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Types of Schools

Foreign students can enroll in one of five types of institutions of higher learning: Universities (undergraduate courses), graduate schools, junior colleges, professional training colleges (post-secondary courses) and colleges of technology. Furthermore, various types of Japanese language schools are available for those who want to study Japanese in Japan.
Each student may have a different reason for choosing to study in Japan.

  • Do you want to earn a degree or conduct long-term research?
  • Do you want to acquire proficiency in the Japanese language through study at a Japanese-language institute?
  • Do you want to acquire a certain specialized skill?

Think of the above and you should clarify your objective before selecting a school.

Universities (Undergraduate)

There are national, public and private universities in Japan. The length of study in an undergraduate university is four years with the exception of medicine, dentistry and veterinary science department, which require six years of study.

For information regarding undergraduate courses at specific universities, please refer to the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) web site.
A personal experience of a foreign student at the undergraduate level (Waseda University)

Graduate schools

The length of study in a graduate school depends on whether you are matriculated in a master's program or doctor's program.
Master's program: lasts for two years.
Doctor's program: lasts for five years. Generally, the doctor's program is divided into the first period (two years; applicable to the above-mentioned master's program) and the latter period (three years). However, the length of study for the doctor's program in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science (entered upon after completion of the six-year undergraduate courses in medicine, dentistry or veterinary science) is four years. Some universities offer doctor's programs covering the full five years while others offer only the final three years.

For information regarding specific graduate schools, please refer to the Asian Students Cultural Association web site.
A message from a student who studied at13:38 2015/06/19 the graduate level (Keio University)

Some universities and graduate schools offer courses for non-degree credit earning students, auditors and research students in addition to full-time students.

  • Non-degree credit earning students: Credits recognized for completed specified courses
  • Auditors (Non-degree part-time students): Permitted to take specified courses but credits are not recognized for completed courses)
  • Research students (Kenkyu-sei): Allowed to engage in research in special fields for a specified period.

Junior colleges

The length of study is two years or three years depending on the department. The majority of department are those related to home economics, humanities, education and sociology.

* For information regarding junior colleges, please refer to the following website.
The Asian Students Cultural Assistance

Special training college

Professional training schools provide vocational education as well as education in skills, technology, and knowledge needed in life, and students graduating from professional training schools achieve a high employment rate compared to students graduating from universities or junior colleges. Furthermore, recently special training schools offer a variety of course options, including courses available to admission to universities or graduate schools. Professional training schools are characterized by a variety of entrance qualifications specified (e.g., courses for students graduating from junior high schools or those where students’ education backgrounds are not questioned), where students study one to four years. Students graduating from professional training schools will receive a diploma.

* You can download a detailed guidebook about the professional training school system from the following website.

Professional Training College in Japan Guidebook

* Let's listen to the experiences of professional training college students! Messages from students at a professional training college (Bunka Fashion College).


Colleges of technology

Colleges of technology provide junior high school graduates with five years (five and a half years for merchant shipping courses) of education. They offer courses related to engineering, merchant shipping as well as other fields.

For information regarding colleges of technology, please refer to the following web sites:
Institute of National Colleges of Technology

A message from a student who studied at a college of technology (Tokyo National College of Technology)
 1. (http://www.studyjapan.go.jp/interview/en/step01_08/index.html)

Japanese Language School

If you're considering
studying in Japan

- Benefits of Studying in Japan
- Schools & Life in Japan
- Start By Finding Out the Basics

Gateway to Study in Japan, a website operated by JASSO


Other Scholarships

- What other scholarships available?
- What procedures are required?
- How shall I begin?

Do not give up! There is still a way!

JASSO’s website

Learning in English at Universities

Website of Global30, a project promoted by the Japanese government


List of undergraduate courses (JASSO’s website)

List of graduate courses (JASSO’s website)