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Postgraduate opportunities in Japan for international students

For graduates looking for high-quality foreign studies with unique opportunities, a master’s course in Japan can also be an excellent choice. Japan has much to offer in terms of postgraduation studies, an emerging study destination abroad. Whether you want to explore Japan’s ultra-modern towns or its stunning sites, you are able to benefit from its expertise in a number of high-tech areas.

Postgraduate opportunities in Japan

Postgraduate opportunities in Japan
Postgraduate opportunities in Japan

There are no lack of teaching quality and research quality in Japan at seven of its 50 top universities in Asia (two of the 100 best in the world). Education is at the heart of Japanese modern society, with academic freedom protected under the Japanese Constitution.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider postgraduate study in Japan this year:

Excellent academics: Japan is known for its well trained staff and excellent teaching techniques with maximum focus on practical knowledge for skilled professionals

Quality of life: japan is one of the safest countries with no crime rate and is considered the best place for foreign students

Scholarship opportuninties: there are a lot of funding programs that the international students can enroll in and pursue their education

Learn a new language: While there are more Master’s programs in Japan which have been fully taught in English, there is a great chance to immerse yourself and learn Japanese in local culture.

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Universities in Japan

There are total 1300 universities in Japan out of which 75% of them are private run universities.

In general, Japanese universities may be divided into three types: private, national and local public universities.

National universities: these universities were founded to maintain a balance in the education system with a keen eye of the government to maintain proper law and order.

Public local universities: These institutions are established and managed by local public entities and public university companies. They play an important role in providing local people with higher education and acting as intellectual and cultural centres.

Private universities: These are not established by local or national governments but by independent organizations. Each promotes its own unique training and strengths in research. Over the years, they have contributed greatly to the growth of higher learning in Japan.

Education system in Japan

The masters course in Japan is of two years.  The students receive a number of credits from key courses, research courses and elective courses (which they can offer in lectures, tutorials, group work, practical courses, if applicable). Normally the lowest number of credit to be made is 30 out of a total of 31, leaving little room for error (with two credit per course usually available).

The first three semesters are for your Master’s degree courses and the final semester is for your master’s dissertation

In addition to clearing your final exams, if you have decided to carry out a research project, you will have to submit a master’s thesis or present your findings. You will be appointed a supervisor for your last six months, but your doctoral plans can be discussed early if you want

Academic calendar in Japan

The academic year in Japan begins in April and second one begins in October but not all universities can offer Master’s programs in the second half.

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Fees and funding of master’s degree in Japan

In national universities, the Ministry or local authorities for public universities set tuition fees for the implementation of a Master’s Program in Japan. At the moment, they are:

  • National universities: ¥535,800 (USD $5,200) per year + ¥282,000 (USD $2,740) for admission fees
  • Local public universities: ¥538,167 (USD $5,225) per year + ¥230,717 (USD $2,240) for admission fees

In private universities the annual tuition fees is fixed between the range of ¥660,750 (USD $6,415) to ¥1,249,304 (USD $12,130) per year. Admission fees are around ¥220,000 (USD $2,000).

Additional expenses in Japan

The National Health Insurance System requires all international students to enroll for the health insurance scheme. This is done through the office processing your registration for your residence. The annual premium varies with Japan, but is some 23,200 yen per year (USD $ 220).

The other Optional expenses include:

  • University student health insurance
  • Personal accident insurance
  • Personal liability insurance

Scholarships in Japan for international students

Japan government international scholarships

These highly recommended scholarship program offer return air fares, university fares, a monthly grant of 143 000 (USD 1 340), an optional six-month Japanese course and assistance in finding accommodation through the Japanese embassy in your home country. These fellowships are only applicable in certain institutions

Japanese grant aid for human resource scholarships

Students from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Mongoly, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam can pursue a Masters of Studies with this scholarship program. The bursaries are held at selected universities and offer tuition fees, admission fees, travel and seminary allowances, book allowances, arrival allowances, hospitality allowances, scholarship allowances and shipping.

Scholarships provided by JASSO

JASSO is an independent administrative organization established by MEXT, which also conducts an EJU University Graduate Entrance Examination. It has a useful list of bonds offered by local authorities and private foundations to international students.

Entry requirements for masters in Japan

Applicants for a Master’s degree in Japan should have a Bachelor’s degree or an international equivalent. You may need to take an entrance exam in your subject area or provide a graduate test score such as GRE, so check the exact requirements at your selected university.

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide a certificate in English such as TOEFL or IELTS (unless you have studied your degree in a country where English is the official language).

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Documents required for the process

The application form at all universities in the country require the same documents that the candidates are required to submit

  • The application form, normally available online or as a document downloadable
  • Personal statement, sometimes referred to as the “academic essay”
  • a bachelor’s certificate
  • Letter of Recommendation (mostly two)
  • English testing scores and certificates (and Japanese equivalent, if required)  

Visa and immigration for masters students in japan

Once you have accepted an admission bid, a Certificate of Eligibility issued by the Regional Immigration Bureau in Japan may be submitted on your behalf by your University. You will get this document from the university, which you can present when you apply for your visa to the Japanese embassy.

You will receive your Regional Immigration Bureau’s Resident Card, which you must carry at all times. If your circumstances change, such as a course switch, institution or student withdrawal, you must inform the Regional Immigration Bureau.

With the world’s third largest economy, Japan offers ample job opportunities for international graduates. You will need to change your visa status from “College Student” to one that reflects your desired career path, such as “Humanities / International Services Specialist” or “Engineer” before you find a job. Visit the website of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information about this process. But for now quickly enroll in the masters program and board the flight of your dreams

Megha Bali
Megha Bali
I am a carefree person...who loves to read and write and explore new things in life.... I feel the world is my canvas and I can paint it with the colors of my choice.


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