Japanese University

Does anyone know of a university in Japan that provides a college education while having foreigner-frienely programs that teach the Japanese language? I’m at maybe N4-passage levels of grammar and listening, and N3 in just kanji. But it wouldn’t be till June that I’d consider enrolling, and I wouldn’t mind starting more from the beginning if it was a serious education program that would hit at least N2 level within two years of study.


So you want to do Japanese linguistics? I would imagine that you would need some non-negligible amount of Japanese knowledge.

I do think many universities provide intensive courses for foreigners who have been accepted to the university… But haven’t personally looked into it.


I haven’t looked into that specifically but I’m going to be an exchange student in Kyoto next year and have done some research about doing an exchange semester in Japan. If you try to get into any exchange programs where you visit courses in Japanese, you must have a JLPT N2 or N1 certificate (which one you need depends on the university). So I suppose they wouldn’t have any fewer requirements if you were to do a whole degree there


Getting into university would include passing the 入学試験, which would be in Japanese. I assume that and also the lessons themselves would not be manageable without being close to fluent.

One option to attend a Japanese university could be enrolling in a university in your home country and then do an exchange program (one year programs are pretty common). Depending on the Japanese university the exchange is with, you could get in with a level of around N3. Some universities also offer English exchange programs if you don’t feel confident in your Japanese level. However that would only get you a certificate for completion of an exchange year, not a degree from a Japanese university. You could go for a Master‘s course in Japan after your Bachelor‘s, though, which means you have time to improve your Japanese until then.
Edit: I also think there’s more Master degree programs offered in English, compared to Bachelor‘s. I know a few people who are getting their Master‘s in English at a Japanese university.

There‘s lots of language schools/institutes that basically aim to get you from almost nothing to university level Japanese in 1.5-2 years (there’s shorter programs as well, probably depending on your level). These institutions are like a „pre-school“ for foreigners who aim to get into university in Japan. Most of them also provide support regarding university entrance exams, possible interviews etc, as far as I know.


I suggest you reach out to your nearest Japanese consulate and look on their website for study abroad resources. They might be able to explain in more detail what your options might be. You might be able to create a clearer plan for yourself on the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

I think the bigger question is what can you do with this particular degree? How will this degree help you establish a career after college? Have you talked to people who have successfully established themselves in your chosen profession? What was their journey like? Are you also willing to accept this path might not be a financially stable one initially and do have a back up plan?


You can try looking into Global 30 programmes and other programmes that are explicitly conducted in English at Japanese universities. I know of someone who did a master’s degree at Nagoya University in automobile engineering under this programme, and who is now working in Japan. I know that your post is about degrees in Japanese, but just keep in mind that when Japan accepts scholars for the Monbukagakusho scholarship (aka the MEXT scholarship) at the bachelor’s level, they have to go through a one-year preparatory course at a university for foreign studies where they study Japanese and other basic subjects for their course. They do this regardless of their Japanese level, including if they have an N1 certificate, though they are sorted by ability level for Japanese classes. It therefore seems like substantial fluency is considered very important for degree success. Perhaps more importantly, even if you do your degree in English, you’re very likely to have to do Japanese classes on the side which will be provided by the university. As your Japanese improves, you may be able to apply to attend lectures in Japanese instead of in English. Another option would be to look into private universities in Japan like Waseda or Sophia, both of which are relatively international (compared to public universities) and certainly offer programmes in English. Of course, all of these options are likely to be more expensive than the courses that are offered to Japanese natives, but I think they’re more feasible if you have yet to attain a suitable level of fluency.

Could I just ask though: what sorts of university programmes have you looked at? What sort of degree/course are you considering? Perhaps some of us would be able to help you find options that you have yet to come across if we knew what you were looking for.

EDIT: Just one example from Sophia University, where Japanese is one of the subjects you can study, but clearly not the only one. It’s a liberal arts degree in English: Undergraduate Programs Information | Sophia University | UNIV. IN JAPAN

From people that I know and have talked to, the Japanese level needed seems it depends on the course. Some Chinese friends are studying in Tokyo. They all have JLPT N1 and EJU. However, another friend is doing her doctorate in Tokyo. She, although JLPT N2-ish, needed no Japanese language qualifications as her course is taught in English.

I not sure on the details other than that I am afraid.

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Yes, you can. But it depends on the type of degree.

I was considering doing a Masters in Politics and Tokyo University teaches in English. In fact when I looked around there were a few Universities that taught Masters in English.

Money-wise it’s not cheap. Look to scholarships if you can’t afford. Lots of articles and guides by a Google search.

Starting a university degree in a language you don’t speak kinda sounds like the perfect recipe to waste time and money.

What are you going to do with such a degree anyway?


That sounds like a phenomenal idea. I hadn’t thought of that.

So far I’ve only found Japanese universities like the one in kyoutou which have regular college courses taught in English and are part of exchange programs. These require probably less Japanese knowledge than I already have.

But to clarify, I intend to go to Japan on a student visa, and it’s important to me that there will be any kind of tutelage in the Japanese language made available to me at the school. Unfortunately, the school I found kn kyoutou explicitly states that there are no programs available at the school that teaches any level of Japanese to exchange students.

I’ll change the topic post to make my query a bit more clear. I tend to only post on this forum in thirty second, thoughtless spirts on my phone

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The person I mentioned earlier had Japanese classes during his master’s degree course at Nagoya University. Admittedly, I don’t know for sure whether they were provided by the university, but it seemed possible. I believe some universities simply make courses available to students, and it’s up to them to sign up. At some universities, Japanese is a compulsory subject for degrees taught in English, like the PEAK programme at the University of Tokyo or the degrees under the Global 30 programme at Osaka University. You’re very likely to find something if you keep looking. (Just so you know, the Global 30 programme is something that exists across multiple universities, and it seems all Global 30 degrees involve Japanese classes, so I’d look into that, especially since some of those universities might have simpler/less demanding admission procedures.)

In case my question got lost in a longer post earlier, I’ll ask again: do you have any preferred domains of study? Or any domains you don’t want to study? What’s available will vary based on domain, so it would help to know we’re looking in the right places.

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I studied at Saitama University for a year. They do offer intensive Japanese courses for all levels throughout the whole semester (16hs a week). It was a bit tough to find engineering courses that didn’t collide with the Japanese courses though, because the english selection of courses was understandably limited.

I’ve had the same experience as @Jonapedia: all the foreign students I met at Kyushu University had Japanese classes, even if all their courses were in English. Even the exchange students that knew zero Japanese and only stayed for half a year. I haven’t heard of anyone not being able to take Japanese classes at university, so the university you looked seems to be an exception?

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I’m at lunch at work now and finally have some time to reply to everyone

I was unaware of that. That is for the same level of Japanese course that natives would take, correct? Not foreigner-specific programs?

There are exchange programs I’ve seen jn some universities which mention you don’t need to speak fluent Japanese. Your course selection just seems more limited, but they state clearly that you’d just be huddled into classes with other english-speakers and taught by an english teacher.

I saw those but wouldn’t consider them. They move at a snail’s pace and shockingly cost more than universities do. I’m heavily uninterested in them, especially as I want a college degree. But thanks a lot for the bonus info and reply

Wow, I can’t believe I missed this of all replies when spead scrolling. Thanks so much for all the time it took to write this out (and the same goes to everyone else). Getting a degree and then immediately going to work in Japan was my goal as well. Since Japanese is impossible, I’d say English would be my next choice. I’m mostly impartial to what, though. I just have enough to pay for two years of tuition, room and board, and have a few grand left in the bank. It seems like the besy option to begin moving/trying out life in Japan is also to get a diploma (which is never a bad thing), while jettisoning into a wide support circle which a college would be. I’d take pretty much any degree, but I definitely don’t want to attend anywhere in places like Oosaka that have their own dialect.

Isn’t that sort of like saying “Getting a degree in biomedicine when you don’t know biomedicine is a waste of money”? The point of a degree is to have learned and mastered something, not to have begun with all the information. And the purpose was because I’m looking at Japan right now in my voyage out of the US, and wherever I settle down it’s important for me to pass native-level fluency. For my own living as well as my place as a writer. I don’t dive into Genki, Satori Reader, WaniKani, Duolingo, and native guide videos for two-four hours a day because I don’t have anything better to do with my time lol. I’ll take literally any training in Japanese I can get my white, oversided 6’4 hands on

Congrats on the studies. And I’ll look into them. Mucjas gracias senior or seniorita

Yeah, I guess the university of kyoutou doesn’t play by everyone else’s rules lol. They state outright on the foreign undergrad FAQ “we do and will not offer any Jaoanese courses to students in this program” or something like that.


Do a bachelor’s degree somewhere English-speaking and then a master’s in Japan once you’ve had a few more years to get towards fluency?

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Every place will have regional particularities, but if you want something closer to standard Japanese, you’ll probably have to stay on the Kantō side, or at least around Tōkyō.

I’m not sure what you can do to supplement two years’ worth of money. Get a バイト on the side? Otherwise, I’ve heard it’s fairly common for Japanese women to do two-year ‘associate degrees’ or something like that. Maybe similar things exist in English? I wouldn’t know. The final option I can think of is to see if financial aid or a scholarship are available. I mean, the MEXT scholarship is surprisingly generous, whereas I couldn’t even ask for an undergraduate scholarship if I wanted to: they hardly exist. Maybe Japanese institutions are a little more generous?

I’ll just leave you with this list of programmes if you haven’t already seen it: Japan University Degree Courses In English | JPSS, the information site of studying in Japan

There are multiple universities in Kyoto I believe, do you actually mean the Kyoto University (京都大学)? As I’ve said, I’ll be attending it next year as an exchange student while still being enrolled in my university back home and they definitely do offer Japanese classes. Here you go if you’re interested: 交換留学生(特別聴講学生)|京都大学国際高等教育院 (you can switch the page’s language to English at the top)

I might have misunderstood you before since I thought you wanted to get a degree where the language of instruction is Japanese, not that you would take courses in English and Japanese classes as well. But yeah, the exchange programs (that is 1 or 2 semester-long programs where you’re still enrolled in a university outside of Japan) where you’d visit the same courses as Japanese students with the language of instruction being Japanese would require a JLPT N2 or N1 certificate and thus I thought it would probably not be possible to enroll in a degree course without at least those certifications. But I haven’t really looked into that, and other people here seem to know more about that than I do

That wasn’t the case at least in our University. I wasn’t enrolled in a Japanese program (mostly did research and Japanese language and culture classes), but we could take some classes taught in Japanese in our major if we felt like we could cope (and did sufficiently well on the entry language test). Teachers won’t really fail you that easily, either.


Yeah, I’m also no expert in this at all, just talking about what I remember from my research I’ve done a couple of months ago. And I think the exchange programs that I looked at which were completely in Japanese all required the JLPT certificate but of course, that doesn’t mean that’s true for every university. Also, as I said, I originally thought wolfer wanted to do a degree entirely in Japanese which might have different requirements than a degree in English with some classes in Japanese


No, I mean to say I have two years of tuiton/board saved up already, along with a large amount of savings on top of it all. But I still plan to work the legally allowed 28 hours on a student visa while there, as well as some more objectionable gigs on the side. I’m working two jobs currently at 65+ hours, so 28 hours and student life would be like a vacation for me.

Going through it now. Tyvm

It’s likely just the specific program through that school I found. Or it could be that they were vague in their meaning. Grats on getting tbe exchange there ^^