Requirements for Studying in Japan

Requirements for Studying in Japan

To be admitted to study in Japan, participation in the central University Entrance Examination Center test is required. This entrance exam is very demanding, so that often less than 20 percent of the participants pass it right away. If you fail, you usually try again after a year of preparation. In reference to samurai who have become abandoned, the Japanese call these candidates ronin.

Many colleges expect further exams in addition to the University Entrance Examination Center Test. For Japanese students, the performance required in the application phase is usually higher than later in the actual study. After passing the entrance examinations for the university, this enormous pressure to perform usually disappears.

Another general requirement for admission to study in Japan is at least twelve years of schooling. This corresponds to the (technical) Abitur in Germany. If the applicants have only completed ten or eleven years of school, they take one to two-year University Preparatory Courses in advance.

A four-year undergraduate degree or an equivalent degree is usually required for a Masters degree in Japan. The maximum age for this is 35 years. The general minimum age is 22 years for a master’s degree and 24 years for a doctorate. In addition, written assurance from a supervisor is often required. The universities also require that applicants submit their last written work. Some universities hold individual oral exams. A university committee then decides on the admission itself.

Studying in Japan – Requirements for International Applicants

To study in Japan, international applicants must also take a standardized entrance test, the Examination for Japanese University Admisson for International Students (EJU). This is organized every year by the Association for International Education, Japan (AIEJ) in Tokyo and Osaka. At each university there are additional language and subject-specific tests. For those already enrolled at an international university, these tests are usually a little easier.

Admission for one or more semesters abroad in Japan is usually much easier. The Short-Term Studends (tokubetsu kenkyuusei) have usually only a language placement test to complete. Nevertheless, the criteria for admission vary from university to university. In any case, inform yourself before applying at the respective Ryugakusei Center (student secretariat).

Language certificates for studying in Japan

Most state and private universities require international applicants to provide evidence of adequate knowledge of Japanese. This is especially true when studying full-time in Japan. The corresponding Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) has four levels of difficulty. As a rule, applicants only have to reach the first level, that is, they have to

  • approximately 2,000 Japanese-Chinese Kanji characters and
  • and 10,000 words


Various schools and universities offer one to two-year Japanese courses. Those interested can take the JLPT test at the adult education center in Düsseldorf.

There are also a number of foreign universities in Japan where most of the teaching is in English. These universities require proof of good English skills through standardized tests such as the TOEFL or IELTS.

Funding opportunities for studying in Japan

In order to keep the expected high costs of studying in Japan under control, applicants should find out about funding opportunities in advance. Both Japanese and German organizations offer scholarships. The Japanese Ministry of Education enables German students of all disciplines to receive research and language grants. The application and pre-selection for these so-called Monbushô scholarships are carried out by the DAAD, the final selection by the ministry itself.

Another popular address is the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, which grants further scholarships. In addition, individual Japanese universities award full or partial scholarships, which are usually easy to get due to the low number of foreign applicants. It is important to plan enough application time and ideally to start the preparations about a year before your planned stay.

Another variant is the Auslands-BAföG. The application is also worthwhile for those who do not receive BAföG in Germany, because the assessment limits are higher for the BAföG abroad. The duration is usually one year with funding of up to EUR 4,600 for the tuition fees and further grants for the cost of living and the flight. Students who are not eligible for funding can alternatively take out a student loan to study in Japan.

A student visa does not include a work permit. Therefore, it is not possible to look for a job while studying in Japan.

Visa and entry requirements of Japan

According to a2zdirectory, a student visa (college status) for studying abroad in Japan is issued by the Japanese consulate or embassy. A passport that is still valid for at least six months and a certificate of enrollment from a Japanese university are required to enter the country. The processing time for a visa is usually six to eight weeks. As a rule, students need a guarantor for this, which the university can also provide. Since there is a general passport requirement for foreigners in Japan, you should always have your passport and identity card with you.

Requirements for Studying in Japan

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