About Tohoku University

Tohoku University is one of the top three Designated National Universities alongside the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University. Its history dates back to 1736, when it was founded as a medical school called Meirin-Yokendo. Back then, the university was officially founded as Tohoku Imperial University in 1907, as the third Imperial University in the Meiji era. From the beginning of its history, Tohoku University observes and upholds three core values, which are “Research First (研究第一主義),” “Open-Doors (門戸開放),” and “Practice-Oriented Research and Education (実学尊重).”

Tohoku University currently has 1,749 international students out of 17,831 students in total, in both undergraduate and graduate courses. The current campus is on the grounds of the former castle of Sendai’s famous feudal warlord Masamune Date. There are five main campuses in Sendai city, with Aoba as the newest campus.

Programs in English 

Undergraduate Courses

Tohoku offers three undergraduate courses related to science and engineering. 

1.] Advanced Molecular Chemistry Course

Students will start with basic science and basic chemistry courses, before moving onto more advanced courses and conducting research in their third and fourth year. 

The career path for alumni is quite broad. Graduated students can choose to decide to pursue a M.Sc or a PhD to pave the way for their research. 

Many other students with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry decide to join the workforce right after graduation, whether in the public or private sector. The type of companies that employ them are petrochemical firms, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms, consumer chemical firms, environmental control laboratories, automotive companies and many other related firms.

2.] International Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Course

Tohoku University is one of a handful number of universities in Japan that offers classes in Aerospace Engineering. Within this program in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in School of Engineering, students are able to choose from a very wide range of classes such as fluid dynamics, thermal engineering, aerospace engineering, robotics, biomedical engineering, information science, environmental study, to name a few. 

3.] Applied Marine Biology Course

The course is mainly focused on the science of harvesting food from natural and aquacultured marine animals and plants. With a strong foundation of basic sciences in the first year, students will then get to dive deeper into ecology, physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology, where they will become familiar with many types of fish, shellfish and organisms.

Graduate Courses

The number of graduate courses at Tohoku University is very large with a broad range of courses to choose from, such as economics, politics, engineering, information sciences to medicine.

Scholarships for international students

Scholarships from the Japanese government (MEXT)  

MEXT scholarship is a much-coveted, prestigious and generous financial support by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

There are three ways for prospective recipients to apply, through Embassy Recommendation, University Recommendation and Domestic Recommendation. Prospective international students residing abroad can apply for the scholarship through the first two ways in their home countries. 

Outside of government scholarships, current students can also consult the Academic Affairs Section of their respective faculty to apply for other scholarships within the university, or by external organizations and corporations. 

  • President Fellowship: incorporates an exemption of tuition fees for international students who have excellent academic performance. 
  • Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship: students can apply through Tohoku University. The stipend amount is 48,000 JPY/ month for both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Other scholarships come with different eligible criteria, application procedures and the amount. Students are advised to ask the faculty for the most updated information. 

Student Engagement on Campus

The Student Friendship Association is a university-wide organization consisting of 47 sports and 24 cultural clubs where students can engage in practices  

International student groups at Tohoku University include the Tohoku University Foreign Students Association “TUFSA”, which is among the most popular at the university. TUFSA provides a great deal of support for international students during their daily lives, which helps make their transition process into studying and living in Japan much easier. 

Students at a TUFSA costume event

Similarly, @home is also an international student support group that holds a variety of events, from cherry blossom viewing parties, short field trips, to sports participation. The group aims to draw Japanese and international students closer together under the same campus roof. 

The largest festival of Tohoku University is Tohoku University International Festival, which is held every spring. At the festival, student groups demonstrate their talents through traditional dances and cuisines, creating a very vibrant atmosphere that attracts the general public to come and join the celebrations. 

34th Tohoku University International Festival

Unique to Tohoku University is research and studies-oriented student clubs. Students from the same field of study can gather together based on their mutual academic interests.

As the university is very well-known for its research achievements,  the Tohoku University STEM Student Network “TUSTEM” gathers graduate students in STEM fields that organize science-related events and conferences where both Japanese and international students can share their interests in research.

For students in the International Program in Liberal Arts (IPA), IPLANET holds events throughout the year on cultural exchange and day trips that foster closer ties among the students. 


Single room housing ranges from 10,000 to 28,000 JPY. The majority of dormitories are single rooms, but there are also rooms to cater to married couples and families of the scholars coming to the university.

Inside a dorm room of Tohoku University before move-in

Incoming students can submit their dormitory applications to their prospective academic advisor.

Normally, students are allowed to stay between 6 months to a year at the university dormitory, after which they are suggested to look for their own apartment. 


With a broad range of classes in a dynamic research environment, international students can navigate and determine their career goals during their studies in the historic city Sendai. Tohoku University will especially be a great choice for prospective undergraduate students in STEM fields.