Japan Study
Linking Japan and the United States Through Educational Exchange

Academics and Student Life


An online tour of Waseda campus



Language study is at the core of the Japan Study experience and students are required to take six credits of Japanese language each semester at the Center for Japanese Language (CJL). Language instruction stresses the four skill areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. For additional credit, students can take an elective Language Development Workshop on topics such as aural-oral, kanji, literature and reading (for advanced students only), and writing.

Students also take courses at the School of International Liberal Studies (SILS) at Waseda University. SILS offers a wide array of courses taught in English, covering various topics in Japanese and Asian studies, as well as content courses across the curriculum. Indeed, while course selection varies somewhat each year, students can find classes on subjects ranging from Discrete Mathematics to The History of Pantomime. Waseda professors, who come from Japan and around the globe, teach these classes.

About 85% of SILS students are Japanese; the rest are international. Non-Japanese students, including study abroad students, enroll in Japanese language courses at CJL as well as academic courses at SILS.

Transferring Credits

Students should consult with their home campus advisor or off-campus studies officer for details on their college’s credit transfer policies, keeping in mind that there may be limits on the number of credits that may be transferred. The minimum semester course load at Waseda is 14; the maximum is 21. Students participating in the Cultural Internship earn an additional two credits. It is the student's responsibility to make sure courses taken at Waseda have been approved by your advisor for distribution to your major.

The Earlham transcript along with the Waseda transcript is mailed from the Japan Study office at Earlham in late September or early October. Students who need verification of program completion or who have questions regarding the transcripts should contact Japan Study.

Enrollment Requirements

Before departing for Japan, students will take the J-CAT placement test, which ranks their Japanese language ability on a scale from 1 to 8. Students Level 5 and below must enroll in 6 credits of language courses each semester. Students who score at Level 6 are only required to take 3 credits of Japanese language, and those scoring Level 7 or above are exempt from taking Japanese.

Enrollment in 8 credit hours of SILS lecture courses at the intermediate or advanced level is required for students taking 6 credits of Japanese. Additional SILS credits are required for students who test out of Japanese. Students have the option of taking up to an additional 6 credits, in either SILS courses, CJL courses, or an additional foreign language (Spanish, Korean, Chinese, etc.). Typical course-loads consist of 6 credit hours of Japanese Language per semester and 12 elective course credit hours.

Course Catalogue

Students are encouraged to search for current and previous syllabi on Waseda's Syllabus Search to obtain more details on courses.

  1. For Term, choose Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer

  2. For Language, choose English

  3. For School, choose SILS

  4. For Course Category, students must choose Advanced or Intermediate courses. Seminar courses are not allowed for Japan Study students.

  5. Click Search. To get course descriptions and credit hours, click the "Choose" button on the right

*Sample courses are not an extensive list, and course offerings may change from year to year.  Please use the syllabus search for more details.


Extracurricular Activities

Waseda offers a rich extra-curricular life with over 700 student clubs and organizations to join. In addition to sports, social, and Japanese culture clubs and circles, Waseda University also has many volunteer opportunities for international students through the Hirayama Ikuo Volunteer Center. View a searchable online guide here!


Student Testimonials


Emma Beckman, Earlham College

"Niji-no-Kai is an international circle, which makes it very easy for students studying abroad to join. The club offers many cultural events year round such as mochi-tsuki, hanami, and watching fireworks. Niji also has a lounge on the main Waseda campus where students gather in their free time to practice Japanese or just to hang out. Every day was so much fun because I joined Niji. I made many close friends, who I still keep in touch with today, and a lot of my best memories of Japan come from hanging out with my friends in Niji."


Lucas Kushner, Kalamazoo College

"I joined the juggling group at Waseda called Infinity. They are an incredibly skilled group, and some of their members win international competitions. That being said, there was another international student in the group who had never juggled before in her life, so it is definitely possible for people of any skill level to join. In the group there were two of us that weren't Japanese, out of a group of roughly 70 students. Needless to say that being a part of this group was some of the greatest practice in Japanese that I had."


Kubra Kasikci, Earlham College

"I was a member of Waseda’s kendo club. The group meets for practice on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday from 7:00-9:00pm. There are about 50-60 members, including 5-6 exchange students. In the beginning, you can borrow a shinai (bamboo sword) for free, but if you decide to join you will need to buy your own, which costs about 3,000 yen. Additional costs include kedo clothing (10,000-15,000 yen) and the club fee (10,000 yen). The members are extremely kind, and anyone can join regardless of experience."


Heather Simpson, Hope College

I joined Zazen-Kai (座禅会) after completing my cultural internship in a Buddhist monastery because I wanted to continue exploring the religion. In addition to practicing mindfulness meditation, club members also chant sutras and observe other tenants of Zen Buddhism. Meditation is an excellent way to maintain focus and calm amid all the distractions of life in Tokyo, so I recommend it to any student looking to de-stress and take some time for themselves. 

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Alex Pianetta, Earlham College

Scarade is a photography circle located on Waseda's Toyama Campus. They organize photo exhibitions featuring members' photography and also have events like social gatherings, a camera-buying tour, and group outings to get inspired and take interesting pictures. They were very welcoming of me as an exchange student, and it was nice being in a smaller club, as I got to know people better than I would in one of the larger ones.

Mountain climbing

Weelic Chong, Oberlin College

I climbed Tanigawa mountain range in Gunma Prefecture with the Yama-no-Kai (山の会). This club doesn't meet outside of climbing events. One thing I liked about the club is that we always visit an onsen (Japanese public bath) after the climb, which refreshes you and soothes sore muscles. Club alumni as old as 70 (referred to as Old Boys) are still active in the club. Talking to them was actually how I got to know about the club and why I ended up joining.