About the University of Tokyo 

The University of Tokyo, established in 1877 as an imperial university, is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. The University of Tokyo is a large scale academic hub with 10 faculties, 15 graduate schools that are home to a total of 30,000 students, out of which 2,100 are international. It is one of the top schools selected for the MEXT’s Top Global University Project in which it will become an example of the competitiveness of Japanese higher education.

Requirements for Admission

Undergraduate Level 

PEAK Program 

There are two compulsory requirements that applicants have to satisfy in order to apply for the program.

As detailed below, Requirement 1 ensures that the applicant has completed the necessary secondary academic background. The applicant must satisfy one of the four categories below. 

(1) The applicant has completed all the requirements of a 12-year school that consists of primary and secondary) education.

(2) The applicant has obtained one of the following qualifications:

(a) International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) (awarded by the International Baccalaureate Organization)

(b) Abitur (designated by the Federal Republic of Germany)

(c) Baccalaureate (designated by the French Republic)

(d) General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-level) (designated by the UK)

(3) The applicant has passed through an education system that is less than 12 years in length and has completed Japanese pre-university preparatory institutions for students planning to study in Japan, which are designated by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

(4) The applicant must pass an official test that shows he or she possesses the academic background equivalent or superior to that obtained from a 12-year school curriculum. In this case, the applicant must be at least 18 years old by August 31, 2020.

In case applicants do not fall into any of the categories above, the University of Tokyo may approve the eligibility after individually reviewing applicants. Those applicants must contact the PEAK Undergraduate Admissions Office by October 24, 2019 in order to go through the Individual Admission Review Process.

Requirement 2 requires that the applicant must have spent at least four of the first six school years and at least five of the second six school years studying in languages other than Japanese. In other words, these applicants must have taken the majority of their education in non-Japanese language(s).

The rationale of the university behind this requirement is that the PEAK program is designed primarily for students who have been educated in languages other than Japanese. In case students have received Japanese-medium education, they are encouraged to apply for April-entry admission instead of the September-entry admission of PEAK.

Global Science Course (GSC)

This program targets undergraduate students who have completed the first two years of their degree and wish to transfer and attend the University of Tokyo from their third year. Upon fulfilling graduation requirements, they will be given a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from the University of Tokyo.

As the language of instruction of the Global Science Course is in English, prospective students need to fulfill the requirements for English proficiency as long as they satisfy one of the three following criteria: 

  1. English is their native/first language.
  2. English was the language of instruction at their secondary and post-secondary schools for the last 8 years before applying to the Global Science Course.
  3. Applicants can demonstrate their proficiency through taking English proficiency exams with the minimum scores as follows:
    1. TOEFL iBT: 80
    2. TOEFL PBT: 550
    3. IELTS Academic: 6.5

Furthermore, in order to qualify for the academic requirements of the program, students need to have completed basic undergraduate classes in Chemistry and at least two subjects within mathematics, biology, or physics before applying to GSC. Prospective students must have acquired 62 credits in reference to the credit system of the University of Tokyo in which 2 credits consist of 13 weeks of 105-minute lectures.

Graduate Level 

Generally, all graduate programs require applicants to have completed or are expecting to complete their undergraduate education, which is equivalent to 16 years of education. Applicants who possess different qualifications will need to contact the Admissions Office related to the graduate school they would like to apply to. In many programs, a GRE score is also included as a compulsory part of the application package, hence applicants have to take the exam before applying. 

On a special note, some graduate schools may have restrictions based on which institutions the applicants have acquired their bachelor’s degree. For example, the International Program in Economics (UTIPE) in the Graduate School of Economics only accepts students from foreign universities and does not accept applicants who attended universities in Japan for the undergraduate level, including American universities with a campus in Japan. These applicants are required to apply through the regular (not UTIPE) entrance examination for the admission instead. The Graduate Program for International Students in the Graduate School of Science also has similar restrictions.

Some schools might also not accept research students and only regular graduate students, as in the case of the UTIPE program. Prospective applicants are advised to check the eligibility requirements for each respective graduate school they are interested in. 

Conclusion 

With an internationally recognized prestige, a strong body of leading faculty members in their respective fields of research, and state-of-the-art university facilities, it is no surprise that the University of Tokyo is the dream destination of many international students. For those who are interested in their English programs, it is worth noting the requirements for eligibility that vary from program to program in order to become productive in your application process and maximize your chances of getting in.