Overview of Japan

377,944 square kilometers
127.6 million (2012)
Japanese (Yamato)
Non-religious (49%), Buddhism (34%), others

Why Study in Japan
The number of students studying abroad is constantly growing, and there are now more than 1.5 million foreign students studying around the world. As of May 2012, 138,075 are international students in Japan. Students considering studying in Japan are drawn by its high standard of education and affordable tuition.

Standards of Education

International students in Japan will receive the benefits of some of the highest educational standards in the world. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, has ranked Japanese high school students number one in the world for mathematics, and number two for scientific literacy. In addition, Japan has the highest number of Nobel prize winners of any other Asian country. 49% or Japanese high school students go on to enter one of Japan’s 700 universities. Ten of those universities rank in the top 200 worldwide.

Types of Educational Institutions in Japan

Students considering studying in Japan should familiarize themselves with the many educational options available to them, in order to best choose the school that’s right for them. International students in Japan have five options from which to choose: graduate schools, universities, junior colleges, technical colleges, and vocational schools.

Graduate schools are an option for university graduates who wish to continue their education in a specialized subject while studying in Japan. A master?fs course takes two years to complete, while a professional graduate course takes one to three years, and a doctorate takes more than five years.

Universities are the most common form of higher education in Japan. 49% of Japanese high school graduates go on to universities. An undergraduate degree at a university generally takes four years to complete, but degrees in medicine, dentistry, and occasionally pharmacy and veterinary science take six years.

Another option for students studying in Japan is junior college. The standard term of study in junior college is two years, three in the case of nursing courses and some others. Half of the course subjects at junior colleges are art, home economics, education, or social studies-related, and about one third of junior colleges are women-only.

Technical colleges are meant for junior high graduates to acquire practical and specialized knowledge and skills required for a specific vocation. Many of these colleges specialize in engineering, but maritime colleges are also an option. A degree at a technical college takes five years to complete.

Vocational schools aim to teach the skills required for a specific vocation. A course is generally two years, but there are also three and four-year courses.

Tuition and Scholarships in Japan

For students wondering why study in Japan, tuition fees can be a major deciding factor. Especially in comparison to the US, tuition fees in Japan are comparatively cheap. In the US, “in-state” students generally pay at least $10,000 a year on tuition and “out of state” and international students pay several times more. Tuition fees at Japanese public universities are 535,800 yen, or $6,500. Academic fees for the first year generally consist of admission fee, tuition fee, and facility and equipment usage fee, but in Tsukuba, the regular entrance fees and first year tuition fees have been waived.

Another deciding factor for students, in Japan the tuition fee exemption system and the scholarship system, which are better in Japan than many other countries. Partial and full tuition fee waivers are granted to high-achieving students from poorer backgrounds and a wide range of scholarships are available to students. These scholarships are provided both by the universities and by public and private organizations. Some scholarships provide a monthly living allowance, and either a travel allowance in the first year or paying fees in later years.

Education system of Japan

Type of Schools in Japan

Japanese language school, vocational school, college, undergraduate course, master course and doctoral course could be your choice of studying in Japan. This homepage explains qualification of candidates, admission schedule, period of study, and so on.

Japanese Language School

Japanese language school is the place you could start Japanese learning from the very beginning. There are courses only for Japanese learning. Likewise, there are courses for students to go to higher stage of education, such as vocational schools, college or undergraduate course. In preparing course, subjects other than Japanese, such as general subject, science have been taught. There are several courses in one language school, it is recommendable to choose course which serves your purpose of studying in Japan. Degree will not be given even you graduate from language school. However, the certification of the competition of language school or Japanese language proficiency test 1kyu or 2 kyu will be helpful in your future.

Japanese Study Only

Qualified applicants that apply for the Japanese course in vocational school or special course of Japanese learning in university should complete 12 years school education in their homeland. Other Japanese language schools do not have this limitation. Nevertheless, without the completeness of 12 years school education, it is impossible to go to vocational school or university.
The period of Japanese study will be six months, one year, one year and a half and two years. You could choose the course as you like, but should remember that the period of Japanese study cannot be over two years. Japanese course in vocational school or special course of Japanese learning in university or college, and language school are the places to learn elementary Japanese. If your Japanese ability is not so advanced, it is better to learn it in Japanese language school. If you passed Japanese language proficiency test 2kyu, it is recommendable of you to apply for upper course such as translation course. Likewise, if you passed Japanese language proficiency test 1kyu, it is better for you to choose course in college or undergraduate school, such as Japanese cultural course.

Course for Going to Higher school

In the course for going to higher school, Japanese education is focused on getting higher score in order to be admitted by vocational school, college or undergraduate course. Depending on the school, basic subjects, like mathematic, general subject or science are selective. The tuition varies from the subject you choose.

Vocational School

After graduating from senior high school, vocational school will be good choice to study knowledge and technique related to occupation in the future. Completion of 12 years school education is essential for applying. Most cases, graduation of vocational school is during two years. It starts from April; even people who had not completed undergraduate course meet the requirement made by the Immigration Bureau for working in Japan. Major Fields in vocational schools is: Medical, Industry, Commercial business, Hygiene, Education, Social Welfare, Dress designer, Home economic, Cultural and Japanese.

Junior College School

The purpose of junior colleges is to conduct in-depth learning and research in specialized disciplines and to develop abilities necessary for employment and daily life. The term of study is two or three years (In the field of medical technique and Nursing, it cost three years to graduate) and the graduates are awarded an associate degree. With this associate degree, even people who had not completed undergraduate course meet the requirement made by Immigration Bureau for working in Japan.

Undergraduate Course????

The purpose of universities, as the centers of advanced learning, is to provide students with wide-ranging knowledge and to conduct in-depth teaching and research in specialized academic disciplines. The term of study is four years (six years for medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine). Graduates are awarded a bachelor’s degree. With bachelor degree, the requirement made by Immigration Bureau for working in Japan has also been fulfilled. Traditionally, department of Education, law, Economic, Engineering, Science, Medical, Agricultural, and Art were established in Japanese university. Besides, Medical department and Management department are also traditional ones. On the other hand, department with the name including international, environment, human or tourism is newly established.

Graduate School

A university may also establish a graduate school offering master courses (two-year standard term of study) and doctoral courses (five-year standard term of study: four years for medicine, dentistry and veterinarian medicine) or professional degree courses (two-year standard term of study; however, depending on the field in some cases it can take between one and two years or more than three years). Those who have completed the graduate course are awarded either master’s, a doctorate or a professional degree. Please be careful that there are no master course in the department of medicine, dentistry and veterinarian. Only doctorate course are available and the shortest period for graduation is four years. Applicants who completed 16 years education could apply for master course while applicants who completed 18 years education could apply for doctorate course. Besides, it is recommendable for applicants who did not meet the requirement of the necessary educated years to make inquiries as early as possible.

Research Student in Graduate School

There is original research student system in Japanese graduate school besides master course or doctorate course. Research student will register in the graduate school, participate in the lecture, accept instruction from professor and make use of universities facilities. In most of the cases, the admission for research student is screening candidates by examining their papers. And it is possible for applicants to use C method. By using C method, applicants could come to Japan as research student and learn both Japanese and knowledge of major field, then take the entrance examination of master course or doctorate course. Qualified applicants applying for research student should complete undergraduate course in their homeland. Some private universities require that only applicants who completed graduate course have the qualification to apply as research student. The period of research student course is six months. The period could be updated as the permit from instructor was given. If research student cannot be admitted by master course or doctorate course after two year passed, inquiry will be made by Immigration Bureau.