What is the AMC (Advanced Molecular Chemistry) Program?
AMC program is the undergraduate chemistry program in English at Tohoku University. It admits about 10 students each year after a selection made from applicants worldwide.
Outline of the Program
The program focuses on all the major branches of chemistry i.e, Physical, Organic, Inorganic and Biochemistry. It is divided into 4 years :
First year : It consists of mainly liberal arts subjects such as Economics, Art History, Japanese, general courses in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, etc. The university aims to develop well-rounded students who have certain understanding of broader fields outside their program.
Second year : It consists of introductory courses in Physical chemistry (including Quantum chemistry), Organic chemistry, and Inorganic chemistry
Third year : It focusses on more advanced topics such as Analytical chemistry, NMR, advanced Organic chemistry and even interdisciplinary topics such as Bioinorganic chemistry. This year also introduces student experiments at an advanced level.
Fourth year : It is majorly focused on undergraduate research work where you get to choose your laboratory of interest and research on a topic for one academic year.
How Do I Apply for the Program?
Application to the program is simple and is through the T-Cens application whose details can be found out here.
The application process usually has two rounds. The first round is an online round where you are required to submit your high school records, English proficiency in the form of TOEFL and SAT/ACT/Equivalent national standard exam in your country. There is also a statement of purpose which is required. Applicants selected from this round proceed to the second round where there is a written test conducted in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. There is also an essay assignment followed by an interview through video conferencing in Japan. The location of this test will be decided by the university in one of the places in your resident country.
There are two application seasons each academic year. You can either apply in late December/early January or somewhere in April-May. However, from 2020; there shall be only one application season. The dates of this shall be announced somewhere in middle of 2019.
Cost and Scholarships
Students selected for AMC program are automatically entitled to President Fellowship which waives off the entire tuition fee for 4 years (￥535,800 per year) along with the one-time entrance fee of ￥282,000.
Living expenses in Sendai is significantly less than a more metropolitan area like Tokyo/Osaka. If you are staying in a private rented apartment, your monthly expenses on average will be about ￥80,000. This includes literally everything (including days when you wish to eat out with your friends). This amount is average. It can be lesser than this or even more depending on your lifestyle.
For the first two years, you will have the opportunity to stay in the university housing. The overall expense may be a little cheaper in that case.
The AMC office notifies students of various scholarships as and when they come. The MEXT scholarship is hugely popular as it waives off all the tuition fees and admission fees in addition to providing ￥120,000 per month for 4 years. There are other private foundation scholarships such as Sato-Yo, Lotte Foundation, Mitsubishi, Kaneko Foundation, T. Banaji Foundation, AEON, etc.
Opportunities for internship and other experiences
University life in Tohoku is very dynamic. The AMC program encourages students to apply for laboratory internships during summer break and spring break. You can also apply for company-based internships through a dedicated student portal website which is connected to every student’s account. However, most of them may require some level of Japanese. You can ask the AMC office for support in English for your specific concerns.
There are more than hundred clubs and circles at the university which you can apply for. You can also create one if you don’t find something you want! There are opportunities to paarticipate in volunteer activities like Ashinaga Foundation and even big entrepreneurial events like SLUSH Tokyo. The more you dig around and get to know people, the more opportunities will open up.
Is it possible to apply for graduate programs in Chemistry in English?
There are also graduate programs in Chemistry which falls under the ambit of IGPAS (International Graduate Program in Advanced Science) or DIARE (Division for Interdisciplinary Advanced Research and Education). You can pursue a PhD in Chemistry in English too. So, what are you waiting for?
Personal experience about the program
I would not have written this article have I hated the program. AMC program opened up my doors in various fields beyond chemistry. I could do an internship with engineering department and could use those skills in my final year coursework as an undergraduate research student. These 4 years have taught me to be critical and rational and at the same time, celebrate the spirit of curiosity.
How to contact the program, website, etc.
The program can be contacted here. Their website is : http://web.tohoku.ac.jp/amc/
Wishing you all the best as you chase your dreams in Tohoku University!