What is MEXT Scholarship?

First, it is important that you understand the basics of the scholarship. The MEXT Scholarship is an initiative by the Japanese government in order to support international students who study in higher education institutions in Japan. MEXT stands for Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan. MEXT Scholarship is given for international students from all around the world from multiple routes, based on the recommendation of the Japanese Embassy/Consulate General, University, or Authority.

Within which, a route that is considered by many international students is through University Recommendation. The MEXT University Recommendation Scholarship is a comprehensive scholarship sponsored by the government of Japan, in which Japanese universities recommend individual applicants to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (known as the “Monbukagakusho” in Japanese or by its English language acronym “MEXT”) for scholarship. After a subsequent review of those students recommended for scholarship, awardees are selected by MEXT. 

In short, applicants will directly apply to a Japanese university and undergo the admissions process of the school. After which, the university will recommend the candidates to MEXT. 

The benefits that the scholarship entails is as follows: 

  • Exemption from paying tuition, entrance examination, and matriculation fees.
  • Monthly stipend: Research Students: JPY 143,000/month, Master’s Degree/ Professional Degree Students: JPY 144,000/month, PhD Students: JPY 145,000/month, Undergraduate Students: JPY 117,000/month
  • Cost of Living Adjustment: JPY 2,000 – 3,000 in selected areas
  • Round-trip flight ticket to Japan (covered by MEXT or the university). You have to fly in and out of your home country to the closest airport to your university in Japan.

Important Points to Remember 

First, it is recommended that you type the form using Excel if possible. This makes the form clearer and easier to read for the admissions board. Furthermore, it is also more convenient for you to make edits if necessary. 

Second, rather than abbreviations, for proper nouns, including cities, states, countries, etc. you should write them in full form. For proper nouns that are not Japanese, you should write them in their original forms, instead of translating to Japanese. 

Page 1: Basic Information

Photo: You need to paste the photo of the designated size onto the form using glue, or double-sided tape. Do not use staples.

1. Name: In the alphabet line, your name has to match your passport with no alterations. In the native language line, write your name exactly how it appears in your language if it is not English. If your language is English, write the name exactly the same as the alphabet line.

2. Gender

3. Marital Status

4. Nationality: Write the name of the country where you hold citizenship. 

5. Japanese Nationality: If you have Japanese nationality alongside other nationalities, you should write it here.

6. Date of Birth: Age in Japan is counted as you pass your birthday. You need to enter how old you will be as of April 1 of the year that you choose to be enrolled in the program. 

7.(1). Current Address: Fill in your address as of the day you submit the form.

In line (2), in case you are going to move and leave your current address, you need to fill your permanent address, such as your parents’ address. This is for MEXT to send documents to you even after you have left your current address.

Your permanent address needs to be in your home country in order for MEXT to sponsor your flight ticket from your country to Japan when the program starts. 

For important contacts such as your email address and phone number, fill in the information where you can always be reached by MEXT.

Page 2: Scholarship Records

8.(1) Past awarded record: If you are not sure about your past scholarship type, you can ask the embassy or consulate for more guidance. If you answer “yes”, you will have to elaborate on part 8.(2) and 8.(3) of the scholarship(s).

9. Applying for Other MEXT Scholarship for 2019: It is likely that your answer is “No”, as you are not applying for other MEXT scholarships at the same time. 

10.(1) Overlapping receipt of other scholarships: You can only receive MEXT scholarship and not another scholarship at the same time. However, you can receive one-time grants as long as they do not conflict with the payment of MEXT scholarship. 

10.(2) Other Scholarship 

Page 3: Academic Record

3. University Entrance Qualification Examinations: In case you did not take the regular high school exam, you will fill in this.

5. Attended Multiple Schools

6. Attaching an Additional Sheet: If you have multiple schools that you cannot fit in question 5, fill it in here. Remember to include all categories of necessary information just like question 5. 

Primary Education: Typically this is your elementary school education that usually lasts 5-6 years depending on the country. 

Lower Secondary Education: This can be understood as your junior high school education.  Typically 2 or 3 years.

Upper Secondary Education: This is your high school education and any college prep school you attended. 

Tertiary Education: Enter college or university undergraduate education. Include community college or vocational school if applicable.  If you have studied abroad in your undergraduate studies, also include that.

Location: the name of the city and country that your schools are located.

Dates and Duration

Status (*As of Arrival in Japan)

Degree: Fill in the name of the degree you have earned.

Total Years of Education

Page 4: Academic Background (Continued)

12. Field of specialization studied in the past: List your focus, major(s) and minor, plus the department, faculty, college, etc., that you belonged to during your last degree.

13. Have you ever written a thesis? This question refers to a graduation thesis at the bachelor’s or master’s level, not to shorter term papers.

14. Publications: If you have any publications, including articles or conference proceedings, or any works that have been accepted for publication but not yet published, write them here. Don’t forget to attach abstracts of all papers you list here.

Page 4: Your MEXT Plan

15. The first course you plan to take in Japan: Where do you want to start your studies? 

“Non-regular (Non-degree) course” can also be called “Research student” by universities. 

Master’s Degree Course: This would include MA, MS, MSc, etc. In Japan, it is a two-year course and, as a MEXT scholar, you would need to finish in two years or you would lose the scholarship. If you think you need more time, go for a semester or two as a Non-regular student, first.

Doctoral Course: PhD program lasts 3 years in Japan.

Professional Graduate Course: This covers all non-academic graduate degrees, such as MBA, MFA, JD, MD, etc. at either Master’s or Doctoral level.

16. Preferred Month of Arrival: This depends on the semester in which it is possible for you to start your degree in Japan. In case you do not have a high Japanese proficiency, it is possible that you will have to take one semester before your degree starts in order to study Japanese. 

17. Term you wish to study in Japan: You can extend your term later if necessary.

Page 4: Employment Records

18. Do you currently have a job? You should only fill in yes if you are working full-time.

19. Employment Record: List your most recent two full-time positions here. The most recent position should be in the top line.

Page 5: Language Ability

20. Language Ability: Fill in your language ability in Japanese. 

21. Japanese language qualifications: Typically when you have taken the JLPT tests.

22. English language qualifications: Use the official test scores of TOEFL or IELTS.

Page 5: Family

23. Accompanying Dependents: MEXT (and universities) discourages bringing your dependents with you when you first come to Japan and are not responsible for them legally or financially.  

24. Emergency Contact in home country: This should be someone that MEXT can reach easily in case an emergency happens to you, which should be an immediate family member, such as your parents or siblings, or legal guardians. 

Page 5: Past Visits to Japan

List your two most recent trips to Japan and write the purpose based on the type of your visa.

Page 5: Signature Block

Sign with your physical and not digital signature. 

Conclusion

As the MEXT scholarship is very generous and prestigious, it is no surprise that the selection process is rigorous and competitive. As the MEXT scholarship is very generous and prestigious, it is no surprise that the selection process is rigorous and competitive. Filling out the application form is the first step to create an application. The path can be rough, but the rewards of a MEXT scholarship will certainly make you not regret it.