University of Cambridge

Degree level: Postgraduate

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Japanese Studies) (Taught)

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Course summary

The Japanese Studies pathway is a specially designed one-year graduate seminar and research course with substantial taught elements for students who want to deepen their undergraduate education and/or prepare for a PhD in Japanese studies. All students in the year group attend the Theories and Methodologies in Japanese Studies Seminar (Research Development Seminar), at which they meet regularly and are introduced to various disciplinary approaches in Japanese Studies. In addition, they are guided through the various steps of academic research, writing, presentation and career development. They are free to choose two additional courses from a variety of options so that each student receives a tailor-made education. Approximately half of the time is allocated to individual research and the writing of a dissertation under the guidance of leading scholars. The aim is to equip students to carry out independent academic work, including training, where appropriate, in how to use Japanese-language sources for research purposes, which lies at the heart of the programme. Our guiding principle is to ensure that each student receives the best possible education, providing a coherent course but with the flexibility to cater for individual needs. Learning Outcomes At the end of the MPhil programme, students will be expected to have: acquired the ability to read, interpret and translate primary sources in modern and/or classical Japanese; acquired a good knowledge of the general scholarship on modern and/or classical Japanese studies; acquired an in-depth knowledge of the secondary literature relevant to the subject of their dissertation; developed the ability to formulate original research questions and to produce a well-constructed argument to answer them, in the form of an independent piece of research based on the use of primary and secondary sources; and acquired the skills to use a library and internet resources independently. developed a peer network and the ability to give constructive feedback. Continuing All applicants should submit, via the Applicant Portal, a workable and relevant research proposal and demonstrate that they have the required academic knowledge and skills to carry out their project. Those students who are enrolled in an MPhil by Advanced Studies at the University of Cambridge and wish to continue to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies will be required to obtain at least 67 per cent overall in their MPhil by Advanced Studies degree and satisfy any pre-existing requirements also set by the Degree Committee, i.e. English language requirement. Admission is at the discretion of the Degree Committee, which judges each applicant on their own merits and in accordance with its own set of rules and regulations.


1: Dissertation (50 per cent of the grade) In their dissertation, students will be required to demonstrate research competence using Japanese-language sources, and to conduct research that addresses contemporary and/or historical issues of relevance to Japan. Prospective students are asked to contact potential supervisors before applying to Cambridge to ensure that an appropriate supervisor is available. One-on-one supervisions will be held by the main supervisors and will take place typically at the beginning of the academic year and in the Easter term. In addition, the Researcher Development Seminar (JM1) will help to guide students through the research process. 2: Three papers (50 per cent of the grade) Each of the three papers (a paper is an exam for which teaching is provided) is assessed either by a research essay of maximum 5,000 words or an alternative exercise agreed by the Degree Committee and counts for one-sixth of the total grade (ie 16.67 per cent). One of these papers, JM1 is compulsory. Other papers can be chosen to create a taylor-made edcuation. For further information please refer to our Faculty website.

Assessment method

Thesis / Dissertation For the Japanese Studies pathway, students will submit a dissertation of not more than 15,000 words, including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography on a subject approved by the Degree Committee. All MPhil dissertations must include a brief abstract at the start of the dissertation of no more than 400 words. The examiners have the option to conduct an oral examination with the candidate. Essays Three written examination papers on subjects approved by the Degree Committee. Students may submit essays as part of their degree in place of written examinations. Essays are not more than 5,000 words, including footnotes, but excluding bibliography. Students may apply to the Degree Committee for approval of an equivalent alternative exercise. For JM1, students will have to submit a portfolio of three essays with a length of 1500-1600 words each; a book review; a state-of-the-field essay; and a research proposal (incl. ethics form). Written examination For the Japanese Studies pathway, students may take examinations as part of their degree: Some courses may be assessed by written examination, as described in "form and conduct". With the approval of the Degree Committee, a student may offer, in place of one or more of those papers, the same number of essays, each of not more than 5,000 words, or equivalent alternative exercises approved by the Degree Committee.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK Good II.i Honours Degree. If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country. High II.i or a first at BA level from a UK university or equivalent. Good working knowledge (oral and written) of Japanese will be expected. Candidates should have either a BA in Japanese studies or Japanese language ability of at least level N2 or equivalent.

Fees and funding

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Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Japanese Studies) at University of Cambridge - UCAS