Japanese Course Descriptions

Introduction to the Japanese Language and Literature Major

Students who would like to major in Japanese must first consult the major advisor and submit a signed advising form. Next step -- complete Declaration of Major form through DocuSign (found HERE).

Advisor: Gus Heldt

The Japanese major provides a distinctive combination of analytical, interpersonal, translingual and transcultural competencies that make students sophisticated and engaged global citizens able to move between languages and cultures in a thoughtful and nuanced manner. The major offers language courses from beginning to advanced levels that develop the ability to read, write, listen and speak effectively in Japanese, as well as connect students with more specialized knowledge in their individual areas of interest, giving them the skills needed to further explore such topics in their own subsequent research or self-study outside the classroom. Students also come to develop an appreciation for contemporary Japanese social and cultural values through their engagement with the language. Content courses on Japanese literature and culture in English provide thematic breadth and  historical depth to this understanding by familiarizing students with texts representing more than a millennium of writings including some of the globe’s earliest and most distinguished literary works, and by honing their appreciation of the ways in which the translation and interpretations of these texts are shaped by historical, cultural, social, and linguistic forms of difference. 


  • The average grade of C- or higher for the first two years of Japanese language instruction (JAPN 1010-1020, JAPN 2010-2020).

Requirements:  31 credits with the following distribution

  • 3 credits from the gateway course for department majors EAST 1010.
  • 15 credits must be in Japanese at the 3000 level and higher. Six credits can be in two non-survey courses on Japanese literature in translation. Two credits earned through Shea House may be counted toward this requirement. 
  • 6 credits consisting of two survey courses in Japanese literature from the following list: JPTR 3010, JPTR 3020.  
  • 3 credits in one course introducing the classical form Japanese (JAPN 4710)
  • 4 credits consisting of a capstone course (a DEALLC seminar at the 3000 or 4000 level in which the student writes a research paper using primary materials in Japanese) AND the one-credit capstone seminar, JPTR 4991. This course is normally taken in the spring semester of the fourth year. An independent study may not substitute. For more information click here
  • a maximum of 15 study abroad credits and domestic transfer credits are allowed at the discretion of the student’s advisor
  • students in this major must maintain a satisfactory grade point in the major and related courses each semester; satisfactory is defined as an average of C (i.e., 2.0); students not maintaining this grade point are subject to discontinuation from the major.
  • students who wish to double major are reminded that only two courses may count towards both majors

Steps to Declare the Japanese Language and Literature Major:

1. Review course listings by area and the Japanese Language and Literature Requirements.

2. Obtain the departmental advising form here, schedule an appoinment and meet with advisor.

3. Complete the Declaration of Major Form.

Capstone enrollment forms and DMP forms are all housed on this page

The Minor in Japanese Language and Literature

Students who would like to minor in Japanese must first consult the major advisor and submit a signed advising form.

Next step -- complete Declaration of Minor form through DocuSign (found HERE).

Advisor: Gus Heldt

Minors are strongly recommended to take the one required course, EAST 1010, as soon as possible. The remaining six classes of 3 credits or more at the 2000 level or higher can be all JAPN, all JPTR, or any combination of JAPN/JPTR courses. Students who wish to count JAPN 2010-2020 ​ (4 credits each for a total of 8 credits) as 2 of these 6 courses will have to take another 4​ JAPN or JPTR classes at 3 credits each for a total of 23 credits.  The 3-credit course JAPN 2100 can be taken with either JAPN 2010 or JAPN 2020. Students who are still deciding between a minor and major in Japanese are encouraged to take JPTR 3010-3020 ​(the Japanese literature survey sequence) at an early date ​because they have no prerequisites and can count towards either the major or minor.


  • 1020/1060-level in Japanese language. A grade of C- or higher must have been earned in each semester.


  • At least 21 credits with the following distribution:
  • 3 credits in EAST 1010
  • 18 credits comprised of six JAPN or JPTR courses of 3 or more credits at or above the 2000 level.
  • For Advising Form in the minor in Japanese Language and Literature, please click here.

Study Abroad

For information on academic year, semester  and summer study abroad, please see this link. It is strongly advised that you consult with ISO Educational Abroad advisor and the Japanese program coordinator before choosing programs. Your Japanese instructor and/or Japanese Program Coordinator will provide you internal resources and insights in regards to Japanese courses; the Education Abroad office will provide assistance of the entire study abroad process step-by-step such as cost comparison, application, and credit transfer.

To read what students said about their experience in Japan, please visit ‘HOOs Abroad in Japan' and “All About Study Abroad in Japan” 


Various scholarships and sources of funding are available at Association of American Teachers of Japanese and UVA International Studies Office

For information on scholarships and grant funding, please see the Grants page.

Please see the Michiko N. Wilson Award page for information about this annual paper competition for student papers on topics related to Japanese literature, Japanese culture, or Japan-US relations. Past winning papers can be accessed here.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.