About Sophia University

It would be a huge mistake not to mention Sophia University when talking about top universities in Japan. Sophia University, also known by its Japanese name, 上智大学(Jōchi Daigaku), is considered as one of the top private research universities in Japan. The university earned its reputation when it was among 37 institutions that received the highest S ranking in the evaluation for the Japanese government’s Top Global University Project. This institution is also among the pioneers that led the movement towards internationalization in Japan. Over the years, Sophia has created a global network that allows researchers and students from overseas to teach and study in Japan, as well as for Japanese researchers and students to do the same abroad. Sophia University has established a collaboration network with over 300 institutions around the world, a feat that further proves its prestige.


Sophia’s alumni are referred to as “Sophians”. The long list of notable Sophians speaks for itself when it includes Morihiro Hosokawa (the 79th Prime Minister of Japan), several politicians represented in the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and National Diet of Japan, and some founders and CEOs of big enterprises in Japan.

Being a leader in the internationalization of Japanese universities, Sophia is predominantly known for the liberal arts. With an enormous range of school resources and programs that are conducted entirely in English, liberal arts programs at Sophia University are known for being one of the most well-rounded and adequately staffed liberal arts departments in the country.

Sophia University’s Ranking in Japan

It is obvious that the ranking is one of the most common attributes that every student considers before choosing to study at a university. Sophia University is famous for its long history of high-quality global education and research. According to Times Higher Education (2020), Sophia is ranked as the 20th best university in Japan and the 3rd best private school. The breakdown of each criterion used in the ranking is as follows: 

  • International Faculty: 82.1
  • International Students: 69.8
  • Academic Reputation: 58.5
  • Employer Reputation: 51
  • H-index Citations: 47.9
  • Citations per Paper: 54.2
  • Outbound Exchange: 58
  • Inbound Exchange: 68.6

On top of that, the alumni of Sophia have good employment prospects in Japanese industries. As regards the employment rate, graduates from Sophia University have the 8th best rate in 400 well-known enterprises, and the average graduate salary is the 6th best in Japan according to the Weekly Economist’s 2010 rankings. Sophia University’s annual acceptance rate is 5%. Because of its high-quality education, it is clear that Sophia’s selection process is competitive in Japan, and it is also regarded as one of the toughest, along with Waseda and Keio, among 730 private universities.

What can we tell from Sophia’s ranking?

The most outstanding feature of Sophia University is the international environment it offers. With the score shown above, it is evident why the number of international students coming to Sophia to study is so high. Sophia University’s efforts range from offering English-based courses in all degree programs to enriching the global environment. As of today, Sophia has 13,800 students and a teaching staff of 1,400 members, embracing over 1,500 international students studying on one campus from 85 countries. It also offers exchange programs with several other top universities throughout the world, such as Georgetown University, Yale University, The University of Georgia, and the University of Hong Kong. Overall, higher education in Japan will become more accessible to overseas students, which has recently been the most targeted mission of all top universities in Japan.

Without further ado, let’s see why it’s worth your efforts to study at the Sophia University!

Why Study at Sophia University?

Sophia’s Ranking: Top 3 private universities in Japan

As already discussed above, Sophia’s reputation for excellence in undergraduate education, outstanding graduate programs, and competitive research environment enables it to maintain its ranking as one of Japan’s top 3 private universities. You are able to receive an enormous number of benefits once you become a “Sophian”. Not only can you access the high-quality study resources in your chosen field of specialization, but you can also receive support from Sophia and the professors throughout your time here and even after your graduation. Reflecting on the quality of its education, Sophia has produced leaders in the global workspace at multinational companies. Studying at Sophia, you can get employment opportunities from famous enterprises around the world with assistance from Sophia’s academic affairs office that has a wide network with major companies.

Wide variety of English programs

You can study a wide range of subjects, from business and economics to science and technology studies, which are all strong suits of Japanese education, in English at Sophia University. An list of English-taught programs at Sophia University is provided below:

Sophia Program for Sustainable Futures (SPSF): a new English-based undergraduate program scheduled to launch in the autumn semester of 2020.

Undergraduate level: Liberal Arts, Science and Technology, SPSF (Journalism, Education, Sociology, Economics, Management, Global Studies)

Graduate level: Education, Global Studies, Global Environmental Studies, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), Science and Technology

Non-Degree programs: Liberal Arts, Center for Language Education and Research (Japanese-language courses)

The quality of these English programs at Sophia is indisputable because this university boasts a long tradition of educating foreign students entirely in English. Otsuka, the vice president for academic affairs at Sophia University, proudly said that “We have offered English-medium programs for nearly 70 years, using the grade-point average and numbering system, the same as in American universities. As Japan’s pioneer in global education, we have established the current programs and curriculum through trial and error for many years” (Otsuka, 2018). This shows that the excellent quality of the English-taught programs at Sophia is undisputable. If you want to enrich your knowledge and immerse yourself in a unique culture like Japan, but at the same time feeling discouraged by the difficult Japanese language, English programs at Sophia University are definitely a perfect fit for you!

Generous scholarships

Sophia University provides various kinds of scholarships to international students, ranging from university scholarships to private allowances from specific organizations. Many of these are offered through direct application, others are recommendation based, and some are offered to specific students of each faculty. All of these financial support programs are aimed at reducing your financial burden, which can help you focus on your academic performance and future goals!

An article is not enough to describe all the unique aspects of Sophia University that leads to its current ranking in Japan. Apart from the aforementioned most impressive features, Sophia also attracts students due to its state-of-the-art facilities, extra-curricular activities with over 50 clubs on campus, and the standard Japanese language curriculum. 

Ending message

The ranking of Sophia University in Japan can reveal a lot about the trend in globalizing education in Japan. Sophia University has been doing a great job of enriching its international environment and providing high-quality education to foreign students. A degree from Sophia University absolutely makes you become outstanding for the job screening process. 

So why not apply for Sophia University to receive one of the most reputable educational systems in Japan?

To check out what prospective applicants and current international students in Japan shared about Sophia University, please go to this page.


Sophia University English Website: https://www.sophia.ac.jp/eng/

The Japan Times “Diverse options reflect Sophia University’s global origins”:

QS Top Universities:https://www.topuniversities.com/universities/sophia-university/undergrad