Universiteit Leiden

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Japanese Studies (MA) (120EC)

Admission requirements

To be eligible for Japanese Studies (120 EC) at Leiden University, you must meet the following admission requirements.

Limited capacity

This programme has a limited capacity. A maximum of 7 places is available in September on this programme; the Admissions Board ranks the requests for admission on the fulfilment of the requirements below. Read more about the limited capacity below.

Diploma requirements

You are eligible to apply for the MA Asian Studies: Japanese Studies (120 EC) if you have:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a research university, equivalent to the level of a Dutch academic Bachelor’s degree;
  • Knowledge of the nature and role of as well as the ability to analyse and report on academic inquiry in the humanities or social sciences; and
  • Completed components at bachelor’s level (which may include the thesis) equivalent to at least 30 EC (or equivalent) on at least three out of these six disciplines: history, art, culture, politics, society or economy of one or more East Asian countries or regions.
  • Fundamental knowledge of pre-modern and modern Japan.
  • Knowledge of japanological traditions and understanding of disciplinary-methodological issues.
  • Sufficient command of Japanese, at JLPT 2 level, with a maximum of level JLPT 1.

Please note that because an important distinguishing aspect of the programme is advanced language acquisition in Japanese, this specialisation is not suitable for native speakers, and persons with near-native fluency and a BA or MA degree from a Japanese university.

In addition, you also have to meet the following qualitative admission requirements:

  • Good grades comparable with an average mark of at least 7.0 (Dutch grading system) for the entire bachelor’s programme, and a grade for the bachelor’s thesis of a 7.0 or higher (Dutch grading system), and
  • Demonstrable motivation to study and suitability for the particular MA programme/specialisation, and
  • Good academic writing skills: the ability to write a well-structured essay/paper on a topic in the specific field of the specialisation in English.
  • A good academic record must be shown by a transcript of records/grade list (including the grade of the Bachelor’s thesis and/or average grade).
  • Your motivation should be demonstrated by a well-argued and structured motivation letter in which you indicate why you want to follow the MA programme, and show clear understanding of the content of the study programme, specifically listing two courses of the current study programme (from the Prospectus) and explaining why these appeal to you. The statement should be between 700 and 1,500 words.
  • Good academic writing skills should be demonstrated by a Writing Sample. You should submit a 1,250 word essay as part of the admission process:
    • in this essay you must demonstrate a clear affinity with and specific knowledge of Asian studies in general and specifically in the field of the specialisation for which you apply,
    • specifically, the essay must clearly answer a research question, provide an argument that demonstrates a satisfactory understanding of the topic of the essay.

Applicants with a degree from a Dutch university of applied sciences (hbo) or equivalent are not eligible for admission to the Master’s and pre-master’s programme.

Language requirements

In order to successfully participate in this programme, you must be proficient in English. The following requirements apply:

  • IELTS: 7.0 
  • TOEFL (internet-based): 100 
  • C1 Advanced (former CAE): 185

For detailed information, including exemption criteria and methods of submission, refer to English language proficiency.

English tests accepted
Note that English test results may not be more than two years old. The following types of English test are accepted: 

  • IELTS: Academic
    • We do not accept IELTS General Training or IELTS Indicator
    • We are not yet able to accept the new IELTS online.
  • TOEFL: internet based
    • We do not accept the following types of test: TOEFL My Best ™ scores (multiple test scores combined), TOEFL Essentials™  or institutional tests such as ITP.
    • We can accept TOEFL IBT Special Home Edition™ or TOEFL IBT Paper Edition™ in the following situations only:
      • You are applying for a programme starting in Feb 2023, or
      • You took the test before 1 Sept 2022 (& it is not more than 2 years old), or
      • You are unable to take an in-person test on location because test centres in your region are closed due to COVID or inaccessible due to unsafe conditions.
  • Cambridge English Exam C2 Proficiency or C1 Advanced, depending on admission criteria

Please note: You do not have to submit proof of proficiency if you have completed your education in the USA, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada (except French-taught programmes in Canada) Singapore, South-Africa or Malta, or when you hold an International Baccalaureate, or for Dutch students, if you have completed VWO level English or an English taught bachelor at a Dutch Research University.

As mentioned above, Japanese Studies has a limited capacity. The programme will make a selection on the grounds of the following criteria:

1. With regard to admission to the programme, the Admissions Board assesses the knowledge and skills of the applicants on the basis of the files they have submitted.

2. If necessary the Board can contact the applicant by mail or telephone at any time during the admission procedure in order to gain further information.

3. The Admissions Board decides on the basis of this assessment

a. which applicants meet the entry requirements of the specialisation – if appropriate on the condition that they have been awarded their bachelor’s degree in time – and can in principle be admitted;

b. which applicants cannot be admitted because they do not meet the requirements.

4. The Board ranks the suitability of the applicants in category a to the specialisation of the MA programme on the basis of the files they have submitted, having regard to the qualitative admission requirements and, if the Board has requested this, the further information provided by the applicant.

>> Go to the next step: Check the application deadlines

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