Bachelor of Arts in Japanese

The Japanese major consists of 45 units of lower- and upper-division coursework. 

Upper-division courses in Japanese are generally conducted in Japanese, and students are expected to use Japanese in their speaking, reading, and writing.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts in Japanese:

  1. Language, Linguistics: Students will speak, listen, write, and read Japanese throughout a variety of language and linguistic courses.
  2. Culture: Students will identify and analyze various elements of Japanese culture not only through a range of culture-focused courses but also through general language courses.
  3. Literature: Students will read and analyze authentic Japanese literary texts and develop their understanding of multi-faceted nature of literary analysis in relation to various contexts and perspectives.
  4. Writing skills: Students should be able to write coherent and engaging essays in Japanese that conform to accepted academic standards.

Japanese (B.A.) — 48 units

Required Courses (39 units)

JAPN 101First Semester Japanese4
JAPN 102Second Semester Japanese4
JAPN 103Third Semester Japanese4
JAPN 250Intensive Study of Kanji: Level I3
JAPN 251Intensive Study of Kanji: Level 23
JAPN 301Japanese Conversation3
JAPN 302Japanese Reading and Grammar3
Select One:3
Advanced Conversation and Composition - Language and Culture
Advanced Conversation and Composition - Language and Humanities
Select One:3
Advanced Readings in Japanese I
Advanced Readings in Japanese II
JAPN 401Topics in Japanese Culture3
JAPN 510Modern Japanese Literature3
MLL 325Linguistics for Foreign Languages3

Graduation Writing Requirement (GWAR) (3 units)

Select one:

MLL 400GWReading and Analysis of Cultural Texts - GWAR3
CWL 400GWApproaches to Comparative and World Literature - GWAR3

Upper-Division Electives (6 units)

On advisement.

Note: A minimum of 30 upper-division units must be completed for the degree (including upper-division units required for the major, general education, electives, etc.). A student can complete this major yet not attain the necessary number of upper-division units required for graduation. In this case, additional upper-division courses will be needed to reach the required total.

In addition to these course requirements, the Residential Unit Requirement for BA in Japanese must be fulfilled. If course waivers for AP scores, advanced proficiency in the Japanese language, challenge by examination, or transfer credit from previous colleges are awarded, additional upper-division JAPN courses may be needed to fulfill the residential unit requirement.

Complementary Studies

Required of all candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese are 12 units of Complementary Studies, which must come from courses bearing a prefix other than JAPN, excluding MLL 325, and not cross-listed with JAPN.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.