Home > Courses >

Japanologie (Japanese Studies)

Degree Master of Arts
Application required  access-restricted
Course commences winter semester / summer semester
Standard course duration 4 semesters
Format options full-time and part-time
Language requirements English (on application)
Language of instruction German (occasionally English or Japanese)
Other features postgraduate / consecutive

Faculty of Philosophy

Course outline

This M.A. course provides the opportunity for in-depth engagement with Japanese language and culture, focusing on familiarity with scholarly methodologies and their application. In terms of content, the design of the course reflects academic curiosity about a very different civilisation – Japan. In terms of research, Japanese culture and society are investigated against the backdrop of historical and present-day developments in East Asia.

As in the B.A. course East Asian Studies with Special Reference to Japan, appropriate attention is given both to the East Asian context and to the manifold relations with the West. Naturally, however, topics related specifically to Japan are the central concern of the M.A. programme, although instruction is predicated on general knowledge of the broader region. The issues we home in on are literary/cultural on the one hand and social/historical on the other, with due attention paid to the specific concerns of Japanese Studies. The aim of the course is to make its graduates specialists on the subject of Japan and equip them with a fully rounded understanding of Japanese culture and society, complete with transcultural comparisons. Specialisation – properly understood – cannot but thrive on a comprehensive approach of this kind.

The M.A. course sets out to enhance students’ knowledge of the subject, extend their linguistic skills (including the older forms of the language) and develop their personal interests by focusing on a sector of their choice (society / history or culture / literature). Not least in the engagement with subsidiary subject they select, students will be schooled in the methods required for scholarly work. The M.A. course in Japanese Studies is restricted to students who have previously acquired a good working knowledge of Japanese.

Course structure

The M.A. course in Japanese Studies follows on from a B.A. degree course in the same subject. The programme involves an M.A. thesis to be completed in the fourth and final semester. The thesis is designed to demonstrate that the respective student is in a position to work independently on a selected topic from the field of Japanese Studies within the time allotted and employing academic methods for the purpose.
After graduating, students with scholarly leanings are welcome to go on and work towards a PhD in Japanese Studies.

  1. The standard duration of the M.A. course (including the final exams) is four semesters. This includes the time required for completion of the M.A. thesis.
  2. Teaching extends over a period of three semesters, the fourth semester is reserved for the M.A. thesis.

Subsidiary (minor) subject

In this course, 20 credit points are acquired in a subsidiary (minor) subject. You will find a list of all subsidiary subjects on offer here.

The M.A. course in Japanese Studies can also be studied as a subsidiary subject accounting for 20 CP.

Main research interests

The main research interests at Heidelberg University’s Department of Japanese Studies centre around politics, society and the history of ideas in Japan; Japanese literature and culture; history, especially after 1868. Selected topics on the Japanese economy complete the picture. These research topics are reflected in the curricula.

Formal requirements


Access to the course is restricted. The current Admission Regulations are available here.

Prospective students from Germany

Prospective students from Germany can enrol without prior application at the Central University Administration building by the beginning of the lecture period. To matriculate, they are required to show a written statement of admission issued by the representative of the Master’s programme they wish to attend, confirming that the requirements set out in the Admission Regulations have been met. Please apply to the Institute of Japanese Studies for further information on how to proceed.

International prospective students

Prospective students from other countries must apply in writing, so that their previous academic record can be verified. The deadline for international applicants is 15 June for the winter semester and 15 November for the summer semester. Applications must be addressed directly to the International Relations Office. Please use the M.A. application form here and enclose the necessary documents.

Further information

Current information on procedure

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations M.A.

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.

Academic advisors

Asa-Bettina Wuthenow
Akademiestraße 4–8, Zi. 114
phone: +49 6221-54-7666

Till Knaudt
Akademiestraße 4–8, Zi. 112
phone: +49 6221-54-7667


Institute of Japanese Studies
Akademiestraße 4-8
D-69117 Heidelberg


phone.: +49 (0)6221-54-7660
fax: +49 (0)6221-54-7692


Student representation


Editor:: Email
Latest Revision: 2019-02-26
zum Seitenanfang/up