What will I learn?

With more than 125 million native speakers, Japanese is the eighth most widely spoken language in the world and the national language of a world economic powerhouse. It is among the world's great languages of science, technology, and commerce. Japanese immigrants and their descendants form vibrant communities in the United States (such as in Seattle), Canada and in many other countries around the world.

Japanese is also the vehicle of a literary culture spanning 13 centuries. The 11th century Tale of Genji, for example, is reckoned among the classics of world literature. In the 20th century, two Japanese writers, Yasunari Kawabata and Kenzaburo Oe, have been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Acclaimed content produced in modern Japanese pop culture — including books, films, and anime — flourishes as part of a language that has been utilized by some of the world’s most imaginative and influential storytellers.

Why study Japanese at the UW?

Our Japanese program has a long and rich tradition, and it is recognized today for the world-class quality of its faculty and degree programs. Our department’s close links with other departments on campus create opportunities for students to undertake cross-disciplinary studies, including with the Department of Linguistics, the Jackson School of International Studies and the Foster School of Business (where options include a Certificate of International Studies in Business).

On campus, the program hosts a visiting scholar from Japan each spring, expanding research opportunities for our students and deepening our links with the Japanese academic world. It also hosts many lectures and colloquia on campus, some in conjunction with other academic units. The University library system includes the East Asia Library, which is home to more than 130,000 volumes in Japanese, ranking among the top ten university-based collections of Japanese materials in the United States.

Which department am I in?

College of Arts and Sciences

Study options

Full Time (90 credit hours)

Tuition fees
US$30,208.00 per year
Start date

Expected September 2022


University of Washington

Schmitz Hall, 1410 NE Campus Parkway,



98195, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Prospective graduate students must meet the following minimum requirements: Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.1or its equivalent from a foreign institution; Have earned at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits. Other English Language Requirements: 580 paper-based TOEFL.

For international students

Students are admitted first to the department, then later petition for entry to the PhD program. Applicants with an MA in Japanese literature and culture from another institution complete at least 45 credits of coursework, then submit a petition, which allows them to bypass other MA requirements. Students without an MA in Japanese literature and culture enter the MA program and complete all requirements before submitting a petition.

English Proficiency:

The Graduate School is temporarily accepting official test scores for both the Duolingo English Test and the TOEFL ITP Plus For China to assist international students with remote testing options. This policy is currently in effect through the autumn 2021 admission cycle (i.e., students enrolling in autumn 2021).

TOEFL iBT - Minimum Required Score (ELP Required): 80; Recommended Score (ELP Satisfied): 92 or higher

TOEFL pBT - Minimum Required Score: 500

Duolingo: Minimum Required Score (ELP Required): 105; Recommended Score (ELP Satisfied): 120 or higher

IELTS: Minimum Required Score 6.5

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.