Furthering your educational background by earning a master’s degree is one of the many ways you can gain an edge in an ever-growing globally competent society. For science-related fields, in particular, you will have more opportunities to do lab and research activities when you work towards a master’s degree. In general, it gives you a platform to stand out in your profession, and it leads to many more opportunities compared to merely having a bachelor’s degree. With this in mind, just going to your local university seems like the obvious option, but why not expand your choices and gain more life and learning experiences by also studying abroad?

That being said, Japanese universities offer English-taught programs for various fields of Master’s education. Featured in this article are five universities from all over Japan that have been increasingly becoming popular with international students. These universities rise in the world and country rankings as they continuously provide graduate students with world-class education to specialize in their respective fields.

1. Hokkaido University

Hokkaido Campus
Hokkaido Campus

Located in the capital of the northernmost part of Japan; Sapporo, Hokkaido, is a centuries-old university rich in ambition, history, and nature. Hokkaido University, also known as Hokudai, specializes in social and natural sciences and the field of humanities. This university also boasts numerous facilities ranging from museums, marine research stations, hospitals, and experimental forests and parks.

Oshoro Maru is a training ship that belongs to the Hokkaido University School of Fisheries Sciences. It is used as a facility for students to conduct experiments and receive practical training as well as for graduate students and instructors of the university to pursue their research studies.

Some of the graduate school programs that are offered with English as the medium of teaching are the Division of Mechanical and Space Engineering, the Division of Architectural and Structural Design, the Division of Applied Physics, and the Division of Veterinary Medicine.

For quick access to Hokkaido University’s graduate school list from their official website, click here.

University Ranking according to Times Higher Education:
501–600th in  World University Rankings 2023; 6th in Japan University Rankings 2022

2. University of Tokyo

Panorama of the Yasuda Auditorium, University of Tokyo, Japan

You most definitely cannot go through this list without mentioning the top university in the country: the University of Tokyo. A leading research institution since its establishment as the first national university in 1877, “Todai” enjoys a massive influx of exchange of researchers with numbers reaching over 15,000. According to their website, “The University of Tokyo actively engages in researcher exchange with overseas institutions. Of all the countries, the United States leads in the number of researchers both dispatched from and accepted to the University of Tokyo. The University also enjoys close ties with China, South Korea, and other countries in Asia. Many exchanges likewise take place with institutions in Europe.”

Some of the graduate schools in this university that are offered in English are the Department of Bioengineering, the Department of Civil Engineering, the Graduate Program on Global Society, the Graduate School of Economics, and many more.

For quick access to the list of Graduate Programs at the University of Tokyo, click here.

University Ranking according to Times Higher Education:
39th in World University Rankings 2023; 2nd Japan University Rankings 2018

3. Nagoya University


Nagoya University is known for its 13 graduate schools that live up to its reputation of having outstanding research in the field of sciences. Here’s a fun fact: one-third of Japan’s Nobel laureates in Science were faculty members of this university.

Nagoya University boasts one of the highest ratios of international students in Japan, having close to 200 international academic exchange agreements with overseas institutions.

Some of its graduate programs offered in English are Graduate Program in Economics and Business Administration (G30), Physics and Mathematics Graduate Program (G30), Biological and Bioagricultural Sciences Graduate Program (G30), Automotive Engineering Graduate Program (G30), and countless more.

For quick access to the graduate programs at Nagoya University, click here.

Times Higher Education University Rankings:
301–350th in World University Rankings 2023; 8th in Japan University Rankings 2022

4. Kyoto University

Kyoto University campus during spring!
Kyoto University campus during spring!

With the most recent news from Times Higher Education that for 2023 Kyoto University ranks 5th solely among 330 universities, this national university must not be overlooked in your choices of graduate schools. Not only is its location an attractive choice for students interested in also learning and experiencing life in Japan, but it’s a world-class and unique approach to teaching students, and growing their potential is one of their proudest assets.

According to its website, the university’s overall enrollment of 23,000 students includes approximately 2,000 international students from around 100 countries and regions throughout the world.

Kyoto University also boasts nine Nobel Laureates in the field of Science.

Some of the graduate programs taught in English are the International Course for Primatology and Wildlife Research, Division of Biological Sciences, International Course in Urban and Regional Development, Dept. of Urban Management, Environmental Management (International Environmental Management), Southeast Asian Area Studies, and countless others.

For quick access to Kyoto University’s graduate programs, click here. 

Times Higher Education University Rankings:
68th in World University Rankings 2023; 5th in Japan University Rankings 2022

5. Kyushu University

In its history of nearly 100 years, Kyushu has made great strides in research particularly in renewable energy, and in continuously globalizing its approach to education and research. Kyushu University is recognized as one of the most research-oriented and often cited research institutions.

Kyushu University's research center

Some of the graduate programs offered in English are Dept. of Earth System Science and Technology (Global Course), International Master’s Program in Japanese Humanities, Dept. of Law and Politics, CSPA Program, Dept. of Advanced Energy Engineering Science (Global Course), and plenty more.

For quick access to the admission process and a list of graduate schools at Kyushu University, click here.

Times Higher Education Ranking:
501–600th in World University Rankings 2023; 7th in Japan University Rankings 2022

A Stepping Stone in Your Studies

To wrap up, there are countless opportunities to further your expertise and studies in your chosen academic field here in Japan. With the long list of graduate programs offered in English, international students are guaranteed to find the perfect program for them. For a compiled list of graduate schools that offer English or English and Japanese programs in universities all over Japan, this list from JASSO is a very helpful guide in navigating your way through your search for self-elevation.