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Bachelor of Arts Degree-Asian Studies

Japan Option


Program Description

The undergraduate major in International Studies: Asian Studies (Japan option) is an interdisciplinary program that provides focused Japanese language and area training. The core curriculum is offered through the Jackson School of International Studies and is supplemented by numerous classes on Japan in political science, history, literature, linguistics, art and art history, architecture, and business. The BA degree gives students in-depth knowledge of many facets of Japan and familiarity with Japanese society and culture. The program helps prepare students for careers in business, government, journalism, secondary-school teaching, and other professional fields.

Variety and depth are added to regular coursework by Japan Colloquia and by occasional special symposia, where recent research findings and discussions of significant contemporary topics are presented by specialists from the United States, Japan, and elsewhere. The program strives to offer students the opportunity to study all aspects of Japan - through the number and range of courses offered, the research activities of its faculty members, Japan Colloquia, and in the fact that the most important academic journal in the Japan field, The Journal of Japanese Studies, is published at this University.

The University of Washington has a long-standing commitment to the study of Japan, with Japan-related curricula in many of its departments and professional schools. Similarly active programs focusing on other world regions make the UW a rich environment for study and enable students to gain a comparative international perspective.
Kenneth Pyle, Chair, Japan Studies

Admission to Major - open major

Any undergraduate in good standing may declare Asian Studies (Japan concentration) as a major.

Major Requirements


Although only two years of language are required, it is suggested that students take as much as they can because two years of Japanese do not give proficiency. Students who transfer in from other programs should contact the Department of Asian Languages and Literature as soon as possible for information on placement tests. The language requirement is two years of Japanese at the University of Washington or the equivalent; often students studying in less intensive programs find they must take more Japanese here even though they have studied elsewhere.


  • Introductory courses:
  1. JSIS 201, The Making of the 21st Century (5);
  2. JSIS 203, The Rise of Asia, or JSIS A 207, Asian Civilizations: Traditions (5);
  3. JSIS A/HSTAS 241, Japanese Civilization (5), or JSIS A 242 (5), Introduction to Contemporary Japan
  4. A second Asian civilization course chosen from
    JSIS A/HSTAS 212 (Korea), HSTAS 211 (China), JSIS A 206, HSTAS 201, 202 (South Asia), or JSIS A/HSTAS 221 (Southeast Asia) (5)
  1. JSIS A/HSTAS 423, History of Modern Japan (5)
  2. upper-division Japan Social Science electives List A min. 15 credits (15)
  3. upper-division Japan Social Science or Humanities electives List A or B (10)
  • Asian Studies Research Paper: An approved research or analytical paper (15 pages) is required to be completed with a Japan Studies faculty member in conjunction with one of the upper-division courses on Japan.
  • A minimum grade of 2.0 in all courses counted toward the major is required, except for first- and second-year Japanese language courses, where grades must average at least 2.00. The "paper course" and 30 of the 35 credits required for the Japan option courses, including JSIS A/HSTAS 423, must be taken in residence at the University of Washington.
  • Overlapping credits: A maximum of 15 credits that are used to fulfill minimum requirements of any other UW major can be counted in this major.

*The list of approved Japan option courses is available online at the following link:

For a list of current quarter course offerings click below.
Current Course Offerings

Minor Requirements

30 credits, to include the following:

  1. JSIS A/HSTAS 241 or JSIS A 242 (5 credits).

  2. One additional introductory Asian civilization course from JSIS A 207 (premodern Asia), JSIS 203 (modern Asia), JSIS A/HSTAS 212 (Korea), JSIS A/HSTAS 221 (Southeast Asia), JSIS A 206, HSTAS 201, JSIS A/HSTAS 202 (South Asia), 211 (China), 5 credits

  3. 10 credits of electives taken at the UW, chosen from the Japan history/social science electives list

  4. 5 credits of electives taken at the UW, chosen from the Japan history/social science list or the Japan arts/literature electives list

  5. 5 additional credits in Japanese language beyond second-year level, or in upper-division transfer courses on Japan, or in additional electives chosen from the Japan history/social science electives list

  6. Minimum grade of 2.0 required in each course applied toward the minor.

Library Facilities

The University of Washington's Japan collection is one of the most important of its kind in the nation. The East Asia Library and the Law Library together house over 140,000 volumes of Japanese-language materials. The libraries on campus maintain an up-to-date collection of English- and European-language works in the humanities, social sciences, and art and a good collection of prewar and nineteenth-century books and periodicals.
Visit the main Library gateway for Japan Studies
Visit the East Asia Library - Japan Studies section
Link to the Japan Studies Program page

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African Studies Program
University of Washington
326 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

Joel Ngugi / Chair
Associate Professor, School of Law

Mary Kay Gugerty/Adjunct Director
Associate Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs

Erin Murphy/Program Assistant
Autumn Quarter Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 9-12, or by appt.
206.616.0998 office
206.685.0668 fax

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