Graduate Courses in Japanese Studies

Red buildings of the Kiyomizudera (Pure Water Temple), Kyoto

Red buildings of the Kiyomizudera
(Pure Water Temple), Kyoto

There are three graduate degrees available in Japanese Studies, the M.St., M.Litt. and D.Phil. Of these, the Master of Studies (M.St.) is a one-year degree awarded on the basis of coursework, intended as a qualifying degree for further study towards a degree based on research. The Master of Letters (M.Litt.) and Doctorate (D.Phil.) are awarded on the basis of research.

The Oriental Studies Faculty requires applicants for graduate studies in Japanese to have a good first degree in the relevant language, to be able to demonstrate a comparable proficiency, or to be a native speaker. This is to ensure that the source materials to be researched can be read in the original language. Other faculties may not require such an advanced knowledge of the language for admission to postgraduate courses with a Japanese element.

Research degrees: the M.Litt. and D.Phil.

Candidates for these degrees are first admitted as Probationer Research Students and assigned a supervisor competent to direct and give advice in their particular field of research (see Graduate Studies Prospectus). Probationer Research Students are normally required to keep residence at Oxford, though time spent outside Oxford during term as part of an approved academic programme may count towards residence.

The M.Litt. and D.Phil. degrees are awarded for a thesis approved by examiners appointed by the Faculty Board. Normally, a period of six terms' residence in Oxford is required for these degrees.


Three colleges (Pembroke, Queen's and Hertford) have Tutorial Fellows in Japanese Studies and therefore a special interest in admitting students in the field. Pembroke has a special TEPCO Senior Studentship in Japanese Studies for advanced research students. In addition, St. Antony's, a graduate college, regularly admits graduate students in Japanese Studies, particularly in the modern field and social sciences.


There are three main libraries in Oxford with material relating to the Japan field.

Bodleian Japanese Library

The Bodleian Japanese Library was opened to readers in April 1993 in the newly constructed building of the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies.
The Library, combining Bodley's extensive holdings on Japan with the residual collection of the former Nissan Institute Library, houses the University's principal collections in the humanities and social sciences which relate to the history and culture of Japan from dawn of her civilization to the present day.
A significant collection of works on Japan on the history and social sciences in Japan since the Meiji Restoration has been built up; the Library, comprising about 120,000 volumes, offers one of the best research collections for Japanese studies in Europe.

Oriental Institute Library

This library houses the basic teaching collection for the B.A. programme in Japanese Studies. It is a lending library.

Eastern Art Library

The Eastern Art Library, housed in the Sackler Library, contains the University’s research collection on Japanese art, in both Japanese and Western languages.