The Japanese language program is offered in five proficiency levels and it offers appropriate courses for students to progress from beginning to advanced level. Fifth year Japanese is offered for those who have special needs in reading or speaking, such as graduate students with specific research requirements. Many of our students are double majors.

At the beginning of our curriculum, we have more emphasis on speaking. As you make progress in our program, you will be spending increasingly more time on how to read and write and how to integrate all language skills.

About 200 students study in the Japanese language program in a term. For the size of language faculty (four full-time and several part-time instructors), we have a large number of students and majors (about 70). Despite a trend in the opposite direction at some schools, our enrollment has been growing.

Advanced skill in Japanese has long created a very favorable edge when looking for work. We have placed many students in various federal agencies and departments and private corporations. A sizeable number of students get into the JET Program or other similar programs to further their language skills and to gain work experience in Japan.

Some students pursue graduate degrees at Pitt and other institutions in areas including computer science, medicine, law, linguistics, government, social sciences, and other humanities. We attribute our students' success to the excellence our undergraduate programs.


To earn a major in Japanese, students must complete six semesters of Japanese language (or equivalent), an additional course beyond the third year level, three courses from departmental courses in literature, drama, film, and linguistics, and three Japan-related courses in other departments.


View a list of Japanese courses that are offered this academic year.
View projected non-language course offerings in Japanese.


Learn about the three options for students who want to obtain a minor in Japanese.


Once you've declaired a Japanese major in the Department, your major advisor (Stephen Luft) will help you select courses and guide you through the major curriculum. The advisor will also be happy to help you with post-graduation plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions for the Japanese language program.

Certificate in Asian Studies

Requirements for this Certificate include two years of an East Asian language, and four courses (12 credits) on Asia in at least two departments outside the major and one course (3 credits) on Asia in the major department. If the major department does not have options for an Asian focus (e.g., chemistry, English), the student must take an additional Asia-related course in a third department. For more information, contact Emily Rook-Koepsel at the Asian Studies Center.

Summer School through SEALS Japan

We offer three levels of 10-week (for first year and second year) or 8-week (for third year) intensive Japanese courses. Each level is equivalent to one academic year of Japanese at Pitt. There are a number of tuition remission scholarships earmarked for first-year and second year summer language study. Contact Stephen Luft for further details.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

We award up to six tuition remission scholarships for SEALS Japan students. EALL also administers scholarship to defray the cost of Two Weeks in Kansai in August (see this page for more information). Many of our study abroad students are funded through a grant administered by the Asian Studies Center. Many students have won the Nationality Room Scholarships, AATJ’s Bridging Scholarships, JASSO scholarships, Pittsburgh Foundation Scholarship, FLASs, and a number of others. For information on scholarships and financial contact Stephen Luft. For financial aid not administered by EALL, visit the Asian Studies Center.

Advanced Placement

AP score 4 means you will receive 3 credit hours for JPNSE 1908 Independent Study. If you received an AP score 5, you will receive 5 credit hours for JPNSE 1908 Independent Study. Regardless of what AP score you may have received, you will be interviewed to determine which class is appropriate to continue the language study.

Study Abroad & Internships

Currently we maintain direct exchange programs with Kitakyushu, Ritsumeikan, Sophia, and Waseda Universities. We have also an institutional tie with Kobe University. We are a charter member of the Konan-Illinois Year-in-Japan Program to which qualified Pitt students are guaranteed admittance (and be eligible to receive JASSO scholarships). Of course you can direct-enroll in any good program in Japan and the credits you earned there usually transfer back without any trouble. Started in 2015, Pitt-in-Japan (PiJ) offers a five-week study abroad program designed to acquaint students with language and culture of Japan. It is held in the city of Nishinomiya, right outside of the city of Osaka. Students can bring back six credits for successfully completing this program. For program details, contact Stephen Luft.

EALL also offers a two-week academic tour of Kansai in late summer (2 credits), called SEALS in Japan. Contact Stephen Luft for details. Beginning in 2018, Beth Oyler has served as the lead faculty.

Internships enable you to apply your language skills and obtain job experience. Internships in the United States and in Japan, both paid and unpaid, are available. For more information about internships, contact Stephen Luft. Contact Brenda Jordan at the Asian Studies Center for internships in Japan.