MA Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies (part-time)

Part Time
Degree of Master of Arts

“Engaging with Japan in an interdisciplinary manner teaches key life skills for the future, including communication, cultural flexibility, and critical thinking"

In their words

Jennifer Coates, Course Director

"Understanding Japan is understanding a key player in the global politics, culture, and economy of today and tomorrow."

In their words

Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer, Lecturer in Japanese Arts and Cultures

"Gain an in-depth interdisciplinary understanding of what puts the cool into Japan”

In their words

Simon Kaner, Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia and Head of the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage at the Sainsbury Institute

Looking at a variety of topics through the lens of Japan offers an exciting opportunity to engage with the world while expanding your understanding of art, media, literature, history, and politics. Whether you have already studied, or lived in, Japan and wish to broaden your knowledge, or whether you plan to focus your studies on the region for the first time, an MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies offers the perspective of a different culture and academic tradition.

Knowledge of the Japanese language is not a requirement of the programme.

As our world becomes more globalised each day, there has never been a better time to study this subject. You will benefit from UEA’s expertise in Japanese arts, media, politics, and history. What’s more, you’ll learn about a variety of research methods, equipping you with the tools to actively participate in shaping the field yourself.


Norwich is the home of the UK’s leading research centre for the study of Japanese arts, media, and visual cultures. Since 1999, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures has been developing and sharing its world-class research with the city and with UEA. Building on UEA’s strengths in media studies, creative writing, intercultural communication, gender studies, and history, the course offers a wide range of disciplinary approaches and methods.

The MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies responds to our contemporary moment in which globalisation and future-oriented concerns put Japan and its cultures at the centre of debates on urgent issues such as technology and digital innovation, population change, media representation, and health and ageing. The course draws on UEA’s specialist research and teaching to position Japanese Studies in relation to the major humanities disciplines including literature, history, politics, and art. Through our unique interdisciplinary approach, we celebrate UEA’s distinctive approach to engaging with Japan.

On this course you will explore Japanese arts and culture, society and history through a diverse range of disciplinary approaches and methods. You’ll learn about the history of ideas and engage with key writings about Japan, and think critically about the direction of contemporary Japanese studies. You’ll be taught by experts from across the many disciplines that fall under Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies – including art history, film and media studies, history, politics, and international relations. And you’ll gain a valuable perspective on the subject through input from experts in Japanese arts, cultures and heritage researching at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.

Course Structure

You can take the MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies as either a one-year full-time or two-year part-time course.

We begin with our year-long core module, Researching Japan.This is an important introduction to the fundamental writings and debates in Japanese studies across the history of the field, equipping you with the tools to actively participate in its future direction.

If you choose to study part-time, this module will make up the first year’s workload, together with dissertation planning.

You will also cover the history of ideas and key writings about Japan, and be encouraged to think critically about the direction of contemporary Japanese studies more broadly.

In the autumn and spring semesters, you will choose three modules from a range of optional modules, focusing on the specific areas of Japanese studies that interest you. If you study part time, you will choose one optional module in Year 1, to study alongside the year-long compulsory course module, and while beginning planning and research towards your dissertation. During Year 2, you will choose two more optional modules to study while researching and writing your dissertation.

Your dissertation will be organised and developed across the two years of part-time study. This is your chance to pursue an area of specialist study of your choice, investigating a specific academic methodology or topic. You’ll get advice from two members of staff as supervisors to support you in researching and writing up your dissertation. The dissertation module is supported by the core module, helping you to develop a range of transferrable skills for the workplace, future research, or doctoral-level study.

Teaching and Learning

You’ll be taught by a leading team of research-active academic staff who bring diverse disciplinary perspectives to the study of Japan. They have particular strengths in Japanese arts, cultures, and heritage, Japanese politics and international relations, Japanese film, media, anime, and manga, gender in Japan, and Japanese history from the early modern era to the present day

Our researchers have explored many different themes using a variety of approaches and methods – from experimental art movements to archaeology, and from wartime culture to post-war social change. At UEA and the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, academics across the arts, humanities, and social sciences have published influential work on Japanese Studies.

You will be mainly taught through lectures and seminars. You’ll usually spend around eight hours a week (for full time students) in seminars, which will incorporate small and whole group working. As part of your core module on Researching Japan, you’ll attend presentations from staff and visiting researchers at the Sainsbury Institute public lecture series, academic workshop events, and the Center for Japanese Studies seminar series, allowing you to discuss ideas in development. And you’ll have the opportunity to attend additional lectures from visiting speakers addressing themes in any area of study relevant to your interests at UEA.

Independent Study

Working independently is an important aspect of study at Master’s level. You’ll do preparatory reading for each seminar as well as working towards your coursework. You’ll bring your own areas of interest to every module and have the opportunity to define your focus. In the dissertation, you will have the opportunity to focus on a subject area that you’re passionate about and potentially see a career path within. You’ll also have access to the world leading Lisa Sainsbury Library at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.


Your achievement on the MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies will be assessed by coursework rather than exams. This will include essays, research proposals, and your final dissertation. In all your modules you’ll get frequent formative feedback from your tutors – helping you to develop your knowledge and skills before producing summative work.

After the course

After completing the MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies, you will have an in-depth understanding of the field of Japanese Studies and will be able to demonstrate critical engagement with key issues and topics. You’ll be well prepared for careers in research, international relations or organisations, policy, NGOs, and the public sector.

If you’re interested in further study towards a PhD, you’ll be well prepared for sustained research into Japanese Studies or art history, film and media studies, history, or politics and international relations. Our MA will ensure that you’re fully equipped with the theoretical and practical research skills necessary for advanced level study.

Career destinations

  • Academic research (PhD)
  • Research roles
  • Public sector roles
  • Culture industries, including museum sector
  • Charity sector roles

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of course-related costs.

Course Modules 2019/0

Year 1

The first year of your taught Masters programme. Compulsory Modules (40 credits)

Description Credits

Options Range A

Students enrolled on the part-time course will select one module per semester during the first year. Students will select 40 credits from the following modules

Description Credits

Year 1U

This is the second year of your taught Masters programme. Compulsory Modules (80 credits)

Description Credits

Options Range A

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Description Credits


Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

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Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Arts and Humanities
  • Degree Classification Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2.1 or equivalent

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 58 (minimum 50 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


This course's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact the university directly for further information.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,850
  • International Students: £16,400

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

Living Expenses

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.


The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a number of Scholarships and Awards on offer. For further information relevant to Language and Communication Studies, please click here.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.


To request further information and to be kept up to date with news and events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515