About the University of Tokyo 

The University of Tokyo, established in 1877 as an imperial university, is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. The University of Tokyo is a large scale academic hub with 10 faculties, 15 graduate schools that are home to a total of 30,000 students, out of which 2,100 are international. It is one of the top schools selected for the MEXT’s Top Global University Project in which it will become an example of the competitiveness of Japanese higher education.

About the Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine has its long history tracing back to 1858 when educated practitioners trained in Dutch (European) medicine in Edo (former name of Tokyo) decided to put money in establishing a vaccination center called Shutojo at Kanda Mitamagaike Vaccination station. Then, 3 years after that, the Shutojyo was renamed as Seiyo Igaku-syo (Institute of Western Medicine) and it started to offer courses of Western medicine in the fields of education, autopsy, and vaccination. After several changes in the name of the institution and relocations, in 1877, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine was launched in 1877, which stemmed from the Shutojo that was first established in 1858. 

Throughout the course of the end of the 19th and the 20th century, the faculty was continuously expanded and improved with the addition of new departments and programs in response to the growing need for the development of modern medical studies. Up to now, the most recent step of development of the faculty was in 2013 when the International Research Center for Medical Education became a facility of the Graduate School of Medicine.

university of tokyo, campus

As of May 1, 2018, there were 517 students enrolled in the undergraduate programs at the Faculty of Medicine, which is divided into School of Medicine, School of Integrated Health Sciences, and Research. In the graduate programs, there were 1,219 students in total, distributed into different programs of the Doctorate Program of Medicine, Doctorate Program in Health Science, Master’s Program and the School of Public Health. Out of 1,129 students, 154 of them were international students.

Currently, the Faculty has 13 departments which provide four types of degree programs: Doctoral degree programs in both Medical Science and Health Sciences, a Master’s degree program and a Professional degree program.

Admissions 

At the Graduate School of Medicine, depending on the department that you aim at applying for, the Japanese language requirements will be different.

Programs that require no Japanese ability upon admission:

  • Department of Molecular Cell Biology
  • Department of Functional Biology
  • Department of Pathology, Immunology and Microbiology
  • Department of Neuroscience
  • Department of Surgical Sciences
  • Department of International Health

Programs that require a basic conversational Japanese ability for research discussions: 

  • Department of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering
  • Department of Social Medicine
  • Department of Internal Medicine
  • Department of Reproductive, Developmental and Aging Sciences
  • School of Public Health (Professional Degree Program)

Programs that require the level of Japanese ability necessary to understand lectures and communicate with other students and teachers (however, students can opt for submitting their graduation thesis in English): 

  • Department of Health Science and Nursing
  • Department of Medical Science (Master’s Degree)

Typically these programs allow submission of applications from mid-May, and the deadline for submission is early July. International students are required to complete the same rounds of the application process as domestic students. 

International students can take the examination in English in order to apply for the Master’s program. The examination consists of two rounds: specialized subject, and oral examination. In the specialized subject round, depending on the department that applicants choose to apply for, questions will be based on general health science, knowledge related to that department, basic subjects of chemistry, biology and physics, or a written essay. For the School of Health Sciences and Nursing and School of International Health, applicants only proceed to the oral examination once they have passed the written examination. For the School of Medical Science, the oral examination will be given to all applicants. The capacity for each school is roughly between 20 to 25, hence the competition is very rigorous. 

For the Doctoral Program of Medicine, the written exam subjects will have 2 parts, foreign language, and specialized subject. In the specialized subject test, there are 2 questions: one question from the desired research field, and one common question from each major (selected at exam). For the Doctoral Program, there are also two steps to the application process. The primary exam is conducted by foreign-language assessment based on the submission of the TOEFL or IELTS test results of the applicant. If applicants can pass the foreign language test in the primary round, they can proceed to the secondary exam which involves a review of the applicant’s master’s degree thesis (or a suitable alternative if they do not have one), an assessment of the academic transcript, and an oral exam. The quota for the International Health program is 9, and for Health Sciences and Nursing is 25, and the quota can be lower depending on the quality of the applicants based on each year. 

Conclusion 

For students who dream of becoming doctors, nurses and medical experts in Asia, specifically in Japan, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tokyo is a dream destination to study at. With cutting-edge facilities and faculty members’ expertise, the Graduate School of Medicine promotes leading-edge research on illuminating the mechanisms behind the phenomena of life, as well as on cures for disease and improving our health in order to best prepare future leaders and experts in the ever-evolving field of medicine in Japan and the world.