PostgradMalaysia.com


Welcome to the Postgraduate Channel.

Postgraduate study is significantly important when you aim to reposition your career or to begin scientific research.

Studying in Japan

The Country

Japan is a long, narrow chain of islands located in the Pacific Ocean, and lies at about the same latitude as Northern Africa and Southern Europe. The islands cover a total land area of about 378,000 square kilometers and stretches 2,500 kilometers from north to south. Japan’s four main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, but there are also many other smaller islands.

About three-quarters of Japan’s land space consists of mountains and hills, and the amount of flat land available for cultivation and urban development is limited. Nearly 130 million people live in this confined area. Since Japan lies almost in the centre of a temperate zone, it is generally mild, but the seasonal changes are distinct. Spring and autumn are usually very pleasant, but the summer months (June-August) are hot and humid, while the winters (December-February) are quite cold.

Food wise, Japanese dishes consist mainly of rice, together with vegetables, fish, or meat, but Western and Chinese meals are also popular. In fact, a whole range of cuisine is available. Japanese culture consists of a fascinating mixture of old and new, and Eastern and Western. It is not unusual for young people to study traditional arts like the tea ceremony and flower arrangement and then head straight for the disco. The same goes for industry, where traces of its agricultural past remain, co-existing with its rapid industrialization over the last century.

In study aspects, Japan is an exciting place where ancient traditions and advanced technologies blend to create a stimulating environment. Japanese universities offer research in a broad spectrum of fields, which range from electronic engineering to international management.

Studying in Japan

The first step towards studying in Japan is getting to know which higher educational institutions international students can enrol in.

Academic year

The academic year in higher educational institutions in Japan begins in April and ends in March the following year (some institutions start its academic year in autumn). Some classes are offered year-round, but most universities use a two semester system, that is, the first semester (April - September) and the second semester (October - March). Vacations vary according to universities and departments, but they usually offer three vacation periods in the year: summer (late July - mid-September), winter (late December - early January) and spring (mid-February - March).

Education system

The Japanese education system is such that higher education in Japan begins after the completion of 12 years of schooling, i.e., six years at elementary school, three years at lower secondary school, and three years at upper secondary school. There are four types of higher educational institutions that international students can enter, and these are divided into national, local public, and private institutions.

Universities

  • Undergraduate course:
    • Full-time students: The length of study at universities is 4 years for most undergraduate departments, but 6 years for medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science.
    • Audit students (non-degree part-time students): Audit students can take certain courses, but universities differ on qualifications awarded and which courses are being offered. Credits are not recognized for completed courses.
    • Credit-earning students: Almost the same conditions as for audit students, although credits are recognized for completed courses.
  • Graduate Course
    Graduate schools have master’s and doctoral courses, and some universities also accept research students, audit and credit-earning students.

Junior Colleges
Usually courses at junior colleges are for two years, but some departments, such as the medical technology course or the nursing course, require three years. About 1/3 of Japan’s junior colleges are women’s colleges, offering courses such as home sciences, humanities, education, and social sciences.

Professional Training Colleges
Professional training schools offer vocational-technical education. The courses usually take two years to complete but more than 30% of the students take the 3 and 4- year course, to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for their chosen vocation.

Colleges of Technology
Colleges of technology offer five years of education to lower secondary school graduates with the aim of producing technicians who are capable of keeping pace with developments in science and technology. The majority of these schools are in the industrial field but there are also colleges of technology on mercantile marine. International students can only be admitted to colleges of technology starting from the third year of the programme. At present, international student are mainly sponsored by the Japanese government or their respective local governments. Privately-financed international students are rarely accepted into colleges of technology.

Selecting a school
After acquiring a list of schools and individual school prospectuses and application details, you should select a school bearing in mind your plans for the future. You may also want to consider the curriculum content; research facilities; scholarships; tuition and other necessary expenses; accommodation; entrance examination; Japanese-language programme or other special programmes for international students; and location of the institute. It is advisable to take the entrance examinations of several schools, since the examination results may prevent you from gaining admission to the school of your choice.

It should also be noted that although international students at present tend to concentrate in schools in the Tokyo area, other regions offer various advantages, such as lower prices and rent than Tokyo, fewer students and unique curricula, and closer ties with the local community. Therefore, you should consider schools not only in the vicinity of Tokyo but in other parts of the country as well.

Admission Requirements

Qualifications that International Students Need

Any one of the following qualifications must be met for admission into higher educational institutions in Japan.

  • Universities (undergraduate level) and Junior Colleges:
    • Students who have completed 12 years of school education overseas, and have completed secondary education.
    • Students who have completed 11 years of secondary education, have graduated from the “university preparatory course” at institutions approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and have reached 18 years of age.
    • Students who have passed the certification examination in their countries which is equivalent to the “Certificate for Students Achieving Proficiency Level of Upper Secondary School Graduates” in Japan.
    • Students recognized as having equivalent or better academic ability than upper secondary school graduates in regard to admission into universities.
    • Students recognized as having equivalent or better academic ability than upper secondary school graduates in an independent admission eligibility assessment conducted by the university, and have reached 18 years of age.
    * Students must have adequate proficiency in the Japanese language to study at undergraduate level.
  • Universities (graduate level)
    • For a Master’s programme, university graduates (4-year undergraduate programme) or students recognize as having equivalent or better academic abilities than university graduates.
    • For Doctoral courses, students must be recognized as having equivalent or better academic abilities than a master’s degree.
    • Students who have completed 16 years of school education overseas, or have completed 15 years of education overseas and recognized as having excellent results at graduate-level credits.
    • Students recognized as having equivalent or better academic abilities than university graduates in an independent admission eligibility assessment conducted by the graduate school, and have reached 22 years of age (24 years of age for a Doctoral course).
  • Professional Training Colleges
    • Students who have completed 12 years of school education overseas, and completed secondary education.
    • Students who have completed 11 years of secondary education, have graduated from the “university preparatory course” at institutions approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and have reached 18 years of age.
    • Students recognized as having equivalent or better academic ability than upper secondary school graduates in regard to admission into universities.
    • Students recognized as having equivalent or better academic ability than upper secondary school graduates in an independent admission eligibility assessment conducted by the university, and have reached 18 years of age.
    * Students must have adequate proficiency in the Japanese language to study at professional training colleges.
  • Colleges of Technology
    Qualifications for admission to colleges of technology are similar to those for admission to universities and junior colleges. As of today, few colleges of technology accept privately-financed international students.

Entrance examination

The entrance exam is a combination of several of the following;

UniversitiesProfessional Training Colleges
- Application screening
- Interview
- Practical test
- Japanese Language Proficiency Test
- Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)
- National Center Test for University Admissions (Undergraduate)
- Oral test on major field (Postgraduate)
- Test on academic ability
- Short essay
- Tests on other competence and aptitude

Cost of Study

The money due for universities, junior colleges, and professional training colleges includes admission and tuition fees, fees for use of facilities and equipment, and other expenses. The estimated average cost for the first year of education at national graduate schools and universities is approximately 817,800 Japanese Yen. For the second year onwards, the student will pay approximately 70 percent of these figures, as the admission fee is paid in the first year only.

Scholarships

As few scholarship programmes are available prior to the trip to Japan, most students would first go to Japan at their own expense and subsequently look for scholarships they can apply for. 51%of privately financed students receive scholarships averaging 60,000 Japanese Yen per month. A majority of scholarships in Japan only sponsor part of the student’s daily expenses or tuition fee. As scholarships offering full coverage of the student’s necessary expenses are very few, drafting out a solid financing plan that includes self-funding is essential.

Accommodation

Accommodation for international students is diverse. There is accommodation operated by universities, student housing operated by local governments and JASSO, public housing, etc. About 77.1%of international students stay in private housing. When looking for private housing, you can contact your school’s international student office or real estate agencies.

Immigration Procedure

As an international student, you must observe the following procedures to enter Japan:

  • The admission approval from the Japanese educational institution you have been accepted into
  • A valid passport
  • Visa from Japanese Embassy or Consulate from Malaysia

Conclusion

Though their objectives are different, international students can enjoy a rewarding experience in Japan that not only benefits themselves but also the people they come into contact with. Furthermore, through their role as private ambassadors, international students can contribute a great deal to the promotion of mutual understanding and the development of friendly relations between Japan and their country.

For more information

Malaysians who wish to enter universities, graduate schools, junior colleges, colleges of technology and professional training colleges in Japan are advised to make further enquiries through the JASSO Japan Educational Information Centre (JEIC), Kuala Lumpur. JEIC is the Kuala Lumpur representative office of the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), which is the central organization in carrying out projects relating to international education under the auspices of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and other higher educational institutions. JASSO’s purpose is to advance international exchange in education.

JEIC was established in April 1995 specifically to assist Malaysians interested in pursuing their education in Japan with the latest and most appropriate information on tertiary studies there and Japanese language institutes. The consultation services are free, and potential students can also avail themselves of the Centre’s collection of latest brochures, reference library and guidebooks as well as free Internet access to obtain information on Japanese learning institutions.

CONTACT DETAILS

Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
Japan Educational Information Centre (JEIC), Kuala Lumpur
Suite 1101, Menara Amcorp
AMCORP Trade Centre
No. 18, Jalan Persiaran Barat
46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 603-7957 0304
Fax: 603-7957 1631
Email: jeic1631@streamyx.com
Website: www.jasso.go.jp or www.studyinjapan.org.my