An Overview of MEXT Scholarship 

MEXT scholarship is sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan (often referred to as MEXT). The MEXT Scholarship is an initiative launched by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as part of the Global 30 Project to support international students who study at higher education institutions in Japan. MEXT Scholarship is given to international students from all around the world based on the recommendation of the Japanese Embassy/Consulate General or of respective universities that the students plan to apply for.

The benefits offered by MEXT Scholarship are as follows:

  • Exemption from paying tuition, entrance examination, and matriculation fees.
  • A monthly stipend of 117,000 JPY per month 
  • Cost of Living Adjustment: JPY 2,000 – JPY 3,000 in selected areas
  • Round-trip flight ticket to Japan (one time; covered by MEXT or the university)

Fields of Study 

Undergraduate applicants can choose from a wide variety of available fields as their major to pursue a Bachelor’s degree. These fields are divided into two categories: Social Sciences/Humanities and the Natural Sciences. Applicants are allowed to choose three majors in the order of preference.

Social Sciences and Humanities consist of Law, Politics, Pedagogy, Sociology, Literature, History, Japanese Language, Economics, Business Administration, and others.

Natural Sciences include Science (Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics), Engineering (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, etc.), Agricultural Studies, Medicine, and Dentistry.

Application Procedures

If you wish to apply for the MEXT Scholarship, the scholarship comes with certain criteria for eligibility. You must be at least 17 and under 25 years of age and have completed 12 years of school education or an equivalent. You can apply when you are still enrolled in high school, as long as you plan to graduate soon and can show the evidence of expected graduation.

There are two ways that you can apply for the MEXT Scholarship. The first option is to apply through the Japanese embassy or consulate that is closest to your area of residence. Scholarship recipients are recruited and initially screened by a Japanese embassy or consulate general. They are required to pass the document examination, written test, and interview conducted by the embassy. After these three steps, the embassy will recommend successful applicants to MEXT through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August. These MEXT Scholarship recipients will arrive in Japan in April of the following year.

The second way is to apply directly to the universities that you wish to be enrolled in. You will be screened through an admission process conducted by the national, public, or private Japanese university. The university directly recommends the selected candidates to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Typically, you will arrive in Japan in September on this route.

For scholarship recipients who will be enrolled starting from the 2020 academic year, the scholarship period will last for five years from April 2020 to March 2025, including one-year preparatory education in the Japanese language and other subjects due to be taken upon arrival in Japan. For scholarship grantees majoring in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or a six-year course in pharmacy, the scholarship period will be seven years until March 2027.

Requirements for Eligibility

In order to be qualified to apply for the scholarship, you have to fulfill certain criteria set by MEXT. You are not allowed to have Japanese nationality, and you must be a citizen of a country that has diplomatic relations with Japan. Your date of birth has to be on or after April 2, 1985 if applying for the 2020 academic year. In addition, if you are serving on active military duty or are employed by the military at the time of the application, you are not eligible to apply for the scholarship.

When you are granted the scholarship as a recipient, you must be able to arrive in Japan during the designated arrival period. If you have received a MEXT scholarship in the past,  you are not allowed to apply unless you have more than 3 years of educational research experience after the final payment of the previous MEXT scholarship award. You also cannot be applying for another MEXT scholarship or a scholarship from another organization. During your time as a MEXT scholarship recipient, you must have “Student” as your visa status (also status of residency) in Japan.

Application Documents

The application package for an undergraduate program consists of the following documents:

  1. Application Form 
  2. Direct Placement Reference Form 
  3. Academic transcript(s) for all school years of school/university attended
  4. Certificate(s) of graduation of school/university attended (in case you are yet to graduate from said school/ university, a certificate of prospective graduation in required)
  5. Recommendation letter from either principal or teacher of last school attended (free format with sample available on MEXT official website)
  6. Medical certificate 
  7. Certificate of enrollment (only applicable for individuals who are currently enrolled in university) 
  8. Certificate of university enrollment qualification examination (only applicable for those who pass the university enrollment qualification examination)
  9. Certificate of language proficiency (only in the case that you have documents attesting to your competency in Japanese or English; original certificate is not necessary)

Conclusion

MEXT Scholarship for Undergraduate level is undoubtedly one of the best opportunities for you to start your education in Japan. It is advisable for you to stay updated with the most recent scholarship application guidance posted by MEXT on its official website. You can also learn more about Japanese universities that are a part of the Global 30 initiative of the government.

References

APPLICATION GUIDELINES JAPANESE GOVERNMENT (MEXT) SCHOLARSHIP FOR 2020 (UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS): https://www.mext.go.jp/content/1415360_02.pdf

Global 30 Project -Establishing University Network for Internationalization:https://www.mext.go.jp/en/policy/education/highered/title02/detail02/sdetail02/1373894.htm