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.


A postgraduate degree in MA Japanese Literature from SOAS provides students with competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, history, cinema, politics, economics or law. Graduates of this programme will develop their ability to engage with and explore relationships between indigenous aesthetics of the region and contemporary literary theories. Some graduates leave SOAS to pursue careers directly related to their study area, while others have made use of the intellectual training for involvement in analysing and solving many of the problems that contemporary societies now face.

Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in the business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. A postgraduate degree in Japanese Literature is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website (http://www.soas.ac.uk/careers/graduate-destinations/).

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

Visit the MA Japanese Literature page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Canon Collins Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

These scholarships are for Masters study in any subject field.
The application process normally opens in December and closes in February, for study commencing in September the following year. Please go to the Canon Collins website and click "Apply for A Scholarship" and then "Canon Collins Scholarship for Masters Study in the UK" for further information on how to apply.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See website


Country/Nationality: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent), plus linguistic competence in Japanese

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