How to Extend Your MEXT Scholarship



Pathway lined with torii gates representing MEXT scholarship extension

Once you start down the MEXT Scholarship path, you may want to keep going, so you’ll need to know about the scholarship extension application process.

If you started your MEXT Scholarship Award as a Research Student and want to join a degree program, or when you complete one degree and want to move on to the next, you have to apply for a scholarship extension.

In many cases, no information is available about the extension application before it is time to apply, so scholarship winners worry about this extension. Here are just a few of the questions I often receive in blog comments and by email:

  • It is easy (or guaranteed) to extend your scholarship?
  • Is it possible to extend my scholarship to move up to the next degree?
  • Can I extend my scholarship and move to a different university?
  • What are the requirements to extend a MEXT Scholarship?
  • Am I eligible to extend my MEXT scholarship?
  • How/when do I apply to extend my MEXT Scholarship?

In this article I will explain how the MEXT scholarship extension application system works, who is and is not eligible to extend their scholarship, and everything you need to know about eligibility and requirements. I will explain each type of extension separately, so scroll down to the scholarship extension type you are most interested in for more details. (But read the next section first!)

These guidelines are current as of 2019, for students extending their scholarship within that academic year.

When is it Impossible to Extend your MEXT Scholarship?

There are a few situations where it is impossible to extend your scholarship. Fortunately, these situations will apply to a very, very small number of students, but let’s get them out of the way first:

  • If you will not be moving on to a new level. (For example, you cannot extend your scholarship award time as a research student or Master’s student beyond 2 years, or your time as a Doctoral student beyond 3 years.)
     
  • If you are already a doctoral degree student.
     
  • If you are in a degree program and want to become a research student.
     
  • If you are a University Recommended MEXT Scholar and want to change universities.
     
  • If you are a PGP Scholarship Winner, but your university has no PGP scholarship slots in the next degree level for the year you would advance.
     
  • If you require permission from your employer or home country government to extend your MEXT scholarship and fail to obtain it.
     
  • If you intend to conduct fieldwork or participate in an internship outside of Japan after extending your scholarship.
     
  • If you fail to obtain acceptance to the degree program at the next level that you plan to apply for.

Who Can Extend Their Scholarship?

Here is a list of the different scholarship extension types and who is eligible. You can find more details about each extension in the sections below’

Started As Current Status Extending To Notes
Research Student Research Student Masters or Doctoral Degree Program (including professional degree programs)
  • Start of the degree program must be within 2 years of starting research student status (including Japanese language education period)
  • University Recommended MEXT Scholarship Students may only enter the degree program at their current university
  • Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship Students may select up to two universities that they would like to enroll in for the next degree level.
Non-PGP:
Research Student or
Master’s Degree Student
Master’s Degree Student (including professional degree programs) Doctoral Degree (including professional degree programs)
  • Students in a PGP Program should refer to the separate category below
  • University Recommended MEXT Scholarship Students may only enter the degree program at their current university
  • Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship Students may select up to two universities that they would like to enroll in for the next degree level.
Non-PGP: Bachelor’s Degree Student Bachelor’s Degree Student Master’s Degree (including professional degree programs) or Doctoral Degree, in the case of a 6-year undergraduate program in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or veterinary studies
  • University Recommended MEXT Scholarship Students may only enter the degree program at their current university
  • Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship Students may select up to two universities that they would like to enroll in for the next degree level.
Non-PGP:
Bachelor’s Degree Student
College of Technology Student
Specialized Training College Student
Master’s Degree Student Doctoral Degree (including professional degree programs)  
College of Technology Student College of Technology Student Bachelor’s Degree Student (3rd year transfer enrollee) or advanced course at the College of Technology  
Specialized Training College Student Specialized Training College Student Bachelor’s Degree Student (3rd year transfer enrollee)  
College of Technology Student
Specialized Training College Student
Bachelor’s Degree Student Master’s Degree  
PGP: Master’s Degree Student Master’s Degree Student (including professional degree programs) Doctoral Degree
  • Program must have a doctoral-level space available within the PGP scheme in the year that student would start that degree

MEXT Scholarship Extension Application Requirements

Here are the requirements, conditions, and number of slots available for each type of extension.

Extending from Research to Degree Program

In order to extend from Research Student Status to a Degree Program, applicants must:

  • Be expected to receive admission in the appropriate degree program
  • Be strongly recommended by their advising professor
  • Be appropriate for recommendation, as determined by the president of the university or Dean of the Graduate School
Changing Universities



For Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholars, it is possible to change universities when moving from research student to degree-seeking student status. However, the student’s current advising professor must clearly explain the need for the change in the adviser’s section of the extension application form. Students may designate up to two universities for where they want to move up to the degree program, but if they move up to another university, they would lose their scholarship.

University-Recommended MEXT Scholars (including PGP scholars) will lose their scholarships if they change universities.

Slots

There is no limit to the number of scholars that universities can nominate in this category. However, that does not mean that all nominees will automatically be accepted for extension by MEXT. The number of successful nominees will be determined by the contents of the nomination and MEXT’s budget.

In practice, I have never heard of anyone in this situation being unsuccessful in their extension application. The caveat about MEXT’s budget is always there because they are not allowed to commit to any spending in advance of the fiscal year. It is nothing to worry about.

Extending from Master’s to Doctoral or Bachelor’s to Master: Non-PGP

This category does not include students who started as undergraduate MEXT scholars, previously extended to a Master’s degree, and are now applying to extend to a PhD. Please see below for that category.

Both of these categories have the same requirements and share a combined slot limit, so I am addressing them together.

In order to extend to the next degree level, applicants must:

  • Have a GPA of 2.50/3.00 in their current degree program
  • Be expected to receive admission in the appropriate degree program
  • Be strongly recommended by their advising professor
  • Be appropriate for recommendation, as determined by the president of the university or Dean of the Graduate School
  • Be expected to complete their current degree within the standard years of enrollment

The standard years of enrollment is 4 years for a bachelor’s degree and 2 years for a master’s degree. If you take longer than that to earn your degree, you would lose your scholarship at the end of the standard years (or as soon as it became apparent that you would not finish within the standard years) and would not be able to extend your scholarship.

Changing Universities

The same condition applies as to research students extending to the degree program.

For Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholars, it is possible to change universities when moving from research student to degree-seeking student status. However, the student’s current advising professor must clearly explain the need for the change in the adviser’s section of the extension application form. Students may designate up to two universities for where they want to move up to the degree program, but if they move up to another university, they would lose their scholarship.

Slots

The total number of students a university can nominate for these two types of extension combined is equal to the average number of nominees for the two types combined over the past three years, rounded up. If a university has not nominated any students for extension in either category over the preceding three years, the number of nominees is capped at one.

Unlike the condition for research students advancing to the degree program, above, there is no statement about not all nominees being accepted.

Former Undergraduate MEXT Scholar Extending from Master’s to Doctoral Program

In order to extend to a doctoral degree, applicants must:

  • Have a GPA of 2.80/3.00 in their current master’s degree program
  • Be expected to receive admission in the appropriate doctoral degree program
  • Be strongly recommended by their advising professor
  • Be appropriate for recommendation, as determined by the president of the university or Dean of the Graduate School
  • Be expected to complete their current degree within the standard years of enrollment

The standard years of enrollment for a master’s degree program is 2 years. If you fail to complete your degree within 2 years, you would lose your scholarship at that point (or as soon as it became apparent that you would not graduate within 2 years) and would not be eligible to apply to extend your scholarship.

Slots

There is no limit to the number of scholars that universities can nominate in this category. However, that does not mean that all nominees will automatically be accepted for extension by MEXT. The number of successful nominees will be determined by the contents of the nomination and MEXT’s budget.

In practice, I have never heard of anyone in this situation being unsuccessful in their extension application. The caveat about MEXT’s budget is always there because they are not allowed to commit to any spending in advance of the fiscal year. It is nothing to worry about.

College of Technology MEXT Scholar Extending to Bachelor’s Program or Advanced Courses at the College of Technology

In order to extend to a bachelor’s degree transfer student, applicants must:

  • Have a GPA of 2.80/3.00 in their current program with a class attendance rate of 95% or better
  • Be expected to receive transfer admission into the third year* of the appropriate bachelor’s degree program
  • Be strongly recommended by their advising professor
  • Be appropriate for recommendation, as determined by the president of the university or Dean of the Graduate School
  • Have a clear connection between their current field of study and the field of study to be pursued in the bachelor’s degree

*For students who are not able to meet this criteria, the nominating school must consult with MEXT in advance. Applicants are responsible for researching the possibility and availability of transfer applications at their desired programs in advance to ensure it is possible.

Changing Universities

Allowed (required if transferring to a bachelor’s degree). Applicants may select up to two universities, two advanced courses at colleges of technology, or one of each, that they want to proceed to.

Slots

In general, up to 1 nominee per College of Technology. However, that does not mean that all nominees will automatically be accepted for extension by MEXT. The number of successful nominees will be determined by the contents of the nomination and MEXT’s budget.

Specialized Training College MEXT Scholar

In order to extend to a bachelor’s degree transfer student, applicants must:

  • Have a GPA of 2.80/3.00 in their current program with a class attendance rate of 95% or better
  • Be expected to receive transfer admission into the third year* of the appropriate bachelor’s degree program
  • Be strongly recommended by their advising professor
  • Be appropriate for recommendation, as determined by the president of the university or Dean of the Graduate School
  • Have a clear connection between their current field of study and the field of study to be pursued in the bachelor’s degree

*For students who are not able to meet this criteria, the nominating school must consult with MEXT in advance. Applicants are responsible for researching the possibility and availability of transfer applications at their desired programs in advance to ensure it is possible.

Changing Universities

Required. Applicants may select up to two universities that they want to proceed to.

Slots

Up to 5 nominees per Specialized Training College. However, that does not mean that all nominees will automatically be accepted for extension by MEXT. The number of successful nominees will be determined by the contents of the nomination and MEXT’s budget.

Former College of Technology MEXT Scholar or Specialized Training College MEXT Scholar Extending from Bachelor’s to Master’s Program

In order to extend to a master’s degree, applicants must:

  • Have a GPA of 2.80/3.00 in their current bachelor’s degree program
  • Be expected to receive admission in the appropriate master’s degree program
  • Be strongly recommended by their advising professor
  • Be appropriate for recommendation, as determined by the president of the university or Dean of the Graduate School
  • Be expected to complete their current degree within the standard years of enrollment

The standard years of enrollment for a bachelor’s degree program is 4 years. If you fail to complete your degree within 2 years, you would lose your scholarship at that point (or as soon as it became apparent that you would not graduate within 4 years) and would not be eligible to apply to extend your scholarship.

Changing Universities

It is not possible to change universities.

Slots

There is no limit to the number of scholars that universities can nominate in this category. However, that does not mean that all nominees will automatically be accepted for extension by MEXT. The number of successful nominees will be determined by the contents of the nomination and MEXT’s budget.

In practice, I have never heard of anyone in this situation being unsuccessful in their extension application. The caveat about MEXT’s budget is always there because they are not allowed to commit to any spending in advance of the fiscal year. It is nothing to worry about.

Extending from Master’s to Doctoral: PGP Scholarship Recipients

In order to extend to the next degree level, applicants must:

  • Have a GPA of 2.50/3.00 in their current degree program
  • Be expected to receive admission in the appropriate degree program
  • Be strongly recommended by their advising professor
  • Be appropriate for recommendation, as determined by the president of the university or Dean of the Graduate School
  • Be expected to complete their current degree within the standard years of enrollment

The standard years of enrollment is 2 years for a master’s degree. If you take longer than that to earn your degree, you would lose your scholarship at the end of the standard years (or as soon as it became apparent that you would not finish within the standard years) and would not be able to extend your scholarship.

Changing Universities

It is not possible to change universities as a PGP Scholarship recipient.

Slots

A university can only nominate students for scholarship extension if the PGP program is still within its 3-year award period and has PGP slots assigned at the doctoral level.

Essentially, this means that only scholars who received the PGP scholarship during its initial year would be eligible to advance. Scholars selected in the second or third year of the program implementation, would graduate from their master’s degrees after the program’s selection period had ended, so there would be no available slots.

Payment of Application and Matriculation Fees

If you are applying to extend your MEXT scholarship fees, you would be responsible for paying all application and matriculation fees for the programs that you want to apply to. However, the fees would be refunded to you as follows, based on the success of your applications.

If your application to extend your MEXT scholarship is successful, the application and matriculation fees to the university you enroll in would be refunded.

If you apply to multiple universities (Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholars are allowed to apply up to two during the extension process), then your fees for the university that you do not end up attending would not be refunded.

Your fees would also not be refunded if you failed to pass the entrance exam or if your MEXT scholarship extension application was not approved.

Application Timeline

While the exact timing will vary slightly by your university’s procedures, expect the application to begin between October to December of the calendar year preceding when you plan to extend. In some cases, this would mean that you would be applying for the extension almost immediately after arriving in Japan.

Your university should let you know when it is time to apply, but if you do not hear from them by the beginning of December, it would be a good idea to contact your university’s Center for International Affairs to follow up.

Application Forms

You will receive the forms from your current university, but they should not pose any difficulty.

The application form itself is similar to the initial application form, but shorter and simpler. Since you have already completed the application form once, it will be no trouble.

The second form you have to submit is a Research Plan or Research Status Report. If you are applying to advance to the next degree, your Research Plan would be similar to the type of document you submitted for your initial Field of Study and Research Program Plan, except simpler. In this case, you would not be submitting your application for a competitive evaluation to professors/a university that is unfamiliar with your performance. So, your plan can be a simpler explanation of what you plan to research. Your current adviser should be willing to help you write it, as well.

If you are extending from research student status to degree status, and continuing your ongoing research, then you would write an update on your progress.

Former undergraduate or college of technology MEXT scholarship winners extending from Master’s to Doctoral degrees and former college of technology students extending from a Bachelor’s to Master’s degree must also submit a short essay. However, MEXT’s application guidelines have no instructions for this essay, so please follow up with your host university for more details (and let me know in the comments below!)

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the TranSenz supporters on Patreon, especially Daimyo Supporter Kenzo who pledges $10 per month to show his support! You can show your support for TranSenz on Patreon for as little as $1 (0.08% of a MEXT monthly stipend) per month. If TranSenz has helped you in your application process and you want to “pay it forward” to keep this site running to help future applicants, every contribution helps!

If you want to show your support but Patreon is out of reach, I’d appreciate it if you say hi on social media or in the comments below to let me know if you appreciate these posts. You can find me on facebook at @TranSenz or on Twitter at @tagsenzaki. I look forward to saying hi!

Questions?

Let me know in the comments below!


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