Why study at Tsukuba as an international student?

As one of the top 10 (according to QS University Rankings in 2014/2015) with over 140 years in history as a national university in Japan, the University of Tsukuba boasts high-quality education. It is starting to get more global and international by being part of the “Global 30 Project for Establishing Core Universities for Internationalization“ by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

The campus of the University of Tsukuba

University of Tsukuba is especially considered to be strong at social sciences, as their School of Social and International Studies was ranked #1 in Japan in 2010 by Toyokeizai (Eastern Economics) magazine.

Programs on offer

Below is an extensive overview of undergraduate programs offered in English for international students by University of Tsukuba. 

Taught in English 

Bachelor of Arts in International Social Sciences

This is one of the most popular English undergraduate programs in Tsukuba, which is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary study of international affairs. It combines coursework content of College of Social Science and College of International Studies. Students have an opportunity to study different fields, such as political science, economics, sociology, management, etc. They will then choose a field they would like to specialize in during the third and fourth years of their undergraduate degree.

Discussions and presentations are carried out in small class sizes, between only 20 to 50 students. The international environment in Tsukuba means that classmates coming from different regions of the world will have unique perspectives to offer. Students can engage in in-depth discussions and debate about pressing topics in the world, from economic development, immigration to information security.

Bachelor’s Program in Global Issues

Students are trained with critical thinking skills to solve urgent global problems, from the two approaches of Environment and Human. Within these two approaches, the Environment fields are divided into Global Environment and Risk and Security issues. The Human fields are divided into Human Health and Wellbeing and Social Diversity and Inclusiveness issues.

Interdisciplinary Engineering

The Interdisciplinary Engineering is a comprehensive program that covers the basics of science and the applications of technology. It comes in 4 subordinate tracks that students can choose to focus on: Energy, Optics, and Electronics; Materials and Molecular Engineering; Robotics and Mechanics; Modeling and Simulations. It is the combined framework of engineering as well as recent technological advances, such as the Internet of things.

Bachelor of International Medical Science

Being enrolled in this program operated under the university’s prestigious Faculty of Medicine, international students now also have a chance like their Japanese counterparts in Tsukuba to pursue their studies in experimental, social and environmental medicine. The program is a combination of theoretical frameworks and hands-on learning in laboratories. Alumni of the program usually go on to be employed at pharmaceutical companies. Some choose to pursue a PhD to advance in their academic research path.

Students conducting lab research at Tsukuba

Taught in English and Japanese 

Bachelor of Science in Biology

As the name of the program suggests, it places a strong focus on the basic biology of non-human animals and plants. The program aims to equip students with a structured understanding of biology. In the first year, the program starts at a basic level, learning foundational subjects in biology, chemistry, and physics. Then, in the second and third years, students can choose classes from a wide variety of subjects. In their last year, they have to conduct a lab report or a one-year long research project supervised by leading scientist-professors in the faculty.

This Biology program has courses revolving around biology and its applications for students to choose from, genetics and cell biology, through developmental biology, animal and plant biodiversity, biochemistry, ecology, and evolutionary biology. 

Bachelor of Bio-resource Science

During the first year, students will engage in interdisciplinary education to discover different subjects and select fields that suit themselves best, in biology, chemistry, physics, and maths, as well as other compulsory humanities courses.

A range of courses that students can choose to pursue include:

  • Course of Biological Sciences for Agrobiology and Forestry: Students can learn about the theory and technology for sustainable food production and the preservation and maintenance of ecosystems.
  • Course of Applied Biological Chemistry: Students will dive deeper into chemistry about the functions of living substances from individual substances down to the cell, gene, and molecular level. Students can then continue to apply this knowledge in medicine, food production, agriculture fields, etc.
  • Course of Environmental Engineering: Students learn how to apply the theory and technology for the efficient use of the earth resources such as water, food, forests and land through engineering techniques. 
  • Course of Economics and Sociology: Students study the mechanisms of production, distribution and consumption and business marketing regarding agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in Japan as well as developed and developing countries.

Bachelor of Science in Geoscience

The University of Tsukuba is the only university in Japan that offers an English undergraduate degree in geoscience. Students who are interested in the pursuit of a sustainable and environmentally friendly society can acquire the general knowledge and insight of the evolution of the Earth, the natural processes on the Earth, and the interactions between natural environments and human activities.

Furthermore, students can also get involved in fieldwork where they can enhance their skills in data analysis and information processing. Students in their second or third year can choose to engage in fieldwork in either Geoenvironmental Science or Earth Evolution Science. Students can also choose to pursue internships in corporations or research organizations that are related to their field of studies. With the experience gained from fieldwork and internships, students tend to become prepared and well-equipped in their job search after graduation.

Tsukuba students on a fieldwork trip in Ibaraki


With a broad range of undergraduate programs in both social sciences and natural sciences and a reputation as a Japanese national university, Tsukuba is an ideal destination for international students who want to challenge themselves in rigorous academic pursuits.