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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Japanese Studies) is no longer accepting new applications.


1: Dissertation (50 per cent of the grade)

In their dissertation, students will be required to demonstrate research competence using Japanese-language sources, and to conduct research that addresses contemporary and/or historical issues of relevance to Japan. Prospective students are asked to contact potential supervisors before applying to Cambridge to ensure that an appropriate supervisor is available.

One-on-one supervisions will be held by the main supervisors and will take place typically at the beginning of the academic year and in the Easter term. In addition, the Researcher Development Seminar (JM1) will help to guide students through the research process.

2: Three papers (50 per cent of the grade)

Each of the three papers (a paper is an exam for which teaching is provided) is assessed either by a research essay of maximum 5,000 words or an alternative exercise agreed by the Degree Committee and counts for one-sixth of the total grade (ie 16.67 per cent). One of these papers, JM1 is compulsory. Other papers can be chosen to create a tailor-made education. For further information please refer to our Faculty website.

One to one supervision

Students will be offered a minimum of two hours as needed to support dissertation research and writing. The final number of hours will be agreed upon with the supervisor depending on student need and progress. 

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

While each section differs in the total number of hours directly taught, all subjects offer a minimum of 48 class hours of instruction across the year.


Students taking the Japanese Studies pathway receive feedback routinely throughout the year from their supervisors. Supervisors also produce feedback via termly online supervision reports. Summative feedback on coursework essays or examinations is provided after the June Degree Committee meeting and on the dissertation after the final Degree Committee meeting of the year, in September.


Thesis / Dissertation

For the Japanese Studies pathway, students will submit a dissertation of not more than 15,000 words, including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography on a subject approved by the Degree Committee. All MPhil dissertations must include a brief abstract at the start of the dissertation of no more than 400 words.  The examiners have the option to conduct an oral examination with the candidate.


Three written examination papers on subjects approved by the Degree Committee. Students may submit essays as part of their degree in place of written examinations. Essays are not more than 5,000 words, including footnotes, but excluding bibliography. Students may apply to the Degree Committee for approval of an equivalent alternative exercise.

For JM1, students will have to submit a portfolio of three essays with a length of 1500-1600 words each; a book review; a state-of-the-field essay; and a research proposal (incl. ethics form).

Written examination

For the Japanese Studies pathway, students may take examinations as part of their degree:

Some courses may be assessed by written examination, as described in "form and conduct". With the approval of the Degree Committee, a student may offer, in place of one or more of those papers, the same number of essays, each of not more than 5,000 words, or equivalent alternative exercises approved by the Degree Committee.

Key Information

11 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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