What to Know Before You Study in Japan

For students who study abroad in Japan, the Japanese system of higher education can seem very similar to the system in the US. Both countries offer similar degrees and options for earning them. But take a closer look and you will find that Japan offers a variety of ways students can learn marketable job skills.

If you decide to study abroad in Japan, make sure you obtain professional translations of your personal documents.

Degrees in Japan

Education in Japan is modeled largely after the US system because of American education reforms following World War II. An undergraduate degree can be earned in four years. Some fields of study, such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, require six years of study.

Junior colleges award associate’s degrees after two or three years of study, depending on the field.

A master’s degree takes one to three years, and students spend at least five years earning a doctorate.

Another option in Japan is a professional training college. Certification is available in a wide variety of professions, including architecture, interpreting, animation and jewelry design. Students can earn a diploma in two years and can continue their education in an undergraduate program. An advanced diploma can also be earned after four years and the student can then attend a graduate school.

Instead of three years of high school, Japanese students can attend a college of technology for five years to learn skills for a specific profession. Many of these students go into industrial fields. These students are awarded an associate’s degree.

Universities and Tuition in Japan

People who study abroad in Japan can choose from national, public and private universities. National universities are founded and operated by the Japanese government and public universities are founded by municipalities. Private universities are those started by educational foundations.

First-year tuition for undergraduates at a university can start at about US $8,000. Tuition for the first year at a professional training college ranges from US $8,000 to $13,000.

Japanese students who want to attend an undergraduate program at a national or local public university and even some private universities must take an admission test, but each institution sets up its own admissions process.

Entrance to top universities is highly competitive. Prestigious universities include the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University and Osaka University.

Japan has about 3 million students at 1,200 universities and junior colleges, according to Education in Japan. Students who study abroad in Japan can expect lectures and seminars.

Most academic years include two semesters that begin in April and October, although the year at some schools begins in September.

Japan’s top universities compete with each other to attract students. However, the country’s declining birthrate means enrollment numbers could decrease. You may find that universities there will welcome more students who wish to study abroad in Japan!