Japanese is a key world language used in cultural and economic pursuits, research and government interaction. In Australia, in Japan and in the wider Asia-Pacific region there are considerable opportunities to use Japanese to engage with Japanese speakers for professional purposes and leisure. Japan is also a major trading partner of Australia and there is a high level of social interaction between community and interest groups in Australia and Japan.

Students with wide interests and from a broad range of academic disciplines study Japanese at UQ with a view to using the language in their local communities, in Japan and in wider global forums for professional or personal reasons.



Why Choose

Japanese students in language lab

Japanese is available for beginning, and continuing students of intermediate and advanced levels as a major, extended major or an elective. Students can also take courses focusing on Japanese popular culture, literature, and interpreting and translation while developing spoken and written language skills. There are also opportunities to gain in-country experience via exchange programs with more than 20 Japanese universities. 

If you choose to study translation and interpreting you will have access to one of the top interpreter training facilities in Australia, equipped with simultaneous interpreting booth constructed to United Nations standards. The facility also has video-conferencing capability and a full computer lab. 

Graduates with Japanese skills work in diverse sectors, including business, education, interpreting and translation, engineering, government, law, media, diplomacy, journalism, IT, finance, tourism and hospitality. 




During the Honours year students plan and carry out independent in-depth research in an area of the Japanese language or Japanese studies under the supervision of a staff member in the Japanese Program. 

Streams and Pathways

Students may study Japanese courses as electives in their degree, or complete a major or extended major in Japanese.

Japanese majors and extended majors can be undertaken by students from:

Stream A - introductory level (no previous knowledge of Japanese)

Stream B - for students who have studied Year 12 Japanese at school and spent less than six months in Japan 

Stream C - for advanced students of Japanese who have completed Year 12 Japanese in the past 3 years and received a VHA, OR students who have completed Year 12 Japanese in the past 3 years and received a HA or SA and have also spent more than six months studying in Japan.

Stream D - for non-native/background speakers/advanced students and heritage speakers.

Separate course starting points and pathways apply for students in each stream.

A sample pathway for each of the streams that shows courses over 3 years is available. 

View pathway

Courses available in each stream are also listed on UQ's Courses and Programs site.

Unsure where to start?

Go to our online language course placement advisor and answer a short questionnaire. In most cases the system will recommend the starting course you should enrol in. For more complex cases, you will be advised how to proceed.

Language Course Placement Advisor

Looking for an elective course?

Courses concerning popular culture and literature can be studied as electives within your degree, or some may count towards the Major in Japanese. To find out more about the other courses offered, please consult the Courses and Programs page. 



Research Programs                                                                                     
Coursework Programs        


What our graduates are doing

Arts and Engineering

Geraldine has a Bachelor of Engineering and Diploma in Languages (Japanese) from The University of Queensland.

"Studying Japanese with my degree was an amazing experience and taught me to think about problems from numerous angles. A mixed education of Arts and Technology has benefited me enormously. The two capstone courses that I completed, where I was required to write research projects, afforded me the opportunity to learn two different research methodologies and gain a better appreciation of these two different disciplines.

Further adding to my experience of learning Japanese were the amazing teaching staff. Not only were they respective experts in their fields with years of experience, but also they encouraged each student to meet their full potential, regardless of their skill level. This meant that I was always challenged to learn and grow in new ways.

The Japanese department also works hard to keep their teaching materials relevant and engaging, offering courses such as polite written and spoken Japanese, Multimedia Japanese, Presenting Australia in Japanese and Language and Society in Japan. Through these units students can learn about various aspects of the Japanese language as well as the Japanese culture.

Overall, this diploma has enriched my university experience and I would strongly recommend anyone with an interest in learning Japanese to join this course. If you have an inquisitive mind with a penchant for hard work, this course will give back as much as you put into it."

Get Involved

Outside of classes, students can interact with other speakers and learners of Japanese in conversation classes, join a club or society or participate in events. 


There are a number of school events and seminars held throughout the year with Japan related content which students are encouraged to attend. The MAJIT Interpreting Forums an opportunity for students to listen to lectures on a range of topics and tune in to the interpretation of our post-graduate students. Details for these events are published on the School Events page.

Likewise community events, career expos and the annual Japan Week activities are posted on JAPNalia, the UQ Japanese community Blackboard site and Facebook group.

Exchange Opportunities

Going on exchange to Japan and becoming engaged in a wide range of activities while there will enhance your ability to interact using Japanese and to broaden your social networks. UQ has agreements with Universities in over 40 countries around the world, with over 20 in Japan at Universities such as:

See UQ Abroad for information about the exchange program.

In 2014 Japanese student Alisa went on exchange to Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (KUFS) in Japan as part of her Bachelor of International Studies degree. Read her story here.

In addition to the Study Abroad program, there is a short term study program, ‘Komstudy’, during which students participate in a Japanese language course and cultural studies at Komazawa University in Tokyo in Nov-Dec. Details are circulated in classes during semester.

Clubs and Societies

Joining a club or society is a great way to learn new skills and meet new like-minded people. There are over 190 affiliated clubs and societies at UQ. You can join the UQ Japanese Society (Wasabi) for students with a common interest in Japan. Smack UQ is a club where you can share experiences about anime, manga and conventions. Visit clubs and societies for a full list, and find one that interests you. 

Japnalia Blackboard Community and Social Media

All UQ students enrolled in Japanese are automatically enrolled in the JAPNalia Community Site through Blackboard. This site provides information, resources and communication tools as well as information on community events, career expos and the annual Japan Week activities. 

The Japnalia Group on facebook is an open group and anyone with an interest in Japanese at UQ is encouraged to join.

Conversation Classes

The bi-weekly conversation groups are run during semester and a great opportunity for you to practice your language skills and build a network of contacts which may last for the duration of your University life and continuing long after you graduate. Conversation classes run each semester with the details  announced in tutorials. You can also keep an eye on the school noticeboards and the JAPNalia Community on Blackboard for current details.