Japan has become one of the favorite spots for international business and education in recent years. The country provides a conducive environment for international students backed by an engaging cultural background, various cuisines, and a safe and efficient environment for living. Universities in Japan provide multiple study and professional opportunities at affordable rates.

The University of Tokyo is a top-ranked university in Japan that welcomes international students. It is ranked #28 in the QS World University Rankings 2024, making it a very competitive institution. However, with the right knowledge of the admission requirements of the university, you can improve the likelihood of your application to the University of Tokyo being accepted.

In this article, we break down the procedure you must go through to get into this esteemed institution as an international student.

Admissions Process at the University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo is hands down one of the best if not the best university in Japan. For obvious reasons, only the top-suiting applicants are filtered through their admission process. Below we list the steps the university generally expects students to go through regardless of the program they’ve chosen.

Step 1. Ensure you Fulfill the Course Requirements

The University of Tokyo has 10 faculties and 44 departments. Programs offered at the campus follow a unique protocol. The first two years of any undergraduate program, also known as the “Junior Division”, follow a general approach to a field of study. It’s after the first two years that students get to pick a specialization for their final two years of undergraduate studies called the “Senior Division” in one of the 44 departments.

Newer non-Japanese nationals who do not possess a permanent residency in the country are required to ensure that they meet the requirements to enter the Junior Division of the respective college at the University of Tokyo. More information related to applications can be found in the guide for international students on the official website of the university. Depending on your program of choice, academic, legal, and language requirements may vary.

Step 2. Submit Application

After having made sure that you fulfill the basic requirements to follow a program at the University of Tokyo, the immediate next step is to submit your application. Applications for undergraduate programs taught in the Japanese language often close by early December. For undergraduate programs taught in English, applications are open from November through December.

Step 3. Submit Relevant Documents for the First Screening

After having applied, international students undergo two screening tests. At the first screening test, which generally takes place in January of the next year, a comprehensive review of the submitted documents would take place. Ensure that you have submitted all official academic transcripts, examination results, essays, and evaluations as required by the university.

It is in the first screening stage that you also need to submit the results from your Examination for Japanese University which includes subjects like Japanese as a foreign language, science, and mathematics. Other than that, you will have to submit certificates of English language proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL) and your statement of purpose.

Step 4. Prepare for the Second Screening Interview

After the first screening phase, if all your submissions pass without any issues, you will get called for an interview. Generally, it’s a good sign if you manage to get into the interviewing phase, however, it’s important to know that applicants may get turned down even after the second screening.

The second screening which takes place in February and March, constitutes an online interview. The interview is an integral part of the admission process that helps the university assess your capabilities and suitability to follow a program that you have chosen. During this interview, students might be asked to demonstrate their proficiency in a subject and their understanding of the Japanese language if they have selected a program offered in Japanese. Applicants for undergraduate programs offered in Japanese will also be asked to submit a written short essay as part of the second screening process.

Step 5. Await for the Admission Decision

After having successfully passed through the university’s screening stages, expect to receive the admission decision from the relevant authorities sometime between March and May.

Step 6. Prepare for Enrolment

Upon receiving a response from the university about the success of your application, it’s time to prepare yourself to be a part of this prestigious institution. An admission fee is required to be paid before enrolment through wire transfer. The admission fee for degree programs at the University of Tokyo is around ¥282,000.

Tips to Get Into the University of Tokyo

Merely submitting your application isn’t going to help you overcome the competition to reserve a seat at the campus, there are other steps you could take to ensure that you stay ahead of the other applicants.

Tip 1. Prepare for the Screening Interview

Having to face an interview and answer questions in mathematics, history, and science, in a language that you are unfamiliar with can be nerve-racking. The famous entrance examination is something that applicants to the University of Tokyo take very seriously and therefore, there are many forums online where past students describe their experiences with it. It might be a good idea to go through some of these to get an idea of what to expect.

Tip 2. Know What they Expect

Unlike universities in other parts of the world, the University of Tokyo in particular puts a major emphasis on a student’s performance. Elsewhere, students can often easily get by thanks to their admission essays and other qualifications. At the University of Tokyo, the scores of the Japanese examinations a student gets are valued highly. While SAT scores might not factor in significantly depending on your program, maintaining an overall high GPA before applying is sure to help bolster your application.

Tip 3. Take the Right Language Lessons

Regardless of whether you are applying for an English-taught program or a program in Japanese, it helps you to be proficient in the language. The competition throughout the application process is sure to be through the roof, and a language barrier is something you can’t afford to have if you are relentless about getting into the university.

For programs in the English language, you will be required to submit a certificate attesting your English language proficiency. According to the university website, the language tests that are generally accepted at the university are IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge English Qualifications.


The University of Tokyo is one of the best universities in the world. Undoubtedly, getting enrolled in a study program at this prestigious university is highly competitive. We hope the information we outlined in this article helps you ensure that your application to the university stays ahead of the competition.


We hope that the above information on the admission process and tips for getting into the University of Tokyo was helpful. For more details about studying in Japan, you can check out the Available Programs in Japan and Study in Japan to explore your study options.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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