Planning studies in Japan
Universities (Undergraduate) and Junior Colleges
Universities and junior colleges constitute the core of higher education institutions in Japan. In principle, the required period of study for universities is four years, while that for junior colleges is two years. Some universities and junior colleges offer audit and credit-earning programs, both intended for non-degree students. Also, in addition to long-term, credit-earning programs,non-degree, short-term programs are available (see page 18).
1. Admission eligibility
Students must satisfy any one of the following eligibility criteria:
- 1) Students who have completed 12 years of school education in countries other than Japan
- 2) Students who are 18 years of age or older and have successfully passed an academic qualification examination that is equivalent to the completion of 12 years of school education in countries other than Japan
- 3) Students who have completed studies at international schools in Japan that are officially recognized as equivalent to high schools in countries other than Japan
- 4) Students who have completed 11 years or more of education courses that are designated by the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in countries other than Japan
- 5) Students who hold an International Baccalaureate qualification, German Abitur qualification, French Baccalaureate qualification or who meet the GCE A level course requirements specified by each university
- 6) Students who have completed 12 years of curriculum at education institutes that are accredited by any of the following international accreditation organizations: The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Council of International Schools (CIS) or Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
- 7) Students who are 18 years of age or older and have successfully passed the Upper Secondary School Equivalency Examination in Japan
- 8) A student who satisfies any one of the admission qualifications specified in the School Education Act, other than those outlined above
- 9) Students who are 18 years of age or older and are recognized by the educational institutions to which they apply for admission, through their individual admission qualification examinations, as having an academic ability that is equivalent to a high-school diploma or above
2. Find a school
- Information on universities and junior colleges
- Search for universities and junior colleges (Japan Study Support)
●『私費外国人留学生のための大学入学案内』(Guide to university entrance for privately financed international students) (In Japanese only)
A guidebook that contains valuable information, such as the content of the entrance examinations of
each university and junior college and the number of international students who have successfully
passed the entrance examinations.
Edited and published: The Asian Students Cultural Association (sold in Japan)
Note: Available for browsing at Study in Japan Resource Facilities
3. Application materials required
- 1) Application form (university-specific form)
- 2) Certificate of upper secondary school graduation (or anticipated graduation)
- 3) Upper secondary school transcript
- 4) Letter of recommendation from the principal or a teacher from the originating upper secondary school
- 5) Certificate of proficiency in Japanese and English
- 6) Others
Documents for submission vary by school, and some schools require translations in Japanese or English. The best thing to do is inquire directly to the relevant school for details.
4. Entrance exam
Many schools conduct entrance exams not only for Japanese students but also for international students. The exam consists of some of the following items (the detailed methods vary depending on the school, so it is best that you check the school application guidebook for details):
- 1) Document screening
- 2) Test of academic ability
- 3) Interview
- 4) Short essay
- 5) Other competence and aptitude tests
- 6) Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)
- 7) Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
- 8) National Center Test (大学入試センター試験)
5. Professional and vocational university and professional and vocational junior college
These are universities and junior colleges where students can learn logic and gain knowledge as well as the practical skills necessary to become a professional in a specified career. Through various practical training opportunities that include long-term on-the-job training at companies as well as studies focusing on other fields related to their chosen career, students develop advanced practical abilities and keep perceptions directly linked to their desired careers. Graduates obtain a degree equivalent to a university or college students’ bachelor’s degree or associate degree, respectively.
6. Qualifications for course completion and graduation
A student will be awarded a degree upon graduation, provided that the following criteria have been satisfied.
Note: Some universities set their own requirements (number of credits, etc.) for graduation.