As Japan is one of the five largest world economies, professional opportunities exist for individuals who are proficient in the Japanese language and who can understand and integrate into Japanese culture.

A minor in Japanese can part of the first step towards a career path in teaching, translation, interpretation, government relations, social services, the travel or hospitality industry, business, technology, finance or sales. Many students are also interested in careers related to Anime or computer technology, both large industries in Japan. A Committee Interdisciplinary Major with a focus in Japanese Language and Culture, combined with technology and science training, is excellent preparation for entry into those fields.

Many students now can find Japanese instruction in their high schools. At UWM, students can continue their high school studies or begin from the first semester of Japanese language instruction. We offer eight semesters of Japanese language plus the vitally important courses about Japanese culture, business practices, values, politics, history, and religions.

While the study of any Asian language is challenging for native English speakers because of their vast differences from English, students often find it is less difficult than they lead themselves to believe. Successful students of Japanese will dedicate the necessary daily time to practice and repeat...and practice and repeat.

Japan is a very popular destination for study abroad, and Japanese majors are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities available through UWM. Programs vary in length from a few week immersion, to semester-long, to even a full year. Because of the complexities of planning a study abroad experience, students are encouraged to start planning early in sophomore year. Most students engage in study abroad during the second half of sophomore year or during their junior year.


The minor in Japanese consists of at least 18 credits. The College requires that students complete at least 9 credits of their minor in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in residence at UWM to earn a minor at UWM. The College also requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA on all minor credits attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all minor credits attempted, including any transfer work.

Students entering with no previous Japanese language experience should enroll in JAPAN 101. Students entering with previous knowledge of, or high school preparation in, Japanese, or transfer students who have studied Japanese in other colleges, are assigned to courses on the basis of a departmental placement consultation with the Japanese program coordinator. Students placed into a course beyond the 101 level who complete their first course with a grade of at least a B may receive retroactive credits earned at the 200 level or above to a maximum of 16 credits, for the courses leading to the one into which they are placed.

Those who are able to begin their study of Japanese by placing into JAPAN 202 or above will take sufficient elective credits, approved by the Japanese language coordinator, to complete at least 18 credits in the minor with 9 credits at the 300 level or above.

The following (or equivalent or exemption) are required:

JAPAN 201Third-Semester Japanese5
JAPAN 202Fourth-Semester Japanese5
JAPAN 301Fifth Semester Japanese4
JAPAN 302Sixth Semester Japanese4
Select 3 credits from the courses listed below:3
Introduction to Japanese Literature 1
Japanese Popular Culture 1
Japanese Film: Themes and Methods 1
Enhanced Knowledge & Skills for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test
Extensive Reading in Japanese
Japanese News Media
Japanese Performance Traditions
Japanese Performance Traditions: Readings
Seminar in Japanese Literature and Culture:
Translating Japanese Media
Fun Kanji
Japanese Culture and Society
Japanese Art and Architecture
Buddhism Across Asia 1
Total Credits21

These 100- and 200-level courses may only be counted toward the minor if the student places into JAPAN 202 or beyond.

Letters & Science Minor Advising

Advising for the minor takes place within the department by a faculty member or staff member. Follow the steps using the "Declare a Minor" button on the department’s website which may include instructions on how to select a faculty advisor if there is more than one to choose from.

Students who already have an L&S college advisor because their degree plan is in L&S can discuss the minor with them as well since they will be familiar with any minor in L&S. Students who are working on a degree from a UWM college other than the College of Letters & Science will not need an L&S college advisor for just a minor and one will not be assigned. These students should work with the faculty or staff advisor they receive as part of the minor declaration process or contact the department directly for assistance.

Applicants who have not started classes at UWM yet who wish to declare a minor should wait until they are registered for their first UWM classes and then can declare the minor using the “Declare a Minor” button on the program’s website. If you have questions about the minor before then, contact