M.A. in Japanese

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).
Apply to the Masters Program in Japanese through the Department of Graduate Studies' online application page. Applicants must fill out an online application form and upload various documents. Documents to be uploaded may include: analytical statements of purpose (500 words) in Japanese and English, unofficial transcripts for all colleges and universities attended, your CV/resume, writing samples, and other required documention. International students may also need to upload English language testing scores. 
In addition, please send directly to the Japanese Program two (2) letters of recommendation. Send letters to:
Japanese Program Graduate Advisor
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

Written English Proficiency Requirements

Level One: Written English proficiency will be evaluated based on the student's English language Statement of Purpose, 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

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Core Courses for Both Emphases (9 units)

Select three of the following four courses. If all four courses (JAPN 750, JAPN 800, JAPN 860, JAPN 890) are taken, the fourth one will count as an elective.
  • JAPN 750 Seminar in Japanese Linguistics
  • JAPN 800 Seminar in Analysis of Japanese Cultural Studies
  • JAPN 860 Seminar: Topics in Japanese Literature
  • JAPN 890 Integrative Seminar: Japanese Language and Culture

Emphasis (Minimum 18 units)

units selected from one of the emphases listed below

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 770 Seminar in Teaching Japanese
  • JAPN 775 Seminar: Materials Development for Teaching Japanese
  • JAPN 780 Practicum in Teaching Japanese
And one of the following:
  • JAPN 760 Seminar in Pedagogical Japanese Linguistics
  • 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 350 Introduction to Translation
  • JAPN 390 Business Japanese
  • JAPN 395 Advanced Business Japanese: Business Writing
  • JAPN 401 Edo Culture
  • JAPN 401 Heian Culture: Culture of Peace
  • JAPN 401 Japanese Identity
  • JAPN 401 Tea Ceremony and Tea Culture
  • JAPN 401 Japanese Way of Living
  • JAPN 401 Life and Thought of Medieval Japan
  • JAPN 401 Modern Cultural History of Japan
  • JAPN 510 Modern Japanese Literature
  • JAPN 590 Japanese Women Writers
  • JAPN 590 Contemporary Japanese Literature
  • JAPN 690 Introduction to Consecutive Interpretation
  • JAPN 710 Magazines & Periodicals
  • JAPN 710 Newspapers
  • JAPN 710 Current Topics: Radio and Television
  • JAPN 710 Interpretation Workshop
  • JAPN 710 Translation Workshop
  • JAPN 765 Second Language Acquisition
  • JAPN 860 Seminar in Modern Japanese Literature
  • JAPN 860 Hyakunin Isshu: 100 Poems by 100 Poets
  • JAPN 860 The Tale of Genji and No Plays
  • (Selected courses with approval of graduate advisor)


6 units selected upon advisement (Japanese courses or courses from other departments)
Visit the current University Bulletin for complete course descriptions and class schedule.

Culminating Experience Requirement (3 units)

One of the following three options
  • JAPN 895 Applied Research Project and Oral Defense
  • JAPN 898 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)

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 898), students must maintain continuous enrollment by taking a “zero unit” course in the College of Extended Learning (CEL 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.