Kyoto U General Exchange Program guidelines

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Academic calendar

Spring Semester: 1 April to 30 September
Fall Semester: 1 October to 31 March
Courses either start in April and end in September or March, or run from October to March. None begin in October and end in September. Accordingly, it is recommended that students begin the General Exchange Program in April as per the University's regular academic calendar, or alternatively in October. The maximum study period is one year in either case.


Applicants are assessed by each Faculty and Graduate School.


Each applicant must:

  1. Have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent
  2. Agree to remain enrolled at the home institution — one based outside Japan, that has a university-level student-exchange agreement with Kyoto University — until completion of the General Exchange Program
  3. Agree to leave Kyoto University and return to the home institution upon completion of the General Exchange Program
  4. Be in good academic and disciplinary standing
  5. Demonstrate the level of language proficiency required for the exchange program
  6. Have a concrete purpose for studying at Kyoto University

Language requirements

For "General Exchange Special Auditors" (GEAs)

Most Kyoto University undergraduate and graduate courses are conducted in Japanese, requiring a proficiency level equivalent to N1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). English-taught courses are available from a limited number of Graduate Schools to those with a proficiency level of TOEFL iBT 79, IELTS 6.5, or higher. 

Graduate students with low Japanese-language proficiency may still enroll as GEAs if they can take a sufficient number of English-taught courses to satisfy the minimum registration requirement.

For "General Exchange Special Research Students" (GESRs)

Requirements vary depending on the student's academic advisor at Kyoto University, but Japanese proficiency equivalent to JLPT N1 or English proficiency equivalent to TOEFL iBT 79 is generally considered desirable.

General Exchange student status at Kyoto University




Undergraduate Special Auditor (GEA) 2 Any of the Faculties listed below
Graduate 1 Special Auditor (GEA) 2 Any of the Graduate Schools listed below 4 (with exceptions)
Special Research Student (GESR) 3
Graduate students' status depends on whether or not courses are being taken for credit.
GEAs take courses for credit.
GESRs conduct research under academic advisors without taking classes/seeking credit. Japanese proficiency is not needed if guidance can be received from a supervisor in another language.
The Graduate School of Government and the Graduate School of Management accept GEAs only; the Graduate School of Biostudies accepts GESRs only.

Faculties and Graduate Schools to which GE students may be affiliated

Faculty (for undergraduates) Graduate School
Faculty of Integrated Human Studies Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies
Faculty of Letters Graduate School of Letters
Faculty of Education Graduate School of Education
Faculty of Law Graduate School of Law
Faculty of Economics Graduate School of Economics
Faculty of Science Graduate School of Science
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science
Faculty of Engineering Graduate School of Engineering
Faculty of Agriculture Graduate School of Agriculture
  Graduate School of Energy Science
  Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies
  Graduate School of Informatics
  Graduate School of Biostudies (GESRs only)
  Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability
  Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies
  Graduate School of Government  (GEAs only)
  Graduate School of Management  (GEAs only)

For details on each Faculty and Graduate School, see:
Faculties/Graduate Schools

Tuition and fees

Based on the University's student exchange agreements, exchange students will be exempted from examination fees, matriculation fees, and tuition at Kyoto University.

Financial aid

The Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), a government-sponsored non-profit organization promoting international student exchange, offers scholarships to a limited number of students. Exchange students may apply for the JASSO Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan through Kyoto University, except for those expecting to 1) receive financial support of more than 80,000 yen per month for their studies in Japan from another source, or 2) reside in Japan without "Student" visa status, including Japanese nationals and permanent residents.

The JASSO Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan provides a monthly stipend of 80,000 yen.

Entering Japan

There are certain procedures required of foreign students wishing to study at Japanese universities. Exchange students at Kyoto University, for example, must possess a valid passport and "Student" visa. In order to obtain this visa, students must have been issued a Certificate of Eligibility from the Kyoto Immigration Bureau. Applications for this Certificate will be submitted by Kyoto University. Upon receiving this Certificate, students should apply for a visa at a Japanese diplomatic mission — such as an embassy or consulate — in their own countries. Further instructions will be provided upon admission.

Japanese nationals and permanent residents of Japan may enroll in the General Exchange Program without following these procedures.

Mandatory health insurance

Japanese law stipulates that all students studying at Japanese universities for more than three months must enroll in the country's National Health Insurance (NHI) program, which costs around 2,000 yen per month.

When entering Kyoto University, students must also join the University CO-OP Personal Liability Insurance for Students (Gakubai), which requires an annual payment of around 2,000 yen. To enroll in Gakubai, students must first join the CO-OP by paying a 4,000-yen membership fee, which is fully refundable upon deregistration.

It is recommended that international students purchase travel insurance in their home countries, in addition to enrolling in all of the above, in order to ensure adequate coverage.