Placement in a specific level is determined by language proficiency. All students, except for complete beginners, take a language assessment prior to the start of the program. The language assessment is not part of the application process.
Explore our course catalog to see the courses offered in past years.
Level 1 Beginning Japanese I
An intensive introduction to the Japanese language. The course covers most basic grammatical structures and everyday vocabulary items, and introduces hiragana, katakana, and approximately 100 elementary kanji. Practices are conducted to develop all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in meaningful communicative exercises.
In order to help beginning students adapt to the intensive Middlebury environment and be better prepared for the Language Pledge®, Level 1 (Introductory) Japanese will start an online self-study learning module approximately one month before students arrive.
Target Proficiency ACTFL Novice-High
Level 2 Beginning Japanese II
Designed for students who have completed approximately 150 hours of formal training in Japanese. Students must be able to read and write hiragana, katakana, and 100 to 150 kanji. The course will begin with a review of basic patterns and move quickly to cover new material. In addition to the material provided by the textbook, authentic material (e.g., television, films, Internet, newspapers, etc.) will be incorporated into the instruction.
Target Proficiency ACTFL Intermediate Mid
Level 3 Intermediate Japanese I
Designed for students who have had approximately 300 hours of formal instruction at the college level. Students must be comfortable with hiragana and katakana, and know approximately 300 to 400 kanji. Students will first go through a review of basic grammatical patterns. The remaining weeks in the course will be given over to the study of reading and video materials drawn from a wider range of everyday sources.
Target Proficiency ACTFL Intermediate-High
Level 4 Intermediate Japanese II
Designed for students who have had approximately 400 hours of instruction at the college level. Students coming into this course should be able to read about 500 to 800 kanji. A variety of materials—essays, short stories, TV programs and newspaper articles—will be used as texts. These materials are chosen not only as tools for language instruction, but also as a means to increase understanding of the socio-cultural background of contemporary Japan. The aim is to get students to function at an advanced level: to be able to read most modern Japanese written materials with the aid of a dictionary and to be able to handle most conversational tasks, including formal situations, with relative ease.
Target Proficiency ACTFL Advance-Low
Level 5 Advanced Japanese
Designed for graduate students and professionals with advanced skills in spoken and written Japanese. Undergraduates with exceptional preparation or extensive background living in Japan may also enroll. The prerequisite is at least three or more years of rigorous formal study in modern Japanese, or an extended period of a year or more studying or working in Japan. Students should know at least 1,200 kanji, or have advanced reading skills in Chinese.
Instruction takes a multidisciplined approach that employs a variety of materials: scholarly essays, newspapers, short stories and manga. Video and audio materials are also used extensively to improve listening comprehension and oral presentation skills. The approach of the course is to study the language through a study of topics in the culture, and it presumes a high level of proficiency in all four language areas.
Target Proficiency ACTFL Advance-Mid
Recommended materials: An electronic dictionary