How to study Japanese at college with no GCSE

Q: When im older i would like to work in japan teaching english but my secondary school does not do japanese GCSE. so how can i get into collage or university if i don’t have the right GCSE. or is it possible to go straight into a college course without having a japanese gcse. – Rachelle

A: For our overseas friends GCSE is the exam you take at 16 in the UK, usually in lots of different subjects.

I do know that many universities and colleges allow you to do Japanese as a module or option without a GCSE (I was offered it myself) but for a full time degree I’m not sure.  The best thing would be to just ask the Japanese department at the college you wish to go to.  If you have a passion for the language and could maybe get yourself up to GCSE level on your own (Grade C isn’t that hard) then I would imagine there would be a chance.  But of course check with the department first!

5 Responses to “How to study Japanese at college with no GCSE”

  1. Katharine says:

    hey, just responding to Rachelle’s question, sorry if this is the wrong place I’m not really sure where to comment…
    I applied and just got accepted for chinese and japanese joint honours in leeds university, [england] with no qualifications. It’s hard to apply without any experience but they do accpet you if you can convince them you really do want to learn. I didn’t know either language, but had been doing chinese in school, less than GCSE level, and learning japanese from a book in my own time. They didn’t interview or test me. You just have to let them know you really are passionate about the subject. I watched films, read books about japan, went to talks at uni’s, like the uni of sheffield holds talks open to anyone about japan etc, if you’ve been there it’s good, and if you’re learning in your own time that’s also good. Hope that helps.

  2. Katharine says:

    [note, no chinese or japanese qualifications, they did ask for alevels grade AAA though.

  3. Richard says:

    David also just wrote in to say:

    University of New England in NSW, Australia offers Japanese from absolute beginner level in an online mode as part of a bachelors degree in arts, business, and language. It’s a very good course.


  4. Richard says:

    Kayly also wrote in to say:

    Hi! I think Rachelle’s main goal is to teach English in Japan, isn’t it?
    She really does not need to study Japanese at secondary school!

    If she wants to teach at a Japanese university she should aim at getting into a university with a Graduate Degree in TEFL/ Linguistics and get multiple publications in academic journals. Even then she will probably only get a part-time job.
    If she wants to teach at elementary/ high schools or at language schools in Japan, and is a pretty girl with a bubbly personality, all she needs is a bachelors degree in any subject she likes (even a degree in bowling!).

    Sometimes it is a disadvantage to have studied Japanese at school as most employers are looking for native English speakers who will not use Japanese with the students.
    Once Rachelle is in Japan she can study all the Japanese she wants.

    Hope this helps,

  5. Mick says:

    I’m a university student studying full-time BA Japanese. When I applied the grades they required were A-level AAB, preferably with one foreign language. The only language qualification I had was a dismal C grade at GCSE French and no foreign language at A level at all and I got in. Some people in my class did take a GCSE and even A Levels but found it really didn’t help bring them any closer to fluency and by the end of the first term of learning, any advantage it did give them no longer existed. The teachers themselves also dislike the disjointed methods GCSEs use to teach the language so you would probably find yourself un-learning bad teaching habits anyway.

    For now you just need to make sure you a) get good grades in what you ARE studying and b) Sell yourself really well to where ever it is you are applying. Higher study is alot different to GCSE’s so they will probably be more impressed by your self-motivated interest in Japanese than any GCSE grade.

    Also, as many ALTs in Japan will proove, there is no need to be fluent in Japanese to teach English there.

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