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Japanese Language Courses

UC Merced offers Elementary Japanese courses (JPN001 & JPN002) and Intermediate Japanese courses (JPN003 & JPN004).  Advanced Japanese courses (JPN101 & JPN102) may be offered when there is enough interest.   

The Japanese language courses aim to build a solid foundation of vocabularies and grammar necessary for developing communication skills in the language.  Students have ample opportunities to speak and interact with others in Japanese through pair-work and role plays.  Students will choose a topic in Japanese culture and society and present their research. 

JPN 001 

Goal: Students will be able to read and write all Hiragana and Katakana characters and some Kanji characters and to carry on conversations in the first-encounter situations such as: 
  • Greet people and introduce themselves. 
  • Ask and give directions of a place. 
  • Buy things at a store or order foods at a restaurant. 
  • Describe daily activities. 
  • Ask for permission. 
JPN 002 
Goal: Students will be able to read and write additional Kanji characters and to carry on conversations in daily situations such as:
  • Talk about family members and friends. 
  • Describe to-do’s and not-to-do’s. 
  • Compare and contrast things and events. 
  • Recognize TPO of using formal and informal speech. 
JPN 003 
Goal: Students learn more Kanji characters and will be able to carry on casual conversations with friends and acquaintances: 
  • Describe what you can do or cannot do. 
  • Offer to give a thing or offer to help, and how to respond. 
  • Learn to use relative clauses. 
  • Learn to use conditional clauses. 
JPN 004 
Goal: Students learn more Kanji characters, complete all basic grammar, and will be able to speak in the formal occasions. 
  • Recognize TPO of using honorific and humble expressions. 
  • Use passive form. 
  • Use causative form. 
  • Use causative-passive form. 


Opportunities to Study in Japan  

Toward Your Degree 

Students can take courses in their major while optionally learning Japanese language for a semester or two at top-ranked universities in Japan as exchange students through the UC Education Abroad Program.  The credits earned in the Japanese university can be counted to fulfill degree requirements at UC Merced.

Link to Study Abroad in Japan by the UC Education Abroad Program

Learning Japanese in Summer 

Students can learn Japanese at language institutions in Japan through International Opportunities Programs during the summer.  The credits earned can be counted as the credits of equivalent Japanese courses at UC Merced.  


Opportunities to Teach English in Japan After the Graduation 

In 1987, the Japanese government established the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program to invite native speakers of English as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) in public schools.  JET Program Coordinator at the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco visits UC Merced to hold an Information Session in Fall. 

The number of ALTs has been increasing rapidly since 2011 when English started to be taught in elementary schools.  In addition to the JET, there are private companies which recruit native speakers to be ALTs. 

In the recent past, UC Merced students became an ALT or an English teacher through the following organizations: 

While the ability to speak Japanese is not required to be an ALT, it will be helpful in communicating with Japanese teachers, especially in elementary schools.