Back to search results


Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

The Japanese major is offered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and includes courses in the language, culture, literature and linguistics of Japan. Students studying Japanese progress from an elementary working knowledge of the language to oral and written fluency. Once students are familiar with basic patterns of pronunciation and language structure, they are introduced gradually to the writing system and written Japanese. The rich body of Japanese literature is first studied in English translation; sustained study prepares students to read a variety of written genres in the original language. 

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in Japanese within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students should contact the undergraduate studies director in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and in Arts and Sciences Advising.

Japanese majors are required to design their programs from courses in language, culture, literature and linguistics. Students must complete at least 33 credit hours in Japanese and Japanese-related work. Programs should be planned in consultation with an academic advisor assigned by the undergraduate studies director.

Prerequisite courses include Japanese 1101–1103 and Japanese 2231. These courses do not apply toward the major, but they can be used to fulfill General Education requirements.

Additional electives and General Education requirements totaling 121 hours are required by the College of Arts and Sciences for graduation.

There are several tracks to study Japanese language at Ohio State, including the regular track, the intensive track and individualized instruction track. Summer intensive courses are also available.

Students should begin considering and planning for a study abroad program as soon as they have decided to major in Japanese. Students interested in studying abroad during their junior or senior year can get specific information about various programs from their coordinating advisor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.

Programs exist at the following:

  • Hokkaido University
  • International Christian University
  • Inter-University Center for Japanese Studies
  • Japanese Study Abroad Program in Kobe (Kobe Shoin Women’s University)
  • Nanzan University
  • Tenri University
  • Waseda University
  • University of Tsukuba
  • Ohio-Saitama Business Internship    

For more information regarding any of the programs listed above, refer to

Japanese is applicable in a variety of settings in the United States and abroad. Mastery of Japanese allows students to consider careers in such fields as education, government, international trade, banking, print or electronic media, tourism, or art. Many employers are eager to hire graduates who are fluent in Japanese because their businesses involve Japanese speakers.

Careers in which Japanese is the primary emphasis include teaching Japanese at all levels; interpreting and translating for the United Nations, government, or for private and public organizations; and a variety of positions in the travel and tourism industry at home or abroad such as flight attendant, travel agent and tour guide.

Careers in which proficiency in Japanese is a good secondary tool include banking and finance, business, sales, export purchasing, foreign market analysis, journalism, foreign correspondence, science and research, library science, hotel management, publishing, radio broadcasting, and teaching English to Japanese speakers. 

Ohio State graduates with language degrees have chosen job such as international management at Honda, language coordinator at Honda, president and founder of Languages Unlimited, Inc., trade specialist with the Ohio Department of Development, and networking programmer at Proctor and Gamble.

Students can explore career options by utilizing Career Connection as well as the Arts and Sciences Career Services Office. Providing complimentary services, Career Connection focuses on helping students establish a career direction, while Career Services assists students with finding internships—experiences that are essential to testing out the suitability of career fields they are considering.