Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

College of Letters & Science
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Undergraduate Major in Japanese

Students interested in speaking Japanese gather for a weekly language table dinner held at Frank's Place, a University Housing Food Service cafeteria.

Placement Test for Japanese Program

General Degree Requirements in Letters & Science

Study Abroad in Japan

Undergraduate Catalog Description for Japanese Program

Certificates in Japanese 

Undergraduate Advisor

Rachel Weiss
Office: 1244 Van Hise Hall

Schedule an advising apointment with Rachel via Scheduling Assistant

Undergraduate Major in Japanese

The Japanese program offers students a range of courses and activities which impart an understanding of the culture and civilization of Japan. With the completion of the four basic years of the language, students will be prepared to handle various types of colloquial Japanese. Most of our majors pursue advanced studies in Japanese linguistics or literature, while others combine an interest in Japan with a degree in business, education, engineering or journalism.

Placement Tests
The department requires that students who are new to our program take a placement test before enrolling in a language course beyond the first semester level. More information here.

Declaring the Major
You must meet with the Undergraduate Advisor for the Japanese Major in advance of declaring the major to discuss the requirements.

Majors are urged to begin coursework early, ideally in the freshman or sophomore year. If, however, this is not possible, summer courses at UW-Madison or elsewhere are available which speed the student's progress. Those who have Japanese credits from high school or summer sessions may enter advanced courses on the basis of placement tests..

Worksheet for the Bachelor's Degree in Japanese

This worksheet is produced for the student's convenience. The Department's official language for degree requirements is stated in the Undergraduate Catalog. It is the responsibility of the student to read carefully the degree requirements and insure that they are met. It is strongly advised that the student discuss any questions or concerns with the Undergraduate Advisor.

L&S College Requirements: For a complete description of L&S requirements see the Bulletin, note esp. that the minimum acceptable GPA in major courses is 2.0.

Department Requirements


No. of Credits

Courses in Japanese Language

203 Third Semester Japanese 



204 Fourth Semester Japanese



303 Fifth Semester Japanese



304 Sixth Semester Japanese



403 Seventh Semester Japanese



404 Eighth Semester Japanese



Courses in Japanese Literature

353 Survey of Japanese Literature to 1868



354 Survey of Japanese Literature from 1868



Course in Japanese Civilization

EA 253 Introduction to Japanese Culture and Civilization

or HIST 104 Introduction to East Asian History: Japan



Elective Requirement

Five credits of department courses in Japanese studies



Additional work in East Asian humanities and social science is recommended.


Elective Requirement: Select from E ASIAN 313, 314, 323, 324, 335, 357, 358, 361, 364, 367, 376, 377, 378, 434, 563, 564, 573, 574, 681, 682, 691, 692, 699; LIT TRANS 368, 372, 373. 

For elective course titles and information on when these courses are offered, click here.

L&S requires that students complete 15 credits of upper-level work in the major. *Please note that upper-level required courses for the major also count toward the 15 credits of upper-level work rule, so this requirement is typically completed in the process of fulfilling the major requirements listed above. Courses which count toward the 15 credits advanced work in the Japanese major: E ASIAN 303, 304, 313, 314, 323, 324, 335, 353, 354, 357, 358, 364, 367, 377, 403, 404, 430, 434, 466, 503, 563, 564, 573, 574, 681, 682, 691, 692, 699, HIST 453, 454; LIT TRANS 368, 372, 373. 

Upper-level language and literature equivalents are often available while studying abroad as a UW exchange student at Nanzan, Hokkaido, Keio, or Sophia. Consult the Undergraduate Adviser or appropriate language professor when designing your program of study.

Please do not enroll in either LIT TRANS 263 or LIT TRANS 264, Survey of Japanese Literature in translation (for non-majors). Converting these courses to E ASIAN 353 or 354 requires additional coursework.


Worksheet for the Japanese Major