Japanese Major

The Department of Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures offers three distinct major tracks: East Asian Languages & Cultures, Chinese, and Japanese. Each major requires a minimum of ten courses. Up to four study-away credits can be counted toward a major. Below are the learning objectives and minimum requirements of the Japanese Major.

Prospective and current majors should use your Williams login to sign up for this GLOW course

Learning Objectives for the Japanese Major

Students who complete the requirements for a major in Japanese will be able to:

  • Demonstrate linguistic competency/proficiency in comprehending, speaking, reading, and writing in Japanese at the ACTFL Intermediate High to Advanced levels.
  • Critically read and analyze a variety of Japanese primary sources for academic and professional purposes.
  • Critically engage with Japanese culture, past and present, recognizing its diversity and vibrancy.
  • Navigate a wide range of social and cultural contexts by communicating effectively and appropriately with people of other cultures in their local and global communities.
  • Continue their engagement with Japanese language and culture as lifelong learners and users of Japanese.

Minimum Requirements of the Japanese Major

In order to develop proficiency and intercultural communicative skills in the language, students are required to complete at least eight Japanese language courses (JAPN 101, 102, 201, 202, 301, 302, 401, 402), at least one Japanese core elective in Japanese literary, linguistic, or cultural studies (taught either in English or in Japanese) with prefixes and primary cross-listings in JAPN, and one approved elective related to Japanese language and culture (including additional JAPN core electives, additional Asian language courses, or Japanese studies courses offered in art, comparative literature, history, music, political science, religion, etc.).

Students with higher language proficiency who are placed out of any of the core language courses (101 through 402) can take an equal number of faculty-approved electives taught either in Japanese or in English on literature, linguistics, culture studies or related Japanese studies disciplines (e.g., art history, history, political science) to fulfill the core language requirement. 

Students who have summer or semester study-away plans MUST attend the fall Japanese study-away meeting or consult with department faculty for advice.