The School of Medicine at Keio University was founded in 1917 with Dr. Shibasaburo Kitasato, a world-renowned biologist, serving as its first dean. The school philosophy was based on the dedication of Shibasaburo to make medicine more widely accessible to the public from the founding days. From then on, the school always strives to generate real impacts through the combination of basic science and clinical medicine.

Shibasaburo Kitasato,
founder of Keio University School of Medicine

Teaching and Learning

The structure of the School of Medicine is classified into three main categories:

  • Basic Science: anatomy, pathology, physiology, biochemistry, etc. 
  • Clinical Science: cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics, neurosurgery, etc.
  • Other Departments: laboratory of cell medicine, laboratory animal center, laboratory of cell and tissue biology, etc.

In order to effectively tackle multifaceted and complex problems of the current world, the School of Medicine does not work in isolation but also collaborates with other schools within Keio University. These include the Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Letters, the Graduate School of Health Management, and the Graduate School of Media and Governance.

In the light of the current multifaceted medical climate, Keio University School of Medicine developed its unique comprehensive program called Inter-Professional Education (IPE) program in 2011. The IPE program improves coordination between students of different programs: School of Medicine, Faculty of Nursing and Medical Care, and the Faculty of Pharmacy. Students from these three programs take classes, conduct research and hold presentations together. 

In the Primary Health Care Project as a part of the IPE program, Keio students spend 10 days in Laos in order to participate in medical and primary health care activities in the country

University Facilities 

Being one of the leading medical schools in Japan, Keio School of Medicine also invests in its impressive state of the art facilities for its scientific research. Keio University Hospital is located close to Keio University School of Medicine campus, which allows easy access for current students to research facilities. It sits on an extensive campus of more than 66 hectares and consists of 29 medical departments and 17 central medical divisions.

Since February 1994 this hospital has also operated as a special functioning hospital. Special functioning hospitals not only provide advanced health care services, but are also capable of medical research, development, evaluation, and training.

Career Path

The common career track for medicine students in Japan is to complete an undergraduate program for 6 years and receive a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. Students can then choose to advance to the Doctoral program for another three years and graduate with a Ph.D. in medicine.

Besides the Doctor of Medicine track, there are also students who pursue clinical medicine activities in their undergraduate program, then choose to further their research interests at Graduate school. 

During their studies at Keio University, students can also participate in international exchange programs with prestigious partner schools around the world. Some of the most prominent exchange partners of the Graduate school are Harvard University, Columbia University, Peking University, King’s College London, etc.


Undergraduate Program 

The undergraduate program requires a high level of Japanese proficiency for both domestic and international students. International students will take a specialized entrance exam in Japanese and largely similar to domestic students. 

Graduate Program 

Similar to the undergraduate program, the Master’s program is conducted in Japanese. Students are conferred the degree of Master of Medical Sciences (M.Med.Sci)

There is no strict requirement for the undergraduate degree of the student. Students who have an undergraduate degree in the natural sciences or social sciences/humanities are welcome to apply. For the admission process, there are three rounds. Applicants have to take an English comprehension test, submit an essay and take an oral assessment (in English or Japanese). Both examinations will be conducted in person at Shinanomachi campus of Keio School of Medicine.

Doctoral Program 

The Doctoral program is a great choice for international students intending to pursue a medical path in Japan as courses are offered in English. Students will graduate with a Ph.D. in Medicine after four years of training. In order to apply, eligible applicants have to be university graduates with a degree in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or pharmaceutical sciences.

Applicants must discuss their research plans in detail with a graduate school committee member of the program, and obtain that committee member’s preliminary consent to become the applicant’s research supervisor in order to join the program. 


Before Enrollment

Students who are interested in getting into the Graduate School of Medicine can apply for two major scholarships.

MEXT (The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) Scholarship

This well-known, prestigious government scholarship is based on embassy recommendation or university recommendation.

Keio Design the Future Award

The Graduate School of Medicine will recommend one nominee to the Award Committee from among the prospective PhD students who have the potential to “design the future.”

Applicants must satisfy one of the two conditions, as term A or term B students:

  • Term A Examination Applicants: Scholarship applications are accepted only from those who passed the PhD entrance examination.
  • Term B Examination Applicants: Scholarship applications are accepted from all prospective PhD students.

After enrollment 

There are three main categories of scholarships based on sponsors. Some of which are only provided for privately financed international students.

Offered by Keio University

Eligibility for scholarships differs depending on school year and level of study (Master’s or PhD). Yearly stipend varies between 300,000 to 1,000,000 JPY. 

Offered by JASSO

For self-supporting students, JASSO offers Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship with a monthly stipend of 40,000 JPY.

Offered by Private Foundations and Local Governments

There is a wide range of scholarships in this category with different conditions that change every year. Admitted students should directly consult the International Center at Keio University School of Medicine for up-to-date advisory.


With those who have the ambitions of creating an impact and want to pursue a solid career in the medical field in Japan or abroad, Keio University School of Medicine is a dream place to be. With more programs open in English and generous financial support of the Japanese government and other organizations, international students are now one step closer to this coveted destination.