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Academic Year in Japan A


Students enrolled in the MA Asian studies Japan 120 track will spend one year at one of Leiden’s partner universities in Japan as part of their coursework for their MA degree.

The main goal of the year-long stay in Japan is to improve students’ Japanese language skills, follow relevant courses in their field of research and conduct research for their MA thesis. Students will improve their Japanese language skills based on a combination of activities, by pursuing Japanese language courses and content courses in Japanese (where possible), and conducting research for their MA thesis using Japanese sources. Content courses related to the topic of the thesis should allow students to also delve more deeply into their topic of research and acquire more-in-depth knowledge and expertise in the field of their interest, such as (but not limited to) Japanese history, literature, linguistics, religious studies, sociology, anthropology, IR or politics. The year in Japan also provides students with the unique opportunity to collect primary sources and conduct on-the-ground research for their MA thesis, demonstrating their fluency in Japanese, in-depth knowledge of Japan, as well as the ability to conduct original research in Japan.

To be placed at one of our partner universities, students will have to submit a statement of intent in the first week of the first semester, to be matched with a program that fits their interest. For details, please check the year-in Japan website.
Before enrolling in courses at our partner universities in Japan, students should submit a plan of study link to form, which specifies the courses a student intends to enroll in to the examinations committee for approval. Students should first consult their supervisors, and after their approval, submit the form on June 1st (for the first semester in Japan), and October 1st (for the second semester) to the examinations committee. Successful completion of coursework in Japan is required in order to obtain 45 ects for their year in Japan.
While in Japan, students should also work on their thesis while in Japan, and complete Dissertation Progress Reports and draft chapters of their thesis. For details, please see the Thesis Tutorial 1 and Thesis Tutorial 2 descriptions in this E-prospectus.


Study plan
All students are required to earn 45 ECTS in Japan by completing coursework at one of our partner universities. This translates into approximately 11 tan'i  of MA level courses (1 MA course tan’i = 4 ECTS), 22 tan’i if following BA level courses (1 BA course tan’i=2 ECTS) in the Japanese system of grade registration. The number of courses students will be enrolled in, and the total amount of tan’i earned will be influenced by the requirements of the program students are enrolled in when in Japan, the total amount of tan’i earned may therefore vary. Students should discuss their planned coursework with their supervisors and submit their study plan to the examinations committee using the Study Plan form [link] after their supervisor’s approval. The form is due to the Examinations Committee on June 1 (Semester I) and October 1 (Semester II). Student may also submit a plan for the entire year on June 1.

Year in Japan website, Japanese language acquisition plan

Some universities may not allow foreign students to formally earn tan'i even if students participate in courses. In this case, the study plan should specify the coursework a student is engaged in (including courses followed as an auditor without earning tan’i), as well as the time spent on research activities (1 ECTS=28 study hours) to document 11 tan’i of coursework. If you have questions, please consult your supervisor in Leiden before submitting your study plan.