Japan Higher Education

According to Countryaah, Japan is an archipelago that stretches along the northeast coast of the Asian continent. The archipelago consists of 4 main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu and of almost 7,000 larger and smaller islands. Most of the country also consists of mountains.

Higher education in Japan

There are an increasing number of educational institutions that offer entire educations in English, and many universities also have individual courses in English. Here you can find a database of the English degrees offered in Japan.

Otherwise, you must initially be able to speak Japanese or complete a preparatory course and an exam in Japanese language to be admitted to a higher education in Japan.

The academic year runs from April to March the following year and is divided into 2 semesters: April-September and October-March.

You can find important information about educational opportunities in Japan and opportunities for scholarships at Japan Student Services Organization, JASSOor via the Japanese Embassy in Denmark


There are 5 types of higher education institutions that admit international students:

  • Daigaku (universities)
  • Daigaku-in (postgraduate universities)
  • Tanki-Daigaku (junior colleges)
  • Koto Senmon Gakko (technological colleges)
  • Senmon Gakko (professions colleges)

There are over 700 universities in Japan, of which 520 are postgraduate universities. In addition, there are 500 junior colleges, 63 technology colleges and 3,438 professional colleges. Only some professions colleges are approved to offer higher education programs.

International Christian University, International University of Japan and Sophia University are just some of the universities you can choose from.

Most educational institutions below the university level are state or municipal. Approx. 70% of universities are privately owned. Privately owned institutions must be approved and controlled by the Japanese Ministry of Education before their educations are considered publicly recognized.

Degrees at university level

You can achieve the following degrees at the university level in Japan:

  • Gakushi, Japanese bachelor’s degree, obtained after 4 years. Bachelor’s programs in medical, dental and veterinary science are 6-year and lead to other titles.
  • Shushi, Japanese master’s degree, obtained after a further 2 years of study at postgraduate universities.
  • Hakushi, which is a 3-year research education equivalent to a Ph.D. Hakushi programs can also be 5-year-olds if they begin after a bachelor’s degree.

Other educations at higher level

  • Jun-Gakushi (associate degree), which is obtained after 2 years of study at a junior college or 3 years of study at technological colleges. International students at technology colleges must usually be sponsored by the home government. Some junior college programs, e.g. in nursing, are 3-year-olds.
  • Late Moshi (technical associate), profession-oriented educations, which are obtained at professional colleges after 2-4 years of study. The studies must be completed with an approved exam.

Jun-Gakushi degree programs (associate degree) are short higher education programs that are not at the university level. However, it is possible to transfer credit for up to 2 years from a Jun-Gakushi to a Gakushi (bachelor’s degree).

Application for higher education

Each educational institution sets its specific requirements and application procedures. Most universities publish their application procedures between June and August for courses starting in April. About 40 universities also admit students in September / October. You should contact the Japanese educational institution directly, approx. 1 year before you apply for admission.

Admission requirements

To be admitted to a Japanese university, you must have obtained a high school diploma and passed the entrance exam of that university. Most universities also require foreign students to pass an entrance exam in Japan.

About 20 universities admit foreigners directly on the basis of their educational documentation.

At 45 universities, you can qualify for admission by taking an EJU exam (Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students). The exam tests both language skills and general skills. It takes place twice a year in Japan and in 15 cities outside Japan, especially in Asian cities. The exam is taken in English or Japanese among the following subjects: Japanese as a foreign language, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and the subject Japan and the world. Further information about the EJU exam

Language proficiency

To be admitted to a Japanese-language education, you must be able to document your language skills. An EJU exam (see above) is one possible form of proof of your language and academic competencies.

Several Japanese universities offer preparatory language courses for foreign students

You can find information about courses and educational programs in English on the websites of the individual institutions or via the Japan Student Services Organization. On the institutions’ websites you can find information about special requirements for English skills, e.g. passed the TOEFL test

Recognition of foreign educations in Denmark

If you have completed a publicly recognized education abroad, you can have it assessed by the Danish Agency for Research and Education

Exchange programs

An increasing number of Japanese universities are establishing exchange programs with foreign universities. If you come to Japan through an exchange program through your educational institution, you can apply for scholarships for travel expenses etc.

Facts about Japan

Population: Approx. 127 million.

Language: Japanese.

Employment: Unemployment in 2012 was 4.4% (OECD).

Residence permit: For stays over 90 days, a visa is required. The visa must be applied for at the Japanese Embassy before departure.

Japan Higher Education

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