Majoring in Japanese Language and Literature

Introduction to the Japanese Language and Literature Major

The Japanese major offers modern Japanese at all levels and Classical Japanese, including upper-level seminars that explore its literature and culture both in the original Japanese and in translation. From The Tale of Genji, regarded as the world’s first novel, through to haiku, the Nobel Laureates Kawabata and Ôe, to some of the most popular contemporary novelists in the world, Banana Yoshimoto and Haruki Murakami, the program explores the Japanese literary and cultural heritage as rich and lengthy as that of English literature. The Japanese major is designed to prepare students with the skills of cultural literacy and interpretation as well as linguistic proficiency. Students are also encouraged to demonstrate the integration of their skills and knowledge through the translation of Japanese literary works into English.


  • The average grade of C- or higher for the first two years of Japanese language instruction (JAPN 1010-1020, JAPN 2010-2020).
  • EAST 1010 with a grade of C or higher.

Requirements:  30 credits with the following distribution

  • 18 credits must be in Japanese at the 3000 level and higher. Six credits can be in two non-survey courses on Japanese literature in translation. Two credits earned through Shea House may be counted toward this requirement. 
  • 6 credits consisting of two survey courses in Japanese literature from the following list: JPTR 3010, JPTR 3020.  
  • 3 credits in one course introducing the classical form Japanese (JAPN 4710)
  • 3 credits consisting of a capstone course, a DEALLC seminar at the 3000 or 4000 level in which the student writes a research paper using primary materials in Japanese. This course is normally taken in the spring semester of the fourth year. An independent study may not substitute. 
  • a maximum of 15 study abroad credits and domestic transfer credits are allowed at the discretion of the student’s advisor
  • students in this major must maintain a satisfactory grade point in the major and related courses each semester; satisfactory is defined as an average of C (i.e., 2.0); students not maintaining this grade point are subject to discontinuation from the major.
  • students who wish to double major are reminded that only two courses may count towards both majors


To download all forms related to the major, please click here. Our declaration worksheets, capstone completion forms, and DMP forms are all housed on this page. 

Study Abroad Programs

For information on academic year and summer study abroad, please see the Study Abroad and Summer Study pages.


For information on scholarships and grant funding, please see the Grants page.