Advice Needed, Graduate School in Japanese Lang & Lit

Aaron Gerow aaron.gerow
Mon Jun 2 15:55:35 EDT 2008

I can second much of Michael McCaskey's advice: if you do not have  
the Japanese skills at this time, you should try to build them up and  
doing that at an accredited institution where you will get grades  
will help a lot. Many grad schools have requirements for how much  
language skills are needed, but there can be differences between the  
MA and PhD levels. At Yale, for instance, a minimum of three years of  
Japanese is required for the PhD program, but only two for the MA.

You should know that schools do also vary on how strict they are  
regarding grades. It seems to me that state schools emphasize test  
scores and GPA more than private schools, which can be more flexible  
if the applicant shows talent in the personal or sample essays or  
recommendations, for instance. Developing those is thus also important.

If you have a hard time finding a program where you can study  
Japanese alone, you might want to think about doing a two-years MA  
program in another discipline--like film studies, for instance--which  
allows you to do language study as part of your course work. You  
would have to figure out of this is possible for each program you are  
interested in (in some cases, they may only allow--but also offer  
some financial support--for summer study). Having an MA under your  
belt will also help you apply for PhD programs if that is what you wish.

I hope this helps.

Aaron Gerow
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Film Studies Program
Assistant Professor
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University
53 Wall Street, Room 316
PO Box 208363
New Haven, CT 06520-8363
Phone: 1-203-432-7082
Fax: 1-203-432-6764
e-mail: aaron.gerow at

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