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University of Canterbury
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Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Japanese

This course is available


Level of Study

Bachelor's Degree


3 years

Next start date

Expected Feb 2023


University of Canterbury


The Bachelor of Arts is a flexible degree so you can specialise or study a wide variety of topics. Over the three years of your degree, you will gain the critical thinking, creative problem solving, and communication skills that employers want. Unique practical experiences such as internships are on offer too. The Bachelor of Arts requires a minimum total of 360 points. Each major has specific course requirements, but all consist of a minimum of 135 points in a single Arts subject. Of these, at least 60 points must be at 300-level and at least 45 points at 200-level.

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, video games, fashion, art, sport and spirituality.

Learning the Japanese language helps you to do business with Japanese people and multinational companies, equips you for a job in Japan and opens up an understanding of a proud people with a long history and fascinating culture.

Why study Japanese at UC?

The Japanese programme at UC offers a wide range of courses in Japanese language and related subjects up to PhD level.

It is supported by a strong team of staff specialising in linguistics, literature, theatre, society, tradition and modern culture.

In language classes, equal emphasis is placed on the four key language skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Communicative and cultural competency in Japanese is developed through regular interaction with native speakers and practice communicating in a range of real-life situations.

Courses in the programme are complemented by a number of specialised courses on Japanese history, art, political science and music offered through various Schools in the College of Arts.

Double degrees

It is possible to combine an Arts degree with other degrees.

Further study

The College of Arts has a wide range of options for postgraduate and graduate study with excellent research facilities. Pathways include: Bachelor of Arts with Honours; Master of Arts; Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

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.

Entry criteria

Applicants must have completed New Zealand University Entrance through NCEA; or Cambridge International Examinations (CIE); or International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) or any other equivalent overseas qualification.

Applicants must also satisfy our English language entry requirements:

  • IELTS (Academic): Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no band score lower than 5.5.
  • TOEFL (IBT): Minimum overall score of 80, with a minimum score of 19 in Reading, Listening and Writing.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic): Overall score of 50, and no communicative skills score below 42.

Undergraduate application deadline: Semester 1 (February start) by 31 October; Semester 2 (July start) by 30 April.

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