Where will Japanese take you?

Graduates with Japanese proficiency are more attractive to Japanese companies and the companies that do business in and with Japan. Japan is a top trading partner with the United States and the second largest source of direct investment in the United States, giving the State Department reason to designate Japanese as a “critical language.” 


Program type:

Major, BA



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Bachelor of Arts in Modern Language -

Japanese Emphasis

The Bachelor of Arts in Modern Language, with an Emphasis in Japanese develops linguistically and culturally competent aspiring global citizens. This program is designed to produce learners of Japanese with the competence to express themselves in a culturally coherent and appropriate manner when interacting with native speakers of Japanese. Students engage with the language and culture in the classroom, out of the classroom through on-campus events and Japan-America Student Association involvement and in a variety of study abroad opportunities.

This solid foundation in speaking and listening supports the development of competency in the Japanese reading and writing system.

Outcomes and Career Outlook

Upon completion of the BA in Modern Language, with an Emphasis in Japanese, graduates will possess the necessary linguistic and cultural competencies to interact with native speakers in culturally appropriate ways; use the target language in a variety of academic, social and professional situations and have a rich understanding of the target cultures; be able to critically explore their own assumptions, value alternative perspectives and act with cultural sensitivity; meet the challenges of a globalized world and continue developing their skills as lifelong learners.

Employment of translators and interpreters is projected to grow up to 20% through 2029, with a median annual salary of $69,000, according to wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Payscale.com.


Median annual salary


Employment growth by 2029

Career Opportunities

  • Foreign Correspondent 
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Translator/Interpreter/Localizer
  • Intercultural Training Consultant
  • International Analyst
  • International Business Consultant
  • Japanese Educator
  • NGO Specialist


Plan of study

All majors must meet the general education requirements of the university in addition to completing degree-specific curriculum requirements.

Review Full Degree Requirements Review Sample Four-Year Plan Download 4-Year Academic Map

Non-Missouri Residents: Prospective students are responsible for reviewing the NC-SARA state authorizations page to see if this program is offered in their state throughout their program and to review the licensure or certification requirements for the state in which they reside.

Student organizations

Make new friends and learn new skills by joining one of our Recognized Student Organizations. Here are several opportunities you may be interested in as a student majoring in Japanese:

Honors College

The UMSL Honors College is a certificate program that can be paired with any major without adding extra classes or extending time to graduate. Classes in the Honors College are seminar-style, meaning that they are based in reading, writing, discussion, and critical thinking. This unique class format fosters an intellectual climate centered around democracy, diversity, civility and academic excellence.

Undergraduate research

We encourage and support students as they engage in exciting activities in and outside of the classroom that enrich their academic and professional understanding of their chosen area of study. All majors are encouraged to participate in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship to produce discipline-specific intellectual or creative innovations to their field.