How do I apply to UTokyo?
First, we can’t talk about getting accepted without touching upon the application process. The application process varies depending on the type of the program.
Traditional Programs Conducted in Japanese
For programs conducted in Japanese, there are two types of admissions: general screening for domestic students and special screening for international students.
- General Screening
Domestic students (those who went to high school in Japan) are required to take the common national university entrance examination, after which they take the University of Tokyo’s entrance examination. You can find more information here.
- Special Screening
Those who went to high school outside Japan, including Japanese returnees, are eligible for the special screening. Students are judged based on: grades, Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students scores, TOEFL or IELTS scores, Essay, and the results of other national exams of the country where the school is located (if available.) You can find more information here.
Special Programs Conducted in English
There are two main programs that are conducted in English: PEAK and GSC. Unlike other traditional programs conducted in Japanese, PEAK and GSC have their own application process.
PEAK stands for Programs in English at Komaba. PEAK first offered its courses in October 2012. The courses consist of the International Program on Japan in East Asia and the International Program on Environmental Sciences. PEAK encourages students who have received their education in languages other than Japanese to apply. The brief screening process is as follows:
- Application Period
- Enrollment Decision
Students are required to write a short essay, which is generally around 500 to 600 words in length, on a designated topic. At least one of the standardized test scores such as SAT, ACT, and IB is required. However, applicants are encouraged to submit as many types as they have taken. Students are also required to submit English test scores such as TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge English Qualifications unless they have received an English-medium education for at least four years of the first six years (primary school level) and at least five years of the second six years of their schooling. (junior high school and high school level) Other documents such as evaluation forms from teachers are also required. You can find more information regarding PEAK’s application process here.
GSC stands for the Global Science Course. It is a unique program that only accepts transfer students who have received two years of undergraduate education outside Japan. Successful applicants for GSC are admitted to the Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry as a third-year student. Once GSC students complete the two-year program, they receive a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tokyo.
As the application is only open for transfer students, the spots are very limited. Applicants are required to submit documents related to their primary, secondary, and university education such as transcripts and syllabi. Although standardized examination scores such as SAT and ACT are not required, applicants who did not meet the criteria regarding the English language ability are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS score. You can find more information regarding GSC’s application process here.
What are your chances of getting into the University of Tokyo? According to the admission statistics in 2018, here’s the breakdown from the official website:
Applicants to Undergraduate Programs (As of April 1, 2018)
|Division||Applicants||Successful applicants||Other||Total entrants|
|Humanities and Social Sciences I||1,323||414||9||423|
|Humanities and Social Sciences II||1,201||365||11||376|
|Humanities and Social Sciences III||1,535||485||23||508|
|Natural Sciences I||2,992||1,152||24||1,176|
|Natural Sciences II||2,174||555||17||572|
|Natural Sciences III||450||100||–||100|
|Admission by recommendation||179||–||–||–|
(Successful applicants in Admission by recommendation are included in Humanities and Social Sciences I to III and Natural Sciences I and II. “Other” includes entrants via government-sponsored and other special programs including PEAK.)
According to the numbers above, roughly between one-third and one-fourth of the applicants for undergraduate programs are admitted. The number varies depending on the faculty. This means that your chance of getting into the University of Tokyo is not much worse than other highly selective universities in Japan such as Waseda University, Keio University, or Sophia University.
If you’re thinking about studying abroad in Japan, don’t be intimidated by UTokyo’s might. Give it a shot, and you might get in. Not sure about which university to go for? Check out these articles on Sophia, Waseda, and Keio!
If you enjoyed the story, or have any comments, please let me know through firstname.lastname@example.org Stay tuned for the next article!