What is MEXT Scholarship?

MEXT stands for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology in Japan. The MEXT Scholarship is an initiative by the Japanese government in order to support international students who study in higher education institutions in Japan. MEXT Scholarship is given for international students from all around the world from multiple routes, based on the recommendation of the Japanese Embassy/Consulate General, University, or Authority.

Within which, a route that is considered by many international students is through University Recommendation. The MEXT University Recommendation Scholarship is a comprehensive scholarship sponsored by the government of Japan, in which Japanese universities recommend individual applicants to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (known as the “Monbukagakusho” in Japanese or by its English language acronym “MEXT”) for scholarship. After a subsequent review of those students recommended for scholarship, awardees are selected by MEXT. 

In short, applicants will directly apply to a Japanese university and undergo the admissions process of the school. After which, the university will recommend the candidates to MEXT. 

Benefits of MEXT Scholarship 

As the MEXT scholarship is very generous and prestigious, it is no surprise that the selection process is rigorous and competitive. The benefits that the scholarship entails is as follows: 

Exemption from paying tuition, entrance examination, and matriculation fees.

Monthly stipend:

  • Research Students: JPY 143,000/month
  • Master’s Degree/ Professional Degree Students: JPY 144,000/month
  • PhD Students: JPY 145,000/month
  • (Undergraduate Students: JPY 117,000/month)

Cost of Living Adjustment: JPY 2,000 – 3,000 in selected areas

Round-trip flight ticket to Japan (covered by MEXT or the university). You have to fly in and out of your home country to the closest airport to your university in Japan. 

The Application Process

Students who are interested in applying for programs at Japanese universities that are qualified for MEXT scholarships are typically required to submit the following documents to the university as follows.

Application materials

a) Application form and Study plan

b) Original copy of a recommendation letter. Depending on the university, some schools might require two to three letters, which are written by your professors or supervisors in your high school or undergraduate studies.

c) Copy of your passport (the page with your photo)

d) Original copy of academic transcript of undergraduate or graduate studies, depending on your highest level of education. In case the academic transcript does not show GPA or the grading system, then a letter from professors of your university describing your relative evaluation in your class must be attached.

e) Original copy of Certificate of Graduation or Expected Graduation

f)  Abstract of your thesis of your previous course

g) Certificate of your language proficiency of Japanese or English. TOEFL, IELTS, Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) are accepted.

It is extremely important for applicants to make sure that they have all necessary documents sent in before the deadline of the university and that those documents fulfill all requirements. You should prepare your documents months in advance, as many documents can take time to receive, such as letters of recommendations or English proficiency test scores. 

All documents have to be in English or Japanese, or have official translations attached to them. 

Filling in the Application Form for MEXT Scholarship 

In the application form, the part of “Research Topic in Japan” covers the academic aspect of research. Typically, a successful Research Topic part will include a research title, a research theme described in detail, previous research that the applicant conducted in the field, problems with the research and the research goal/ outcome. It is recommended that a connection between Japan and your home country is mentioned and why specifically you need to conduct your research in Japan, which will make the reason why you choose your research topic stronger in reasoning and more convincing.

On the second page of the application form, Study Program in Japan, you are required to discuss in detail how you actually plan to carry out your research and how it is feasible within your scope of study in the program. You should explain in detail the sources of literature review that you want to utilize, approaches that you plan to use in order to receive your data, for instance, through surveys, laboratory experiments, or field research. The more detailed and organized you can structure your Study Program, the more strongly you can demonstrate your academic devotion and your investment of time and effort in preparing for the application. This will help you score a positive impression by the admission committee. 

Conclusion 

The process of applying for MEXT scholarship can be tedious and time-consuming, as well as require a lot of thought and meticulousness put into it. However, the opportunity to study in Japan in a top-tier university with a full scholarship is a one-in-a-lifetime key to open up many academic and professional prospects in the future. Not only that, but you will also have a chance to be able to build a strong connection with other talented MEXT scholars in Japan who will also help you in your future aspirations. The journey can be difficult, but the results will certainly be worth it for those who strive hard and prepare well.