Program Activities
Events Calendar
Our Alumni

Japan is changing, both in security and economic affairs, after a generation of drift. The Japan Studies Program, with accomplished scholars, policy-experienced professionals and real-world work opportunities for students, is catching the wave. Johns Hopkins SAIS is one of the few International Relations graduate programs to offer a concentration focused specifically on Japan. The Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies [2], closely affiliated to the program, supports these efforts by conducting policy-relevant research and providing links to Asian Studies in general. 

The Japan Studies Program gives students in-depth knowledge of many facets of Japan and familiarity with Japanese history, politics, society, and foreign policy relations. It designed to provide the students multi-disciplinary understanding of Japan through coursework, seminars and events at the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies [2], working with the Reischauer Center Visiting Scholars, research opportunities including publishing, class trips, and internships. The curriculum helps prepare students for careers in business, government, journalism, research, and a variety of other professional fields.

Show More


  • [3]
    Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation, Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [5]

Program Activities


Research Opportunities

The Japan Studies Program offers students the opportunity to work with experienced scholars and practitioners in small-group settings. One highlight is for students to undertake travel-study and publish their findings in the US-Japan Relations Yearbook, which has been published yearly for over a quarter-century and is unique in its field. The volume is circulated, in both English and Japanese, to various institutions including the US Congress, the Japanese Diet, as well as think tanks, universities and experts in both countries.


The Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies

The Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS supports the research and study of transpacific and intra-Asian relations to advance mutual understanding between Northeast Asia and the United States. Among the Reischauer Center's diverse activities are the Northeast Asia Political Economy Seminar, the US-Japan Relations Yearbook, the Visiting scholar programs, the US-Japan policy dialogue, international conferences, Reischauer Memorial Lectures, student summer internship support in Japan, student scholarships, the Asia-Pacific Policy Papers Series, and the Tokyo-Reischauer Group (online transpacific discussion on US-Japan relations). Learn more about the Reischauer Center [6].

Videos of past events are available for viewing on the Reischauer Center's website [7].


Co-curricular Activities

Japan Studies offers field trips every year to destinations in the United States and Japan such as the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, business and media offices in Washington, DC, and visits with distinguished alumni.



Japan Studies students have the opportunity to travel to Japan under the auspices of the Reischauer Center Summer Internship Program. Since sending its first intern in 1984, the Center has sent over 100 students to Japan to work in Japanese and American organizations for 10 weeks during the summer. The program allows the interns to cultivate their language proficiency, develop working skills pertinent to their future careers, and enhance their cultural understanding.

Students who have sufficient Japanese language skills, a desire to be immersed in a Japanese work environment, and acceptable grades are encouraged to apply for a summer internship.

Successful applicants are given roundtrip tickets to and from Japan, housing, and, in many cases, stipends to defray local expenses. The Center makes all housing arrangements.

Examples of where the students have interned in the past:


  • Kyodo News
  • Mainichi Shimbun

Corporations and financial institutions:

  • American Chamber of Commerce
  • ING Barings
  • Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
  • Toyota
  • Daiwa Securities

Research organizations:

  • Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)
  • The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ)
  • Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER)
  • Mitsubishi Research Institute
  • Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute (MGSSI)
  • Nomura Research

Government-related institutions:

  • US Embassy in Tokyo
  • Diet Members

    Xuan Wang '14, Interned at Daiwa Securities in summer 2013


Japan Studies provides at least some fellowship support to all students.


SAIS Japan Club

Johns Hopkins SAIS Japan Club, run by Japan Studies students, students at the school with an interest in Japan, and Reischauer Center Visiting Sholars, aims at helping students to learn about Japanese language and culture. 

The club holds a weekly language table and other cultural events such as happy hour at Japanese restaurants, a cherry blossom picnic, participation in the Johns Hopkins SAIS International Dinner, movie nights, and karaoke with Georgetown University's Japan Club. 




Japan Studies | MA Academic Requirements (Entering Class 2018-2019)

Learning Goals and Objectives [8]

MA students must complete 64 credits and all degree requirements in order to graduate.

Students who are approved for a Dual Degree program or with Advanced Standing only need to complete 48 credits or 56 credits as determined by Academic Affairs, but still must fulfill all degree requirements.


Japan Studies Concentration

MA students concentrating in Japan Studies must complete 24 credits of applicable coursework and a program capstone. 16 credits must be Japan Studies courses. The remaining 8 credits must be from one or more of programs below:

  • Asian Studies
  • China Studies
  • Korea Studies
  • South Asia Studies
  • Southeast Asia Studies

Japan Studies MA concentrators must complete one of the following capstones:

  • Japan Studies Oral Exam. The exam provides students with the opportunity to cap their academic experience at the school through discourse with their professors that highlights the findings of their studies and research, particularly the US-Japan Yearbook project. Students will be expected to suggest policy implications for Japan, the US, and the world of the issues discussed. At least two Japan Studies professors will administer the exam. Discussion will focus initially on the specific findings of the student in the Yearbook Project and then branch into broader policy areas. The exam will be graded on a pass-fail basis. Makeup oral exams for students who fail must be scheduled within three weeks of the exam, with the students preparing a three-page paper addressing the areas or issues deemed insufficient by the examiners. Those who fail the makeup exam will not graduate in that term.
  • MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors—if eligible)

International Economics Concentration

MA students must complete a concentration in International Economics (16 credits). The four required courses are:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics (pre-requisite or concurrent: Microeconomics)
  • International Trade Theory (pre-requisite: Microeconomics)
  • International Monetary Theory (pre-requisite: Macroeconomics)

If a student is waived [9] from a required course(s), the student must take a replacement International Economics course(s) to fulfill the concentration requirement. Students who received the HNC Certificate in Chinese and American Studies may use one Level 2 Economics course as a replacement course, but this does not carry any credit value.

Students who pass the non-credit Microeconomics course in Pre-Term [10] will have this concentration reduced to 12 credits, but still must complete the remaining required International Economics courses (or a replacement course(s) if waiver exam(s) passed).

International Economics GPA Requirement
Students must achieve an International Economics concentration GPA of at least 2.67.

In the standard case, the concentration GPA is the average of the grades in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory.  If a student completed the non-credit Microeconomics course in Pre-Term, the concentration GPA is calculated based on the grades in the remaining required International Economics courses. If one or more of the required courses is waived, the highest grade(s) from any eligible replacement International Economics course(s) is used.

Students who do not meet the minimum International Economics concentration GPA must re-take required courses (or take additional replacement courses if any required course(s) are waived) until the minimum is achieved. The highest grade from any attempt at a required course is used in this calculation.


Quantitative Reasoning Requirement

MA students must fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning Requirement (4 credits). Eligible courses include:

  • Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
  • Econometrics (pre-requisite: Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
  • Applied Econometrics (pre-requisite: Econometrics)
  • Macro Econometrics (pre-requisite: Econometrics)
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Risk Analysis and Modeling
  • Quantitative Global Economics (pre-requisite: International Monetary Theory)
  • Credit Markets & Credit Risk (pre-requisite: Corporate Finance)

Students may not double-count the same course toward the Quantitative Reasoning requirement and as a replacement International Economics concentration course and vice-versa.

If a student is waived [11] from a Quantitative Reasoning course, the student must take a different course from the list above to fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Students who pass the non-credit Statistical Methods for Business & Economics course in Pre-Term [10] will have fulfilled the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.


Core Requirements

MA students must fulfill two Core requirements. Students may fulfill a Core requirement by passing a for-credit Core course or by passing a non-credit Core exam.

For students concentrating in Japan Studies, one of the Core requirements must be:

  • Comparative Politics

This must be completed prior to the start of the third semester.

The second Core requirement may be one of:
  • American Foreign Policy Since WWII
  • Evolution of the International System
  • Theories of International Relations

Students may not take a Core exam in the semester in which they plan to graduate. If Core requirements are not completed before the start of a student’s final semester, the student no longer has the option of completing the exam and must enroll in the Core course(s) for credit.


Language Proficiency

MA students must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in a non-native language taught at SAIS. Students enroll in non-credit language courses to prepare for the proficiency exam.

Japan Studies concentrators are required to demonstrate proficiency in Japanese. Native speakers of Japanese must demonstrate proficiency in any other language taught at SAIS, which can include English.

All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering the school, even if not using English for proficiency, and may be required to take additional English language coursework.


Electives, Minor, and Specializations

Beyond the requirements, MA students may have room in their degree for electives, a minor, and/or a specialization(s).

Students may pursue an optional minor in any policy/regional area [12] other than General International Relations.

Students may pursue an optional specialization(s) in five areas International Economics [13], the International Relations of Asia [14], or Emerging Markets [15].



Entering Class 2017-2018 [16]
Entering Class 2016-2017 [17]
Entering Class 2015-2016 [18]
Entering Class 2014-2015 [19]
Entering Class 2013-2014 [20]
Entering Class 2012-2013 [21]
Entering Class 2011-2012 [22]
Entering Class 2010-2011 [23]
Entering Class 2009-2010 [24]


Japan Studies Minor Requirements:

  • 3 Japan Studies (or cross-listed) courses (12 credits)
  • 2 semesters of Japanese language study or proficiency

General Minor Requirements:

  • MA students may pursue an optional minor in a policy or regional program. A student cannot pursue a minor in General IR or International Economics, but can pursue a Specialization in International Economics [25]
  • A student can have only one minor and can declare a minor at any time prior to graduation.
  • Students do not receive bidding priority for a minor.
  • All minors require three courses. Some minors require a specific course(s) and/or language proficiency.
  • A student may use a maximum of one applicable cross-listed course (4 credits) toward both a minor AND concentration requirements. In the IR or Asia concentrations, the cross-listed course must be from the primary concentration area and not from the 2 additional required courses in the other IR or Asia areas.


Japan Studies, in collaboration with the Reischauer Center [6], holds a variety of public seminars and luncheons. The presentations at these events are given by Japan Studies professors, Reischauer Center Visiting Scholars, and outside guests (State Department representatives, current and former Ambassadors, University professors, researchers from think tanks, and more from the Washington, DC community). Events cover diverse topics related to Japan as well as other Asian countries. 

Our Alumni


Japan Studies alumni have pursued careers in various organizations and sectors including, but not limited to:

  • US State Department
  • US Department of Energy
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Federal Reserve Bank 
  • Goldman Sachs
  • JP Morgan 
  • Newedge, a global multi-asset brokerage
  • NHK, Japan's national public broadcasting organization
  • Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies


Contact Us

Kent E. Calder
kcalder@jhu.edu [29]
Rome 638

Neave Denny
Administrative Coordinator, Japan Studies Program
ndenny5@jhu.edu [30]

Address & Phone

Japan Studies
Rome Building
1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC