Master of Arts in Japanese

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The Master of Arts in Japanese offers two emphases:

  • Teaching of Japanese as a Foreign Language
  • Professional Applications

Admission to the Program

For admission to the master's program in Japanese, non-native speakers of Japanese must have a bachelor's degree in Japanese or in a field related to the area of intended emphasis. Native speakers of Japanese must have a bachelor's degree (no restrictions on the field). Applicants must also have a minimum 3.0 GPA; demonstrate the proficiency level in Japanese expected at the conclusion of a baccalaureate major in Japanese; submit two analytical essays - one in English (500 words), and the other in Japanese covering the same content stating the relevant past experiences and the reasons for applying to the graduate program at SF State; provide one set of transcripts; submit at least two letters of recommendation written in English or Japanese, both of which must be from an individual familiar with the applicant's academic performance; and provide TOEFL scores (for non-native speakers of English only; photocopies acceptable as long as the admissions office receives sealed scores) or sealed scores for the GRE Analytical Writing Test (for native speakers of English).

Written English Proficiency Requirements

Level One

Written English proficiency will be evaluated based on the analytical essay (written in English) that is to be submitted as part of the application package.

Level Two

Proficiency is demonstrated by satisfactory completion of a research project, master’s thesis and oral defense, or written and oral comprehensive examinations.

Japanese (M.A.) — Minimum 30 units

Core Courses for Both Emphases (9 units)

Select three of the following four courses If all four courses are taken, the fourth one will count as an elective.

JAPN 750Seminar in Japanese Linguistics3
JAPN 800Seminar in Analysis of Japanese Cultural Studies3
JAPN 860Seminar: Topics in Japanese Literature3
JAPN 890Integrative Seminar: Japanese Language and Culture3

Emphasis (Minimum 18 units)

units selected from one of the emphases listed below

Culminating Experience Requirement (3 units)

Select one of the followng options:3
Applied Research Project (and Oral Defense)
Master's Thesis (and Oral Defense)
Master's Comprehensive Oral and Written Examinations (which will cover 4 fields: Japanese Culture, Linguistics, Literature, and the student’s field of interest, such as Japanese business and education).

Teaching of Japanese as a Foreign Language Emphasis

Select 12 units. If all five courses (JAPN 760, JAPN 765, JAPN 770, JAPN 775, JAPN 780) are taken, the fifth one will count as an elective.

JAPN 770Seminar in Teaching Japanese3
JAPN 775Seminar: Materials Development for Teaching Japanese3
JAPN 780Practicum in Teaching Japanese3
JAPN 760Seminar in Pedagogical Japanese Linguistics3
or JAPN 765 Second Language Acquisition


6 units selected on advisement

Professional Applications Emphasis

12 Units selected on advisement from the following (at least 9 units must be at the graduate level)

JAPN 350Introduction to Translation3
JAPN 390Business Japanese3
JAPN 395Advanced Business Japanese: Business Writing3
JAPN 401Topics in Japanese Culture (Edo Culture)3
JAPN 401Topics in Japanese Culture (Heian Culture: Culture of Peace)3
JAPN 401Topics in Japanese Culture (Japanese Identity)3
JAPN 401Topics in Japanese Culture (Tea Ceremony and Tea Culture)3
JAPN 401Topics in Japanese Culture (Japanese Way of Living)3
JAPN 401Topics in Japanese Culture (Life and Thought of Medieval Japan)3
JAPN 401Topics in Japanese Culture (Modern Cultural History of Japan)3
JAPN 510Modern Japanese Literature3
JAPN 590Topics in Japanese Literature (Japanese Women Writers)3
JAPN 590Topics in Japanese Literature (Contemporary Japanese Literature)3
JAPN 690Introduction to Consecutive Interpretation3
JAPN 710Japanese Language Workshops (Magazines & Periodicals)3
JAPN 710Japanese Language Workshops (Newspapers)3
JAPN 710Japanese Language Workshops (Current Topics: Radio and Television)3
JAPN 710Japanese Language Workshops (Interpretation Workshop)3
JAPN 710Japanese Language Workshops (Translation Workshop)3
JAPN 765Second Language Acquisition3
JAPN 860Seminar: Topics in Japanese Literature (Seminar in Modern Japanese Literature)3
JAPN 860Seminar: Topics in Japanese Literature (Hyakunin Isshu: 100 Poems by 100 Poets)3
JAPN 860Seminar: Topics in Japanese Literature (The Tale of Genji and No Plays)3

Selected courses with approval of graduate advisor


6 units selected upon advisement (Japanese courses or courses from other departments)

Applied Research Project or Thesis

If the master’s degree is not earned within 2 semesters of enrolling in a culminating experience course (JAPN 895 or JAPN 898), students must maintain continuous enrollment by taking a “zero unit” course in the College of Extended Learning (LCA 499) until the project or thesis is completed.

Comprehensive Examinations

Student are admitted to the oral examination upon passing the written examination. Both examinations may not be attempted more than two times.