About Hokkaido University 

Founded in 1876, Hokkaido University was previously Sapporo Agricultural College before it officially became established as one of the nine prestigious Imperial Universities in Japan, alongside the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, and Osaka University.

As the higher education system in Japan started to open itself to the world, Hokkaido University also began offering many courses for both prospective undergraduate and graduate international students. In 2014, the university was selected as one of the Super Global Universities under a program initiated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to get Japan’s top universities into the top 100 global rankings.

Acceptance Rate of Hokkaido University 

Hokkaido University is currently home to 20,400 students, in which 11,959 students are in undergraduate programs, 6,669 students are in post-graduate programs, and 85 in research programs. The acceptance rate of the entire university was at 35.9% in 2015 and has slightly dropped to 34.5% in 2020. At the undergraduate level, the most densely concentrated faculties with the highest number of students are Engineering with 2,280 students, Medicine with 1,133 students, and Science with 1,005 students, which shows the strengths of Hokkaido University in scientific fields.

Hokkaido University has a very diverse student population from every continent all over the world. 1,895 students from 20 countries in Asia make up 85.25% of the total international population at the university. Out of the entire international student population at Hokkaido University, the leading country with the highest number of students currently enrolled is China with 1,231 students. While Chinese students are present in all faculties and graduate schools at the university, the top three faculties with the most Chinese students are Humanities and Human Sciences (176 students), Engineering (147 students), and Economics and Business (109 students).

Other countries with a noticeable student body, albeit by no means as large as that of China, are South Korea (167 students), Taiwan (85 students), and Indonesia (65 students).

English Programs for International Students at Hokkaido University 

For students interested in undergraduate programs in English at Hokkaido University, there are two programs called the Integrated Science Program (ISP) and Modern Japanese Studies Program (MJSP).

Undergraduate Programs 

Integrated Science Program (ISP) 

The ISP includes elements of both liberal arts and business studies. Students will first begin with general education, then choose to specialize in one of the three approaches: biology, chemistry or physics. 

Modern Japanese Studies Program (MJSP)

Upon graduation, MSJP students will have a thorough and in-depth understanding of Japan and benefit from the bilingual curriculum that the program has to offer. Students will go through intensive Japanese training throughout their four-year degree, and it can be expected that they will acquire N1 by the time of graduation. Students will take courses from introductory to an advanced level about Japanese history, society, and political economy.


Graduate Programs 

Veterinary Medicine

The well-rounded veterinary medicine program helps aspiring future veterinarians to acquire the skills needed for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of animal diseases, as well as to gain valuable research experience in the field of veterinary medical science.


The Graduate School of Engineering offers a myriad of programs for students to choose from, with 250 courses in 13 divisions, ranging from Applied Physics, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Materials Science to Environmental Engineering. 


In the scope of the Special Postgraduate Program in Biosphere Sustainability Science, students will learn about and conduct research in the preservation and utilization of natural resources to aim for a future of sustainable development. Under the guidance of their supervisors, students will get to dive deep into research about practical topics that affect the lives of humankind, such as stable food supplies, food safety, the preservation of the global environment, and biomass uses.


In the Graduate School of Science, students can choose to pursue one of the three majors: Mathematics, Condensed Matter Physics and Cosmo Sciences. Within Mathematics, the department’s teaching and learning goal is to achieve theoretical sophistication to discover empirical approaches that use computers for calculations. Within Condensed Matter Physics, students will get to conduct research on quantum materials and take physics education based on quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics with their instructors. 

Life Sciences

There are three divisions of Life Sciences: Transdisciplinary Life Science, Biosystems, and Soft Matter. 

Within Biosystems, students will learn and understand common biological systems that integrate a broad spectrum of biomolecules.

Soft Matter provides systematic education on basic knowledge related to scientific research of soft matter (physics, chemistry, biology) and its applied sciences (material science, life molecular science, biophysics, medicinal chemistry, and functional science). Soft matter refers to soft substances such as polymers, gels, biological materials, etc.

Within Transdisciplinary Life Science, students will get to develop research skills to investigate the nature of life from new perspectives based on a foundation in physics, chemistry, and biology.

Environmental Science

Within the Graduate School of Environmental Science, there are four divisions: Environmental Science, Earth System Science, Biosphere Science, and Material Science. The program aims to equip students with an understanding of the environment and the possible scientific methods and technology of moving towards a resource-efficient society.

Chemical Sciences and Engineering

Within the Graduate School of Chemistry and Materials Science, students can choose to enroll in a wide variety of subjects in chemistry and materials science, including recent advances in organic chemistry, physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, polymer chemistry, catalysis, materials chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical engineering.


Hokkaido is one of the most selective universities in Japan, and the difficulty of its entrance examination is well-known in Japan for its competitiveness. However, it should not deter you from shooting your chances and applying for this prestigious university as long as you prepare your documents early and have a clear motivation why you want to be enrolled in the university.


“Best Universities in Japan for International Students” – World Scholarship Forum 


“International Student Prospectus” – Hokkaido University Homepage 

“Number of Students” – Hokkaido University Homepage