Universities (Undergraduate) and Junior Colleges
Undergraduate level university programs and junior colleges constitute the core of higher education institutions and generally take four years to complete (approximately six years for medical, dental, veterinary, and a number of pharmaceutical programs), whereas junior college programs take approximately two years to complete.
University graduates are awarded a "Bachelor's degree," whereas graduates of junior colleges are awarded an "Associate's degree."
While many schools admit international students to degree-earning programs, there are also schools that accept short-term students such as auditing students, students taking classes without enrolling in the school or earning course credit, as well as exchange students.
The academic year starts in April, but some universities offer Fall Admission in September or October.
Characteristics of Japanese Universities and Junior Colleges
The different types of universities and junior colleges include national, public, and private. The number of private institutions is greater, as there are currently 86 national, 93 public, and 607 private undergraduate level universities, and 17 public and 309 private junior colleges.
Including the admission and tuition fees, the total cost of the first year is approximately 820,000yen for national universities, 930,000yen for public universities, and 1,100,000～1,650,000yen for private universities (excludes medical, dental, and pharmaceutical programs).
The tuition for universities in the United States amounts to 3,000,000～4,000,000yen (using the calculation 1 USD=114 JPY), and British universities charge approximately 1,800,000～3,000,000yen per academic year (using the calculation 1 GBP = 150 JPY), so comparatively speaking, the tuition for Japanese universities is much cheaper.
Classes at Japanese universities and junior colleges are generally held in Japanese, however, in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of university (Bachelor's) degree programs taught entirely in English.
In order to be accepted into a Japanese university or junior college program that is taught in Japanese, individuals must have passed the N1 or N2 JLPT examination in addition to scoring at least 200 points on the Japanese section of the EJU.
In order to be admitted to Japanese universities or junior colleges, one the following conditions must be satisfied:
- Individuals who completed 12 years of formal school education
- Individuals who, after finishing their high school education abroad (less than 12 years of formal school education) completed the designated university preparatory course *1
- Individuals who have a foreign university admission certification, such as the International Baccalaureate, Abitur, Baccalaureat, or GCE A-Level.
- Individuals above the age of 18 who passed their region's high school equivalency exam that is equivalent to 12 years of formal education (individuals who completed less than 12 years of formal schooling must have also completed a university preparatory course or course at a training facility)
*Please consult your country/region's embassy to confirm whether the high school equivalency exam you took is equivalent to 12 years of formal education.
- Individuals who completed secondary education equivalent to at least 11 years of formal education in their country/region (according to the list of foreign schools approved by the Minister of Education)
- Individuals who completed their formal education at a foreign high school in Japan (individuals who completed less than 12 years of formal schooling must have also completed a university preparatory course or research course)
- Individuals who completed their formal education at an overseas educational institution officially recognized as equivalent to a high school
- Individuals who has completed 12 years of formal education at an education institution officially recognized by an international accreditation institution (i.e. WASC, CIS (ECIS), ACSI)
- An individual who has passed the high school equivalency examination (individuals under the age of 18 will be considered as having passed the examination the day after they turn 18 years old)
- An individual who has completed their education at a special needs secondary education institution or College of Technology (the individual must have completed 12 years of formal education)
- An individual who has completed their secondary education at a designated vocational school (according to the list of schools designated by MEXT)
- An individual who completed their formal education at a school under Japan's old education system
- An individual who, on the basis of the university's admission requirements, has qualified for the university's individual selection process
*Please consult your country/region's Japanese embassy to determine the number of years of formal education your schooling/curriculum is equivalent to
*1 A university preparatory course: In order to be admitted to a Japanese university, an applicant must have completed at least 12 years of formal education. However, in some countries or regions, education through high school lasts less than 12 years. In this case, students must complete MEXT (the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)'s designated "university preparatory course for admission to university" in order to be eligible to apply for Japanese universities.
What would you like to study (what would you like to major in)?
What city would you like to live in?
Using the Excel sheet below, you can search schools based on your preferences, such as field of study or location of the school.
※To refine your search according to the major, find the 1-2 digit code from the "Codes for Major Fields of Study" list and enter it in the search bar.
You can search for degree programs taught in English using the Excel sheet below.
The English scores required for admission to undergraduate programs taught in English are 71-80 for the TOEFL iBT and 5.5-6 for IELTS.
*This data was extracted from the "University Search EXCEL" sheet. Please check the "University Search EXCEL" for information regarding university entrance examinations and others.
Using the following Excel sheet, you can search for schools and courses with bachelor's degree transfer student programs that privately-financed international students are eligibile to apply for.
Application Materials/Entrance Examination
In many cases, the following application materials are required. The necessary application documents differ by school, so please check the requirements for the schools you plan to apply for. Some schools may also ask for Japanese or English translations.
① Application form (designated by the university)
② High school graduation diploma
③ High school transcript
④ Certificate that indicates Japanese and English proficiency
Many schools conduct entrance examinations for foreigners (international students). There are also schools that conduct an evaluation of application documents and academic knowledge, an interview, or the EJU examination.
What are Professional and Vocational Universities and Professional and Vocational Junior Colleges?
Professional Graduate Schools/Vocational Colleges are universities/junior colleges where you can gain knowledge and learn both theory and practical skills in preparation for a particular vocation. The curriculum ties together academic knowledge from school with actual industries and the regional community, so in addition to attending lectures, these schools offer opportunities for hands-on learning both inside and outside of the classroom.
University Transfer System
When a junior college graduate enrolls in a four-year university to complete their bachelor's degree (often as a second or third year student), it is called transferring.
Although many universities accept transfer students, they do not necessarily accept transfer students every year. Furthermore, graduating from a junior college does not always mean that the credits you took will transfer over to the university.
- In order to transfer to a university (bachelor's) program, individuals must satisfy one of the following conditions:
Individuals who graduated from a junior college or technical school
- Individuals who completed a specialized program at a vocational school
- Individuals who completed a program at the Japanese branch of a foreign university that was approved by the Minister of Education
- Individuals who completed a program at a secondary school approved by the Minister of Education
It is difficult to find information regarding university transfer systems, so please contact your preferred school well in advance.