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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs


University Park, College of the Liberal Arts (JAPNS)

PROFESSOR ON-CHO NG, Department Head, Asian Studies

The major in Japanese strengthens students' overall skills in internationalism and provides a focus on one of the world's most important nations. The Japanese major is designed for students who want to develop proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing Japanese, and acquire profound knowledge of Japanese culture, history, and civilization in the context of East Asia.

The Japanese major requires students to study abroad in order to deepen their understanding of the language, culture and contemporary society, and to develop intercultural and comparative perspectives.

The major can also help students prepare for graduate study in Japan-related fields and professional careers where proficiency in Japanese is required, such as government services, or multinational companies.

Students planning to teach in public schools should schedule the appropriate courses leading to certification in consultation with an adviser in the College of Education.

For the B.A. degree in Japanese, a minimum of 124 credits is required.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)

(0-9 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in this bulletin.)

(Included in ELECTIVE or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)


(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

ELECTIVES: 21-27 credits

(3 of these 24 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR, GENERAL EDUCATION, or ELECTIVES and 0-12 credits are included in ELECTIVES if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.)
(See description of Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements in this bulletin.)

(This includes 0-9 credits of General Education GA, GH, or GS courses.)
(At least 22 credits must be at the 400 level.)
(Students are strongly encouraged to take at least 12 of their credits in Japan, either in a Penn State Education Abroad program or another program subject to departmental approval. For curricular sequencing, the program encourages students to pursue this Education Abroad experience in the fall semester of the junior year, unless the host institution runs on the Japanese academic schedule, in which case study abroad should be in the spring semester, or for the entire year.

JAPNS 110 IL(4) (Sem: 3-4)
JAPNS 401 IL(4), JAPNS 402 IL(4) (Sem: 5-6)
JAPNS 403(4), JAPNS 404 IL(4) (Sem: 7-8)

Select 3 credits from JAPNS 120 GH;IL(3) or JAPNS 121 GH;IL(3) (Sem:1-6)
Select 3 credits from the JAPNS 420-429 level (Sem: 1-8)
Select 3 credits from the JAPNS 450-459 level (Sem: 7-8)

Select 6 credits pertaining to Japan, such as courses in art history, comparative history, geography, history, Japanese, philosophy, political science, religious studies, theatre arts, or other fields, selected from departmental list (Sem: 1-8)

Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Program B.A. in Japanese and Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.)

The integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree program (B.A. in Asian Studies, Chinese, or Japanese/M.I.A. in International Affairs) provides an opportunity for strong students in these majors to complete a master’s degree with 5 total years of study.

An increasingly globalized economy is likely to escalate the demand for graduate training in international affairs. The career choices for graduates with this training will also expand sharply.

The integrated degree program prepares students for a variety of careers requiring an interdisciplinary background in Asian Studies or Asian languages and international affairs. Examples of types of entities hiring in these areas are federal, state, and local governments, international organizations, multinational corporations, international banking and financial institutions, media organizations and journalism, consulting firms, policy research centers, and development assistance programs and foundations. The School of International Affairs (SIA) Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.) represents a professional degree designed to prepare students to thrive in these increasingly global career paths.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

The number of openings in the integrated B.A./M.I.A. program is limited. Admission will be selective based on specific criteria set by the School of International Affairs. Students shall be admitted to an IUG program no earlier than the beginning of the third semester of undergraduate study at Penn State (regardless of transfer or AP credits accumulated prior to enrollment) and no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree, as specified in the proposed IUG plan of study. Students must be admitted to the program prior to taking the first course they intend to count towards the graduate degree. Specific requirements:

  1. Must be enrolled in the Asian Studies, Chinese, or Japanese B.A. program.
  2. Must apply to and be accepted into The Graduate School and the M.I.A. program in the School of International Affairs. Students must complete the Graduate School application. All applicants will submit GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement addressing their reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in international affairs and discussing their plans and goals.
  3. Although the program has no fixed minimum grade point average, an applicant is generally expected to have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all coursework completed for the major.
  4. Must include a plan of study identifying undergraduate credits to be applied to the M.I.A. degree elective requirements. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser.
  5. Must provide written endorsement from the head of Asian Studies.


M.I.A. Requirements for the Integrated B.A./M.I.A.

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.

M.I.A. portion of the integrated B.A./M.I.A. will require the completion of a minimum of 42 graduate credits, at least 18 of which are from six core courses consisting of INTAF 801(3), 802(3), 803(3), 804(3), 805(3) and INTAF 590(3). The remaining credits are attained through completion of the approved elective courses. A minimum of 6 credits must be at the 500-level.

In addition to the core curriculum and elective courses, M.I.A. degree candidates must complete either: (i) a master's paper; or (ii) a supervised internship placement. If the first option is chosen and the candidate opts to complete a paper, he/she must complete 3 credits of INTAF 594. The master's paper will involve integrating and showing mastery of the subject matter of the student's curricular emphasis, and may also involve original research. If the second option is chosen, the candidate will complete 3 credits of INTAF 595. The student will participate in a supervised internship of sufficient depth and professionalism that will allow the student to experience the integration of his/her curricular studies in an actual professional environment. A reflective paper will be submitted as a part of this credit requirement.

In order to graduate, M.I.A. degree students also will need to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English. Proficiency will be defined as follows: (i) four semesters of a Penn State language sequence or its equivalent (15 credits with a quality grade of B or better using a 4.0 scale); (ii) native acquisition, as shown by the candidate's personal history and approved by the SIA faculty; or (iii) performance on a proficiency evaluation sufficient to equal four semesters of language learning: for this purpose, either Penn State's proficiency certification process or another pre-approved proficiency assessment may be used. Language study does not provide credits towards the M.I.A. degree.

If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.I.A. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

M.I.A. Degree

Core Courses (18)

INTAF 801(3), INTAF 802(3), INTAF 803(3), INTAF 804(3), INTAF 805(3), INTAF 590(3)

Electives (21)

Course choices are from a pre-approved list in the SIA, or by SIA faculty-approved substitution.



Capstone (3)

Master’s Paper (INTAF 594) or Internship (INTAF 595)

Integrated B.A./M.I.A. Degree

Core Courses (18)

INTAF 801(3), INTAF 802(3), INTAF 803(3), INTAF 804(3), INTAF 805(3), INTAF 590(3)

Electives (21)

A maximum of 12 credits may be double counted toward the B.A. and the M.I.A. Courses that may be double-counted include: ASIA 463, ASIA 465, ASIA 469, ASIA 475, ASIA 476, ASIA 481, ASIA 486, ASIA 489, ASIA 493, ASIA 501, ASIA 502, and ASIA 577.

Capstone (3)

Master’s Paper (INTAF 594) or Internship (INTAF 595)


Courses that may be double-counted include: ASIA 463, ASIA 465, ASIA 469, ASIA 475, ASIA 476, ASIA 481, ASIA 486, ASIA 489, ASIA 493, ASIA 501, ASIA 502, and ASIA 577. No more than 6 of the double-counted credits may be at the 400-level. The graduate thesis or other graduate culminating/capstone experience (including any associated credits and/or deliverables) may not be double counted towards any other degree.

Tuition Charges, Grant-in-Aid, and Assistantships

Students admitted to the School of International Affairs through the IUG with a B.A. in Asian Studies, Chinese, or Japanese may be considered to receive financial assistance. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set forth in the Graduate Bulletin.


[1] A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better, as specified in Senate Policy 82-44.

Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2016

Blue Sheet Item #: 44-06-046

Review Date: 4/5/2016