The MEXT scholarship is one  of the best scholarships out there for students who want to study in Japan. Why is it one of the best? The short answer would be because the MEXT scholarship has such a wide scope. The scholarship has categories for Undergraduate students, Research students (non-degree students, Master’s students, and Doctorate students), Teacher Training, and more. The scholarship is open to around 160 countries and regions in the world. As a government-funded scholarship, the MEXT scholarship is not only offered by specific universities and there are MEXT scholars studying in different universities and higher education institutions all over Japan. 

However, the MEXT scholarship has gained the reputation of being a scholarship that is limited to those who are taking up science courses. On the contrary, MEXT is actually a scholarship open to almost all kinds of fields of study, but this depends on the category of the scholarship you are applying for. For instance, there’s even a MEXT scholarship category that undergraduate students who are interested in learning professional skills such as Fashion, Film and Animation, Photography, and even Manga and Illustration can apply for! 

What are the categories of the MEXT scholarship and their corresponding fields of study?

The MEXT Scholarship has six main categories (4 for Undergraduate and 2 for Graduate Level):

  • Undergraduate Level
    • Undergraduate Student
    • Japanese Studies Student
    • College of Technology Student
    • Specialized Training College Student
  • Graduate School Level
    • Research Student (Non-Degree, Master’s, Doctorate)
    • Teacher Training Student

Specific details about eligible fields of study depend on the category that the student is applying for. 

Undergraduate Level

1) Undergraduate Level: Undergraduate Student

Students who want to earn their Bachelor’s Degree in Japan apply for the Undergraduate Student MEXT Scholarship. Under this category, students can take up a wide range of courses that either fall under “Social Sciences and Humanities” or “Natural Sciences.”

The MEXT scholarship application uses a specific language for organizing the different academic disciplines. They use the following terms: 

Field of Study” 

  • The first and broadest form of categorization is the “Field of Study,” wherein all courses are identified as either falling under the category of “Social Sciences and Humanities” or under “Natural Sciences.” 

Courses” and “Majors

  • The subcategory of these “Field of Study” are called “Courses,” which are then further subdivided into “Majors.” Here’s an overview of how MEXT organizes the categories for undergraduate students:

Field of Study: Social Sciences and Humanities

  • Course: Social Sciences and Humanities A 
    • Majors:
      • Law
      • Politics
      • Pedagogy
      • Sociology
      • Literature
      • History
      • Japanese Language
      • Others
  • Course: Social Sciences and Humanities B
    • Majors:
      • Economics
      • Business Administration

Field of Study: Natural Sciences

  • Course: Natural Sciences A
    • Majors:
      • Mathematics 
      • Physics
      • Chemistry
      • Electronics
      • Electrical Engineering
      • Information Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Naval Architecture
      • Civil Engineering
      • Architecture
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Applied Chemistry
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Industrial Chemistry
      • Textile Engineering
      • Metallurgical Engineering
      • Mining Engineering
      • Maritime Engineering
      • Biotechnology
  • Course: Natural Sciences B
    • Majors:
      • Agriculture
      • Agricultural Chemistry
      • Agricultural Engineering
      • Animal Science
      • Veterinary Medicine
      • Forestry
      • Food Science
      • Fisheries
      • Pharmacy
      • Hygienics
      • Nursing
      • Biology
  • Course: Natural Sciences C
    • Majors:
      • Medicine
      • Dentistry

The number of majors that are eligible under the Natural Sciences are significantly higher. However, you will notice that under the list of majors in the Social Sciences and Humanities, they have written “Others.” This means that if there is a major that doesn’t clearly fit the categories that they already listed, this major is still eligible as long as it falls under the general field of “Social sciences and Humanities.” The period of study in Japan for Undergraduate Students is usually 5 years (1 year Preliminary  Japanese Language Training, if needed, plus 4 years of earning the Bachelor’s Degree). Those who are majoring in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary science study in Japan for up to 7 years.

2) Undergraduate Level: Japanese Studies Student

Not only is the MEXT scholarship available for undergraduate students majoring in the fields of Social Science and Humanities, MEXT even has a separate undergraduate scholarship in the field of Japanese studies. This scholarship is for undergraduate students who are enrolled in a university outside of Japan, and are majoring in Japanese language or culture. The students must have at least already taken one year of Japanese studies by the time they plan to study in Japan. The period of studying in Japan is only for one academic year. There are around 73 universities all across Japan accepting students for this program, with varying focus in their curriculum. Some universities focus on intensive Japanese language learning, some on Japanese culture and society, others on business. Thus, students who are majoring in the field of Japanese studies may choose a university that offers a Japanese studies program that suits their particular interest. 

3) Undergraduate Level: College of Technology Student

In Japan, a College of Technology is a higher education institution that offers 4 to 5 years of education to graduates of junior high school. Students are awarded an “Associate Degree” after finishing their studies. International students, however, generally enter Colleges of Technology directly to the third year. For the MEXT Scholarship, students who have received 11 years of primary education in another country are eligible to apply. Upon arriving to Japan, students then receive 1 year of Preliminary Japanese Language Training, then 2 years in a College of Technology. Eligible fields of study for College of Technology Students are the following:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Information, Communication and Network Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Civil Engineering
  • Maritime Engineering
  • Other Fields (International Communication, Management Information Engineering)

4) Undergraduate Level: Specialized Training College Student

MEXT also has a specific scholarship category for undergraduate students who wish to study in professional training colleges. The period of studying in Japan is only three years, already including one year of Preliminary Japanese Language Training. Eligible fields of study in this category have a very broad range, including:

  • Technology
  • Personal Care and Nutrition 
  • Education and Welfare
  • Business 
  • Fashion and Home Economics 
  • Culture and General Education

This is a great category to apply for particularly if you are a creative or an artist. Professional training in fields such as Music, Film and Video, Animation, Manga and Illustration, Art, Design, Photography, as well as Interpretation and Translation, all fall under the field of “Culture and General Education.”

Graduate Level

1) Graduate Level: Research Student (Non-Degree, Master’s, Doctorate)

If you are applying for the Graduate Level category, then you are in luck! Under the Research Category, any field of study is eligible. The only criteria is that the applicant needs to find an academic adviser who is willing to supervise their study. Just take note that for the MEXT scholarship, most students applying need to start as Non-Degree Research Students if they are applying through the Japan Embassy in their country. Learn more about what a Non-Degree Research Student in these articles. 

2) Graduate Level: Teacher Training Student

Finally, this category is for Teaching professionals in their own countries who are interested in enrolling in a short-term training program in Japan. The field of study in this category is particularly focused on teachers in the field of primary education, secondary education, and teacher training. This category is not open for university lecturers or professors. Universities that offer “Teacher Training” also have different kinds of focus. For example, some universities offer training in Japanese Language Teaching, others on Teaching English as a second language, while others focus on pedagogies of primary education.

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The MEXT Scholarship offers different kinds of scholarships for different kinds of students. Unfortunately, many students think that MEXT scholarship is not for them. We hope that this article has helped you understand all the other possibilities that MEXT offers and share this with your friends and colleagues who are also interested in studying in Japan.

References

https://www.mext.go.jp/component/a_menu/education/detail/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2019/01/30/1411364_5_1.pdf

https://www.mext.go.jp/component/a_menu/education/detail/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2019/01/30/1411364_5_1.pdf

https://www.studyinjapan.go.jp/en/smap_stopj-applications_japanese.html

https://www.studyinjapan.go.jp/en/assets/pdf/app/1_2020JapaneseStudies_Guideline_E.pdf

https://www.studyinjapan.go.jp/en/planning/scholarship/types/