Kyoto University, also know as Kyodai, is Japan’s most prestigious university in the Kansai region and is famous for being extremely difficult to get into. But how difficult is it, really? This article will walk you through the basic facts of Kyoto University’s undergraduate admission statistics with breakdowns depending on each faculty. Continue reading to find out more! 

Introduction to Kyoto University 

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Kyoto University Yoshida Campus

Kyoto University, located in Kyoto, is Japan’s second-oldest national university and is often referred to as the most prestigious higher institute in the Kansai region. The university currently has 22,629 enrolled students with 2,732 being international students. The University has 10 Faculties and 18 Graduate Schools scattered across three main campuses: Yoshida Campus, Uji Campus, and Katsura Campus. Kyoto University was ranked 33rd in the world in the 2020 QS University Rankings. It is the second-highest-ranking Japanese university on the list (after the University of Tokyo, which was ranked 22nd in 2020). 

How to get into Kyoto University?

There are a number of different ways that students can get into Kyoto University’s undergraduate programs. Eligibility for each route depends on the applicant’s educational background or the program they are applying to.  This section will be broken up into three parts: Traditional Japanese Programs, English-Degree Programs, and International Degree Programs.

1. Traditional Japanese programs

For traditional programs conducted in Japanese, there are two types of admissions: General Admissions for Japanese students and Special Selection for International students. 

General Admission 

Domestic students who graduated from a Japanese high school must take two examinations. The first is the Common Test for University Admissions, given by the National Center for University Entrance Examinations. This is a standardized exam that most Japanese highschoolers must take if they wish to enter a public Japanese university. The test takes place in January. The second exam is the entrance examination given by a faculty of Kyoto University.  These exams are independently run by Kyoto University and the subjects tested depends on what faculty one applies to. Kyoto University faculty examinations take place in late February. 

Special Selection 

International Students, many of whom may find it difficult to conduct a full examination in Japanese, have alternative methods to get accepted into Kyoto University. There are largely two Special Selections provided by the university. 

Special Selection for Privately Financed International Applicants 

  • The Faculties of Economics, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Engineering have special selection processes for privately-financed international applicants. Each selection consists of three exams (two standardized language-proficiency exams and one faculty exam). The language-proficiency test consists of Japanese (EJU) and English (TOEFL). The faculty exam will be independently run by Kyoto University and differs in content depending on each faculty.

Special Selection for Graduates from Schools Located in Countries Other than Japan 

  • This is a special admission procedure that is only applicable to the Faculty of Law and Faculty of Economics. The Faculty of Law accepts applications from both Japanese and foreign nationals if they graduated from a high school outside of Japan. The Faculty of Economics only accepts applications from Japanese nationals that have graduated from overseas high schools. More information can be found on each faculty page -> (Law) (Economics)

2. English Degree Program

Kyoto University offers one undergraduate program where students can obtain their degree completely in Engish. The Faculty of Engineering established the Undergraduate International Course Program for Civil Engineering (ICP) in 2011 aimed to attract about 30 qualified international students every year. Applicants must submit their EJU scores in addition to their English-proficiency scores such as TOEFL or ILETS (with a minimum requirement of TOEFL iBT 80 or PBT 550, IELTS (Academic Module) 6.0). Furthermore, students are required to send their high school transcripts and a motivation essay.

Click here for more information about Kyoto University’s ICP

3. International Undergraduate Program

Kyoto University’s International Undergraduate Program (Kyoto iUP) is a unique bachelor’s program where students can study in a mixture of English and Japanese. It is a course taking 4.5 years, where students spend the first six-months taking intensive Japanese classes as well as some pre-foundation classes. Following the preparatory course, students enroll in an undergraduate program where for the first two years, they will study liberal arts courses in English and/or Japanese with additional Japanese language classes. For the last two years, students will focus on specific subjects based on their major which will be taught mainly, or exclusively, in Japanese. 

The application process consists of submitting application documents such as the student’s high school transcripts and English-proficiency test scores. EJU or other Japanese language scores are NOT necessary. Following the document assessments, students will be shortlisted for an interview.

Click here for more information about Kyoto iUP

Admission Statistics

So what are your chances of getting into Kyoto University? The following is a breakdown by faculty according to the admission statistics in 2020 from the official website

Faculty ApplicantsSuccessful applicantsAcceptance rate
Integrated Human Studies406115 28.32%
Pharmaceutical Sciences 1697443.79%
Engineering 2,50592837.05%
Agriculture 69528140.43%
Total 7,3472,64536.00%


According to the number above, roughly 30% to 40% of applicants to the undergraduate program are admitted into Kyoto University. The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences has the highest acceptance rate at 43.79%, whereas the Faculty of Integrated Human Sciences has the lowest acceptance rate at 28.32%.

Although official statistics are not available for the English Degree Program or Kyoto iUP, programs are expected to be of similar competitiveness. Therefore, your chances of getting into Kyoto University may not be so much worse than other highly selective universities in Japan such as the University of Tokyo, Waseda University, Keio University, or Sophia University.

Click here to read about the University of Tokyo’s acceptance rate

Therefore, do not be intimidated and I encourage you all to apply! To find out more about Japanese Universities, Read this article about 10 prestigious Japanese Universities with the Best English Programs

Cheers and catch you all in the next article!