Soka University was founded in 1971 by Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai’s third president. Soka Gakkai is a Japanese Buddhist religious movement, founded in 1930, which upholds the teachings of 13th-century Japanese priest Nichiren. Soka in Japanese means “creation of values”, and Gakkai means “society” or “association”. Adhering to the mission of the organization from which it was founded, the university is committed to creating the good in humanity and remaining steadfast in the face of obstacles. The university strives towards educating students who will eventually create values and serve others to society.
Soka University is ranked 75th among Japanese universities, according to Times Higher Education Rankings.
Located in Hachioji, suburbs of Tokyo, the sprawling campus size at 870,000 square meters is a combination of both Soka University and Soka Women’s College. It takes roughly one hour to get to Shinjuku, the city center of Tokyo, from the campus of Soka University by train and bus.
Compared with a small number of 7,549 students in both undergraduate and graduate levels, the university boasts ample space for learning facilities and green areas for students to engage in studies and on-campus school activities.
Tuition Fees and Financial Aids
As a private university, annual tuition fees for Soka University ranges between 1.1 – 1.5 million JPY per year depending on the program.
Various scholarships for international students are available, some of which are offered by the university after matriculation. International, privately-financed students who show high academic performance and demonstrate their financial difficulties are the likely recipients of these scholarships. Monthly stipends are decided by the university and vary depending on the GPA performance of the student. For example: if the student has an overall GPA of 4.0 or above, they will receive 50,000 JPY per month x 12 months = 600,000 JPY per year.
In addition, there is also an Academic Fee Exemption Scholarship for International Students. This scholarship exempts tuition fees based on household income. Candidates apply at the same time as their undergraduate applications. The results will be announced simultaneously. The scholarship will run for one academic year, after which the student has to reapply.
Programs for International Students
Students can also choose to take specialized classes in Japanese if they want to enhance their professional knowledge in Japanese. The list of programs currently offered by Soka University includes:
- SUCCEED program of the Faculty of Economic
- Faculty of Business Administration Global Program English Track (GPET)
- Faculty of Law Peace and Human Rights (EMP)
- Faculty of Letters AKADEMIA (EMP)
- Faculty of International Liberal Arts (FILA)
Students who would like to apply for undergraduate programs need to submit the following application package:
- Application form
- Statement of Purpose and Study Plan: for each department you are applying for
- SAT score results
- Recommendation letter (designated form) from a high school teacher
- Proof of English proficiency: TOEFL or IELTS
Soka University currently offers four graduate programs in English:
Master’s Program in International Language Education (TESOL)
Students in this program can acquire an understanding of a theoretical framework in second language acquisition, as well as research methodology on second language teaching and learning that they can apply for practical purposes.
Master’s Program in Economics and Business (IBSP)
All students are admitted in September with all classes conducted in English. Students can choose courses and create their curriculum from three main areas:
- Accounting & Finance Area
- Management & Strategy Area: management strategies, business ethics, human resources management, etc.
- International Business & Economics Area: international trade, economic history, economic policies, etc.
The program also includes an internship in Japan, which helps ensure that students can enjoy a synergy between their academic training and the application in the real business world. They will be able to acquire an in-depth understanding of Asian businesses in the context of Tokyo as one of the main financial centers of Asia.
Master’s Program in International Peace Studies (SIPS)
In order to cultivate professionals who are able to create sound domestic and international policies, the School of International Peace Studies at Soka University offers programs in International Relations, which primarily considers conflicts among nation-states, and Peace Studies, which deals with various types of conflicts among state and non-state actors. Students are required to engage in small group seminars where they will create, present and protect policies on an individual basis while also respecting diverse values.
- Master’s Program in Engineering (Information Systems Science Major, Bioinformatics Major, Environmental Engineering for Symbiosis Major)
Students can choose one of the three majors in the Graduate School of Engineering. The school places increased importance on the symbiosis between humans and nature in its education and research approaches.
Soka University administers a number of offices that organize a wide range of events and activities in order to support international students. The International Affairs Office oversees a majority of administrative functions related to the acceptance of international students from overseas, scholarship programs, and support for daily life, including student dormitories, as well as support for learning Japanese.
To increase the engagement of international students on campus, Soka University also hosts welcome parties for newly admitted students, New Year’s parties, end-of-year celebrations, or even tours to places of attraction. These activities help bring international students closer to Japanese people and culture and strengthen the bond between the student community and the school.
Soka University offers separate dormitories for male and female students. Students who are enrolled in the Preparatory Language Program, Undergraduate Non-degree Program, and exchange programs are given priority to receive a place in the dormitory. Dormitories vary in occupancy (single or double), and in location (on or off campus), yet they are all convenient to reach the campus and convenience stores. Detailed information on terms and conditions of dormitories are sent to prospective students upon their admission to the university.
With its enclosed campus environment, a close-knitted academic body and a dedication to cultivating humane values, Soka University is gaining its popularity with both Japanese and international students. Soka University continues to appreciate and uphold Buddhist values that it inherits from Soka Gakkai and conveys the message through its educational efforts.