About Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (usually abbreviated as APU) is a private university located in Beppu, Oita, on the southern island Kyushu of Japan. With a relatively young history of being founded in 2000, APU has quickly established its standing as one of the top international private universities in Japan. 

The university population is at approximately 5,850 students, with a 50/50 domestic and international ratio. International students studying at APU come from 90 countries and regions, which brings the university a reputation of an international campus environment. Out of 172 full-time faculty members and teaching professors, half of them are also foreign nationals of more than 30 countries.

A astonishing sncenery of the APU Campus at night
Ritsumeikan APU Campus

World Rankings of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

According to the Times Higher Education (THE), a UK-based higher education journal, APU stands at the 301st position on the Impact Rankings of 2019. It currently holds the 21st position for Japan University Rankings 2020, a jump from the 27th position in 2019. The performance of APU on both the domestic and international scales is impressive considering its young history. THE evaluates and ranks universities based on four categories: Resources, Engagement, Outcomes, and Environment. 

In the domain of universities in Japan, APU ranked 4th in Japan in Engagement, based on the results of a survey of enrolled students and a reputation survey of high school teachers. It was also ranked 2nd in Environment for having a friendly, dynamic, and inclusive study environment on campus.

APU Millennium Hall

In addition, APU’s rank in the Outcomes category made a leap from the 77th to the 44th. Students who graduated from APU are increasingly earning recognition from various companies in Japan whose HR department participated in the appraisal in question. 

The THE Japan University Rankings emphasizes the capacity of the university in fostering student growth and an active learning environment, which is different from other rankings that are focused on the research output of faculty members.

Graduate School of Management Named in QS Asia Top 30 MBA Ranking

One notable program of APU that is recognized worldwide is its Graduate School of Management, which is listed in the  Top 30 MBA Ranking for MBA programs in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand released by UK-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Besides APU, there are only three other Japanese universities included in the rankings, Waseda Business School, Doshisha Business School, and Nagoya University of Commerce and Business; all of which have a longer history of their MBA programs compared to APU.

Foreigner Working in Japan

Furthermore, in 2016, the Graduate School of Management was also acknowledged by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). From this recognition, the Graduate School at APU has become a part of a global body of institutions that provide high-quality business education according to international standards. Outstanding students in the Graduate School of Management, as well as undergraduate students in the College of International Management at APU, are also eligible to have the opportunity to join Beta Gamma Sigma, the honors society for top students at AACSB-accredited schools.

Domestic Rankings of APU 

In the 2020 University Rankings released by Asahi Shimbun Publications in Japan, APU received high valuations in the following categories out of 777 of Japan’s universities based on different criteria. APU was ranked 1st for having the highest number of regular international students of 2,721 students, surpassing Waseda University, which is a well-known private university in Tokyo founded in 1882 with approximately 52,000 students. APU was also at the leading position of other categories, which are the number of international students as a percent of the total undergraduate population (at 48.3%) and the number of international faculty members as a percentage of the total faculty population (at 48.8%).

APU campus

In addition to its large body of international students, APU differs from typical Japanese universities in its strong collaboration with its partner research centers or institutions abroad. These connections have led to more co-authored publications thanks to international collaboration. The percentage of total publications authored internationally reflects the international co-authorship rate. According to Nikkei Trendy September 2019, APU was ranked 3rd at 46.7% out of the total number of publications of 285.

Characteristics of APU 

The success of APU in both international and domestic rankings can be attributed to a couple of its unique characteristics that are present in a handful of Japanese universities. One of the most important attributes is its international learning environment, as students and teachers commit to forming strong connections with one another and deepening multicultural and multifaceted understanding.

APU’s bilingual education system with undergraduate classes in both English and Japanese provides students with an opportunity to acquire a high level of language proficiency as well as the essential knowledge to apply those skills in both academia and the business settings. Its quarter academic system of two semesters (spring and fall) divided into two 8-week quarters each allows students to have a lighter workload while having more time to dedicate themselves to classes and performing better academically. Students can choose to enter the university in spring or fall, which allows a flexible continuation of their studies if they come from institutions overseas.

The strong support network that APU provides its students also paves the way for their academic success. APU regularly holds talks by heads of state, policymakers, business leaders, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and many more significant figures in order to help students broaden their perspective of the world.


APU has been constantly maintaining and improving its efforts in cultivating the quality of higher education that its students receive. With a welcoming study environment and a diverse faculty and student population, APU is expected to strive further and earn a more widespread international reputation in upcoming years.


“About APU – Multicultural Environment” – APU Homepage 


“Awards and Ranking” – APU Homepage 


“Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU)” – Times Higher Education Rankings


“QS Global MBA Rankings: Asia, Australia & New Zealand in 2018” – Top MBA