Are you eligible to apply for the Japanese Government Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Scholarship?
As I write this, MEXT has just released the application guidelines for the 2024 Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship (apply in 2023/scholarship starts in 2024). This article covers everything you need to know about those requirements.
Embassy Recommendation MEXT Scholarship Eligibility Requirements: Research Students
The requirements below are for the Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship. As I detail in my book, How to Apply for the MEXT Scholarship, there are differences between the eligibility requirements for University and Embassy Recommendation. I have published another article about the eligibility requirements for the University Recommendation MEXT Scholarship.
These are also the eligibility requirements for the MEXT Scholarship for Research (Graduate) Students. I do not cover the requirements for undergraduates below. If you want to know about the MEXT Scholarship for undergraduate students, I recommend reading the official application guidelines.
A Word of Caution
The eligibility requirements I describe below are the requirements set out by MEXT. However, when you apply to universities for Letters of Acceptance* after passing the primary screening, the universities may have their own higher eligibility requirements, as well. If you find that the university you are applying to specifies higher or additional requirements compared to what I describe below, you must meet both sets of requirements. Do not bother trying to argue with the university that MEXT’s standards are lower. That won’t work!
*The article linked above is from last year’s application cycle, but I will update it as soon as possible.
You may also find additional requirements unique to your country. For example, there may be a GPA requirement established in your country’s GPA system, a limitation on fields of study, or other rules. Be sure to check the application guidelines on the homepage of the Japanese Embassy for your country!
You must have a minimum 2.3 / 3.0 GPA on MEXT’s scale over the course of your most recent degree, including all grades shown on your transcript at the time of application.
For more information on how to calculate your GPA, I have a separate article dedicated entirely to that process.
You will not find this requirement listed in the official application guidelines provided by MEXT or the embassies (or universities). It is a requirement that MEXT sends to embassies and universities to nominate candidates.
However, frankly speaking, if your converted GPA is even close to that minimum standard, you are going to be facing an uphill battle to get this competitive scholarship!
You must have the nationality of a country that has formal relations with Japan (e.g. not Taiwan or North Korea) and must not have Japanese Nationality, including dual nationality. If you currently hold Japanese nationality as a dual national, you must give up your Japanese nationality prior to arriving in Japan.
If you have dual nationality (or more) but do not have Japanese nationality as one of them, then you can ignore the statements about dual nationality throughout the application guidelines. You will use one of your nationalities for this application.
You must apply for the scholarship via the Japanese embassy in the country where you have nationality, including being present at the embassy in person at certain stages of the application. If you had multiple nationalities, then you must choose the country of your primary nationality (typically the country where you live).
Age/Date of Birth
As of the application for the 2023/2024 scholarship, applicants would need to have been born on or after April 2, 1989.
Exceptions to the Age Requirement
The only exceptions to the date of birth requirement above is if MEXT has determined that you could not apply during the ages when you would have been eligible because of a situation in your country beyond your control, such as compulsory military service or the total suspension of higher education due to war, etc.
I have never heard of any country qualifying for this exception, but if you find out that yours has been, please let me know in the comments below!
MEXT will not consider personal circumstances, such as your job, family, health, etc., for an exception.
For the Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship, you must meet the requirements below, based on the level of degree you are applying for. You do not need to meet the requirements at the time of application, but you need to be able to show that you will meet them before starting your studies in Japan.
Master’s Degree or equivalent (including Master’s level research student)
- Completed a 16-years education program in a country outside of Japan.
- Completed an undergraduate program with a standard study period of at least three years at a university in a country outside of Japan and received a degree equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.
- Not meet either of the requirements above, but be eligible for a master’s degree at a Japanese graduate school.
In Japan, you need to complete 16 years of study, starting from elementary school, in order to earn a bachelor’s degree, so that is the assumption for criteria 1. (However, if you completed 16 years of study and have not earned a bachelor’s degree because your country’s system requires more years, or because you repeated a year, etc., you would not qualify). For countries that require fewer than 16 years of formal education to earn a bachelor’s degree, refer to criteria 2.
The reference to “standard study period” in criteria 2 above, refers to what the university says should be the length of study. If you graduated early because of high ability and credit loading, that would not make you ineligible. For example, graduating from a 3-year program in 2.5 years still means that you completed a 3-year program. (You will know if this applies to you!)
Doctoral Degree (Non-Medical Practitioner Degrees*)
This is the set of criteria that apply to almost all doctoral degrees.
*There are separate criteria for doctoral degrees in medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, and certain pharmaceutical faculties, as listed below.
- Earned a degree at a university outside Japan that is equivalent to a Master’s Degree or Professional Degree.
- Earned a bachelor’s degree, have at least two years of experience in research at a university or research center following that degree, and be considered to have academic competency equal to a person with a master’s degree, as recognized by a Japanese graduate school.
- Not meet either of the requirements above, but be eligible for a doctoral degree at a Japanese graduate school.
Doctoral Degree (Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Sciences, and Certain Pharmaceutical Fields)
- Completed an 18-year education program in countries other than Japan.
- Completed a program with a standard study period of at least five years in a country outside of Japan and received a degree equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.
- Completed a 16-year education program in countries other than Japan, have at least two years of experience in research at a university or research center following that degree, and be considered to have academic competency equal to university graduates in the the fields of medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, or certain pharmaceutical fields, as recognized by a Japanese graduate school
- Not meet any of the requirements above, but be eligible for a doctoral degree (medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, or pharmaceutical science) at a Japanese graduate school.
Besides the criteria above, you must also review the admissions requirements for the specific program(s) that you want to enroll in and meet all of those requirements. For example, the universities in Japan are likely to require that your previous degree be in the same field (medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, or pharmaceutical science) that you are applying to in Japan.
Field of StudyYou must apply in the same field that you studied previously at university or in a related field. Your field of study must be available at the university you are applying to and taught there in a language that you are competent in (English or Japanese).
I have another article (and book) all about how to find degree programs taught in English in Japan. The book also goes into detail about how to determine which professor would make the best advisor for your studies and how to contact them.
I have discussed the meaning of a “related field of study” in past articles and in my book, How to Apply for the MEXT Scholarship, but here is a summary:
A “related field” is a field of research that falls within the same discipline as something you majored in previously. If your past and future fields could be majors in the same faculty, or if one is a subset of another, they are related. For example, international relations and political science are clearly related. The same could be said for media studies and communication, or mechanical engineering and robotics. If you come from a multidisciplinary field, such as area studies, then any of the related fields are acceptable.
Do not worry about the specific name of the major or graduate school, all that matters is if the contents of the degree program are related.
If there is no obvious relationship between your fields, then you have to establish and prove the connection in your Field of Study and Research Program plan by clearly showing how research in your past field provided you with a natural transition to the future one. For example, if you can show that you are researching the same subject matter from a different perspective, that can be successful. I have often seen that approach work for applicants who want to pursue a business degree in Japan after completing a degree in another field during their previous studies. If they can justify that they want to explore the business development opportunities for their previous field of study, that can be considered to be related.
Field of Study Limitations by Country
MEXT allows the embassy in each country, in consultation with the local government, to limit the fields of study in which you can apply. Please check the website of the Japanese Embassy in your country to see if this applies to you.
Prohibition of Technical/Artistic Training Fields
The MEXT Scholarship does not permit study of traditional Japanese performance arts, such as Kabuki and Japanese Dance, that require studio training. You could study kabuki, etc., from the perspective of literature or history, but not take part in a program to train performers.
Similarly, the scholarship does not cover programs that require technical training at factories, etc.
Additional Requirements for Medical Degrees
Medical, Dental, and Social Welfare degrees typically require clinical training, but students cannot take part in such training until obtaining the required licenses from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. These licenses must, of course, be obtained via testing in Japanese, so unless you are already highly fluent in Japanese, any degree that requires clinical training is essentially going to be impossible.
MEXT requires that applicants have a strong interest in dedicating themselves to studying the Japanese language and deepening their understanding of Japan, but does not have any set minimum language requirements, assuming that you are planning to study in a degree program taught in English. MEXT also requires that you have the requisite language ability to complete your research and survive in daily life in Japan.
There are no specific minimum language ability requirements in English or Japanese and you are not required* to submit proof of language ability during the Primary Screening, but language ability will still be an important part of the screening. During the Primary Screening, you will take language proficiency tests in Japanese and English at the embassy, which will be part of your evaluation. (You can find old tests on the official Study in Japan website for studying.)
*Note: During the COVID-19 Pandemic, some embassies cancelled in-person written exams and instead required applicants to submit proof of language ability using test scores, such as TOEFL or JLTP. Be sure to check what the requirements are in your country for your year.
The second time that language proficiency test scores matter is when you apply to universities for a Letter of Provisional Acceptance after passing the Primary Screening. The universities may require that you submit language proficiency test scores. This is particularly true for programs taught in Japanese! I recommend you check the websites for the programs that you want to apply to in advance.
It would be safe to assume that you cannot apply for a program taught in Japanese if you do not have at least N2-level Japanese language ability at the time of application. To apply for a program taught in English, you should have at least B2 level English ability on the CEFR scale.
CEFR B2 Equivalency Table
Here are the scores that MEXT has determined to be equivalent to the CEFR B2:
- Cambridge English (Preliminary, First, Advanced, Proficiency): 160 or higher
- Eiken (Jun-1 kyu, 1 kyu): Any passing score
- GTEC (Advanced, CBT): 1190 or higher
- IELTS: 5.5 or higher
- TEAP: 309 or higher
- TEAP CBT: 600 or higher
- TOEFL iBT: 72 or higher
- TOEIC L&R/TOEIC S&W: 1560
The N2/B2 suggestions above are not official minimum requirements. You may find that the requirements are higher or lower depending on the program that you want to apply to.
You must have no physical or mental health obstacles to studying in Japan, as indicated by a doctor on your Medical Certificate.
A pre-existing medical condition will not disqualify you, as long as your doctor says that you are still fit to study in Japan. If your condition is self-managed, or you can manage it under the continuing care of a Japanese doctor, you should be fine. (If you need continuing care, though, that might limit your choices for universities in Japan, as you will need to be close to a doctor that can treat you in English.)
Ability to Arrive in Japan on Designated Date
In the application form, you will specify whether you want to arrive in Japan for the April or September/October term in 2024. Note that this is when you will arrive in Japan, not necessarily when you will start your degree or your studies at your university (you may spend the first semester in an intensive language program). Once you select your month of arrival, you cannot change it later.
- April Arrival: You must leave your country of residence on or after April 1, 2024, and arrive at your university in Japan between April 1-7, 2024.
- September/October Arrival: You must be able to arrive on the dates specified by your accepting university, which should be within a 2-week window surrounding the start of the Fall 2024 Semester there.
If you do not arrive during those dates, you would have to withdraw from the scholarship, unless MEXT determines that your inability to arrive was because of unavoidable circumstances.
In principle, you must apply for and obtain a “Student” visa at the Japanese diplomatic mission in the country where you hold nationality, then arrive in Japan using that visa. If you already live in Japan with a residence status other than “Student” you can be approved to change your residence status to student without leaving Japan. In that case, you must change your status to “Student” no later than the end of the month prior to the first month of receiving your stipend.
In the Japanese version of the guidelines (only) there is an additional caution that if you currently reside in Japan with a residence status of “Permanent Resident” or “Long-term Resident”, etc., and change your residence status to Student for the scholarship, it is possible that you will not be approved to change your status back to “Permanent Resident”, “Long-term Resident”, etc., after the scholarship is over.
The Japanese government also requires pre-arrival tuberculosis screening for some countries, so make sure to follow the guidance for obtaining a visa at the Japanese diplomatic mission in your country of nationality.
Note that if you change your residence status before completing your scholarship/studies, you would instantly be disqualified and lose the scholarship, as discussed in the “Disqualification Criteria” below.
Disqualification Criteria (“Non-eligibility” in the MEXT Guidelines)
Anyone meeting any of the criteria below is ineligible to apply for the scholarship. If a scholar is found to meet any of these criteria during their studies, they would be forced to withdraw from the scholarship immediately.
- Active duty military or military-employed civilian at the time of arriving in Japan or at any point during the scholarship award period.
- Unable to arrive in Japan by the deadline determined by MEXT or the accepting university.
- Previous recipient of the Japanese Government MEXT Scholarship (including those who withdrew from the scholarship in the past after becoming formally enrolled at an institution in Japan).
However, applicants who have over 3 years of education or employment history between month after the last month of stipend payment from their previous scholarship award and the commencement of the new award are eligible to apply.
Past recipients of the Japanese Studies MEXT Scholarship who returned to their home universities and graduated after receipt of that scholarship (including those expected to graduate before the start of the new scholarship), past recipients of the Japan-Korea Joint Government Scholarship Program for the Students in Science and Engineering Departments, and past recipients of the Young Leaders’ Program scholarship are eligible to apply, even if they do not have 3 years of education/employment from the end of the previous scholarship period.
Past receipt of the MEXT Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students does not disqualify applicants.
Note that if you are a past MEXT scholarship recipient and over three years have passed since your last award, but you were not employed or enrolled in a degree for at least three full years during that time, you would not be eligible.
- Applicants who are simultaneously applying for any other Japanese Government (MEXT) scholarship, including students who applied for a scholarship to begin in Fiscal Year 2023 (April 2023-March 2024) and have not yet received final results and students applying for other programs that will begin payment in Fiscal Year 2024.
This means that applicants who applied for the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship or the University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship in 2022 who passed the Primary Screening and are waiting on the final confirmation of results from MEXT are not eligible to apply this year. You cannot even apply as insurance in case your application is rejected in the end.
- Applicants who are already enrolled at a Japanese university or any other institution (including Japanese language schools in Japan) as a privately funded student with a residence status of “Student” at the time of application or who will enroll in a Japanese university or any other institution prior to the start of the scholarship award period. However, applicants who are currently enrolled in a Japanese university/institution (or who will enroll in a Japanese university/institution) as privately funded students and who can show that they will definitely complete their studies, return to their home countries, and obtain a new student visa before returning to Japan are eligible.
Essentially, this requirement means you cannot be enrolled in a Japanese university, language school, etc., intending to quit if you receive the MEXT Scholarship. The exception applies to students who enrolled in Japanese university (or language programs) and will complete their course of studies/graduate before the start of the scholarship. This would have to be shown in a Certificate of Expected Graduation, etc.
- Applicants who are planning to receive scholarship money from an organization other than MEXT (including a government organization of the applicant’s country) in addition to the scholarship money provided by MEXT during the MEXT scholarship award period.
*Note that this does not apply to specific research grants, etc., only to scholarships that cover the same areas as the MEXT scholarship, such as travel, living, or tuition expenses.
- Applicants who have not yet graduated from their qualifying degree at the time of application and who do not graduate before the specified deadline.
If you have not graduated, you are still eligible to apply and would have to submit a “Certificate of Expected Graduation” instead of a Certificate of Graduation. However, you will also be required to submit your final Certificate of Graduation prior to starting your studies in Japan to prove that you graduated as expected. If you do not graduate as expected, you would lose the scholarship.
- Applicants who have multiple nationalities that include Japan, at the time of application and who cannot prove that they have renounced their Japanese citizenship prior to arriving in Japan (prior to officially being enrolled at the Japanese university as a student).
Note: If you have multiple nationalities, but none of them are Japanese, then you are still eligible. This criteria does not apply to you.
- Applicants who change their residence status in Japan to a status other than “Student” after arriving in Japan during the scholarship award period.
- Applicants who at the time of application intend to conduct fieldwork or internships outside of Japan or take a leave of absence during their studies for a long period of time.
“Long period of time” is undefined, but I would interpret this as meaning any period that exceeds one month or interferes with coursework during the semester. MEXT Scholars are required to sign in once each month at their universities and show that they still have “Student” residence status. If you do not sign in on the designated date, you lose your stipend for the month in question and, if you miss three months in a row, you lose the scholarship entirely. Fieldwork outside the country could be possible during vacation periods, for less than a month.
- Applicants who do not intend to earn a degree in Japan.
*This means that it is not possible to apply just as a “Non-Degree Student.” You must indicate in your application that you intend to earn a degree.
- Applicants that are found to have cheated or attempted to cheat during the written examination portion of the Primary screening.
Item 4, above, means that applicants for the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship for 2023 or the University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship for 2023 who are still waiting on the final confirmation from MEXT cannot apply for the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship for 2024. However, if you applied for either of those application processes and have already been told that your application was rejected, you may apply. It is only applicants who are still in the application process who are ineligible. (Practically speaking, applicants who have not received notification of rejection by this point should receive the scholarship without fail, so there is no need to apply in that case.)
Willingness to Participate in Intercultural Interaction
During your studies in Japan, you must be willing to actively take part in interaction events with local schools and communities to contribute to the strengthening of relationships between your home country and Japan. After graduation, you must remain in contact with your university, take part in follow-up surveys and studies, and join in activities conducted by the Japanese diplomatic mission in your home country to promote relations with Japan after returning home.
Of course, this is not measurable, but stating your willingness/excitement to take part in such activities during the application process, where possible, would help you application.
Scholarship Revocation Criteria
Any of the following, if discovered during your application or during your scholarship award period, will cause you to lose eligibility, be disqualified from the scholarship, or lose the scholarship in progress (including losing your paid ticket back to your home country). Students who have already started receiving the scholarship may be asked to pay back all or part of the stipend received. If any of the items below are in question, then MEXT may suspend payment of your stipend until the issue is resolved.
- You are determined to have made a false statement on your application.
- You violate any article of your pledge to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
- You violate any Japanese law and are sentenced and imprisoned for an indefinite period or for a period exceeding 1 year.
- You are are punished under the regulations of your university or preparatory education institution in Japan and receive a punishment of expulsion, suspension, admonitory warning, or equivalent.
- It has been determined that it will be impossible for you to complete the course within the standard period of study because of poor academic grades, suspension, or absence from the university or preparatory educational institution.
- You come to Japan without newly acquiring a “Student” residence status, or change your residence status to one other than “Student” after arrival.
- You receive another scholarship (excluding those specified for research expenditures).
- You proceed to a more advanced level of education without receiving approval for an extension of the period of the scholarship.
Of the criteria above, 5 is really the only one that most applicants are at any risk of encountering. Essentially, if you were to fail a class and, because of that, not be able to earn the credits you need in time to graduate, you could not continue your studies. As soon as it was determined that you could not graduate on time, you would give up the scholarship, including your ticket home. Really, though, all of these situations are perfectly avoidable!
Item 2 above mentions the “articles of your pledge to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The Pledge Form is something that you sign after arrival in Japan, and the 2024 version is not yet available, but you can find the 2023 version on MEXT’s website. This document has not changed significantly in the 12 years that I have been working with the scholarship, and I do not expect changes in the future. Here is a summary of the items you must pledge:
- To obey the rules set by the university or the enrolling institution and devote yourself to your study and research in order to accomplish the aims of the Scholarship.
Obeying the rules set by the university is clear and understandable, but part of the meaning of “devote yourself to your study and research” means that you should not engage in any other activities, including part-time work.
- To not violate Japanese laws and regulations.
Sounds obvious, but I actually had a MEXT Scholar at my past university get arrested and lose his scholarship for shoplifting and for falsifying records of tutoring sessions he offered through the university to collect additional pay.
- To not bring the MEXT Scholarship program into disrepute.
The Japanese statement here actually goes further and says that you will do nothing to cause distrust in the acceptance of international students by Japanese universities.
- To accept responsibility for any expenses incurred beyond those covered by the Scholarship awarded by MEXT.
- To accept responsibility for payment of any debts you might incur in Japan.
- To not receive other scholarships (excluding those specified as being for research expenditures.).
- To acknowledge that the scholarship awards will be tenable during the period stated in the notice of selection.
This item means that you understand that the scholarship period cannot be deferred or changed. (It is possible to apply for an extension later, such as when progressing from research student status to a degree program or from a Master’s degree to a PhD, but that would entail an additional scholarship award for that program.)
- To acknowledge that information (name, gender, date of birth, nationality, accepting university/graduate school/undergraduate school, field of specialty, period of enrolment, career path after completion of scholarship, contact information [address, telephone number, e-mail address]) regarding the MEXT Scholarship recipient may be shared with other relevant government organizations for the purpose of utilization for overseas students programs implemented by the Japanese Government (support during the period of overseas study, follow-up support, improvement of the overseas student system).
In addition, to acknowledge that information regarding the recipient other than date of birth and contact information may be made public in materials produced by the Japanese Government as publicity information for promoting the acceptance of overseas students in order to introduce the activities of recipients in countries around the world after their study in Japan.
End of the Eligibility Criteria
You can find the original eligibility requirements for 2024 in English and Japanese in the application guidelines on the Study in Japan website, below
Want to know more?
My book, How to Apply for the MEXT Scholarship describes the scholarship in detail, including the eligibility criteria, purpose and coverage, how to develop a successful applicant mindset, and how to craft your application strategy for the greatest chance of success!
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Let me know in the comments below!
I AM APPLYING FOR THE RESEARCH STUDENT PROGRAM FOR 2024 .IN THE QUALIFICATION AND CONDITION BOX THEY HAVE GIVEN A MINIMUM CRITERIA OF 70% . MY PERCENTAGE IS 64% BUT WHEN I CONVERTED MY PERCENTAGE IN THE MEXT SCALE I HAVE A 2.6 OUT OF 3. WILL I BE ABEL TO GET THE MEXT SCHOLARSHIP
CHRIS BENJAMIN OLIVER
You need to meet both the MEXT requirement and any requirements established by the local embassy. So, I’m afraid that if you don’t meet the embassy’s eligibility criteria, they will not consider your application.
However, if you do meet the MEXT requirement, you could apply for the University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship when that process starts in the fall.
– Travis from TranSenz
I thank you for this massively helpful blog.
I was recruited by a Japanese professor for the MEXT University recommendation scholarship, but did not make it past the final intra-university selection. This process was From Jan-Feb 2023. Both I and my professor were quite frustrated. Then, the embassy recommendation route opened this April. I discussed with my professor about applying for the Embassy Recommendation route too, and she said “why not, go for it!” so I am currently preparing the documents for that. I will put her and a couple of possible advisors that she recommended (from the same university) on the placement form.
The “Placement Preference Form” states the following:
“Do not fill in the name of any universities you have already been rejected. MEXT will
request your acceptance only to the universities listed below”
Will that previous failure hinder me in any way according to this statement?
Thank you for your feedback!
You can still list the university in question in your Placement Preference Form. The instructions you cited only refers to universities that have refused to give you a Letter of Provisional Acceptance as part of the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship. You won’t even be able to contact universities to request a Letter of Provisional Acceptance until passing the Primary Screening, so these instructions apply to the second time you submit your Placement Preference Form, after acquiring Letters of Provisional Acceptance.
However, you should not list the same university more than once on the form.
Since it sounds like you are confident the professor in question will accept you, you can list the university only once with that professor as your choice. Then, you could leave the rest of the form blank. Normally, I don’t recommend that because of the risk, but in your case, there is no risk since you have the connection!
– Travis from TranSenz
Hello again and thank you for the reply.
I am confident that the professor will accept me, if the MEXT decides to go with her for my application that is. In the “Placement Preference Form”, it is thated that the MEXT will only “consider” my choices and a preferred placement is not guaranteed.
So just to be safe and not leave all the options empty, I asked her to provide me with 2 more mentor candidates working on the same field.
What I’m more worried about is whether or not if putting the same university thrice will somehow annull the application.
Also, I’m a pharmacist (At where I’m from, pharmacy education takes 5 years since 2005 [10 terms] and a graduation thesis here, similar to 6yrs in Japan from 2006 onwards), which grants me Second Cycle (MSc) qualification. I’ll be opting to apply for a PhD program in Japan. I have written about it in the “remarks” section of the education record. I’ve not filled the “graduate school” part though, since a Bachelor’s decree in Pharmacy is considered qualifying as MSc on its own. I’ll also add the diploma supplement (EuroPass) to the file.
I’m also worried that this would annull the application, While I was goşng down the university recommendation route, the MEXT did seem to be OK with my qualification after the professor exchanging some e-mails with them. But I was not provided any reason behind the rejection by the university that time… Even now, the embassy needs me to sign a paper saying that “I acknowledge that I will not ask for the reasons of rejection from the embassy nor the MEXT if the application gets rejected”.
We’re trying to improve upon my application from last time, but with not getting any hints on what points to improve, it’s not easy to do so.
Wow. This escalated into a long reply… Do tell me your opinions on the subject 🙂
When the form says that MEXT will “consider” your choices, it means they will only “consider” your preference order. MEXT might, for example, choose to place you in your second choice university over your first choice, if your second choice is a national university and your first choice is a private.
However, they will only ever try to place you in one of the universities on your list. They will not try to place you somewhere else. (This means that if all the universities on your list reject your application, you would lose the scholarship.) So, you do not need to worry about filling the places on the list just to increase your chances of being placed there.
After you pass the Primary Screening, you will apply to universities for a Letter of Provisional Acceptance. The university will decide whether or not to accept you and if they accept you, they will decide on your advisor (usually based on your preference, if that advisor is available – which it sounds like is the case for you!). One university is never going to issue you three separate Letters of Provisional Acceptance with three different advisors. Either they will accept you or they will not.
After you have applied for your Letter(s) of Provisional Acceptance and gotten the responses, you will update the Placement Preference Form based on those responses and resubmit it to the Embassy along with the Letters. At that point, it would be impossible to have three letters from the same university, so you would only be able to list it once, in the end.
I do not think that listing the same university three times will automatically get you rejected, but it will make it look like you do not understand the process or are trying to manipulate it, which could negatively impact reviewers’ impressions.
Regarding your degree, I understand that you are applying for an academic doctorate (PhD), not a practitioner doctorate in Pharmacy. For a practitioner degree, they specifically mention that completing a 5-year bachelor’s degree overseas in the fields of medicine/pharmacy/etc. is acceptable qualification. But for the PhD, the required qualification is to have completed a “degree equivalent to a master’s degree”. So, in your case, I would recommend that you leave the tertiary (undergraduate) row blank and fill in your studies in the tertiary (graduate) row. You would select that your degree was “Master Level” and in the remarks section, explain that you earned a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy which is considered equivalent to a Master of Science as shown in your Diploma Supplement. That should make it immediately clear that you are qualified.
I hope that helps!
– Travis from TranSenz
I am applying to MEXT program as a prospective undergraduate student from Uzbekistan. According to the regulations, there will be test after preliminary screening of applications. I was wondering if you have any information about these tests / exams.
Please let me know.
Yes, MEXT has made some of the past tests available for practice use in the past.
I saved all of the sample tests I could find at the link here so you can use them for your review.
– Travis from TranSenz
Thank you for all the free information you provide on this website, it’s been very helpful.
I’ve finished my studies and am graduating soon from the top uni in Ireland as a citizen of Poland. I missed the embassy dates as I was writing my thesis so I was hoping to try University Recommendation Route. However I am unsure about my GPA calculations. Overall I had maintained a very high GPA in 1st and 2nd year as well as the first semester of 3rd year. When I did a semester abroad I experienced personal issues/bereavement and my grades dropped drastically. So half of my credits for 3rd year are fairly awful and the overall GPA for the year would be 2.25. 4th year grades have improved but I’m still waiting for results.
I noticed you said that “non-degree programs” do not count towards the MEXT criteria and I am wondering if you are aware if that means study abroad programmes are excluded. When I was studying abroad I was formally designated a “non-degree seeking student” in the partner uni, however my grades DO count towards my degree in my home university. If it were the case that these grades can be excluded from MEXT calculations it would be a miracle.
Please let me know what you think.
All the best,
I’m very glad to hear that you have found the site to be helpful in your application!
For study abroad, it depends on how your home university reflects your study abroad grades on your transcript. All grades that show up on the transcript of the university you graduated from will be included in the calculation, but if only the study abroad credits appear on your home university transcript and the grades show up as “pass/fail” or “validated”, etc., (in other words, if the actual grades only appear on your study abroad university’s transcript) then they would not count toward the GPA calculation.
Please be aware, though, that they will almost certainly require you to submit the transcript from your study abroad university, so they will see the poor grades from that year and they may ask you about it, but if the grades are not on your home university transcript, it won’t count for your eligibility.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hello, I am applying for the specialized training college, and i noticed the space in the forms are not enough to write our answers, especially the ones asking us to state our reasons why we chose a particular subject etc.
My question is, is it okay to write the answers separately on another paper and attach it to the application?
Also is SOP and personal statement not needed for this scholarship?
Hello Travis, i reckon you are quite busy, i hope you answer the question above as soon as possible please, because I’m confused about it
I answer all questions in the order they come in, but my time is limited. Especially during the busiest part of the application season, it may take me over a week or more to respond in some cases. It hasn’t gotten that busy yet this year, but please be patient.
– Travis from TranSenz
You need to fit your answers into the space given in the forms without attaching extra papers. Everyone has the same amount of space, you just have to use it as best as possible to make your point concisely.
The essay questions about stating your reasons are your SOP. No other SOP or personal statement is required (and would probably not be considered, even if you did include it on your own).
– Travis from TranSenz
Thank you very much again for the help. I’m about to submit all my documents and hope for the best, and sorry in advance for the long post/question on top of the other one, but if I could ask for your valuable advice once again:
as far as I know and from what I’ve read it seems that the research project is what counts the most in terms of being selected and winning the scholarship, so I was wondering how badly some “negative points” I have could impact my chances of winning, (for example i dont have any JLPT, havent published any works yet, don’t have a 2nd recommendation letter from my employer, and most of all, it took me 4 years instead of 2 to finish my masters -even though my grades were good and had max score when graduated- for a few different reasons that I’m not sure I should be prepared to explain in the interview). Could a good and solid research project make up for those negative points and still give me hope to win, even against candidates in my same field that may not have those shortcomings but may have a weaker project?
My biggest worry is me taking 4 years to finish the Master degree instead of 2, the reasons for this were 1) I spent 1 year sutyding in Europe with the Erasmus+ program, problem was that the University wasn’t exactly suited for my studies and I could only do 2 exams in 1 year that could be “recognized” by my home University. (instead of 6) So it was almost like skipping a year. (You would think my University would actually check which Universities they’re sending their students to…)
2) because of covid, it started when I was in my second/third year of my masters, I had to leave the city I was studying in and was under a lot of stress due to being quarantined at home with my parents, on top of various family problems and issues arised from that situation, which caused another delay. On top of issues with lessons and exams suddenly being done online.
I stated the above reasons in my main MEXT application, specifically in the “remarks” section of the “Academic Record” page, was it a good idea? Should I frame them in a way that “they won’t happen again” ? Although I’m not too sure how.
Obviously I can’t go back in time, but I wish I could somehow make it so this issue won’t harm too much my “final score” that determines whether I win the scholarship or not, or that it won’t harm my chances to get a Letter of Acceptance from any Uni. I started to worry because the other day I did an “application” to my 1st University of choice, in order for them to put me in contact with my chosen advisor (even though I already exchanged emails, but that’s the procedure), and they specifically asked me why it took me 4 years instead of 2 to complete the masters.
I was about the reply to them with the same reasons I wrote here, guessing that being honest could be the best way to go about it. Honestly I didn’t think it was gonna be such a big deal!
Also, regardless of my results, I’m looking to register on patreon and give you my support as well, I think that with all this information you provide for free on this website, you deserve it!
I would say that your Research Proposal is the most important document in your application that is under your control at this point. Your Academic Transcript is also very important, but there is nothing you can really do to change your grades at the time of application!
Not having a JLPT will not hurt you unless you are applying for a program taught in Japanese. (It could be a bonus if you had it, but not necessary)
Not having publications will not hurt you, unless you were in a career field that expects publications, like research.
Taking longer to complete your degree should not hurt you unless it was for reasons of poor academic performance, which does not sound like it is the case for you.
So, taking all of that into consideration, I don’t think you have any “negative points” to overcome and a strong research proposal should certainly make you competitive!
I would certainly explain that your study abroad in Europe delayed your graduation. Not only does it show that you were taking part in an extra academic experience, it also tells the committee that you have experience adapting to new cultures. Many Japanese universities also have credit transfer issues related to study abroad that makes it harder for students to graduate on time, so they should understand.
You don’t need to go into detail and complain about the university not transferring credits, just state the facts.
2. Stating that COVID interfered with your studies is also fine. As in the case above, you don’t need to go into details. You can just say that the shift to online courses from home delayed your graduation progress.
If you simply say, “I lost one year because I participated in an exchange where not not all credits transferred, and one year due to the COIVD-19 shift to online/remote studying.” That should be sufficient!
– Travis from TranSenz
Thank you Travis!!
One last quick question: should I mention in the “JLPT section” my language certification obtained from language schools in Japan? (I got 2 of them since I did two times the 3-months course, in different years)
In the “Other” section of the Japanese language line, you could mention any completion certificates you earned from Japanese language schools then include copies of those certificates as part of the “Certificates of Langauge Proficiency” item (document 9). I wouldn’t expect them to have as much weight as a test score, but it’s better than not having them!
– Travis from TranSenz
Thank you again for all the information you provide. I was also reading the guidelines and I was a bit worried about this part “The MEXT Scholarship does not permit study of traditional Japanese performance arts, such as Kabuki and Japanese Dance, that require studio training. “, since the research plan I prepared is indeed related to performance arts, specifically Noh theatre.
My research revolves around studying Noh from a history and literature perspective, and I don’t mention any plan to specifically join courses that train performers, so it shouldn’t be an issue I believe?
However I mention how as my “field research” I plan to interview Noh performers, watch Noh performance live and, if possibile, I mention how I’d like to join clubs, communities and *workshops* related to my field, as you suggested in one of your posts in regards to writing the research plan, essentially to be active in the community too. Should I remove this part completely, or at least the part about the workshops?
I’d like to avoid having any “red flags”, especially if said red flags would bring me to be rejected right at the end by MEXT directly, and I had no idea about this limitations in regards to performing arts up until today.
Thank you very much and best regards,
Your research is a perfect example of the kind of research into traditional/performing arts that is allowed and there should be no problem whatsoever with what you have described.
The Japanese version of the guidelines is actually a bit clearer and says that the MEXT Scholarship will not sponsor you if your purpose is to obtain practical training in performing arts or in a specific production trade. Even if you were to attend a studio session or two as part of your research, that would not be in violation of the scholarship requirements, since your purpose would be to observe them for academic research.
– Travis from TranSenz