Japanese Major/Minor

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

We are one of only three 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 courses for a more generic degree, such as Asian Studies. We also offer more study abroad options than anywhere else – 16 schools. We make it easy to study abroad for a year and still graduate within four years. We are also the ONLY university in North Carolina to offer a Certificate in Japanese-English Translating.

Why Study Japanese?

Japanese is a powerful, challenging, and exciting language that lets you access a world of business, technology, art, pop culture, and history unlike anywhere else. It is a way of life.

What will you Study at UNC Charlotte?

The 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
  • JAPN 2205 J. Oral Communications
  • JAPN 3201/3202 Upper Intermediate I & II
  • JAPN 3105 Japanese Immersion (Summer only)
  • 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
  • TRAN 4422 Practicum in Translation I - Japanese (T)
  • TRAN 4423 Practicum in Translation II - Japanese (T)
  • TRAN 4424 Practicum in Translation III - Japanese (T)
  • JAPN 4410 Professional Internship
  • LACS 4690 Senior Seminar
  • JAPN 4900 Introductory Research Project – Writing Intensive

Japanese Content courses (Conducted in English):

  • JAPN 2209 Japanese Culture
  • JAPN 3130 Business and Culture in Japan
  • JAPN 3140 Anime and Japanese Pop Culture
  • JAPN 3160 Topics in Japanese Film – Writing Intensive
  • JAPN 3170 Anime and Japanese Pop Culture – Writing Intensive
  • JAPN 3400 Teaching Practicum
  • TRAN 3601 Introduction to Translation (T)
  • JAPN 4410 Professional Internship
  • JAPN xxxx (TBA) Tokyo: From Samurai Capital to Modern Metropolis (Trip to Japan during - Spring Break)
  • +More!

Majoring in Japanese

There are over a hundred students who 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. See the BA major planning sheet for additional details.

Earning a Certificate in Japanese-English Translating

Having a certificate in translation is something you can forever have on your resume. To earn the certificate, students must complete all four of the translation courses (marked with a T above). For those majoring in Japanese, 2 of the 4 courses may be counted toward the major. See the BA major planning sheet for additional details.

Minoring in Japanese

There are also about a hundred students who 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. See the Japanese Minor planning sheet for additional details.

Minor vs. Major

The difference between the Japanese minor and the major is only 13 credits (about 4 classes)! Furthermore, it is possible to have one of those classes waived (JAPN 4100) by passing the JLPT N1/N2/N3 proficiency test. If you are debating between the major and the minor, it is recommended that you go ahead and add the major early and switch to a minor later should you choose to; having the major declared early means that you will receive additional guidance and feedback that you would otherwise not receive that could save you time and money. 

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. For this reason, some students even choose to triple 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 16 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)

Universities 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) at edabroad@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: 704‑687‑8217