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.

For soon-to-be international high school graduates who are interested, the University of Tokyo also offers some undergraduate programs to suit the needs of a globalized learning environment of the school. 

Undergraduate Programs 

Programs in English at Komaba (PEAK)

Starting in October 2012, the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo offers an undergraduate program taught entirely in English at Komaba campus. PEAK students graduated from high schools and secondary institutions outside of Japan and come from diverse backgrounds around the world. In the most recent admission statistics, out of 274 applicants, 60 students were admitted into the PEAK program in 2020.

Within the program, students can choose one of the two sub-programs, “International Program on Japan in East Asia” and “International Program on Environmental Sciences”. In the first two years, students will take courses in liberal arts, referred to as the junior division. In the junior division, most of the courses are also open to non-PEAK students, which encourages a robust learning environment between PEAK students and their counterparts outside of the program. In the latter two years, they will take courses in their specialized majors based on the sub-program.

PEAK has a very low student to faculty ratio in which students can engage in stimulating and rigorous group discussions and are under the direct supervision of their instructors who are pioneering experts in the field. PEAK students are considered to possess a solid academic background, a multicultural understanding and multilingual skills, which makes them attractive to prospective employers and graduate schools depending on whether they want to continue their pathway in research or employment.

For the sub-program International Program on Japan in East Asia, students will focus on studying Japan within an interdisciplinary context of East Asia throughout its history. Students will acquire a holistic understanding of Japanese/East Asian politics, economy, society, and culture in a global context. This sub-program takes on three approaches: interdisciplinary cultural studies approach, area studies approach, and social sciences approach. In order to fulfill graduation requirements for this major, students have to take Japan in East Asia (JEA) core courses, such as East Asian Thoughts, History of Modern Japan, Society in East Asia, etc. as well as elective courses in cultural studies, social and historical studies, etc.

In order to apply, students will have to submit an application package through the online system of the University. If they pass the first screening round, they will be invited for an interview. 

Through the screening process, the university will also determine the scholarships awarded to prospective students with no alternative screening process. 

In the International Program on Environmental Sciences, students will learn about environmental sciences from a holistic perspective that covers environmental, economic, ethical, and legal issues among nation-states. In addition to that, they will also take a scientific and engineering approach in learning about biodiversity conservation, geochemical cycling, geophysics, and environmental technologies. The program aims to educate environmental specialists and policymakers who can seek and implement multi-faceted solutions to complex environmental issues in the global world.

This sub-program introduces students to six features used in teaching and learning, which are: environmental principles, management and policy, measurement and evaluation, material systems and dynamics, energy and resources, and health and security. These key areas ensure that students can touch on both social and scientific aspects of environmental studies. 

In order to push for the interactions of PEAK students with the campus community, as well as equip them with a deeper understanding of life and culture in Japan, the program also strongly pushes for Japanese language courses. Students with different backgrounds and needs will be accommodated accordingly, hence they can be assured that if they strive hard, they will be able to graduate with language skills in both English and Japanese. PEAK students will be divided into different classes based on their language proficiency and engage in learning Japanese in all four skills, listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In the senior division, JEA students can also take specialized Japanese classes that will specifically help them in the studies of their major. For instance, they can take “Integrated Academic Skills,” where they will learn academic writing and oral presentation.

Global Science Course

This program targets undergraduate students who have completed the first two years of their degree and wish to transfer and attend the University of Tokyo from their third year. Upon fulfilling graduation requirements, they will be given a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from the University of Tokyo. In order to qualify for the program, students need to have completed basic undergraduate classes in Chemistry and at least two subjects within mathematics, biology, or physics before applying to GSC. Prospective students must have acquired 62 credits in reference to the credit system of the University of Tokyo in which 2 credits consist of 13 weeks of 105-minute lectures.

An attractive feature of the GSC program is that all GSC students will receive a monthly stipend of 150,000 JPY and they will be guaranteed accommodation. 

Conclusion 

It is noticeable that the University of Tokyo pays great attention to giving students an extensive education in which they can navigate through liberal arts and then they can dive deeper into their chosen expertise. Being able to be a part of the campus in Tokyo and surrounded by other like-minded and ambitious peers, undergraduate students at the English programs of the University of Tokyo are off to a fresh and bright start for their personal and professional development in life.