Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Graduate school in Japan?

  1. Apr 12, 2006 #1
    I am an American student majoring in Computer Engineering. How hard do you guys think it would be to go to graduate school in Japan to earn my masters?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2006 #2
    Here is a little information about myself:

    I am just finishing up my first year.

    I do not know japanese, but I could learn it in the next three years.

    I would like to go into the field of integrated circuit design.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2006
  4. Apr 12, 2006 #3
    I guess these are some specific quesions I had:

    How hard is it to get accepted into a good (I don't mean the best school, I just mean an average one) Japanese University? Is it as hard to be accepted into a Japenese school as it is to get into schools such as MIT?

    What do you think that Japanese Universties look for when choosing international students to accept?

    What should I be doing to increase my chances to get accepted into a Japanese University?

    Is it even realistic to do a full masters degree in a foriegn country?

    Would I likely get a better education in a Japanese University for Electrical/Computer Engineering since they are such a technologically advanced country?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2006
  5. Apr 12, 2006 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Hi Josh,

    I lived in Japan for a couple years back in the early 70's (as an Army brat -- my Dad was a career US Army officer stationed there for a couple years), and I have an MSEE that I earned in the US university system later in the early '80s. While I was in Japan, I had friends who went to Japanese schools, and basically were immersed in the Japanese culture during their time there.

    Although I have considered studying Japanese as a 3rd language to make me a more effective worldwide-EE, I see no leverage or gain in earning your EE degrees in Japan versus the US. I do see significant leverage in being able to speak and write/read technical Japanese in addition to being a hotshot in EE (from a strong US university), but I see no leverage or advantage in getting an EE degree abroad.

    How are your grades? Why in the world (pun intended) would you want to try to improve your marketability by leaving the US for a few years?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2006
  6. Apr 12, 2006 #5
    Well, like I said, I am just finishing up my first year. So I still have a lot of grades to earn. But my first semester I got 3 A's and a B. This semester I will likely get straight B's. Nothing special. I plan on having something around a 3.25 by the time I graduate.

    I just want to do it for the experience. I think I would be forced to do a lot of growing in a place like that. Do you think that I would be LESS marketable if I spent a few years in Japan to get my Masters?

    What do you think about the question I asked about the diffficulty level of being accepted?
  7. Apr 12, 2006 #6
    By the way Berkeman, I think that is really cool that you spent some time in Japan while growing up. Did you go to school there as a kid?
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  8. Apr 13, 2006 #7
    Is there anyone here that currently lives in Japan that would like to try to help me answer some of my questions?
  9. Apr 13, 2006 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I went to a school for military families there. I was in something like 7th and 8th grades, I think. There was an "immersion" program for kids who wanted to go to a Japanese school and learn Japanese, but not many families opted for that. I did know two older kids who did it, and they really learned Japanese well.

    As for going to college there, I'm pretty sure that you would need to be fluent in reading/writing/speaking Japanese before you go there. After all, the application to get in will be all in Japanese, as will your essay that you submit with the application...:bugeye: What I personally think would make more sense as a goal for you, would be to finish your undergrad degree at your present school, take lots of Japanese language classes on the side, and apply for graduate school in Japan. And maybe travel there some during your summer breaks to start to get a feel for the place, and to look at schools and talk to their admissions people. I think it would be bad to stop your present undergrad work to try to transfer to a different school. My two cents.
  10. Apr 13, 2006 #9
    No, I didn't plan on stopping my current undergrad work. I want to finish up my undergrad where I am at, and then just go to a Japanese university for my Masters.

    Actually a lot of the universties that I am researching offer their graduate programs in english or in Japanese. I have actually only researched two universities so far: University of Tokyo, and Tokyo Institute of Technology.
    But I have three more years of Undergrad, so I think I could learn Japanese in three years anyway.
  11. Apr 13, 2006 #10
    What I am wondering most of all is how hard it is to get into Japanese Universities for International students. Do you think it is as hard as getting into a very big name school in Americal like MIT, or is it just as easy to get into an average Japanese university as it is to get into an ordinary state school here in america?
  12. Apr 14, 2006 #11
    my cousin did engineering at tokyo uni, u need to be able to read, write and speak japanese, at least a or equvilent to JLPT level 2.
  13. Apr 14, 2006 #12
    How hard is it to get into a Japnese University for an international student?
  14. Feb 19, 2008 #13
    Hey There, I too was wondering this during my first year as an undergraduate (I'm a senior now). In fact, I nearly gave up. I know this is an old post, so maybe no one will read it, but here's my experience ... Yes, you need level 2 JLPT to get into the regular graduate school for most schools from what I have read (I only have level 3). Then this past summer I came across the "MEM Graduate Program" at the University of Tokyo (http://www.mem.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/). Check it out and good luck
  15. Mar 5, 2008 #14
    Cool. Thanks.
  16. Mar 5, 2008 #15
    Well, I can tell you that "level 2 JLPT" is pretty hard, you'd need at least two years of study at a good university to reach that level. For most people at most universities it would probably take three years, I think.
  17. Mar 6, 2008 #16
    Oh, sorry that I didn't explain in my first post. The MEM Program is a program that at least tries to ensure that you take all of your classes in English (Though, eventually you may end up taking classes in Japanese). I guess that I should also say that I the program bases it's selection of applicants on their merits and past research experience. Also, applicants need to have good communication with their perspective advisors to come up with a well made plan of research. That being said, I do not believe that the Japanese Entrance Exam is required for entrance into MEM either, so it makes life as an international student much easier.
    Take Care
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook