Course Requirements

The curriculum of the MA in Japanese will consist of twelve courses (48 quarter credit hours), divided into two parts:

  1. A core curriculum of four courses (16 quarter credit hours) required of all students, and
  2. Eight courses (32 quarter credit hours) in the language area, which must include an approved “cluster” of at least four courses (16 quarter credit hours) focused on a particular professional application or disciplinary interest.

Students must select these course clusters in consultation with an advisor. All courses in the language area must be courses taught in the target language of the student’s program (i.e. courses with prefixes JPN). In exceptional cases, with the approval of the student’s advisor and the director of the graduate program, a student may count one or two courses taught in English from allied fields (such as art history, economics, education, geography, health sciences, management, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology, etc.) among the eight “language area” courses in the student’s program.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum consists of the following four courses:

In addition, all three-hundred level courses in the respective languages are offered simultaneously as 400-level electives to complete the MA program.  These 400-level courses carry different requirements than the lower-level courses. 

Additional Requirements

Additional requirements include:

  • ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview
  • Portfolio Project

All students must attain a rating of at least “Advanced Low” from the standardized Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) of the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

The service learning experience will involve work within an environment where the student can apply her or his linguistic expertise, as a volunteer, contributor, intern, or employee. This environment might be a community group; a social service or agency; a professional association; or an artistic organization. This experience should ideally contribute to the student’s portfolio project.

The portfolio (completed while enrolled in MOL 496) consists of a compilation and critical assessment of select work done throughout the program or a final project with written critical assessment. Final projects may include a community service experience, internship, performance and creative work, thesis, or translation.

Graduation Grade Point Average Requirement

In order to graduate from the program, students must complete all program requirements with a minimum GPA of 3.000.

Thesis Option

A thesis option will be available for students who attain a GPA of at least 3.7 in the program after completing 24 credit hours of coursework. The thesis should address the area of interest of the candidate’s course “cluster.”

MOL 401


In this course you will prepare a series of surveys/summaries of research literature and learning resources. With the guidance of your professor, you will identify one or more professional organizations such as MLA, CLA, ACTFL, CTFL, AATX, and others. Using their by-laws, publications, and recent conference programs, you will write a literature summary that identifies the major issues of concern to these organizations, and analyze their resources and professional standards relate to research and practice in your field of interest.

MOL 402


This course offers students a theoretical and methodological introduction to the theory and methods of the study of language variation and change and its relationship to various social and individual factors (e.g. race, class, sex, ethnicity, identity, etc.). It introduces students to the concepts, theories, and methods used to analyze language and its role in the definition and construction of individual and group identity. We will look specifically at how social and individual factors may influence linguistic structure and vice versa. The course will explore various theories of sociolinguistics, including the interaction between language and speakers? membership in various groups, linguistic variation across groups, intergroup theory, dialectology, and discourse analysis, among others. Through the course readings students will consider and critically analyze the notions of the speech community and the individual, the existence (or not) of dialects, synchronic variation and diachronic change, the relationship between social factors and language, language policy and planning, language standardization, linguistic ethnography, and theories related to education and society. Bilingual phenomena such as code switching, language contact, and the creation of pidgins and creoles will also be examined. Topics may vary by quarter.

MOL 403


In this course, we will study Western and non-Western cultural texts that address a central theme (for example: ?Citizenship,? ?Freedom and Oppression,? ?Globalization,? ?Popular pedagogy?). Students will practice talking and writing about the ethical questions, inter-cultural conversations, and analytical methods common to the liberal arts tradition as they apply to their use of a language in a particular professional setting. We explore the varied kinds of local and global communities in the contemporary world and place them in political, economic, and historic contexts to understand how they have transformed over time, with specific attention to the interaction of economic (i.e., work practice) and social ties (i.e., familial, religious, ethnic, linguistic) in forming and transforming local, national, international and global communities. We will examine how various ethnic groups have used communities as a starting place to assimilate and make their adjustments to nations as well as maintain ties to the culture and heritage of their home country. Topics vary by quarter and some sections will include service learning opportunities.

MOL 496


As the required capstone course for the M.A. program in Modern Languages, MOL 497 requires students to reflect on their coursework and the materials that they have produced for their portfolios in order to articulate a coherent vision of their experience in the program. It encourages them to learn from each other's professional interests, builds community among them, and facilitates interactive learning. The course employs a seminar design that is intentionally flexible, and varies depending upon the participating students? goals and objectives. Class sessions will focus on the common issues and concerns that all students face as ?language professionals.? In addition, each student must select a representative work (the portfolio ?project?), create an overview and commentary text on this work, and present the work to the class. Each student?s portfolio and project (whether a thesis, internship, or creative work) will reflect his or her own intellectual interests and professional goals.