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Planning studies in Japan

Colleges of Technology

Colleges of Technology, or "Kosen," are higher education institutions that offer a comprehensive five-year program (five and a half for mercantile marine studies) for junior high school graduates.
As a general rule, international students start from the third year of the college of technology's program, skipping the first and second years. There are 51 national colleges of technology with 55 campuses in Japan. In addition to this, there are also local public and private colleges of technology. Furthermore, there are also private colleges of technology where you can enroll from the first year.

Educational Characteristics

・ Kosen (college of technology) offer advanced educational programs designed to cultivate hands-on engineers with world-class expertise and abilities to handle cutting-edge science and technology. The focus is on lab work, training and practical exercises, along with acquisition of advanced theoretical knowledge.

・ The majority of Kosen departments are in the engineering field, although there are also mercantile marine departments aimed at developing maritime experts.

・ Graduates of the five-year Kosen program are awarded an Associate degree.

・ Individuals completing the five-year curriculum may proceed to a two-year advanced course to attain a higher level of education.

・ Individuals successfully completing two-year advanced courses following graduation from Kosen will be awarded a bachelor's degree upon passing the examination administered by the NIAD-QE.

・ There are also other options to enhance learning and research capabilities upon graduation from Kosen. For example, attending a university from the third year, or advancing to a university affiliated with a private Kosen.

Eligibility for Transfer Admission

Applicants must satisfy one of the following eligibility criteria (in the case of national kosen).

(1) Those who do not have Japanese nationality or permanent resident permission of Japan. Applicants who have Japanese citizenship at the time of application are generally not eligible for application.

However, dual nationals who have Japanese citizenship at the time of application and who plan to choose a foreign nationality and renounce Japanese citizenship by the time of transfer are eligible.

(2) Individuals at least 17 years of age on April 1, 2024 (referring to transfer students from April of the 2024 school year).

(3) One of the following conditions must be met:

  1. Individuals who have completed (or are scheduled to complete) at least 11 years of schooling in countries other than Japan.
  2. Individuals who have successfully passed (or are scheduled to pass) an academic qualification examination that is equivalent to the completion of 11 years or more of schooling in countries other than Japan.
  3. Individuals who have completed (or are scheduled to complete) studies at international schools in Japan that are officially recognized as equivalent to high schools in countries other than Japan.
  4. Individuals who have obtained (or are scheduled to obtain) an IB diploma from the International Baccalaureate, a foundation whose establishment was based on the Swiss Civil Code, in countries other than Japan.
  5. Individuals who have obtained (or are scheduled to obtain) an Abitur, a university admission qualification that each state in Germany can grant, in countries other than Japan.
  6. Individuals who have obtained (or are scheduled to obtain) a Baccalaureate - a university admission qualification of France.
  7. Individuals who have completed (or are scheduled to complete) 11 years of curriculum at international schools in Japan that are accredited by any of the following international accreditation organizations: WASC, CIS, or ACSI.
  8. Individuals recognized as having academic ability that is equivalent to graduates of upper secondary school or above.

* With regard to 1 to 3 above, applicants who have not completed 11 years of schooling are required to complete a university preparatory course or a course at a research institution authorized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, among other things.

Application Process

For government-sponsored international students

You can apply for the Japanese government (MEXT)'s scholarship through the Japanese embassy in your country/region. As the application process differs according to the country/region, please inquire at your local Japanese embassy or consulate general to see whether your country/region is eligible for the scholarship.

For details about the MEXT scholarship, see the government sponsorship page.

For privately-financed international students

Application Documents

  1. School application form 
  2. Financial plan 
  3. Health check-up certificate 
  4. Other

For further details, access the website of the National Institute of Technology*1. Information regarding 2024 transfers will be released during October to November 2023.

*1. National Institute of Technology: It is an independent administrative organization that manages Kosen. It is also responsible for the unified/common entrance examination for national Kosen.

Entrance examinations

The National Institute of Technology bases admission judgments on comprehensive evaluations of the following items (2022 results)

  1. Application documents
  2. Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) results
  3. TOEFL®, IELTS, or TOEIC® L&R score
  4. Performance during the interview (conducted online)

After graduation

Graduates of Kosen can either choose to work or continue their studies at another school. Some graduates receive over 20 job offers from well-known companies.

Many Kosen graduates are active in research and development, production management, and production sites, making use of the knowledge and technology they acquired at colleges of technology.

Career or academic path after graduation