Preparation for Admission to Graduate School

I am interested in applying for the ICU Graduate School, but can I specialize in an area unrelated to my undergraduate study?
It is possible to apply to study a different field of specialization from your undergraduate major. However, since all Master's students need to complete 30 credits' worth of related courses and write a master's thesis within two years, they are expected to have already acquired at least basic knowledge in the desired field of specialization. We also recommend that applicants submit a Research Plan in as much detail as possible, to increase their chances of being shortlisted when the application documents are screened. For applicants changing field, the plan should clearly indicate reasons for this decision.
I am interested in applying for the Master's Course, but I am unsure which program and area of concentration I should choose. What do you advise?

Please use the ICU website, Graduate School Guidebook, and the methods listed below to become familiar with each program and area of concentration.

  • Use the list of faculty and the Researchers Information System to find faculty specializing in areas close to your research topic, and check which programs they belong to: Research guidance from faculty is important in Graduate School. Please refer to the information on faculty whose field of specialization is related to your research plan or desired field of study. You can also contact faculty members directly to discuss your research plan.
  • Check Curriculum and Syllabi to see the description of the courses offered in each program:
    ICU Graduate School's highly interdisciplinary programs give students the flexibility to study a wide range of topics. However, students are required to take a certain number of courses from the program to which they belong (see Degree Requirements). Applicants should check what courses are offered in each program.
  • Check title of the degree conferred:
    The name of the Master's degree to be conferred differs depending on the program and area of concentration. Applicants should check which programs offer their desired degree titles.
  • Please make use of opportunities such as a campus open day and Admissions Information Sessions to discuss your options at ICU.
I am interested in applying for the Doctoral Course. How should I go about contacting a potential academic supervisor?
Please use the list of faculty and the ICU Researchers Information System to search for an appropriate supervisor. After you have decided on a faculty member you would like to receive instruction from, please send a message to the email address listed on the ICU Researchers Information System. The message should state that you are planning to apply for admission, and provide information on your research activities to date and your desired research theme in the Doctoral Course. If you cannot find an email address, please send an email to the Graduate School Group office (gs-adm[at]icu.ac.jp), writing which faculty member you want to contact with. The office will let you know the email address. Please note that you will need to submit a "Letter of Consent of a Faculty to be Research Advisor on Acceptance" (signed by your future research advisor on the designated form) when applying for the Doctoral Course. Please discuss your research topic thoroughly with your chosen research advisor before applying.
Is it possible to complete a Graduate School degree using only one language (only Japanese or only English)?
    • Master's Course applicants:

      You may wish to select only courses taught in your language of choice (Japanese or English), but the number of courses offered in both languages is limited and in some cases you may be required to take courses in the other language. In the Public Policy and Social Research Program, most courses are offered in English, so you may be able to select only courses in English and write your Master's thesis in English only. It is also necessary to submit an English summary of the Master's thesis, if the original thesis is written in Japanese, so proficiency in written English is essential.

      We recommend that all applicants check the curriculum and syllabi well in advance on our website, but, at the same time, they are encouraged to ensure their English/Japanese skills are sufficient to take courses in both languages.

  • Doctoral course applicants:

    It is required to write a summary of Doctoral dissertation in both English and Japanese, so it is highly recommended that you will be able to use both languages.

What is a kenkyusei? What should I do to be admitted as a kenkyusei?
kenkyusei are students who have already received a Master's degree and wish to take specified courses or receive research instruction through the Master's Course of the ICU Graduate School.
The period of attendance is one year in principle, and no degree is awarded. Academic transcripts showing the courses taken as a kenkyusei can be issued upon request. Those who wish to be admitted as a kenkyusei must apply for admission to ICU Graduate School (selection by document screening only). Please check "C. Master's Course KENKYUSEI" in the Admissions Handbook. on Admissions Handbook.
Those who do not hold a Master's degree can apply for a kenkyusei to the College of Liberal Arts (undergraduate program). For further information, please see Admissions System Page for College of Liberal Arts (undergraduate program)


Does ICU Graduate School offer any scholarships?
The ICU Graduate School offers its own scholarships. In the Master's Course, "ICU Torch Relay Graduate School Scholarship for New Students" grants awardees their full first term of tuition and facilities fees. Students can apply for this scholarship when they apply for admission to the graduate school. Please click here for more information on this and other scholarships.
I'd like to apply for the scholarship offered by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (MEXT). What is the application procedure?

There are two types of MEXT scholarship, with differing application procedures.

  1. MEXT Scholarships with Embassy Recommendation. Please contact the embassy or consulate general of Japan in your country of residence for more information.
  2. MEXT Scholarship with University Recommendation. The recommendation must be given by a university outside Japan that has a student exchange partnership with ICU. Please contact the student exchange office of the university you graduated from for more information.

ICU Graduate School Group can also support you with any general inquiries.

Application Eligibility and Prerequisites

I was educated outside Japan. Am I eligible to apply for ICU Graduate School?
    • Master's Course applicants:
      Applicants who received education outside Japan should meet one of the following conditions. (Please refer to the Admissions Handbook for a complete list of conditions.)
      (3) Those who have already completed 16 years of school education outside Japan, or expect to complete this by the designated dates.
      (6) Those who have completed or expect to complete a program of study with a duration of 3 years or more at a university or equivalent education institution outside Japan, and have been or will be awarded a degree equivalent to a Bachelor's degree by the designated dates.
      (11) Those who have been recognized via individual screening at the ICU Graduate School to have the same or a higher level of academic ability than an average university graduate, and have reached the age of 22.
      ⇒ In order to facilitate confirmation that applicants have completed (or expect to complete) 16 years of school education (3), applicants should submit the names of all schools attended, along with enrollment and graduation dates, to the ICU Graduate School Group. If the duration of indicated school education is under 16 years and the Graduate School decides that individual screening (11) is necessary, we will notify applicants directly with the details. Such applicants must reach the age of 22 by the designated dates.

  • Doctoral Course applicants:
    Applicants who received education outside Japan should meet one of the following conditions. (Please refer to the Admissions Handbook for a complete list of conditions.)
    (2) Those who have been awarded or expect to be awarded a degree equivalent to a Master's degree or professional degree outside Japan by the designated dates.
    (7) Those who have been recognized through individual screening at the ICU Graduate School to have academic ability equivalent to or higher than the level of an average Master's or professional degree recipient, and have reached the age of 24.
    ⇒ In cases where applicants have not been awarded or expect to be awarded a degree equivalent to a Master's degree or professional degree by the designated dates (2), and the Graduate School decides that individual screening (7) is necessary, we will notify applicants directly with the details. Such applicants must reach the age of 24 by the designated dates.

I do not seem to meet the ICU Graduate School application requirements listed in the Admissions Handbook. Can I still apply?
Please contact the Graduate School Group. Depending on your academic background, ICU may conduct an eligibility screening on an individual basis. If you pass this screening, you will be considered as eligible applicant. If you are contacted about an eligibility screening, you will be required to submit application documents to the Graduate School Group by the deadline stated in the Admissions Handbook

The Admissions Selection Process

When are applicants selected?
ICU Graduate School admits new students twice per year, in April and September. The selection process is conducted three times a year: in autumn and spring for April admissions, and once yearly for September admissions. Please check the Admissions Handbook for details of each application period.
Can I apply for admission in any of the following rounds that is most convenient for me: the April admission autumn round, the April admission spring round, or the September admission round?
You can apply in any of these rounds. The method of selection is the same: screening of required documents and interviews.
I would like to enter the Graduate School in April. In which round would I be more likely to get accepted, the spring or autumn round?
There are no particular advantages or disadvantages in applying in either round. Screening at the ICU Graduate School comprises two steps: first screening (documents) and second screening (interview). At the first screening (documents), applicants' information will be reviewed to see if they have the basic academic preparation and competence required to conduct research activities in the Graduate School. At the second screening (interview), more in-depth information such as applicants' suitability and motivation for research will be examined through an interview with faculty members whose research areas are closely related to those of the applicants. Applicants are selected based on their respective comprehensive evaluations and not on comparison with other applicants.
Do you have entrance exam?
Screening at the ICU Graduate School comprises two steps: first screening (documents) and second screening (interview), and there is no written entrance exam. Interview screening will be conducted only for those who passed the documentary screening, and the decision whether or not to offer a place will be made after that.
Is interview conducted in English?
At the interview, you will meet several faculty members whose research areas are closely related to your area of interest. ICU has faculty from many different countries, so there is a possibility that both Japanese and English may be used in your interview. At ICU, students use both Japanese and English for study and research. You may take courses that are conducted in English, and also receive research instruction in languages other than Japanese. In principle, Graduate School applicants are expected to have English proficiency equivalent to a university graduate, and are encouraged to ensure their English skills are sufficient to communicate effectively.
I live outside of Japan. How can I arrange an interview?
It is usually possible to conduct interviews using Zoom. However, please note that in some cases this may not be possible due to the Internet environment in your country of residence.

Application Documents

Am I required to submit the official score from an English proficiency exam (TOEFL/IELTS/TOEIC)?

All applicants are required to submit official scores, unless they are applying to study as a kenkyusei or meet any of the following conditions.

The applicant's native language is English.

  • For the Master's Course: The applicant has completed (or is expected to complete) an undergraduate or graduate course where the language of instruction is English. If the official language of the country in which the applicant received the degree is not English, the applicant is required to submit an official document written and sealed by university officials to certify that the language of instruction was English.
  • For the Doctoral Course: The applicant has completed (or is expected to complete) a graduate course where the language of instruction is English. If the official language of the country in which the applicant received the postgraduate degree is not English, the applicant is required to submit an official document written and sealed by university officials to certify that the language of instruction was English.
What is the minimum score requirement for English proficiency exams (TOEFL/IELTS/TOEIC)?
The Graduate School does not set a minimum official score requirement for English proficiency exams, because applicant selection is not based on these scores alone. The screening committee will not eliminate applicants because they have failed to reach a certain score. The official score is used to determine whether applicants' English proficiency is sufficient to conduct research activities after matriculation. (This should be the equivalent to the English proficiency of a university graduate.) Official scores are used as one of the criteria to evaluate applicants overall.
Can I submit scores from TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program) or TOEIC IP (Institutional Program)?
Scores of TOEFL ITP and TOEIC IP are not acceptable.
I need to report TOEFL official scores directly to ICU. How do I select score recipients on the TOEFL My Page?

Login to My Page on the TOEFL website and follow the steps below:

  • Click "Order Score Reports" → Select "TOEFL Services" → Click "Send Additional Score Report(s) to Institutions"
  • On the "Select Score Recipients" page, search for ICU using our Institution Code, which is 0860, then select "International Christian U"
  • Select School Type: "Graduate Schools"
  • Select Department Group: "Any Department Not Listed"
  • Click "Continue" → Check information on the "Order Summary" page and click "Confirm"
Why do I need to submit an English version of my academic transcript?
We ask all applicants to submit academic transcripts in English, in order to judge the academic achievements of applicants from different universities and graduate schools in Japan and abroad as fairly as possible. If due to your country's official language (or widely spoken language) or the rules of your university or graduate school, there is a problem issuing an English transcript by the deadline, please contact the ICU Graduate School Group before the start of application period. It is recommended to contact us as soon as possible as we may ask applicants to request a third party to issue a certification document instead.
It says that the transcript and certificate of graduation must be sealed by school officials when submitted. Why is it the requirement?
ICU graduate school conduct the document screening based on the submitted application documents, so such documents issued by a third party have to be verified. Therefore they have to be in a sealed envelope by a school official. If you have opened the envelope where the transcript and/or certificate of graduation were enclosed by mistake, please request the university/graduate school to issue another transcript and/or certificate in a sealed envelope and send them to you or directly to ICU graduate school group.
A copy of the senior thesis is required as one of the application documents, but the university I graduated from did not require us to write a thesis. What should I do?
If you were not required to complete a thesis for your undergraduate degree, you can submit a written report from a class or an academic paper instead. You may also choose to write a new paper or thesis specifically for the application, since it will be used as an important document during the selection process to evaluate your writing composition, logic, and knowledge. There are no requirements for page layout or word count. However, please note that it must be accompanied by a summary in English.

Questions about Graduate School in General

Does ICU Graduate School have evening classes for those who work in the daytime?
ICU has neither evening classes nor correspondence courses for those who work in the daytime. In principle, classes are open Mon-Sat, 8:50 A.M.-7:00 P.M. However, there are no regular classes for doctoral students.
Are students in the ICU Graduate School young in average?

No, we have graduate students from a wide range of backgrounds and age groups. Some of our students have worked for several years then returned to continue their research; some balance their research with domestic duties; and some started their research after retirement. As graduate students in the same area of concentration and with the diverse academic, occupational, and cultural backgrounds share a laboratory, they are stimulated by each other, which have a positive impact on their research.

Can I obtain a school teacher certificate(s).
There are two types of teaching certificates: isshu (first type; obtainable at undergraduate level) and senshu (specialist; obtainable at graduate school) . If you already have a junior and senior high school isshu teaching certificate, you can earn credits that can be used to obtain a) junior high school senshu teaching certificates in Japanese, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Social Studies, English, and Religion; and b) senior high school senshu teaching certificates in Japanese, Geography & History, Civics, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, English, and Religion. To qualify, you must complete 24 units or more of required subject-specific and/or teaching professional graduate courses and receive a Master's degree; or complete 30 units or more of such courses while enrolling at the graduate school for more than one year, even if not completing the Master's degree. Graduate School students also have opportunities to improve their teaching skills by working as teaching assistants in faculty members' classes. If you wish to obtain isshu senior and junior high school teaching certificates, you can take courses from the Teacher Certification Program in the College of Liberal Arts as a non-degree-seeking student. It is very difficult, however, to earn all the credits necessary to obtain the isshu certificate in two years. You may need to stay in the Graduate School longer than the standard period for enrollment, depending on how many required credits you have already earned as undergraduate. For more detailed information, please prepare a list of units you have taken as an undergraduate (proof of academic attainment for teaching certificate application) and contact the Educational Affairs Group.
I am an international student. Can I take only courses instructed in English?
ICU Graduate School operates a bilingual education system, with courses offered either in English, Japanese, or both. Japanese and non-Japanese students thus learn together in the same classes, and there is a tradition of appreciating diversity and learning from one another's differences. The ratio of courses offered in English to those in Japanese differs among the four Programs in the Graduate School, with the highest proportion of instruction in English found in the Public Policy and Social Research Program. Instructors decide what language they would like to use in their courses: Japanese, English, or both. So some courses you would like to take might not be offered in English.

Generally, non-Japanese applicants need a certain level of Japanese proficiency (although there is no minimum score to apply) to be successful in their studies. Many international students take appropriate classes in the undergraduate Japanese Language Programs (JLP) to improve Japanese skills they need to take courses taught in Japanese. Beginner JLP classes start from September. Also note that the Master's thesis may be written in English, and all professors, even if they offer courses in Japanese, are fluent in English.

For reference, you can browse the courses currently offered here. Please choose "Graduate School Courses" from the list on the left hand side. Courses marked "E" are taught in English; "J" means taught in Japanese.

Questions on Student Support

How does ICU choose students for the Torch Relay Graduate School Scholarship for New Students?
ICU Torch Relay Graduate School Scholarships for New Students are awarded to lessen Master's students' financial burden and to enhance their research activities. The allocation for Master's students is separate from that for undergraduate students.

To apply for this scholarship, enclose the application form for the scholarship and necessary documents together with your regular application for admission to the Graduate School. There are two chances of being selected: on the basis of merit (academic achievement at the time of screening) or on the basis of need (your financial situation). You will be notified of the outcome of your scholarship application at the same time as notification of your admission outcome, making it easier to plan your finances after enrollment. The scholarship provides a 1/3 reduction of annual Master's Course tuition and facilities fees. (The scholarship is provided not as a stipend but as a deduction from fees. No return payments are required.)
Can I apply for scholarships after I enter the Graduate School?
Yes. We have the ICU Torch Relay Continuing Student Scholarship, intended for students in the 2nd year or above of the Master's Course. If you apply before the designated deadline and are selected following screening, you may receive one-third of the annual tuition and facilities fees for the Master's Course. You can apply for this Continuing Student Scholarship even if you already applied for the ICU Torch Relay Graduate School Scholarship for New Students. For more information about this scholarship, please visit the website of Student Affairs Group.
Can I live near campus after entering the Graduate School?
There are several on-campus dormitories with rooms available for graduate students. Information about dormitories is enclosed with the entrance procedure documents ICU sends to successful applicants for admission. You may also refer to the Student Affairs Group.

ICU also engages third party providers to introduce students to off-campus student residences and apartments. More information can be found on this website.
Where can I get more information about part-time jobs?
Information about work as a home tutor and on-campus part-time jobs are available at the Student Affairs Group. Information about part-time work opportunities off-campus can be found on affiliated part-time job websites. For details, please contact the Student Affairs Group.

Some graduate students also work as Teaching Assistants to support professors and provide tutoring services at the Writing Support Desk. (Please note that international students holding student visas must obtain a part-time work permit in advance.)
Do you assist graduate students looking for employment opportunities after graduation?
The Placement Group of Student Affairs Group offers individualized placement services for both undergraduates and graduates. Various employment-related seminars and information sessions are held throughout the year, and career development support is also available. For more information, please see the Career Support website.
Is there any financial support for doctoral students?
Yes. For students currently enrolled in the Doctoral Course, there is the ICU Research Grant for Doctoral Students. This provides a grant of 127,000 yen per year, with no repayments required. You may apply annually up to three times during your normative period for completion of the Doctoral Course, so please check the application period in advance. (Those who receive full scholarships for tuition and facilities fees are not eligible to apply.)

Another form of support is reduction or exemption of school fees for students who could not complete the Doctoral Course in 3 years but obtained qualification as a Doctoral candidate. If they satisfy certain conditions, such students can receive a full exemption or two-thirds reduction of tuition and facilities fees (and full exemption from re-admission fees if they withdraw) from their fourth year of enrollment onward. If you wish to apply for this support, we recommend that you obtain your Doctoral candidacy by the end of your second year

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