Study in Japan

Japan is one of the most extraordinary countries for foreign students. The combination of excellent universities and unique culture make Japan one of the most interesting destinations for studying abroad. This article provides you with everything you need to know about studying in Japan.

Universities in Japan

Students can choose from a very large number of universities in Japan. There is a total of almost 800 universities, of which there are:

  • approximately 90 national universities
  • about 90 local universities
  • around 600 private universities

The private universities constitute the main higher education institutions in Japan. Their number has grown continuously in recent years. Most of the private universities in Japan have an international orientation and specialize in certain subject areas. The public universities, on the other hand, are administered by state or regional authorities.

The Higher Education System in Japan

After the end of World War II, the higher education system in Japan was redesigned in line with the US system. Since then, like in the US, it has been divided into two levels of undergraduate and postgraduate studies. 

An undergraduate study in Japan lasts three to four years and ends with the completion of a bachelor's degree (Gakushi). The majority of students in Japan go straight to work after completing their bachelor’s degree. 

If you want to further deepen your specialist training or later work in the science and research fields, you should follow up with a postgraduate course. It ends after two years with a written thesis, and the title Shushi (comparable to a master's). 

The Shushi title entitles you to a doctoral degree, which usually lasts three years. After successfully completing your dissertation and taking a final examination, you will receive the doctorate (Hakase). 

Getting Accepted to Japanese Universities

In order to be admitted to study at a Japanese university, you, as an international applicant have to take a standardized entrance test (the so-called “Examination for Japanese University for International Studies” or “EJU ”). In addition, the universities in Japan have very different admission requirements.

Depending on the university, you will have to complete additional language or subject-specific tests. You should, therefore, find out the exact admission requirements several months in advance from your chosen university.

Another important requirement for admission to study in Japan is the naming of a guarantor. This is understood to mean a person who guarantees the payment of the tuition fees, the return travel costs and any damages. 

Tuition Fees in Japan

There are four parts to tuition fees in Japan:

  • application fees
  • registration fees
  • tuition fees 
  • fees for university institutions

The amount of the tuition fees varies depending on the type of university (public or private), the chosen subject and the length of study. Private universities are generally more expensive than public universities. At a private university, you have to reckon with annual fees of around 8,000 EUR. At a public university, it is around 4,500 EUR per year. For a medical or technical degree, the tuition fees are sometimes significantly higher.

Pros and cons of Studying in Japan

The advantage of studying in Japan is the very high standard of education in the country. Education is extremely important in Japan, which is why the quality of education at universities is very good. Japan is also one of the leaders in technical and natural science subjects, being one of the top research nations of the world.

The main disadvantage of studying in Japan is the high cost. In addition to the tuition fees, the cost of living is generally higher than in Europe. Especially in the major metropolises of the country, such as Tokyo, where living space is scarce and therefore very expensive.