My Way to Japan

Searching for English speaking international undergraduate programs in Japan: speaking from experience
Johannes Nicolaus Wibisana Updated in June 2023

PhD student at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

Field of research: Molecular biology, Genome biology

Before doing my undergraduate in Osaka University, I had to do a lot of research on the programs on where I wanted to do my undergraduate studies. There were several considerations I had to make such as the major, contents of the program, quality and location of the university, and financial support. In this column, I would like to describe how these considerations led me to going to Osaka University for my undergraduate studies.

It began in 2015, at that time, I was a student at a language school. At first, I was planning to apply to the normal Japanese speaking undergraduate programs, however I found that most of the international programs had September intake. This was earlier than the normal programs which had April intake and so I figured it would be better for me, as I would be able to join university earlier, and if I did not get it, I would just apply for normal programs.

At that time, I browsed online, and I found a list of English-speaking undergraduate programs under the Global 30 program. At the time, there was not a lot of undergraduate courses, especially in science offered in English, which does not seem to be the case now. Within this program, I was mostly interested in 2 programs, one in Osaka University and the other in Nagoya University, as I was interested in doing Biology. Therefore, I ended up applying to these 2 programs.

At that time, Osaka University was my first choice because of the Chemistry-Biology Combined Major Program. This program boasted small class size, and the freedom to choose between different departments and majors after the 2nd year. This was very important to me, as this means that I will be able to select between different departments with different research topics. The options at that time were between 2 schools: School of Engineering and School of Science, and departments that concern biology and chemistry for each school.

Furthermore, these 2 universities are public universities, which means the tuition fee is generally about half of private universities. After I got accepted, I was also offered the MEXT scholarship, which includes a monthly stipend of ~130,000 JPY and tuition fee fully covered. Therefore, it was a no-brainer for me to continue to do my undergraduate at this university.

Unfortunately, now, the G30 program is already discontinued. However, there are more and more English programs that are available in major universities. As for Osaka University, the program is now discontinued and replaced with a new program called IUPS that does not include biology but has both physics and chemistry. Now, I found a website by JASSO that includes all undergraduate degrees offered in English: This list should be helpful to prospective students that want to continue with undergraduate studies in Japan.