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Japanese Graduate Programs


WLL faculty offer a wide variety of small, engaging courses on influential topics in the evolving disciplines of cultural, linguistic, and literary studies. You have many different courses to choose from based on your interests. Recent courses include:

Japanese

  • Contemporary Poetry and Pop Culture (Dr. Jon Holt)
  • Modern Japanese Poetry (Dr. Jon Holt)
  • Modern Japanese Literary Criticism (Dr. Jon Holt)
  • Japanese Language Policy (Dr. Patricia Wetzel)
  • Traditional Japanese Theater: Kabuki (Dr. Laurence Kominz)
  • Business Japanese (Dr. Suwako Watanabe)
  • Japanese Language Policy (Dr. Patricia Wetzel)
  • Japanese Language & Linguistics (Dr. Suwako Watanabe; Dr. Patricia Wetzel)
  • Modern Japanese Literature (Dr. Laurence Kominz; Dr. Suwako Watanabe)
  • Japanese Interpretation (Dr. Masami Nishishibi)
  • Classical Japanese Literature (Dr. Laurence Kominz)
  • Japanese Sociolinguistics (Dr. Patricia Wetzel, Dr. Suwako Watanabe)
  • Japanese Discourse Analaysis (Dr. Suwako Watanabe)

Teaching

Most students choose to participate in our Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) program from the very beginning of their MA. GTAs are trained and guided by our faculty before and during each term. Prior experience is not required —only language skill, professional demeanor, and motivation.

GTAs are allowed to develop their teaching style in an established program that provides the curriculum, structure, and guidance to help those new to teaching.

As a GTA, you will complete the program with excellent teaching experience. You will meet weekly with the Coordinator and the other GTAs for guidance and curricular support. When teaching, you will often, if not always, be the only teacher in your classroom. Students will see you as the instructor and you will run your classes. The professionalism, leadership, and group management skills you will gain are very marketable.

Compensation for GTAs includes full-time tuition (in- or out-of-state) and a quarterly stipend. You will only need to pay student fees.

Mentoring

Our professors will guide you in selecting your courses, honing your critical skills, and developing your research. They are well established in their fields and have wide-ranging interests and expertise.

Japanese Faculty Interests

  • Dr. Jon Holt: Modern Japanese poetry, manga, Japanese Buddhism
  • Dr. Laurence Kominz: Traditional Japanese theater, kabuki, kyogen, dance
  • Dr. Patricia Wetzel: Linguistics, pedagogy
  • Dr. Suwako Watanabe: Sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, language assessment

Research

MA students have two options for major research projects: two major papers or one thesis. Both options will give you a high level of expertise and prepare you well as a researcher, whether you plan to work after graduation or get a doctorate. Each option is based on your coursework and your relationship with your faculty mentors, and is focused on your interests.

Thesis option: prepare one major research project in culture, literature, linguistics, or pedagogy, 60-80 pages in length, under the guidance of a faculty director and two faculty readers. The readers may be from other disciplines (departments) such as history, linguistics, education, anthropology, communication, etc., if you choose an interdisciplinary topic. The thesis idea will begin in your coursework, with one of your term papers, and can be developed from one term to the next in multiple courses.

Two-paper option:  prepare two major research projects in culture, literature, linguistics, or pedagogy, 20-25 pages in length each, under the guidance of two faculty directors and four faculty readers. The readers may be from other disciplines (departments) such as history, linguistics, education, anthropology, communication, etc., if you choose an interdisciplinary topic. The ideas for these projects will begin in your coursework, with your term papers, and can be developed from one term to the next in multiple courses.

Recent research projects in Japanese

  • “Lessons in Immorality:  Mishima Yukio’s Masterpiece of Humor and Social Satire” (Thesis, Dir. Laurence Kominz)
  • “Tokuya Higashigawa’s After-Dinner Mysteries:  Unusual Detectives in Contemporary Japanese Mystery Fiction” (Thesis, Dir. Jon Holt)

Graduation

The MA in World Languages at PSU is a rigorous two-year degree based on contemporary coursework, mentoring, and research. Final defense of your expertise shows your distinction as a researcher and intellectual.

There are two paths to graduation:

  1. Students who write a thesis will have a public defense of their research.
  2. Students who write two major research papers will complete a comprehensive written exam of all coursework and readings, and an oral defense of the exam and of their research papers.

 

For more information on WLL's Graduate Programs, call (503) 725-3522 and ask for the Graduate Admissions Coordinator