Japanese Major/Minor

Why Study Japanese at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte?

We are one of only two universities in North Carolina to offer four full years of Japanese language courses. Other universities often require you to mix your Japanese study with other studies for a more generic degree, such as Asian Studies. We also offer more study abroad options than just about anywhere else – 16 schools. We make it easy to reach all of your academic goals and still have you graduating within four years.

Why Study Japanese?

Japanese is a powerful language. It opens up a world of business and technology and aesthetic art. It immerses you in ancient culture and contemporary pop culture. It can both excite and calm your heart and mind. It’s a way of life

Japanese is a beautiful languageItadakimasu.” (said before having meals. Literally, “I will receive it.” “Gochisousamadeshita.” (said when finishing meals. Literally, “It was a feast.” The deep cultural connections within the language make it fascinating.

Japanese is a challenging language. There are three writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji characters. There are male/female and child/grown-up speech styles and honorific expressions. The word order in a sentence structure differs from most other languages existing in the world. Many people enjoy and embrace this challenge

What will you Study?

Japanese program at UNCC offers twenty-five courses, about twenty of which are offered each semester. These courses will help you expand your knowledge of both the language and culture as well as develop a variety of skills.

Japanese Language Courses

  • JAPN 1201/1202 (Elementary I & II)
  • JAPN 2201/2202 (Intermediate I & II)
  • LACS 2050 (J. Oral Communications)
  • JAPN 3201/3202 (Upper Intermediate I & II)
  • JAPN 3105 (Japanese Immersion) (Summer)
  • JAPN 4050 (Translation)
  • JAPN 4050 (Interpretation)
  • JAPN 4050 (Advanced Oral)
  • JAPN 4050 (Folktales)
  • JAPN 4050 (Kanji)
  • JAPN 4100 (Preparation for JLPT= Japanese - Language Proficiency Test)
  • JAPN 4150 Studies in Japanese Language
  • JAPN 4300 (Introductory Research Project)
  • JAPN 4410 (Professional Internship)
  • JAPN 4690 (Senior Seminar)

Japanese Content courses (Conducted in English):

  • JAPN 2209-001 (Japanese Culture)
  • JAPN 2209-002 (Japanese Culture – Spring Break in Japan)
  • JAPN 3130 (Business and Culture in Japan)
  • JAPN 3140 (Anime and Japanese Pop Culture)
  • JAPN 3160 (Topics in Japanese Film)
  • JAPN 3170 (Anime and Japanese Pop Culture – Writing Intensive)

Majoring in Japanese

There are over a hundred students are majoring in Japanese at UNCC. It is a dynamic and exclusive degree to help carry you on your way to future academic and financial success! After graduation, various opportunities await you in academics, business, and more. Whether you are starting your career in Japan, in the US, or in another country, having a degree in Japanese gives you a huge advantage in your career search.Click here to view the specific course requirements.

Minoring in Japanese

There are also about a hundred students are minoring in Japanese. Being somewhat proficient in Japanese will be an effective addition to your degree and resume. Since Japan maintains good relationships with several other countries, even if you don’t end up in Japan, being proficient in Japanese may open many new opportunities in other countries as well. Click here to view the specific course requirements for the minor.

Minor vs. Major

The difference between the Japanese minor and the major is only 13 credits (about 4 classes)! So, students can start out as a minor and add the major later for only a few more courses.

Double Majoring in Japanese and Something Else

The Japanese major is a relatively short major at only 35 credits, which is not very many when you consider that students must have a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. Many find that double majoring in Japanese adds only one semester to their graduation plans; some are even able to graduate with no additional time.

Because the language courses are sequential, they are spread out fairly evenly over the 4 years, making it easier to study other subjects at the same time.

Many courses can also be carried over to similar majors such as the International Studies Major.

Study Abroad Made Easy at UNC Charlotte 

The Japanese Division of the Department of Languages and Culture Studies at UNC Charlotte makes studying abroad as easy as possible for the Japanese major students to fit into their schedule. In fact, because of these accommodations, many of our students manage to not only study abroad but also double major.

First of all, there are many options. We have a special partnership with 7 universities but can send students to 15 different universities in total, so it is easy to find a school and city that would be a good fit for the student.

 Secondly, the departure season and length of time spent abroad is flexible to student needs. Students may leave to go abroad either Fall or Spring semesters, and can stay abroad for a semester or an entire year. Summer study abroad options are also available. We even have a small Spring Break course that goes to Japan.

Fortunately, all of the credits from Japan will transfer back to UNC Charlotte and many will be counted toward the major. This means that students won’t be behind when they return. More specifically, those who study abroad will automatically earn credit for their next required Japanese language course for each semester they are abroad, regardless of the level they are placed in upon arrival. Additionally, most non-language courses taken abroad can convert to any required “content courses” for the Japanese major, with the exception of the writing intensive course. For these reasons, it is possible to study abroad without getting behind.

In fact, students who have been abroad may even get ahead! For example, normally JAPN 3202 is a requirement for all 4th year courses. However, an exception is made for those who have studied abroad for a year.  These students may take JAPN 3202 concurrently with any 4th year course (to speed up the graduation process).  Additionally, those who go to Japan have an extra opportunity to test out of JAPN 4100 - JLPT Prep (a required course) by passing the N3 of the JLPT because the test is offered twice per year in Japan but only once per year in the US. This frees up time for the returning students to be able to focus on a second major or graduate sooner.

Exchange Partner Universities:

  • Sophia University (Tokyo)  
  • Gakushuin University (Tokyo)
  • J.F. Oberlin University (Tokyo)
  • Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (Nagoya)
  • Doshisha University (Kyoto)
  • Oita University (Oita)
  • Tohoku University (Sendai)

Univesities through ISEP:

  • Toyo University (Tokyo)
  • Rikkyo University (Tokyo)
  • Tokyo International University (Tokyo)
  • Nihon University (Mishima)
  • Nichidan University (Mishima)
  • Nanzan University (Nagoya)
  • Chukyo University (Nagoya)
  • Kansai Gaidai (Osaka)
  • Ritsumeikan University (Kyushu)

When you study abroad, there are three options for the length: one academic year, one semester, or two months in the summer. Scholarships are available!

For those interested in going abroad, please review THIS LIST of options that outlines the pros and cons of the various different universities. You may also want to contact the Office of Education Abroad (OEA) atedabroad@uncc.edu as well as your Japanese teacher.

Cultural Events

Japanese program provides events for the students to demonstrate their language skills and to expand culture knowledge of Japan:

  • Year End Presentations
  • Speech Contest
  • Japanese Film Series
  •  and More! See our blog for the latest updates!

Student Organizations

The Japanese program presents active two student organizations:

  • Nihon Club (lit. Japan Club)
  • JAMS (Japanese Anime and Manga Society)
  • Japanese Speaking Practice Club


Seniors and Alumni are invited to join the Japanese Studies Seniors & Alumni Facebook group. This is a great resource for hearing about job opportunities and networking. 

Messages from Current Students and Alumni

“My experience in taking Japanese classes at UNCC has been fun. Even though we do have to focus on the course work, the classes have an easy-going atmosphere. The teachers have a great sense of humor. I've also met some really cool people while taking these classes. (Skyeler from JAPN 1202)

“My experience in studying Japanese at UNCC has been very enlightening. The classrooms are very interactive and immerse students in a friendly learning environment. I’m comfortable to ask any questions about any of our learning materials.” (Roger from JAPN 2201)

“I chose Japanese not only to learn the language, but also to study the rich history and culture. The professors in this program have been helping me achieve that goal. I hope to eventually serve as a cultural advisor/regional specialist.”  (Alette from JAPN 3202)

“Since I joined the Japanese program, I’ve been fascinated with the language and culture and haven’t looked back! The professors are eager to teach. Having studied abroad, I will return to Japan to work. Without the help of this program, who knows where I would be!?”  (Ed from JAPN 4100)

“Learning Japanese opens up so many more gateways to an already diverse and intriguing culture. My ability to use the language never fails to surprise me. Being able to speak Japanese is something I always take great pride in. I am now working on my J.D. at Law School!” (Eric, Japanese Studies & International Business double major Alumni)

Apply to UNC Charlotte now!


For more information, contact:

Japanese staff
Department of Languages and Culture Studies

UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28223


Ph: 704‑687‑8782