Required for the Major

The major requires students to achieve proficiency in Japanese language and culture. In addition, students must study in Japan for at least one semester and complete a 0400-level seminar in the Japanese Studies department.

Proficiency in Japanese Language

Proficiency in Japanese language requires four years of study (completion of JAPN 0402) or equivalent with at least 4 semesters of language at Middlebury in cases of advanced placement. To meet the language proficiency requirement, students are strongly encouraged to begin the study of Japanese in their first academic year. Students who begin study of Japanese in the sophomore year must attend the summer Middlebury School of Japanese or achieve completion of the equivalent of JAPN0202 before study abroad in Japan.

Proficiency in Culture

Proficiency in culture requires a total of five elective content courses. At least three of the content courses must come from those offered by the department, while two may come from courses taken during study abroad or courses with a focus on Japan taught in other departments at the College (History, Religion, History of Art, etc.) and cross-listed in Japanese Studies. Departmental courses fulfilling the elective content course requirement include all courses below the 0400-level taught by the department in English.  At least two elective content courses must be taken before approval for study in Japan.  (One of the two courses may be one of the Japan-focused content courses cross-listed in the department.)

Studying in Japan

Studying in Japan for one semester (Fall or Spring) is required, but studying in Japan for the full junior year is strongly encouraged. Elective content courses taken in Japan may count toward the major as determined by the department on a case-by-case basis.  

Senior Seminar

Seniors are required to take at least one seminar in the Japanese Studies department at the 0400 level.


Successful completion of a 0400-level seminar and JAPN 0700 Senior Thesis with a grade of B+ or above are required for graduation with departmental honors. Departmental honors will be awarded according to the grade point average of courses taken in the department, in the summer Middlebury Japanese School, and in Japan. A grade point average of 3.3 in these courses is required for graduation with honors. A grade point average of 3.75 and a grade of A on the thesis are required for High Honors.

Required for the Minor

Courses required for the minor in Japanese are completion of language courses to the level of JAPN 0202, or the equivalent, or at least four terms of Japanese in case of advanced placement, and two additional courses offered by the Japanese Studies department in culture, literature, linguistics, or film.