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  • Locations: Sendai, Japan
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Program Sponsor: Global E3 
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Area of Study: Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Engineering, Materials Science Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Experience / Activity Type: Classes
Credit type: Apply for transfer credit Class Eligibility: 2.5 Sophomore 2nd semester, Junior, Senior
Global Exchange Lehigh (GEL): Yes Click here for a definition of this term Global Engineering Consortium: YES
Program Description:

Tohoku University
Sendai, JAPAN

University Info   |   School of Engineering Info

Fast Facts

  • Ranked as No.3: at the inaugural Times Higher Education Japan University Rankings 2018
  • Research: all exchange students will be assigned to the laboratory
  • Student-Faculty ratio: the ratio is 6:1
  • Buddy system: all exchange students will be supported by the tutor
  • City of Trees: Sendai city is famous for the beauty of green and nature


Tohoku University was established in Sendai in 1907 as Tohoku Imperial University by consolidating an agricultural college and a science college. It is the third oldest former Imperial University after Tokyo and Kyoto.

Tohoku University is well known for its open and progressive policies. It was the first Imperial University to admit women and foreign students, and also pioneered in opening a university by offering public lectures. Already in 1911, Tohoku University graduated its first foreign students, thus becoming the Japanese university with the longest history of foreign graduates. All of these were epoch-making events in the history of Japanese higher education. The “Spirit of Open Doors” remains alive within the tradition of Tohoku University. Along with this spirit, the University has placed a high value on the “Spirit of Search for Truth” and emphasized original and creative research. Thus Tohoku University is known for its strong orientation toward academic research.

In the years following its establishment, Tohoku University has grown into an institution that includes the fields of medicine, science, and engineering among others. Currently the University has ten undergraduate and sixteen graduate schools, and six research institutes. The current student body consists of 18,019 students, including 2,028 international students from 98 countries and areas. The university is staffed with 6,433 employees, including 900 full professors. (figures are as of May 1st, 2017).

Terms of Exchange

Study Level

  • Undergraduate students: Accepted
  • Graduate students: Accepted
  • Computer Science majors: Accepted

Eligibility Requirements

  • JYPE:  Students must be in their 3rd or 4th year of study (Junior or Senior) during their term abroad at Tohoku.
  • COLABS:  Students must be enrolled in the graduate (master or doctoral) course as a regular student during their term abroad at Tohoku.
  • DEEP:  Students must be enrolled in the undergraduate or graduate course as a regular student during their term abroad at Tohoku.

Language of Instruction

International students will be enrolled in Tohoku University's Junior Year Program in English (JYPE) or Cooperative Laboratory Study Program (COLABS) or Direct Enrollment Education Program (DEEP). All courses and research activities in the JYPE and COLABS are conducted in English. Students with sufficient Japanese language skills are also able to take courses in Japanese.

Language Proficiency Requirements

For JYPE/COLABS - non-native speakers of English must submit a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 79 or the equivalent.

For DEEP - Undergraduate: you are required to provide evidence of proficiency in Japanese such as Japanese Proficiency Test Level 1 or certification of Japanese proficiency by your home university.

Master and PhD: No requirement

Study Period

Preference will be given to students who study at Tohoku for a full academic year. Students will not be able to study for only the second term through JYPE.

Students starting Fall semester can apply to JYPE or COLABS or DEEP.

Students starting Spring semester can apply to COLABS or DEEP. Please note that admissions decisions will not be sent until the end of January and applicants must consider how this timeline affects their spring enrollment. It is strongly recommended that students whose spring semesters begin in January or February apply to Tohoku for the Fall or Academic Year instead of Spring.

Semester Dates (including exam period)

  • Fall: early October to early February

*Orientation will be held in late September

  • Spring: early April to mid-August

*Orientation will be held in early April

Academic Calendar


DEEP: Refer to JYPE Academic Calendar. It is all depends on Department and Research Institution so it may be dependent on your Academic Advisor.

Academic Information

Disciplines Available

JYPE courses (subject to change):

  • Japanese language 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Japanese culture A, B
  • Japanese culture C, D
  • Science, Technology and Industry of Japan
  • Mathematics A, B
  • Introductory Courses of Experimental Research in Physics III
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Geophysics
  • Dynamics of the Earth
  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Solid State Physics and Statistical Physics
  • Material Science
  • Evolution of the West Pacific Island Arcs and Their Environments
  • Agricultural Science
  • Introduction to Fisheries Science
  • Aquatic Plant Ecology
  • Introduction to Applied Animal and Dairy Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science and Engineering A, B
  • Mechanical Vibration I
  • Computer Software Engineering
  • Fundamentals of Computer Engineering
  • Electricity and Magnetism A, B
  • Introductory Quantum Mechanics
  • Basic Computer Science
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering I, II
  • Geological Environment and Earthquake Disaster
  • Individual Research Training


  • All regular courses
  • All JYPE courses except Japanese classes (it depends on vacancy)

Restricted Disciplines and Courses

  • JYPE students will be accepted as special audit students at the departments below:
    • Science
    • Engineering
    • Agriculture
  • COLABS students will be accepted as special research students at the departments below:
    • Science
    • Medicine
    • Dentistry
    • Pharmaceutical Sciences
    • Engineering
    • Agricultural Science
    • Information Sciences
    • Life Sciences
    • Environmental Studies
    • Biomedical Engineering
  • DEEP students will be accepted as special audit students (undergraduates) at the departments below:
    • Science
    • Engineering
    • Agricultural Science

Course Contents

JYPE course

Course Descriptions   |   Schedule of Classes

COLABS course

Course Descriptions

Other Courses in English

Course Descriptions

Enrollment Requirements

As of 2020 spring application call, all COLABS applicants are required to obtain prior consent from a prospective academic advisor. For more information, please refer to

Workload per Semester

Junior Year Program in English (JYPE)

The main purpose of this program is to offer an opportunity for students to take science, engineering, and agriculture courses at Tohoku University, without having to attain the Japanese language proficiency that would be necessary to take the same courses in Japanese. All lectures are given in English and course credit will be given by the standards for the equivalent courses offered in Japanese.

Each semester consists of 15 weeks of class work. Two credits are given for most of the lecture courses that meet once a week for 90 minutes. The Japanese language classes meet four times a week and 4 credits are given. Participation in the activities of a research group counts 5 credits for the Individual Research Training (IRT) course each semester, which is a required course. Students are required to take a total of 13 credits including 5 credits from their faculty’s Individual Research Training course each semester.

Cooperative Laboratory Study Program (COLABS)

COLABS students are required to take the course of Individual Research Training in Lab (IRTLab). IRTLab offers four categories, each of which has different "Total School Hours". For example, "IRTLab 4" requires full School hours (750 hours per semester or 50 hours per week) for 30 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Certificate of completion of COLABS will be awarded to the students who earn 30 ECTS Equivalent or more in each semester including the ECTS Equivalent of IRTLab. More detailed information on these courses is available on the COLABS website

Direct Enrollment English Program (DEEP)

In this program, students study or conduct research at a department assigned to them depending on their field of study/study plan.

1. Special Auditing Student (Undergraduate students)

Students join the regular courses offered in each department or graduate school, where the lectures are mostly given in Japanese. Therefore they are required to provide evidence of proficiency in Japanese, such as the Japanese Proficiency Test Level N1 or equivalent certification of Japanese proficiency issued by the student’s home university. The certificate(s) should be submitted at the time of application.

2. Special Research Student (Graduate students only)

Students engage in research activities under the supervision of an academic advisor at Tohoku University. They are not always required to provide evidence of proficiency in Japanese, especially in the fields of natural science and engineering. If the student’s academic advisor agrees to supervise in English, the student will not be required to show proficiency in Japanese.

Additional Application Materials

In addition to the Global E3 application, students must submit an application for Tohoku University Exchange Program through their Global E3 coordinator. The Global E3 coordinator fills out the online application and upload supporting documents.

Note: Students applying to start the fall semester should complete the Tohoku application via online application system by 3:00 pm February 20 (Japan Standard Time) - Tohoku's application deadline. Students and advisors should contact Global E3 for the application information.  

Recommendation letter from a professor or academic staff:

  • Required

Since the program is based on the exchange agreement between Tohoku University and the home institution of the students, students are eligible for a waiver of tuition fees. Although students themselves should basically bear the cost of living, they are eligible to apply for the following scholarship, which is provided by the Japanese Government through Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).

The JASSO International Student Scholarship for short term study provides an allowance of 80,000 JPY/month (for one or two semester(s)). After a thorough examination of the student applications, Tohoku University will select the awardees for the scholarship. Note that as the screening process is becoming more rigorous each year, there is no guarantee that candidates will be granted the scholarship. The number of the JASSO Scholarship grantees is limited. Not all students admitted into an exchange program can receive the scholarship.  

We will inform the Exchange Program Coordinator at the home institution of the final admission decision and the results of the screening for the JASSO Scholarship by mid-May for students starting Fall semester and by the end of January for students starting Spring semester.


Exchange students are required to live in the university dormitories. Information on the dormitory application will be sent to all successful applicants. We cannot guarantee dorm preferences due to the limited number of rooms.

Estimated Cost of Living

Food/meals – University coop cafeteria meals are available for about 500 JPY.


Tohoku University International House (1&2), University House Aobayama, and University House Sanjo (A/B/II/III) are available for exchange students. The rent fee ranges from approximately JPY15,000 to JPY30,000 depending on the type of the dormitory. See comparison chart for details.

The cost of living in Sendai is typically 80,000 JPY/month.

Local transportation

New subway system has started service in December 2015. The stations are conveniently located close to Aobayama, Kawauchi and Katahira campuses.

Academic expenses (e.g., books, stationery) – It depends on the courses you take.


Office Responsible for International Exchange Students

Student Exchange Division   |

City Info

Sendai, the largest city in the Tohoku Region with about one million inhabitants, is located about 300 km to the northeast of Tokyo. It can be reached in 100 minutes from Tokyo by Shinkansen Super express, “the Bullet Train.” It is an important economic and cultural center in northern Japan with many universities, government agencies, and corporate branch headquarters. Sendai, often called the “City of Trees”, is a city known for its pleasant green covered city and streets lined with many trees, and it is also regarded as an “Academic City” with its center on Tohoku University. Because of its northern environment, the summers are cool and the winters are moderately cold. The City is bordered by mountains to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. It has many historic and scenic sites surrounded by unspoiled nature. Sendai is regarded as one of the most pleasant Japanese cities to live in.