Undergraduate Program Japanese

PSU world languages japanese undergraduate students in cherry blossom lined canal

Japanese Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview

Expand your worldview by getting a taste of a nation that embraces ancient tradition and modern innovation and learn Japanese through experience-focused language classes. The bachelor’s degree in Japanese at Portland State supports many interests, whether you want to perform Kabuki drama or just read your favorite manga.

Strikingly rendered and culturally complex, Japanese is one of the fastest-growing languages studied in the country. At Portland State, the historically-steeped traditions of Japanese are taught alongside the contemporary international elements of the language, which boasts over 120 million native speakers and represents one of Asia’s key languages of trade and culture.

PSU's highly structured program for Japanese learning has been a decades-long leader in Japanese language education. Our faculty, both native and non-native speakers, help prepare you to become wholly immersed in the language using the performed culture approach, which trains students how to express themselves in a way that native speakers feel appropriate in given situations.

We offer a distinctive array of cultural and linguistics classes, including courses on manga, Japanese literature from the earliest writings to contemporary novels and poetry, Japanese religion through literature and performance, and pop culture.

A bachelor’s degree in Japanese from Portland State will prepare you to enter into the world of Japanese culture and expand your career potential.

Degree Details

  • BA
    Bachelor of Arts
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
  • m
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Japanese Bachelor's Degree or Minor: Why PSU?

Portland State offers a robust Japanese-American community through the Center for Japanese Studies, a student-oriented resource center focused on preparing students to become leaders in business, government, and the arts by fostering cross-cultural understanding through a variety of curricular and outreach programs.

Portland State and the Center for Japanese Studies has a special relationship with Waseda University, one of Japan’s preeminent private universities located in Tokyo, and Hokkaido University, a public university in Portland’s Sister City, Sapporo. These relationships provide you with uniquely immersive experiences, allowing you to study Japanese in Japan and live with a Japanese host family.

A senior Capstone project provides you with the opportunity to work with elementary school programs that offer Japanese in the Portland area by assisting a classroom teacher and developing teaching materials.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree or minor in Japanese?

A major or minor in Japanese from PSU empowers you to enter the workforce with a proficiency in the Japanese language and culture that will prepare you to work in a number of fields. Many of our graduates go into teaching, either teaching English in Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program or with private English schools or teaching Japanese in U.S. immersion programs. Others go into translation and interpretation work or pursue graduate studies.

Featured Courses

  • JPN 301, 302 Third-Year Japanese: Speaking and Listening
  • JPN 304 Third-Year Japanese: Reading and Writing
  • JPN 332U Japanese Religion through Literature and Performance
  • JPN 344U  Japanese Literature in Translation: Manga, Japanese Graphic Novels
  • JPN 361U Japanese Literature Through Film
  • JPN 413 Advanced Japanese: Japanese for the Real World
  • JPN 423 Introduction to Modern Japanese Poetry
  • JPN 424 Contemporary Japanese Poetry and Pop Culture
  • JPN 477 Teaching Japanese As a Foreign Language
  • JPN 494 Japanese Sociolinguistics
  • JPN 341U Japanese Literature in Translation: Classical Japanese Literature
  • JPN 345U Manga Now!
  • HST 420/520 Topics in Early Modern Japanese History
  • HST 422/522 Topics in Postwar Japanese History, 1945-Present
  • ARH 423/523 Modern Japanese Painting
  • ARH 412/512 Japanese Buddhist Art


Student may take up to eight advisor-approved elective credits.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).