JAP4010 – Theory and Method in Japanese Studies

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Japanese studies is a field, not a discipline. Students will be working on topics that range from modern politics to literature, history, and linguistics, and will therefore be using a wide range of different theories and methods. The aim of this course is to help you to choose a topic for your MA thesis, reflect on the theories and methods that you will need, and to write and present a project plan that will guide your work towards your final thesis.

The course begins with a series of lectures and seminars, revolving around practical exercises in central academic methods that can be expected to have relevance for all of you. These will range from research ethics to exercises in using library databases. After this, an intensive seminar (called "Academic Survival Kit" or ASK) will offer you the possibility to make your final decision on the direction that your MA research will take, and settle who will be your supervisor. For the final part of the course, students will be divided into smaller groups based on their research interests and work on more specific methodologies relevant to their chosen topic. The course concludes with a round of presentations, where you will have the opportunity to explain your project plan to your fellow students and the teaching staff and receive feed-back – as well as learn from your fellow students and give comments on their ideas.

Learning outcome

  • You will become familiar with a number of research methodologies, and be able to select a theory and method suitable to a research topic of your own interest.
  • You will improve your academic writing skills and learn how to write an academic research plan.
  • Through class presentations and discussions, you will learn to present and debate academic knowledge.
  • By developing your own project, you will learn to apply general insights to a topic that has your particular interest, and reflect on the theoretical and methodological issues involved.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Only students enrolled in the programme option Japanese Studies can be admitted to this course.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Please see the admission requirements defined by the programme option Japanese Studies.


The course is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, organised as 10 classes of 2 hours each throughout the semester. The course presupposes active participation in class.

Compulsory activities

  • Pass the library assignment
  • Hand in other smaller writing assignments
  • Participate in the Academic Survival Kit

Approved compulsory activities are only valid for one semester. Participation of the Academic Survival Kit is valid on a permanent basis. 

All compulsory activities must be approved in order to qualify for the exam. It is the student’s responsibility to check whether or not the compulsory activities are approved. 

This is how you apply for valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance.


The exam consists of three parts:

  1. An oral presentation of your MA research project
  2. A project proposal for your MA thesis (approximately 5 pages)
  3. An essay on a theoretical or methodological issue relevant to your MA thesis (approximately 10 pages)

You need to pass all three parts to pass the course. You will receive a grade for each part. Each part will count as one third of the total.

The project proposal is to be submitted in Canvas and the essay in Inspera within the given deadline.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language