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Master of Arts in Japanese

This course is available


Level of Study

Master's Degree


1 year

Next start date

Expected Feb 2024


University of Canterbury


The Master of Arts (MA) degree consists of taught coursework, which may include internship opportunities, and independent research in a wide variety of Arts subjects. It provides the opportunity to critically examine current practices in the field, while also demonstrating understanding of the principles of research.

Those interested in a research-focused programme of study in their subject may consider the Master of Arts (Thesis). The Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis) is composed of a substantial body of original research in a wide variety of Arts subjects. It provides the opportunity to contribute to new knowledge in the field and build on academic skills.

The Master of Arts degree consists of a total 180 points, made up from a 30-point compulsory course in introductory research methods, at least 60 points in a single subject, a maximum of 30 points from an internship or other relevant subject, and a 60-point dissertation.

The Master of Arts (Thesis) degree consists of a 120-point thesis in a chosen subject. Students can begin their studies on the first day of any month.

Japan is one of the most influential nations in the Asia-Pacific region — culturally, diplomatically and economically. It is a key player in New Zealand's import and export, tourism and education markets and continues to be an attractive destination for graduates.

Aspects of Japanese culture have become popular in much of Asia, Australasia and America. These include animation, computer games, fashion, art, sport and spirituality.

Japanese language courses are offered from beginners' stage to postgraduate level. There is provision also for first-year students with more advanced proficiency in the language to gain direct possible, when appropriate, into the upper-level courses. Students with Level 3 NCEA with 15 credits or above in Japanese can enrol in JAPA215. Prospective students who are unsure of their level can be assessed through a placement test. Language courses are complemented at postgraduate level by a broad offering of non-language courses.

Further study

Doctor of Philosophy

Career opportunities

A degree in Japanese can lead to a variety of career options.

Some graduates have been awarded prestigious Monbukagakusho (Japanese Ministry of Education) Scholarships for study and research in Japan. Many have joined the Japanese Government's Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. Others have been employed by the Japanese Embassy or Consular Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Government Communications and Security Bureau in Wellington.

There is a demand for teachers of Japanese in secondary schools and some graduates have joined the teaching staff of Japanese departments at tertiary institutions.

Other graduates enter banking, import/export and legal industries or find jobs in multinational companies that have links with Japan. Some become freelance translators or enter the tourism and travel industry.

Start date: Monthly by arrangement with supervisor

Entry criteria

Coursework: You will need to have qualified for an Aotearoa New Zealand bachelor's degree (or other qualifications of an equivalent standard). You must also satisfy the prerequisites for a major subject. Prerequisites vary between departments, but normally good grades in 300-level courses in the subject is required.

Thesis: You will need to have qualified for a Bachelor of Arts with Honours degree (or other qualifications of an equivalent standard) within one of the Arts subjects offered in the MA(Thesis). With approval, you may be able to complete the MA(Thesis) in a different subject from your BA(Hons) qualification.

Applicants must also satisfy our English language entry requirements:

  • IELTS (Academic): Minimum overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  • TOEFL (IBT): Minimum overall score of 90, with a minimum score of 19 in Reading, Listening and Writing.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic): Overall score of 58 and no communicative skills score below 50.

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