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UW–Madison offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Japanese, specializing either in linguistics or in literature and culture. The program provides broad foundations and focused training in these two specialties, assuring that our graduates are amply prepared to teach and conduct research.

The linguistics specialty excels in areas such as functional linguistics, pragmatics, discourse/conversation analysis, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, and language pedagogy.

The literature and culture specialty covers the classical Heian through contemporary Reiwa periods, offering a wide range of courses on fiction, poetry, drama, popular culture, visual culture, cinema, acoustic culture, and cutting-edge cross-media and avant-garde topics, particularly manga and anime.

The Japanese Program is housed in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC), along with the Chinese Program and the Asian Languages and Cultures Program. As such, students will have opportunities to interact with all faculty, staff, and graduate students affiliated with the department to examine their area of specialty in broader regional and disciplinary contexts.

Fall Deadline January 10
Spring Deadline This program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Thank you for your interest in our programs. The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC) offers a graduate program in Asian Languages and CulturesChinese and Japanese.

Prior to submitting application and materials, applicants should carefully review the information regarding the program of interest and the faculty’s expertise to determine the fit between their interest and the program. To this extent, prospective applicants may contact a specific faculty to discuss their research interest prior to submitting applications.

Applicants should also review the Graduate School's admission processGraduate School's minimum requirements, and program requirements and information prior to submitting the online application and fee. The application fee cannot be waived or refunded.

Deadlines

We accept applications for the fall term only.

In order to be considered for fellowships, project assistantships, and teaching assistantships, all application materials must be in by January 10.

If you do not need any funding support, you may submit applications by April 15.

Application Process

New applicants to UW-Madison apply to programs through the Graduate School application process. Complete the online Graduate application and select the Asian Languages and Cultures (major code 596) or Chinese (major code 171) or Japanese (major code 583) program. 

If you are a currently enrolled UW-Madison graduate student and would like to add or change your current graduate program to Asian Languages and Cultures, Chinese, or Japanese, you do not need to fill out the online application. You will need to submit the following to the ALC Graduate Program Coordinator (1244 Van Hise):

The applications from current UW–Madison graduate students will be reviewed every spring, together with new applications submitted.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Graduate Student Costs

For tuition and living costs, please view the Cost of Attendance pageInternational applicants recommended for admission to the Graduate School are required to show sufficient funds to attend the University during the course of studies (tuition, food and housing, incidentals and health insurance) to be officially accepted by the Graduate School.

Department Resources

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures offers financial assistance in the forms of fellowships, teaching assistantships (TAships), and project assistantships (PAships). Please make note of the deadline of January 10 for financial assistance consideration. All necessary materials including test scores must be submitted by the deadline.

If you are an international applicant and receive a fellowship, PAship or TAship, please make note that you will likely be required to show additional financial documentation to meet the minimum required for your official acceptance to the Graduate School.

Other awards & Fellowships

  • Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships: FLAS fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the UW's National Resource Centers to assist students in acquiring foreign language and either area or international studies competencies. FLAS awards are only available for specific languages and are contingent on federal funding.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applications by students in professional fields are encouraged. Preference will be given to applicants with a high level of academic ability and with previous language training.

Academic Year and Summer FLAS awards are two separate competitions requiring two separate and complete applications.

Complete details about FLAS at UW-Madison are available on the FLAS FAQs (your first stop) and the FLAS Languages & Coordinators pages (should you have additional questions).

  • Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF): This fellowship is awarded to highly qualified underrepresented students. To be considered for AOF funding, prospective students must be new to the Graduate School and be admissible to a graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  For further information: https://grad.wisc.edu/diversity/.
  • Project Assistantships. Availability of PAship vary from one year to another, depending on the types of projects the departmental faculty are engaged in. PAs assist faculty members’ research projects and/or respond to some programmatic needs of the department and other campus units.
  • Teaching Assistantships. Availability and types of TAship vary from one year to another, depending on the department’s curricular needs and the student enrollment. TAs will support a number of our language and culture courses, typically team-teaching with faculty members. If you are interested in being a teaching assistant in our language programs, you must submit the TA application and necessary materials (1-2 page written autobiography that refers to your prior teaching experience, letter of recommendation that speaks to your teaching experience, video recording of your teaching, if available) through the Graduate School application system by January 10.
  • Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) Awards Office: IRIS manages its own funding opportunities (Scott Kloeck-Jenson Fellowships, IRIS Graduate Fieldwork Awards, Incubator Grants), coordinates the campus component of a number of external programs (Boren Fellowships, Fulbright US Student Program, Fulbright-Hays DDRA, Luce Scholars Program), assists students, faculty, and staff in exploring funding options, and much more. Visit: https://iris.wisc.edu/funding/ for more information on awards. Contact Mark Lilleleht, Assistant Director for Awards, with questions at awards@iris.wisc.edu & 608-265-6070.
  • Other Forms of Financial Aid: Loans and some on-campus job openings are handled through the Office of Student Financial Aid. Please contact them to obtain more information.
  • Students may also obtain information from the Grants Information Center in the Memorial Library, Room 262, 728 State Street, Madison, WI 53706. Phone 608-262-3242.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Students must earn a B or above in all coursework taken as a graduate student.
Assessments and Examinations Japanese linguistics students are required to pass two in-class exams on Japanese Pedagogy and Japanese Linguistics; and to successfully deliver an M.A. project presentation based on a research project or a pedagogy-oriented project.

For Japanese literature/culture students, a final examination is required.
Language Requirements Advanced proficiency in modern Japanese is required.

Required COURSES

Linguistics Track1

Required Courses:
ASIAN 434 Introduction to Japanese Linguistics3
ASIAN 713 Teaching of Japanese as a Foreign Language3
or ASIAN 700 Teaching Asian Languages
ASIAN 775 Japanese Applied Linguistics ((Repeatable))3
  • 18 credits out of the 30 credits need to be taken from the department.  The required courses above must be part of these. You may consider taking courses on Japanese literature/culture to satisfy this portion of requirements.
  • If you do not have sufficient linguistics background, you are encouraged to take LINGUIS/​ANTHRO  301 Introduction to Linguistics: Descriptive and Theoretical during your first semester.
  • If you had not satisfied the prerequisites for the M.A. program (the equivalent of our undergraduate major degree (http://guide.wisc.edu/undergraduate/letters-science/asian-languages-cultures/japanese-ba/#requirementstextprior to your enrollment, you need to satisfy this requirement by taking appropriate level of language courses.
  • You may consider taking courses on linguistics, applied linguistics, language acquisition or language education offered in Linguistics, English (Language and Linguistics), Curriculum and Instruction, French and Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese, and so on to fulfill the requirements.
  • Consult the co-advisors every semester regarding the registration of courses in the following semester. 
  • Most students take four semesters to complete the course work necessary for the MA degree, and officially earn the degree in the following summer (an exception to this schedule may be considered on a case-by-case basis).

Literature Track1

Japanese literature/culture students must take three graduate-level courses (500 level or above) in literature/culture, including at least one course at the 700 level or higher.

Recommended Courses:
ASIAN 533 Readings in Early Modern Japanese Literature3
ASIAN 573 Readings in Classical Japanese Literature3
ASIAN 563 Readings in Modern Japanese Literature3
ASIAN 763 Studies in Japanese Literature (Seminar in Japanese Literature)3
Seminar in Japanese Literature

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, no more than 7 credits of graduate coursework (as defined above) completed while a UW–Madison undergraduate may be counted to satisfy degree requirements. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework (as defined above) taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Probation

If a student’s average falls below 3.0 in a given semester, the department will decide whether the student may continue on probation. A specific plan will be arranged with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

Starting fall 2018, all students are required to have two co-advisors, identified at the time of admissions. During the course of study, students meet regularly with their advisors to ensure satisfactory progress.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

The maximum time for completing all M.A. requirements and passing the M.A. examination is three years.

Master’s degree students who are absent for five or more years will not be given credit for prior work.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Any student who feels that they have been treated unfairly by a faculty or staff member has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing of the grievance, following these grievance procedures. The complaint may concern course grades, classroom treatment, program admission, or other issues. To insure a prompt and fair hearing of any complaint, and to protect both the rights of the student and the person at whom the complaint is addressed, the procedures below are used in the School of Education.

The person whom the complaint is directed against must be an employee of the School of Education. Any student or potential student may use these procedures unless the complaint is covered by other campus rules or contracts. The following steps are available within the School of Education when a student has a grievance:

  1. The student should first talk with the person against whom the grievance is directed. Most issues can be settled at this level. If the complaint is directed against a teaching assistant, and the student is not satisfied, the next step would be to talk to the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor. If the complaint is not resolved satisfactorily, the student may continue to step 2.
  2. If the complaint does not involve an academic department, the procedure outlined in Step 4 below should be followed. If the complaint involves an academic department, the student should contact the chair of the department. The chair will attempt to resolve the problem informally. If this cannot be done to the student's satisfaction, the student may submit the grievance to the chair in writing. This must be done within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  3. On receipt of a written complaint, the chair will refer the matter to a departmental committee, which will obtain a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed. This response shall be shared with the person filing the grievance. The chair will provide a timely written decision to the student on the action taken by the committee.
  4. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the department, they have five working days from receipt of the decision to contact the dean's office (at the number below), indicating the intention to appeal. If the complaint does not involve an academic department in the school, the student must contact the dean's office within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  5. In either case, there will be an attempt to resolve the issue informally by the associate dean. If this cannot be done, the complaint can be filed in writing with the dean's office. This must be done within 10 working days of the time the appealing party was notified that informal resolution was unsuccessful.
  6. On receipt of such a written complaint, the associate dean will convene a subcommittee of the school's Equity & Diversity Committee. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and may hold a hearing at which both parties will be asked to speak separately. The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the dean of the School of Education who will render a decision. Unless a longer time is negotiated, this written decision shall be made within 20 working days from the date when the grievance was filed with the dean's office.

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Education Dean's Office, 377 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1763.

State law contains additional provisions regarding discrimination and harassment. Wisconsin Statutes 36.12 reads, in part: "No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the system or its institutions or center because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status." In addition, UW–System prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Students have the right to file discrimination and harassment complaints with the Office of Compliance, 361 Bascom Hall, 608-265-6018, uwcomplianceoffice@wisc.edu.

Other

The program offers limited financial assistance in the form of fellowships and teaching assistantships to candidates who are highly qualified. Applicants should consult the program website for selection criteria and application materials for assistantships.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program resources

Throughout the academic year, professional development trainings, workshops, and graduate student-organized activities take place. The Director of Graduate Studies is eager to hear from students about what interests they have for such events. 

GRADUATE SCHOOL Office of PRofessional Development

The Graduate School Office of Professional Development (OPD) coordinates, develops, and promotes learning opportunities to foster the academic, professional, and life skills of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and scholars.

Professional development topics include Individual Development Plans, communication, mentoring, grant writing, dissertation writing, career exploration, job search strategies, and more. OPD collaborates with the Writing Center, Libraries, DoIT Software Training for Students, Delta, career centers, and others to provide a wealth of resources and events tailored to the needs of UW–Madison graduate students.

The office developed and maintains DiscoverPD, an innovative tool for UW–Madison graduate students to advance their academic and professional goals. DiscoverPD introduces nine areas (or "facets") of professional development, includes a self-assessment, and provides a customized report of areas of strength and weakness. The report comes with recommendations to help graduate students strengthen their ability within each area.

More information on campus resources for student professional development is available at Graduate Student Professional Development. Students may keep up-to-date by reading GradConnections, the weekly newsletter for graduate students, and bookmarking the Events Calendar to keep tabs on upcoming workshops of interest.

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the primary field(s) of study in a historical, comparative, and global context.
  2. Formulate ideas, concepts, designs, and/or techniques beyond the current boundaries of knowledge within the specialized field(s).
  3. Create scholarship and advance knowledge that makes a substantive contribution to the field(s).
  4. Articulate and communicate complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner to both specialized and general audience.
  5. Recognize, apply, and foster ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty 

Charo D'Etcheverry, Associate Professor
website: https://alc.wisc.edu/about/faculty/charo-detcheverry
email: cdetcheverry@wisc.edu
Areas of Expertise: Classical Japanese literature (especially court fiction & its reception and early kabuki)

Naomi Geyer, Associate Professor
website: https://alc.wisc.edu/about/faculty/naomi-geyer
Areas of Expertise: Japanese Language, Language Pedagogy, Pragmatics
 
Adam L. Kern, Professor
Areas of Expertise: The popular literature, culture, poetry, theater, and visual culture of early modern unto modern Japan (1600-1900). Transcultural comics in Japan (manga, kibyôshi, etc) and beyond.
 
Junko Mori, Professor
Areas of Expertise: Japanese Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Conversation Analysis, Sociolinguistics
 
Takako Nakakubo, Faculty Associate
Areas of Expertise: Second Language Acquisition of Japanese, Japanese Pedagogy, Learning Strategies
 
Steve Ridgely, Associate Professor
Areas of Expertise: modern Japanese literature, cultural theory, transasian studies