Overview of Honours in Japanese

The Honours program in Japanese is a one-year full-time course or a part-time program over two years.

Full-time students complete 48 credit points over one year: part-time students do so over two years, with 24 points completed each year.

The program consists of 24 points of coursework and 24 points of research and thesis writing.


Honours is a competitive and challenging program and only students who have an adequate research proposal and demonstrated ability in previous studies will be accepted. Students must have a major in Japanese or Japanese Studies and an average grade of 70 percent or better for four subjects (24 points), consisting of three third-year subjects and one second- or third-year subject.

The Honours program in Japanese is open to students from other universities.

For more information on eligibility, see the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Arts handbook entry.

The Structure of the Program

See the Japanese Studies – Honours Area of Study handbook entry for information about the Japanese Studies course structure when undertaking an Honours degree of Bachelor of Arts.

The Research-Thesis Component

The thesis should present original research which examines issues relevant to understanding contemporary Japan, to the Japanese language or to Japan-Australia relations. Students may also consider doing a thesis in Japanese translation. For more information on the format of research and translation theses in our School please consult the School Honours page.

The Japanese Studies Program at Monash is staffed by academics with a wide range of research interests. Normally one of those staff will be appointed to supervise the Honours research. A list of staff members and their research interests is given below, and it is expected that students will locate their own supervisor in consultation with the Honours Coordinator.

Some of the areas investigated by Honours students in the past include:

  • The practice of translation from Japanese to English or vice-versa
  • The nature of interpersonal relations in Japan;
  • Various aspects of Japan’s popular culture;
  • Various aspects of Japan’s relations with Australia and/or other parts of Asia;
  • Various aspects of Japanese politics or current issues
  • Japanese literature and film; and
  • Various aspects of Japanese language acquisition and use

Students are advised to select an area for research and to discuss their vision for the research with the Honours Coordinator and a potential supervisor before the summer break, so that background reading can be started before the first semester begins. Those planning to do research while in Japan will need to have a very good outline of their research and a clear plan for obtaining ethical approval before leaving Melbourne.


There are scholarships dedicated to Honours students in the Japanese Studies Program, aiming to support a research trip to Japan. Refer to the Monash Scholarships Office for more information. The School also offers travel grants and publication grants to Honours students. Please consult the School Honours page.

Life after Honours

The Honours program is designed to prepare students both for further study and research at the postgraduate level and for employment in areas which involve on-going contact with Japanese and Japanese organizations. Many graduates find employment in Japan to be a useful way of extending further the skills and knowledge acquired during the Honours program.

Postgraduate programs offered at Monash which would be of particular interest to graduates with an Honours Degree in Japanese include the Masters in Applied Linguistics, the Masters in Interpreting and Translation, and the Masters in Asian Studies. Those who do exceptionally well in Honours may qualify to become a PhD candidate pursuing research in many fields of Japanese studies.

Why do Honours in Japanese?

  • to extend further one’s knowledge and skills relevant to working in Japan or in contact with persons having a Japanese background;
  • to acquire a four-year degree, with advanced skills in research and report writing, skills which are highly valued in a variety of employment situations;
  • to gain a greater appreciation for Japan and a fuller sense of the Japanese cultural context;
  • to expand expertise in the discipline area in which research is conducted;
  • to gain entry into various postgraduate programs.

Members of staff in the Japanese Program and areas in which they supervise

Note: There are many other areas in which students have done research for their Honours thesis. If an area of interest does not appear below, please contact the Honours Coordinator for further advice.

Further information about staff is available on their staff profile pages.

Dr. Jeremy Breaden
Social institutions and social problems in contemporary Japan, internationalisation and globalisation, education systems, international cooperation and development

Dr. Hiroko Hashimoto
Applied linguistics; teaching Japanese as a foreign language

Dr. Shimako Iwasaki
Conversation analysis; interaction analysis (language, culture and social interaction); interactional linguistics; gesture and embodiment (talk and the body); applied linguistics

Dr. Naomi Kurata
Applied linguistics; teaching Japanese as a foreign language

Dr. Sarah Pasfield-Neofitou
Sociolinguistics and intercultural communication, computer-mediated communication, applied linguistics, eEducation.

Dr. Robyn Spence-Brown
Language acquisition; language teaching and assessment; and other topics in the area of applied linguistics

Dr. Shani Tobias
Translation and Interpreting, Japanese literature

Dr. Beatrice Trefalt
Modern Japanese history, legacies of the Second World War, war and memory, historical debates, gender issues, minority issues, identity and citizenship, migration.

Further information:

Further information about Honours is available from the School’s Honours page.

If you would like more information on Honours in Japanese, contact the Honours Coordinator for Asian Languages and Studies:

Dr Shani Tobias
Japanese studies, room W429
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Email: shani.tobias@monash.edu

For general information on Honours in the Faculty of Arts: