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.

Our Program

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.

Class is divided into two components—lecture (fact class) and recitation (act class). In lecture class, you will learn about grammar, word usage, and culture. Recitation (act) classes are kept small (about a dozen or fewer students) so that you can practice using language in real and simulated situations with native speaker instructors.

In the first two years, class meets seven times a week, two for lecture and five for recitation. In third year Japanese, class meets five times a week, 1 1/2 for lecture and 3 1/2 for recitation. Fourth year Japanese meets four times a week.

If you have a question about our language program, contact Stephen Luft.

Study Abroad and 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 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 Leslie Smedley at the Study Abroad Office. The program also offers a two-week academic tour of Kansai in late summer (1 credit), called SEALS in Japan. Contact Stephen Luft for details.

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.

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 Paula Locante for further details.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

We award up to six tuition remission scholarships for summer language students. 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, ATJ’s Bridging Scholarships, JASSO scholarships, Pittsburgh Foundation Scholarship, and a number of others. For information on scholarships and financial aid, visit the Asian Studies Center.

Advanced Placement

AP score 4 means you will get 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.

Visit Us

We welcome prospective students/parents to meet our faculty, visit a class, or learn more about our program. Contact: Paula Locante for the Japanese program.