When readers send me questions by email or through my contact form, I add them to a list to be addressed in these FAQ articles. Here is a collection of the most common questions I have received about the University Recommended MEXT Scholarship.
Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments for the quickest response, or to reach out to me by email or through the contact form to have questions added to this page in the future.
Once TranSenz reaches $50 in monthly sponsors on Patreon, I will start a monthly live video Q&A. If you are interested in supporting this effort, or simply getting faster responses to your questions and access to articles ahead of everyone else, you can become a patron of TranSenz for as little as $1 per month!
Can I apply to more than one university?
No, but that’s a good thing!
Per MEXT’s rules Universities are required to check to ensure that you are not applying anywhere else – they ask you to certify it in the scholarship application form. If you admit to applying to multiple universities, they will tell you to choose one. If you somehow make it through the application for more than one university, not only will you be disqualified, but every nominee from both universities could be disqualified too.
So why is it a good thing? Two reasons:
- The University Recommended MEXT scholarship is incredibly competitive. Typically, only one person per field of study can earn a nomination at any university. You need to focus all of your energy on applying to a single university to have the best chance. Splitting your effort would make your application weaker.
- If you could apply to multiple universities, everyone else would be able to do so to. That means that you would have fewer chances of getting the scholarship, not more, since you’d be competing with the best applicants at every single university.
What university should I apply to?
Check out my article about choosing universities for my tips on how to choose the best university for you.
Can you help me choose one?
Yes, but if you want to commission me to do individual research, that comes with a fee. If you are interested, please reach out to me through the contact form.
Thanks for sending the sample MEXT application form, but I need the original. Where can I get it?
You should get it from the university where you plan to apply. I am not trying to be difficult here: You need to get in touch with them directly to use their format (there may be differences) and make sure you review all of the other documents they require, plus their submission requirements.
My transcript is not in English or Japanese, can I translate it myself?
No. Any official document, such as a transcript or certificate of graduation, that is not written in English or Japanese have a Japanese translation attached. You have to submit the original plus a translated certified by a professional translator or by an official at the issuing institution. So, the only way you can translate it yourself is if the issuing university is willing to certify your Japanese translation as being accurate.
You are allowed to provide your own translations of any freeform documents, such as your thesis abstract. Of course, in that case, you should just write it yourself in English to begin with.
Where can I find a translator?
You can often find translators online, but if you want to find someone that you know is reliable, you can check with the Japanese Embassy or Consulate nearest you. They should know translators in the area that they can refer you to.
Who should write my letter of recommendation?
For the University Recommended MEXT scholarship, your letter of recommendation should come from a Dean or higher. (Not a vice dean or deputy dean).
The dean doesn’t know me, can’t I have my professor write it instead?
Your professor can write it, but it should be the Dean that signs it.
It doesn’t matter if the Dean knows you or not. If you are one of the top students in your major (and you should be), you should be able to get the Dean to sign a letter of recommendation for you. The Dean doesn’t need to write it himself/herself, the Dean just needs to sign it. Your academic advisor should be able to help you lobby for and obtain the Dean’s signature.
My Diploma won’t be released until a year after my graduation, how can I submit a Certificate of Graduation for the MEXT scholarship application?
A “Certificate of Graduation” doesn’t have to be a diploma. It can be any official document from your university certifying that you have graduated. If your transcript shows that you have graduated, that can count as a Certificate of Graduation. A letter from your university registrar on university letterhead would also count.
You should never ever submit your original diploma. You won’t get it back!
Do you have questions about the University Recommended MEXT Scholarship that I haven’t answered above?
Ask them in the comments below and I will update this page as soon as possible. (Please keep in mind that it may take some time for me to catch up).
I’d also recommend signing up for my mailing list, below, to get notified whenever I have updates to any of the FAQs or new articles about the MEXT scholarship!
Ads by Google:
Hi Travis, awesome blog you have here. I’m also applying to the MEXT scholarship through university recommendation and have a couple of questions:
(1) I understand that universities that have a PGP have a dedicated number of slots for the concerned course each year. For universities that only have a general program, is my understanding correct that they don’t have a guaranteed number of slots for the entire university for each year or they do, just that the distribution of slots across the different courses will depend on the roster of applicants and other factors? What determines the number of slots granted to a university under the general program? Are these leftover slots that were not granted under the embassy route?
(2) Is my understanding correct that for the university route, we can contact professors from our target universities to check our fit in terms of research prior to making an application?
(3) You mentioned that people can only apply to one university at a time for MEXT university recommendation. What if I apply to two different courses in the same university, all during the same application cycle/period? Is that allowed? At the university I’m eyeing so far, my most preferred course is under the general program whereas my next preferred course is a PGP. Both courses are in different fields that cater to my different research interests.
(4) In terms of research compatibility, it seems that the embassy route is more selective since they also place high importance on the benefits that the scholar’s research can provide to the home country aside from its compatibility with the the priorities of the concerned professor, lab, department, or university at large whereas for the university route, what seems to matter is just the latter. This is just my observation though. I was hoping to hear your thoughts on this.
(5) I noticed that most universities have a dedicated application window, one for those applying for the spring intake and another for fall. In other universities, they allow students to apply early regardless of which semester intake they’d like (for instance, around this time, I can already choose either April or September of 2024). Say I apply at Uni A as early as now for September 2024 intake. Will they process my MEXT application ASAP or only later (around early 2024, the same time as other universities that have dedicated application windows for each semester intake)? I’m curious since I may apply for Uni A first, provided that they process the MEXT applications of their preferred candidates as early as possible (if applicable) and if I don’t get in, I’ll apply to another university whose application cycle for September 2024 happens at a later date.
Thank you for your kind feedback!
(1) For the general program, universities have a fixed number of total spots each year, based on the number of international students enrolled. I explain the number in my article about how to apply for the University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship, but the exact calculation can change from year to year. The distribution of slots between the different graduate schools within the university is up to the university’s discretion, but as you can see, there really aren’t many to go around!
(2) Yes. Ideally, you would want to do that for any graduate program application that involves research! (However, there is no guarantee that they will reply)
(3) No. You can only have one active MEXT application at a time. So, you cannot apply to two programs at the same university.
(4) The embassy is more interested in the social and practical impact of your research, but as long as you can explain that, I would say that the embassy route is less selective, since there are many more scholarship slots available. (The exception is PGP programs – if you qualify for one of those, then that is probably the least competitive type.) Even at the university level, under the general program, you would be competing for slots with applicants from different fields, so there is going to have to be something other than the quality of your research to distinguish you.
(5) It depends on the university. Some of them have a specific application process for the MEXT Scholarship that is separate from the general admissions process, whereas others will simply select the top applicants out of the general application pool and nominate them for the scholarship. If the university you are looking at has a specific application process for the MEXT Scholarship, it likely won’t start until the fall. In either case, I do not think universities would process your application and give you a result regarding your MEXT scholarship nomination status in time for you to apply to a back-up university.
– Travis from TranSenz
Thanks Travis! This is super helpful.
Hi Travis, thank you for all the information
i have got these questions to answers but i am confused to what to answer
1) Please specifically explain how you will conduct your research and the final goal of research at University. This question also aims to check your academic competence. – but i have no experience of conducting a proper research and labs since i am applying for masters in A.I.
should i copy and paste the plan that i prepared (which was not specific) from my field of study and Research plan
2)Please describe your current research topic and explain specifically what you have achieved with your research(e.g. developed software design support technique etc.) – but my last research was in my undergraduate which i did in 2021 ,so should i write about it. and at the time of the application period i was also asked to submit the abstract of my undergraduate research.so is it fine if i write about it.
please help ,thank you
Having a detailed research plan is a basic requirement to apply for a Master’s degree under the MEXT Scholarship, so you certainly need to be able to answer these questions, despite your lack of research experience.
1. No, you should not just copy/paste your research plan. If this is part of an email interview, assume that your interviewers have already read your plan. Since you mentioned that your plan was not very specific, I suspect that may be why they are asking you for more details. You should answer with the specific research steps (what data you will collect and how, and how you will analyze it to answer your research question). You should also mention what the impact of this specific research will be on the field and on your ability to contribute to society after graduation. (I talk about how to cover these items in my description of the Field of Study and Research Program Plan form).
2. Yes, it would be appropriate to talk about your undergraduate research here, assuming that you have not done any other research since. I have not seen your abstract, but you will probably need to go into more detail that what is usually provided in an abstract, including the specific achievements of your research.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi Travis, thanks for all the help that you have provided us,
i wanted to ask a questions( might me stupid), i have submitted my application form to my desired university and it has been delivered today the next step is sending the PDF to them as mentioned – “Take a clear scan of all application documents and save as one PDF. ,Send your scanned application document PDF and your photo of the postal delivery receipt to the email address , Set the title of the email as “Application Documents for MEXT Scholarship”.
i wanted to ask should i include my research plan as a word file or as a scanned picture of the hardcopy in that PDF. and also should i include my picture also as i have also send those along with application documents. i dont want to make a bad impression that is why i am a bit concerned. and lastly should i include that you message in that email for the staff,
Hi Yuvraj Singh,
Since the instructions say that you have to scan all of your application documents together as a single PDF file, you cannot include your Field of Study and Research Program Plan as a word document, it must be part of the same PDF. If you can, I recommend that you use Word to save it as a PDF then use software or a free service to combine all of your PDFs into a single file. (Adobe has a service that does that, linked above, and they are generally pretty trustworthy!)
If you cannot combine your PDF files, then I guess you have no choice but to print them out then scan them all back in as a single PDF, but in that case, you do lose quality in the printing/scanning process, so try to make sure that it is as clear of a scan as possible to help your reviewers.
For your photo, I think it should be included in the application form, itself, if possible, in the space provided for the photo. That’s easy to do if you scan it, but you can also insert a digital photo electronically, if you have the technical know-how.
As for the email, yes, it’s always good to include a thank you! “Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.” is a good closing line.
– Travis from TranSenz
thank you travis for your response, i have received a reply email from them in which they also stated.
” This email is to inform you that the digital version of your application has been duly received. At the same time, we look forward to the arrival of the hardcopy in the mail. ”
but my hardcopies has been received/delivered as per my courier service on 12 december. should i be worried? should i mail them regarding it? but in earlier email that i sent with my digital copy, i have also attached a Delivery receipt of my courier in which it is also mentioned it is delivered.
Hi Yuvraj Singh,
My guess is they just copy/pasted a template response to you and did not bother double-checking to see that you hard copies had already arrived. In almost all cases, the digital copies arrive before the hard copies, so it might not have even occurred to them to check.
But I think it would be a good idea to write back, thank them for their reply, and politely mention again that your courier service indicated that your hardcopies had arrived on Dec 12, and ask them to check to see if they have been received in their office.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi Travis, Thank you for the responses as always,
I got a email stating that Email interview will begin from 6th Jan, i wanted to ask what kind of questions are asked during email interviews, and will there be multiple interviews after the first interview.
since my research plan was based on Machine Learning will there be technical question deep from the topics?
also since i have not submitted any English proficiency test score aside from proof that my Undergrad course was done in English, will it lower my chances because they wont be able to judge my fluency through emails.
any other tips from you for email interviews would be really helpful
Congratulation on making it to the interview stage!
You can expect question about your research topic as well as about how you will adjust to living in Japan, though I think the focus on your research topic sill be heavier.
I have articles about the interview for the University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship and Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship based on what past applicants have shared, so reading those might help you prepare, too.
Since you have completed your undergrad degree in English, that is enough to meet the eligibility criteria and you would not need to do anything else to prove your fluency.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi Transenz Japan! First of all, thank you very much for your information in this article. I have applied to a MEXT scholarship through university recommendation and I just got a word that I have been successfully recommended to MEXT scholarship. However, they told me that it is not the final result and I should wait for the final announcement from Japanese government after several months. May I ask if there is still another selection process from the Japanese government? Is there any case that applicants fail at this stage? I am asking because I am thinking about applying for another scholarship program that is not MEXT and I am wondering if I should continue with the process or not as I really want to prioritize MEXT. Thank you!
Congratulations on being recommended for the scholarship! That’s a huge step.
MEXT’s screening is not a competitive screening, they are just double-checking that the university did everything right. So, you should have nothing to worry about. The only time I have heard of applicants being eliminated at this point of the application was when MEXT experienced a bit of a budget crisis and had to cut the number of slots drastically across all scholarship categories (and in that situation, there were hints that the budget problem was coming).
I do not expect anything like that to happen again, so you should be confirmed as a scholarship recipient, it just takes some time before the final announcement. It should be in early March, if you are arriving in April, or around the end of June if you are arriving in the fall.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi Transenz Japan!
Before anything else, I would like to thank you for all the information you shared here.
I have one question though. One professor has agreed to supervise me for PhD and she asked me to apply for the MEXT scholarship through a “special program”. The application will open soon in January 2023, and according to her, the acceptance rate is higher compared to the general MEXT scholarship. I am just wondering if the requirements/benefits are similar to the MEXT university recommendation. I want to ask for further clarifications but the admission office said they will announce it later on their graduate school’s webpage. Do you have any opinion on this matter?
Thank you in advance.
Thank you very much for your kind words.
The Special program, or “Priority Graduate Program” (PGP), is one kind of University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship. The scholarship benefits are exactly the same as the general category (or the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship). The basic eligibility requirements are also the same.
The difference is that the Special program consists of pre-approved programs by MEXT that are designated to have a certain number of slots per year. The are usually very narrow in scope, so not many applicants are eligible for them. (For example, they might be limited to a specific degree level in a specific graduate school). So, there are fewer applicants who can compete and more slots available, which makes the chances higher.
To give an example, in one year at my previous university, we had about 200 applicants for 6 general category slots, but for one of our special programs, we had 6 applicants for 5 slots. So the chances in the Special program were much, much higher!
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi Travis, i wanted to ask about research plan, i was going to use the same research plan which i made during the time of embassy recommendation ofcourse with modifications, but as i did a google search for my research topic, similar research topic was published during this October also,
do the university do extensive search on web regarding applicant research topic, what should i do ?
At the university, your application is going to be evaluated by the faculty members in your field, so there is a chance they would be aware of recent publications/presentations, particularly if it was in a major journal.
If your research is close enough to the published work that it would just be a repeat, then you might want to consider altering it. But if there is enough difference that your research could support or provide new data relative to the recent publication, you could still move forward with it.
Consider, too, that your research direction will probably change after consultation with your advisor after selection. For now, the point is to show that you can put together a competent, worthwhile research proposal, so don’t be worried about being locked in to what you write in that document. If the professor sees your potential from this proposal and thinks it’s worthwhile to guide you in a new direction, that’s always a possibility.
– Travis from TranSenz
I would like to understand something clearly please.
I am applying to school A and B for MEXT SCHOLARSHIP UR.
School A is going to release the admission result in 25th of December.
School B application deadline is 25th of December.
Can I apply to both schools at the same time for MEXT scholarship since one’s result date is the same as the application deadline for the other? Or would it be better to wait until 24th December before sending out application B since the result of A would be coming out the next day?
I am very curious and nervous because I think I blew up my interview for school A so I may not get the MEXT scholarship UR. Looking forward to your response. Thank you.
You are not allowed to have two ongoing MEXT Scholarship applications at the same time, so the only way you could apply for two universities in the same year would be if you already had the rejection notice from the first university in time to apply to the second. So, I cannot recommend that you start your application to university B before getting the results from university A.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi Travis, thanks for all this information.
I recently bought your books to try for the scholarship through the embassy, unfortunately I was not selected, after that I decided to contact the professor (Tsukuba) on which I base my research plan and to my surprise the professor is interested, we have exchanged messages and he even requested me for an online interview along with the director of the master’s program. They are both interested in me joining the program and they told me about the MEXT scholarship and offered to help me, but apparently they are more confused about the process than I am, they asked me to check with my embassy but there is no information regarding the pathway through the university and now I am confused and don’t know what to do next.
I am also worried because I am from Mexico and I am not in the priority countries.
I’m sorry to hear that your application through the embassy wasn’t successful.
It doesn’t surprise me that the faculty members were relatively clueless about the application process. That’s usually not something the faculty gets involved with. The Embassy-recommended application is more common and has more places available, so that’s probably why they told you to check with your embassy, but there is also the University Recommended Application Process and that does not go through the embassy at all, so the embassy would not have any information about it. Since you are not from a priority country, though, you cannot apply for the General Category University-recommended MEXT Scholarship. You can only apply for one of the Special category programs (PGP) if it has at least 4 scholarship slots available.
(The rule is that at least 75% of nominees in any category must come from Priority countries, so there would need to be at least four slots available for a program to be able to nominate a student from a non-Priority country while still meeting the 75% requirement.)
You can find the information for the University-recommended MEXT Scholarship application at Tsukuba on the university’s own website so you can check if any of their special programs are relevant to your field of study. It looks like some of the special program applications have already closed for this year.
If you cannot apply for a special program, then unfortunately the only option is to wait and try the embassy application again next year.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi Travis, hope u are having a great day, i wanted to know if i still have not received any replies from prof. for accepting me as masters student for university recommended MEXT am i very late in the process? also can i email them on holidays or weekends.
also some prof. did not replies even after sending them reminder mail
Each university has it’s own process for applying for the University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship, so you need to make sure you know what the right application steps are – and what the application timeline is – for the university you are applying to. In some cases, it might not even be necessary to contact professors or get any reply from them, so ensure you know your process for that particular university. (Since the deadlines differ from university to university, I can’t say if you are late or not).
Also, you can only apply to one university, so you shouldn’t be in contact with multiple professors at the same time.
It is not a problem to email professors on the weekends or holidays (just don’t expect them to answer until the weekday!), but I recommend that you time your emails to arrive during the Japanese workday so that they have a better chance of appearing at the top of the professor’s inbox and getting their attention. Gmail allows you to pre-set your email sending time.
If it is necessary to contact the professor as part of the application process and they haven’t replied after a polite, targeted email and follow-up, then you can ask the administrative office of the graduate school where you intend to apply for their assistance in making contact.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi Travis, Thank you for the previous response,
As the application process is now open for my target university and yet i do not have any informal acceptance letter from any prof.(not mandatory for this university).
I am feeling very demotivated and hopeless now since it is mentioned as “very few” in place of Number of Students Accepted which was given as “6” as of last year. is “very few” indicate 1 0r 2 students? the university i am targeting is a private university.
if i had an informal acceptance or online meeting with any prof. or a review for my research proposal ,than i would have been confident
also for PGP programs most of these program provide only doctorate course and not masters course in data science or A.I so i am very confused.
please give suggestions, thank you
In recent years, the maximum number of general category MEXT Scholars that universities in Japan can nominate to MEXT is 3, so anything above that number would probably be PGP students or perhaps if they are an Top Global University grant recipient, there could be a few scholars under that category. So, it is highly competitive! PGP Programs are very specific in terms of the field of study and the degree level, so if the program you are applying for does not match the PGP program, you would only be able to compete for the General Category slots, in general.
Does the university you are applying to ask you to obtain an informal acceptance letter or have an interview in advance? If that is part of their system, then it would be important to have one of those things, but if they do not mention that as part of the process, then they are probably not willing to issue informal letters or conduct interviews in advance for the most part, anyway, and you shouldn’t need to worry about it.
The best advice I can offer is to make your application as strong as possible, especially your Field of Study and Research Program Plan!
– Travis from TranSenz
i have some questions- please help
1).there is a question for Employment: we have to write 2 recent job, but i’ve been working for the same company after graduation its been only 1 year in the job.
should i write about only that 1 job?
will it give me an edge if i leave this question blank and mark no to this question as well “Do you currently have a job?”.
2).”If you are granted admission to the University and recommended for scholarship, but MEXT declines your application for scholarship, do you wish to enter as a self-financed student?” what answer would be in my benefit. or does it not make any difference.
3).and lastly in Field of specialization studied in the past- can i include about my online certification courses in that specializations , internship that i did, and a workshop that i coordinated for junior students who were interested in that field….
should i keep this block lengthy or short?
sorry for long questions
Your answers to the question in the application forms should always be truthful first. Lying or hiding information to try to make your application stronger could result in your getting disqualified.
1. Be honest. Fill in the information about your current job. It is not a problem at all (and could be a good thing) if you have only had one job. Holding a job, no matter how short, is certainly better than being unemployed for the same amount of time!
2. Be honest. This question should not affect your MEXT Scholarship application, but it will let the university know whether or not they should send you information on privately-financed admissions if you are not awarded the scholarship. Universities should understand that most applicants wouldn’t be able to afford their studies without the scholarship, so “No” is not a problem.
3. This question should be focused on your academic study during your previous degrees(s). Typically, your major, department (if the major isn’t specific) and the focus of your capstone thesis or the areas you specifically chose to focus your studies is sufficient. In general, the answer should be just long enough to clearly communicate the necessary information. Short is good.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hello, I emailed a University to get information regarding University Recommendations for MEXT, but the University in question asks for me to have a N2 level of the JLPT because there are only Japanese-taught programs. I told the University that I currently hold a N3 level and they said I could take Japanese classes at the University one semester before the start of the Master’s program (as part of the MEXT scholarship). I’ve seen that you (and other sites) have mentioned that the Japanese taught in these programs is just meant to “survive in Japan”, but the University in question told me that. They also emphasized that I do need an N2 level of Japanese to be admitted to the Graduate School I want to apply to. Should I trust that they’ll teach me the required Japanese language abilities before a Master’s degree? I’ll still make sure to study on my own before that time.
Thank you for writing this useful blog!
The Japanese language program that I have described (designed to teach you to survive in Japan) is for the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship. It would not be applicable for University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship Students.
I think what the university is suggesting is that you could start your studies with them as a Research Student (non-Degree Student) for one semester, where you take Japanese language courses offered by that university and then take the JLPT again before you start your Master’s degree.
MEXT will allow universities to nominate you for the scholarship as a Research Student if the university has “determined that your language ability is equivalent to an N2 on the JLPT”, even if you don’t have formal test scores. However, you would have to pass the JLPT and get the test score before you could move up to the degree program, so that is certainly a risk. The test is only offered twice each year, so you would have one shot to pass it during your research student semester. So I certainly recommend that you study on your own in the meantime. In my experience, the JLPT is less about normal language fluency and more about how well you study specifically for the test, so it should be possible to study and pass!
If you do not pass, then you would not be able to extend to the degree program, so accepting you under those circumstances would seem to be a risk for the university. I suspect that if they had other applicants who already met the language requirement, they may be more likely to select those applicants instead, but the fact that they even mentioned this possibility to you is encouraging. I think many universities wouldn’t bother even offering that possibility, so it indicates that they are willing to accept you under those conditions.
– Travis from TranSenz
Thank you for the helpful information as always.
Would it be possible to apply for two universities? One is as MEXT scholar and the other as privately financed student (with the intention of applying for an external scholarship)?
Or would it be better to apply for one university and apply for both scholarships? (mext and external)
Your advice will be much appreciated!
It is possible to apply for the MEXT Scholarship and direct admission at different universities the same time, but if you get accepted for direct admission and accept that offer, you would then become ineligible for the MEXT Scholarship, even if it was halfway through the application process, so you’d have to make a decision at that point. If the direct admission would require you to make a decision before you knew the results of the MEXT Scholarship (or at least the results of the primary screening), then I don’t think that would be a good idea. But if you can find a direct admissions process that releases results after the MEXT Scholarship University-level Primary Screening, that could work as a back-up.
– Travis from TranSenz