Study in Japan: the ultimate guide for a Short Course in 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Studying in Japan in 2023

Browse all short courses in Japan

  • Apr-Feb Academic Year
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  • 203,000 Int. Students
  • Unavailable Students
  • 125,700,000 Population

Study in Japan

Japan is a country of contrasts, preserving old traditions related to the unique Japanese culture, like the Buddhist heritage, and, at the same time, the nation is a leader in scientific research, mostly technology, famous for manufacturing robots.

More than 100,000 international students from every corner in the world enrol in Japanese universities and colleges every year. Higher educational institutions here focus on academic performance based on innovative and creative ideas, but they also set much value in developing human quality.

Since 1949, there have been twenty-two Japanese (or Japanese born) winners of the Nobel Prize, especially in the fields of medicine, biology, chemistry and physics. All these are great reasons to consider studying in Japan. Want more?

Why study in Japan?

1. Japan takes education very seriously

The literacy rate in Japan is almost 100%. And that's not all! It has the largest number of Nobel prize winners in Asia, and Japanese students are among the best when it comes to Mathematics and Sciences.

These examples highlight the high emphasis on education and why studying in Japan will be an intense and enriching experience.

2. Live and study in a safe environment

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and levels of violence. This is beautifully complemented by a well-established medical system, with affordable costs and modern practices — all playing an essential role in the high life expectancy of Japanese citizens.

3. Scholarships and grants

Various scholarships and grants help international students cover their tuition or living costs at Japanese universities. Some partly waive the tuition fees (30% or 50%), others waive the entire fees (100%).

You can apply for scholarships both before and after arriving in Japan, so take the time to explore your options.

4. Learn Japanese

It doesn't matter whether you're simply passionate about the Japanese language or you want to use it as a key asset on your CV — studying in Japan will provide all the opportunities you need to learn the basics and then slowly master this unique language.

5. Japan's culture is fascinating

Being inhabited for thousands of years, it's hardly surprising that the Japanese culture is so old, rich, and captivating. From its history to its temples, from modern habits to century-old traditions, from summer festivals to local ceremonies — everything is there, waiting to be discovered, understood and appreciated.

We recommend visiting top attractions like Kinkaku-ji, the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, Mount Fuji, Sensō-ji — a historic Buddhist temple, the Tokyo Skytree, the Imperial Palace, the Osaka Castle, etc.

Which universities and colleges to attend in Japan?

Japan has over 700 universities and higher education colleges. You can enrol at:

  • Colleges of Technology – specialised higher education institutions that prepare students for technical careers. You can also apply to undergraduate and graduate degrees in Engineering, Accountancy, Business Administration, Nursing, Medicine, Architecture, and Law.
  • Specialized and professional training colleges – offer vocational courses in fields like Computer Science, Engineering, Education, Languages.
  • Junior colleges – award mainly associate degrees in subject areas like Economics, Nursing, Liberal Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
  • Universities – provide undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide range of fields of study.
  • Graduate schools – offer only Master’s and PhD programmes in numerous subject areas.

Examples of universities in Japan we recommend:

What is it like to study in Japan?

Within Japanese universities, you will have to respect a tight class schedule and attend several courses and seminars each day. Most Japanese professors are friendly with foreign students; but during courses, you are advised to pay attention and ask questions at the end of the lecture.

Apart from the final exam, most courses will also require passing a mid-term exam as well and you should expect assignments, projects or research work every week.

What to study in Japan?

In Japan, universities cover numerous courses that include a variety of fields including Medicine, Business studies, Information and Communication Technology, Engineering and more.

Here are some of the most popular study options in Japan:

Where to study in Japan?

Big Japanese cities perfectly blend a unique urban culture along with famous and emblematic Buddhist temples or gardens. You can literally engage in tons of enjoyable social and cultural activities.

Check out some of these cities and learn more about what it is like to study there:

How to apply

For most universities in Japan, you can simply apply online by submitting the application form along with all requested application documents. Additionally, you can check an official website dedicated to higher education studies in Japan that offers detailed information about courses provided by all universities in Japan.

Carefully check all the required application documents and make sure they are all translated into English. For instance, an internationally recognised Bachelor's degree or equivalent is the main requirement when enrolling for a Master’s degree at a university in Japan.

  • Make sure to know what the language requirements are, and whether you need to prove skills in English before enrolling in a degree programme.
  • Show how you performed as a student, and be sure to know what your Grade Point Average (GPA) was during your studies.
  • To help your chances of going to Japan, be sure to apply to more than one university!

Make sure you qualify for a Japanese university

Take Preparation Courses

These kinds of courses enable degree-seeking students to get an extra educational boost just before they start their Master’s degree or other post-graduate degree programmes.

Try a pre-M.B.A., pre-Law, or pre-Medicine programme, as well as any other foundation or preparation courses that will allow you to study in the degree programme of your choice.

Improve your English through an English-language prep course

If you’re attending a degree programme in Japan, you will sometimes need to prove that your language skills are good enough to participate in the classes and understand the lectures. These courses will also prepare you for any of the English-language tests that universities require.

English-language tests

There are over 250 English-taught programmes in Japan.

Universities in Japan will want to see proof that you have good English-language skills, so that you can easily succeed in their courses. Almost all Japanese universities accept these official English exams:

Living in Japan

Let's take a closer look at tuition and living expenses in Japan:

Tuition fees in Japan

Tuition fees depend on the type of Japanese university and the field of study. To give you a general idea, international students usually pay:

  • 7,200 USD for the first year of a Bachelor's at a national university
  • 8,200 USD for the first year of a Bachelor's at a local public university
  • 9,700–14,400 USD for the first year of a Bachelor's at a private university. Some exceptions are Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical degrees.

The total tuition (includes all years of study) for Bachelor's programmes is around:

  • 21,000 USD for full-time Bachelors at national universities
  • 22,000 USD for full-time Bachelors at public universities
  • 33,000–50,500 USD for full-time Bachelors at private universities
  • 94,000–207,000 USD for full-time Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmaceutical Bachelors at private universities

The total tuition (includes all years of study) for Master's programmes is around:

  • 11,800 USD for full-time Masters at national universities
  • 12,600 USD for full-time Masters at public universities
  • 13,000–23,300 USD for full-time Masters at private universities

Accommodation costs

Many universities in Japan offer accommodation for international students. There are rooms and apartments with low rents but availability is usually limited.  A single room in a university dormitory is around 270 USD/month and a double room costs 180 USD/month.

Another option for affordable housing is sharing an apartment; a room in a shared apartment costs between 200 and 500 USD/month.


Foreign students who plan to live in Japan for more than 3 months need a health insurance plan. Once you arrive, register for the National Health Insurance at the nearest local office and pay the insurance premium.

You will have to pay the insurance premium (around 190 USD) monthly once registration is completed.

Food costs

Local supermarkets in Japan have affordable prices, and on average you only spend around 240 USD on your monthly groceries. Most restaurants have high prices; a three- courses meal costs on average 40 USD. However, you can find plenty of street food at lower prices.

Other living expenses in Japan

  • monthly utilities: 50–65 USD
  • commuting: 45 USD
  • recreation and entertainment: 50 USD

Overall, international students should set aside between 600 and 900 USD for monthly living costs in Japan.

About Japan

Japan is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, divided into four main islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Honshu is home to Tokyo and many of Japan’s other largest cities, including Yokahama, Osaka, and Nagoya.

The meaning of the name Japan is "sun-origin", the reason why the nation is known as the "Land of the Rising Sun". Although the country’s territory is smaller than California, Japan is presently the 10 the most populous country in the world, with 127.3 million people.

From 1970’s to 2010, Japan was the world’s second largest economy. Today, Japan is famous for scientific and technology advance and innovations, especially in the fields of electronics, automobiles, machinery, earthquake engineering, industrial robotics, and biomedical research.

Most locals don’t speak English, so you will have to learn basic Japanese to adjust easier during your stay in Japan.

In Japan, you would experience four distinct seasons, with mild winters and rare snowfalls, humid springs, and very warm summers. In some regions, winters are cold with frequent snowfalls.

Iconic places to visit

Japan is a unique place that offers memorable experiences to any visitor. You’ll be surrounded by skyscrapers and modern restaurants, but you can also take trips to see Buddhist temples that each showcase Japanese history and culture. Additionally, Japan has fantastic natural landscapes so there are plenty of things you can enjoy, both indoor and outdoor.

Some of Japan’s iconic places are:

  • The Hiroshima Peace Memorial
  • Mount Fuji
  • Temple of the Golden Pavilion.
  • Imperial Palace Tokyo
  • The Island Shrine of Itsukushima
  • Osaka Castle
  • Sensoji Temple
Fun facts
  • Tokyo, Japan’s capital city, is the world’s largest metropolitan area.
  • Japan has one of the highest life expectancy, since more than 50,000 people there are over 100 years old.
  • Square-shaped watermelons are grown by Japanese farmers for easier stack and store.
  • Sleeping on the job is acceptable in Japan, as it's viewed as exhaustion from working hard.
  • Japanese people have 20 different ways for saying "sorry."
  • The term karaoke means "empty orchestra" in Japanese.
  • Japan is home to over 3,000 McDonald’s restaurants, the largest number in any country outside the U.S..

Interesting programmes for you

Find Short Courses in Japan

Numerous education initiatives in the world were formed to promote international cooperation and academic exchange between universities as well as attract students and staff worldwide. This focus on international student education provides high quality programmes in various fields of study and prepares students for future careers anywhere in the world.

Studying, for instance, in Australia, Asia, Europe or America represents a wide range of opportunities to see the world and interact with other students from different countries. Different study options allow students to hold a job during their study years in order to pay for their education, if they wish to do so. Online programmes help you get an international education without having to leave home.

The number of English-taught short courses in Asia, Australia, Europe and The United States are continuously rising in popularity in the last few years. Many countries offer English-taught study programmes, including: Australia, China, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States and more. Other English short courses may be found in the rest of the European countries as well.

Short courses / Summer Courses

Short courses offer a great variety of subjects for a short and fixed period. This period can vary between a week to six weeks, depending on country, institution and course. This is an excellent opportunity to gain academic, cultural and social experience if you are not able to access long-term study opportunities. A wide variety of countries and institutions offer summer and short courses in all kinds of subject areas. It is a great opportunity to get some background information for your own research, to learn a language or to gain knowledge on a related topic.

Sometimes summer and short courses provide students with short-term housing. Therefore, it is useful to find out if housing is included in the fee of the summer or short course you wish to apply for.

Discover other countries

The Netherlands is a very popular study destination. Internationals choose this beautiful country because Dutch universities are some of the best in Europe, the living standards are high, foreigners are always welcome, and you get to live in one of the happiest and safest countries in the world. The Netherlands is also renowned for innovative technologies and engineering solutions, which is reflected in the wide range of Engineering degrees offered by universities. English is spoken by around 90% of Dutch citizens, so forget about language barriers. Also, bike lanes and the “cycling culture” will help you to stay fit and healthy, and there are diverse job opportunities and internships for international students.
Finland is an excellent choice for all internationals and especially for EU/EEA students who can study at local public universities for free. The beautiful Nordic country has one of the best education systems in the world and ranks among the safest and happiest nations in the world. You can also choose from over 400 English-taught programmes. In your spare time, you can explore the breathtaking Finnish nature and landscapes, as well as the numerous lakes that give the country the nickname ‘The Land of a Thousand Lakes.’ From here, you can easily travel to neighbouring countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, or Estonia.
Ireland is among the top countries in the world in terms of quality of life, peace, safety, and development. It represents an appealing blend of beautiful landscapes, English-speaking environments, and a strong, welcoming, and rich culture — of which the Irish people are very proud. International students also enjoy the full support of Irish universities, which hire and train staff that are able to help with accommodation, studies, visa details, or any other challenge.
Norway is a paradise for anyone who wants to study abroad for free. Public universities don’t charge any tuition fees. This policy applies to all international students, regardless of their nationality. The academic standard is very high, and professors are easy to approach, always willing to go the extra mile for their students. Additionally, classes are organised in small groups, which further improves learning and cooperation. You can choose from a wide range of English-taught programmes, and you don’t need to worry about language barriers outside of classes either, because most Norwegians speak English as a second language. Internationals should find it easy to adapt to Norway’s society, which is based on equality and fair opportunities — reflected both in the legal system and in people’s behaviour.
Greece is the cradle of European civilization and the birthplace of philosophy. Greek universities and colleges have a long history in academics, attracting international students from all over the world. Classes are not typically formal, so you can expect open discussions between students and professors, in line with the classical philosophical debate tradition. EU/EEA students don’t pay any tuition at public universities, while non-EU/EEA citizens pay low fees. In Greece, you’ll also enjoy the well-known local hospitality and the wonderful Mediterranean climate. There are many landmarks and monuments waiting to be explored, including the Acropolis, Delphi, the Parthenon, and many others.
Sweden is a very ambitious, eco-friendly, and visionary country. For example, by 2040, it aims to produce all its energy from renewable sources. Universities play an important role in achieving development goals, thanks to their world-class research facilities. If you’re from the EU/EEA, you can study at public universities for free. As a student, you will discover and easily adopt the three main values of Swedish society: freedom, equality, and sustainability. These values are reflected in every aspect of the local society, and you’ll quickly learn to appreciate them. Language barriers are also almost non-existent since around 80% of Swedes speak English.
Switzerland has one of the most advanced free-market economies, which is reflected in the high living standards and the satisfaction of people living here. In terms of higher education, Swiss universities are constantly ranked among the best in Europe, and they shine in areas like Business, Tourism, Culinary Arts, and Engineering. When compared to Western universities, tuition fees in Switzerland are affordable, and all studies — especially PhD programmes — are world-class. You’ll have the opportunity to develop in a multilingual environment and try learning international languages like German, French, or Italian. If you settle down here, the unemployment rates are low, and salaries are well above the European average.
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Universities in the UK are some of the most highly regarded in the world, and for good reasons. Some of the world's most highly regarded research takes place in British universities, which are regularly featured in international rankings. While studying in the UK, you will be able to develop in a highly multicultural environment with high chances of pursuing lucrative careers after graduation. The teaching in the UK is designed to encourage new idea generation, encouraging individual research and group cooperation, through class discussions and creative assignments.
Canada is one of the most popular study destinations in the world due to its high focus on the quality of its universities and its emphasis on attracting international students who can later immigrate. Canadians are very welcoming to international students and they invest a lot into making sure students are safe, treated fairly, and enjoy their stay in the country. Study in one of the strongest economies in the world while enjoying a high living standard and a flexible study environment. Classes have smaller student groups ensuring everyone gets the attention they need, and encouraging group assignments and debates.
United States
United States
The United States is home to some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the world. With over 150 universities featured in international rankings, the U.S. has some of the best business schools, medical schools, and engineering schools. Universities and colleges in the U.S. are well known for academic flexibility and ways to customize your study experience with optional studies and extracurricular activities. Depending on where you will be studying, you will be able to visit iconic places like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Goldengate Bridge, The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Disney's Magic Kingdom Park, and much more.
Israel attracts international students through high standards of education and a wide range of English-taught degrees. Local universities shine in areas like Technology, Sciences, Business, and Entrepreneurship. In fact, Israel is a renowned land of innovation, having earned itself the nickname ‘Start-Up Nation’. While living and studying here, you will discover a wonderful culture developed throughout 4,000 years of history; different cultural influences are noticeable everywhere, especially in Israeli food, art, and history. In major cities, English is widely spoken, so communication shouldn’t be a problem. In your spare time, you can visit one of the over 400 nature reserves and 80 national parks.
By studying in Australia you will take advantage of the great student environment both inside and outside classrooms. In addition to some of the best business and engineering schools in the world, you will be able to explore a greatly developed country that still retains its wild side with its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and the Great Outback, with over 500 national parks. Many Australian universities provide internships and work placements, preparing students early on for the job market.


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