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First year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester (Fall semester)

Introduction to Asian Studies 10

Advanced Japanese Language

Advanced Japanese 1 (120 EC) 10

Elective (select 10EC):

Comparative Asian Linguistics 10
Cultural Heritage in East Asia: Dealing with the Past in Present and Future 10
Lives on the Margins: Korean Peninsula Migration and Identity (10 EC) 10
Lives on the Margins: Korean Peninsula Migration and Identity (5 EC) 5
Material Culture, Memory and Commemoration along the Silk Roads in Central Asia 10
Topical Readings in Classical Japanese 10
Democratizing Histories (10 EC) 10
Democratizing Histories (5 EC) 5
Japan’s Quiet Order Building Amid China’s Rise 10
Urban Ecology of Asian Cities 10
Pure Land Buddhism 5
Taiwan MA Seminar 10
Art and Environment in East Asia 10

Second semester (Spring semester)

Advanced Japanese 2 (120EC) 5
Academic Year in Japan A 15

Elective (select 10EC):

Word and Image in Premodern Japanese Culture: Reworking the Classics 10
Contemporary Japanese Literature and the Anthropocene 10

Second year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester (Fall semester)

Academic Year in Japan B 25
Thesis Tutorial 1 5

Second semester (Spring semester)

Academic Year in Japan C 5
Advanced Japanese 3 (120EC) 5
Thesis Tutorial 2 5
MA Thesis Asian Studies (120 EC) 15

more info on year in Japan

due to the current COVID-19 outbreak this part of the programme may be cancelled or modified

All students in the Japan 120 track will spend a year in Japan at one of Leiden’s partner universities. The Japan year in our programme follows the normal Japanese University year, and runs from early April in the students first year of enrollment – after the first semester and the first period of the 2nd semester – to late March the next year. The last period of the 2nd semester of the 2nd year is again spent in Leiden writing the MA final thesis and taking the highest level of Advanced Language Training.

Currently, Leiden’s partner universities in Japan include: Doshisha University, Keio University, Kobe University, Kyoto University, Kyushu University, Meiji University, Nagasaki University, Rikkyo University, Ritsumeikan University, Sophia University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, University of Tokyo, Waseda University and Yamagata University. The number of places available varies by year and placement is based on availability and students’ interests. Here you can find more information on the selection process. Students will be assigned to one of the partner universities in early September of their first year, and prepare for departure in March the following year.

During their stay in Japan, students will enroll at the partner university as full-time students. Courses normally include Japanese language as well as content courses of their choice of level 400 or 500. The type of courses available vary by university and program, but always include language courses as well as courses on specific disciplinary topics or Japanese society, culture, and history.

As one of the primary goals of the Japan stay is to improve Japanese language skills, students are required to earn 30 ECTS (or 15 tan’i) in Japanese language courses or other (content) courses taught in Japanese. Students should specify which courses they intend to follow during their stay in Japan, using the form of the Japanese Language Acquisition Plan. The form is due to the Examinations Committee on June 1 (semester 1) and October 1 (semester II). Students may also submit a plan for the entire year on June 1.

During their stay in Japan, students are also expected to complete research and writing for their MA thesis in form of Thesis Tutorials, and regularly report on their progress in form of Thesis Tutorial I and Thesis Tutorial II. The stay in Japan offers a unique opportunity to access Japanese academic literature and primary sources on the topic of interest, and conduct research for their thesis. Students will conduct their research in Japan in consultation with their thesis advisor (who will be assigned in October of their first year); the nature of research and research activities varies by field and topic.

Career Preparation

Important events and sites to develop future career skills

Master’s Open Day (Leiden University)

Skills that improve your employability are also known as:

Transferable skills

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in ‘transferable skills’. These include cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation and innovation; intrapersonal skills, such as flexibility, initiative, appreciating diversity and metacognition; and interpersonal skills, such as communication, accountability and conflict resolution. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.
It is therefore important that during your study programme you not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also are aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn. The course descriptions in the Prospectus of MA Asian Studies include, in addition to the courses’ learning objectives, a list of the skills that they aim to develop.

The skills we want you to acquire and that you may encounter in the various courses, perhaps in different terms, are:

  • Collaboration

  • Persuasion

  • Research

  • Self-directed learning

  • Creative thinking