Tohoku University

Future Global Leadership Program

Degree Courses Taught in English

20th Sun 17:27:01 UTC    21st Mon 02:27:01 Asia/Tokyo

Frequently Asked Questions - Undergraduate Programs

1. About Tohoku University and FGL

Q1. What is Tohoku University like?

A. Tohoku University was founded in Sendai City in 1907, and is now one of Japan's foremost universities. The university contains 10 undergraduate schools, 16 graduate schools, 6 research institutes, 13 research centers, and the University Hospital. It employs about 6,500 academic, research, and administrative staff and has a student body of approximately 11,000 undergraduate students and 7,000 graduate students. This includes about 2,000 international students from 93 countries and regions as of May 2016.

The university's academic culture is characterized by its policies of 'Research First', 'Open Doors', and 'Practice-Oriented Research and Education'. This culture has given the world much original research and many excellent graduates. For example, Koichi Tanaka, a graduate of the School of Engineering undergraduate program, received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Tohoku University was also among the first universities in Japan to open its doors to international students, graduating two (from India and China) in 1911. This tradition continues today, and the university is known for its broad acceptance of international students.

For further details, please see the official website.
Information on international student numbers can be also found here.

Q2. What is FGL?

A. FGL is a degree-conferring undergraduate program taught in English. The program recruits students from around the world who share an international perspective, desire to be active on a global scale, and have excellent fundamental academic abilities. We encourage students who are interested in Japan and want to study at Tohoku University to apply. Applicants will undergo a screening process, but no Japanese language proficiency is needed at the application. The program provides opportunities for learning about Japanese language and culture.

We also offer scholarship opportunities and housing support (e.g. preferential dormitory housing for first two years) to successful applicants.

Q3. Where can I learn about the courses in this program in more detail?

A. The Tohoku University FGL undergraduate program offers three courses: Advanced Molecular Chemistry (AMC), International Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (IMAC), and Applied Marine Biology (AMB).

For further details on what you can study in these courses, please see the following websites:

Q4. What are the advantages of this program?

A. All three courses provide an environment where students can learn everything from the basics to the very latest knowledge of their field under top-level instructors.

Students who satisfy the requirements of their course will earn the undergraduate degree offered by that course -a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Engineering, or Bachelor of Agriculture. Career support is provided for students wishing to enroll in a graduate program, or find employment, after graduation.

Although no Japanese ability is required to enter the FGL program, the curriculum includes Japanese language classes. Students who obtain sufficient Japanese ability will be allowed to take the same classes that Japanese students take. Many classes in which the FGL students can learn about global issues and culture differences with Japanese students are also offered.

Q5. How is Tohoku University's research regarded?

A. Tohoku University is ranked 74th in the QS World University Ranking® 2015/2016. It is 18th in Asia and 5th in Japan. The university is also ranked 39th among 'The World's Most Innovative Universities' by Thomson Reuters. In terms of its research output, TR's 2014 survey ranked the university 6th in the world in materials science, 12th in physics, 28th in chemistry, and 51st in engineering (Thomson Reuters ESI 2014). These results reflect one of Tohoku University's fundamental principles, that of "Research First."

The Tohoku University Annual Review describes the university's research here (p. 18, 2013 edition)
Updated information and hot news on research activities at Tohoku University is always available at the following sites:
TU Research News
TU Highlights

2. Admissions

Q1. I'm from a country where education is completed in 11 years (or fewer). Can I apply to this program?

A. No, unfortunately. At this point we accept applications only from persons who have completed a 12-year educational program. Therefore, if you have not undergone a full 12-years of education, you will need to supplement your education with a higher education curriculum or a university preparatory curriculum in your country or Japan. However, in some cases you may still be able to apply. If you are uncertain about your case, please contact us.

Q2. I have completed a 12-year educational program in a school or high school outside Japan, and want to study at Tohoku University. However, I will not be 18 years old when I will enter the university. Can I apply to this program?

A. Yes. Even if you are not yet 18 you are eligible as long as you have completed 12 years of education. You should inform Tohoku University of your circumstances (e.g. started primary education earlier than usual, skipped a year thus shortening school attendance by a year etc.).

Q3. I want to apply, but I have been studying at an institution that is not a regular school. Can I apply to this program?

A. You are eligible as long as you hold one of the qualifications listed in 4.-(1) Basic Qualifications of the Application Guide, such as an International Baccalaureate Degree (Diploma) etc., and are 18 years old.

If you do not hold one of the listed qualifications, you may undergo a review by Tohoku University to determine whether or not you are eligible to apply. When undergoing this review, you will be asked to submit your entire academic history, along with records of educational achievements (transcripts, qualifications) at least one month before the application deadline.

Q4. I graduated from a school or high school outside Japan, but I underwent part of my education in Japan. Can I apply to this program?

A. As long as you completed the 12th (final) year of the school education curriculum overseas, and also the total period during which you received education in Japan (or at a school run under the Japanese educational system overseas) is equal to or less than six years, you are eligible to apply.

Q5: I graduated from a foreign high school, but I am a Japanese citizen. Can I apply to this program? (Also applies to those with Permanent Resident status.)

A. In general, the program is only open to non-Japanese citizens (i.e. foreign nationals, excluding those with Permanent Resident status). However, exceptions may be made for Japanese citizens and foreign permanent residents under the following conditions.

For example, if you have undergone a full 12-years of education at local schools outside Japan, and are considered to have an educational background identical to that of an international student, you may be eligible. Here, "local school" refers to a regular school for local residents in another country. However, if your school was located outside Japan, but offers education based on the Japanese educational system, and/or is recognized by Japan's Minister of Education (e.g. high schools in foreign countries for Japanese citizens), you are not eligible.

If you wish to apply under this exception, you should contact us to confirm your eligibility well in advance. This also applies if you hold dual-citizenship in Japan and another country.

Q6. I graduated from an International School (IS) in Japan. Can I apply to this program?

A. Yes. If you are not a Japanese citizen and have received WASC, ACSI or CIS certification after completing a 12-year curriculum at an IS, you are eligible to apply. Also, if you attended a Japanese school for equal to or fewer than six years of your 12-year curriculum, you are eligible to apply.

However, if you graduated from an IS school but hold Japanese citizenship or permanent residency in Japan, you are not eligible.

Q7. The FGL Application Guide mentions the scores needed when taking the Japan Student Services Organization's Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (JASSO EJU). However, no scores are listed for other types of examination. What are the score requirements for the other tests?

A. As it is impossible to compare scores for global and national standardized university admission exams, such as the IB, SAT and GCE etc., in each country, we are unable to provide specific score requirements for admission.

Since FGL offers courses in science, engineering, and agriculture, students with excellent mathematics and science scores are preferred. You are encouraged to complete and grade the practice EJU test questions yourself. If you can attain a score of 80% or better on the EJU, you will be considered to have sufficient basic academic abilities to apply to the FGL program.

For your reference, the IMAC-U website provides data showing submitted standardized test scores and success rates in the 2nd Stage Screening.

Q8. When and how should the examination fee be paid?

A. A link to a payment service (e-shiharai net) will be provided on the FGL website. You will pay by credit card. The name on the credit card need not match your name. So, you can use a credit card under the name of your parent/guardian. Please follow the instructions on the site to complete the payment.

Please note that your application procedure is not complete until the examination fee is paid, even if all application documents have been submitted by the deadline.

Q9. Where can I find the Application Guide and contact information for the FGL Undergraduate Courses?

A. The Application Guide, including the contact information for the Tohoku University FGL Undergraduate Courses can be read (and be downloaded) here.

If you have questions about applying, please email us in English (or Japanese).
Future Global Leadership Undergraduate Courses admissions:

Q10. Are there any differences between the 1st and 2nd Application Rounds?

A. No. The selection process and criteria are basically the same for both the 1st and 2nd rounds. Each course will accept approximately 10 students for both the 1st and 2nd rounds combined from among those who pass the screening process.

Tohoku University offers two application rounds because for some students in specific countries it is impossible to satisfy all our application requirements due to their country's academic system (e.g., national standardized university exams are conducted late in the year). Our current application system gives them an opportunity to apply during the 2nd Application Round. Also, the two application rounds are offered to give multiple opportunities for applying to some students.

However, in order to study in Japan, a number of procedures are required (e.g., getting a Student visa etc.). Therefore, if you fulfill the application requirements early, we strongly recommend that you apply during the 1st Application Round to give you ample time to complete these procedures.

Q11. I live in a country that offers the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students. However, I wasn't able to take the EJU test in time. Can I submit a different test score instead?

A. Yes. The EJU is not mandatory. So you can apply by submitting scores for the subjects required by your desired course in one of the standardized exams listed in the Application Guide. If you have any concerns, please contact us by e-mail. FGL Undergraduate Courses admissions:

Q12. How is the 1st Stage Screening conducted?

A. Submitted documents will be examined and applicants will be selected based on whether or not they possess sufficient fundamental academic abilities to study at Tohoku University. Notification of screening results will be sent to each applicant via T-cens message and e-mail, and examination numbers of successful applicants will be announced on the FGL website.

Q13. How is the 2nd Stage Screening conducted? Are past test questions from the 2nd Stage Screening published?

A. The 2nd Stage Screening consists of an interview to assess basic academic ability, level of motivation, and communication skills. It is conducted via Skype video call or a teleconferencing system. It will be conducted in English.

Notification of screening results will be sent to each applicant through the T-cens system, and examination numbers of successful applicants will be announced on the FGL website.

Samples of past questions for the written portion of the 2nd Stage Screening will be sent to IMAC-U applicants who pass the 1st Stage Screening.

Q14: Where is the 2nd Stage Screening conducted?

A.Tohoku University will designate locations for the 2nd Stage Screening. Please be aware that the screening may not be conducted in the city/region where you live. If you already live in Japan, the 2nd Stage Screening will be conducted at Tohoku University (in Sendai).

Details of the date/time, location, and method for the 2nd Stage Screening will be provided via T-cens message and e-mail.

Q15. How will Tohoku University contact me?

A. You will be contacted individually by T-cens message and e-mail. Particularly important communications will be also sent by post.

Q16. Where can I find past applicant numbers and acceptance rates by country?

FGL undergraduate admission results from October 2011 to October 2016 are shown below:

October 2011 Admission

AMC13Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan4Thailand, Indonesia4Thailand, Indonesia
IMAC22Iran, Thailand, Germany, Turkey, India, China, US, Pakistan10Turkey, Thailand, India, China, US8Turkey, Thailand, India, China, US
AMB6Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Indonesia, China6Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Indonesia, China5Sri Lanka, Turkey, Indonesia, China
Total41 20 17

October 2012 Admission

AMC12Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, China, Korea, Japan10Thailand, Indonesia, China, Korea, Japan7Thailand, Indonesia, China, Korea
IMAC23Thailand, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Nigeria, Argentina, China, Korea12Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan, China, Korea10Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan, China, Korea
AMB10Indonesia, Pakistan, Denmark, China7Indonesia, Pakistan, China5Indonesia, Pakistan, China
Total45 29 22

October 2013 Admission

AMC11Thailand, China, Uzbekistan, India, Indonesia5Thailand, China, Indonesia5Thailand, Indonesia, China
IMAC35India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Iran, Italy, America, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia12Thailand, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal8Thailand, China, Malaysia, Nepal
AMB9America, Thailand, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore, Nigeria, Korea6America, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Nigeria, Korea4America, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore
Total55 23 17

October 2014 Admission

AMC16China, Indonesia, Thai, Nepal, Pakistan, Netherland, America9China, Indonesia, Thailand3China
IMAC53China, Korea, India, Indonesia, Thai, Pakistan, Nepal, Netherland, Malaysia, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe 18China, India, Indonesia, Thai, Pakistan, Nepal15China, India, Indonesia, Thai, Nepal
AMB11China, Indonesia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam5Indonesia, Vietnam4Indonesia, Vietnam
Total80 32 22

October 2015 Admission

AMC15Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, China, Indonesia, Singapore, US9Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, US7Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, US
IMAC69Egypt, Luxembourg, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Palestine, China, Indonesia, Tunisia, Vietnam, Nepal, England, Japan, Thailand/Indonesia, US21China, Indonesia, Tunisia, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam16China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam
AMB12India, Pakistan, China, Nepal, US/Taiwan, Indonesia, Cameroon, Singapore, US/Japan5US/Taiwan, Singapore, China, US/Japan, US2US/Taiwan, Singapore

October 2016 Admission

AMC32Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Malaysia, Malaysia/Japan, Indonesia, Nepal, India, Korea, Thailand, Germany, UK, US10China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Mongolia, Korea, Thailand8China, Malaysia, Nepal, Mongolia
IMAC106Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Egypt/US, Germany/US/Japan, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Uganda, US, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Jordan, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Australia18China, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Egypt/US, Egypt13China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Egypt/US, Egypt
AMB16China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, US7Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, US6Indonesia, US, Korea, Thailand

3. Education Curriculum

Q1. What kind of classes can I take on this program?

A. An outline of the curriculum is available on the FGL website for your reference. Also see the General Education syllabuses for October 2015 and October 2016 entrants. You can refer to the syllabuses for specialized subjects too. There are links to all of these on the FGL Undergraduate overview page.

Q2. Will I be able to take classes together with Japanese students?

A. This program has no Japanese language requirement, but the curriculum is structured to provide as many opportunities for interaction with Japanese students as possible.

Generally, during the first and second year you will have to take classes taught in English, but we are considering making it possible to take some classes together with Japanese students. (e.g. physical education, etc.)

Classes for Japanese students are usually taught in Japanese, but there are also some that are taught in English. FGL students who want to take classes for Japanese students that are taught in English may be allowed to take them.

Q3. Can I transfer to a different course after entering this program?

A. No. The FGL program uses a specialized admission process. As a result, you cannot transfer to another course after entering. Please obtain sufficient information on each course before applying to the program.

Q4. Can I study Japanese at Tohoku University?

A. Yes, FGL students can study Japanese as a foreign language (10 credits). Credits earned in this foreign language course will count towards Tohoku University's graduation requirements.

We also provide a system for receiving language credits based on examination scores, such as the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test. Please inquire for more information.

Q5. Can I progress to a Tohoku University Graduate School after completing this program?

A. Yes. Upon graduating from this program, you will receive a bachelor's degree in Science, Engineering, or Agriculture, depending on your course. This qualifies you to enter graduate school.

One of Tohoku University's defining characteristics is that most students proceed to a graduate school after completing undergraduate studies. The percentage of students who go on to graduate school averages 80-90% for the Faculty of Science, School of Engineering, and Faculty of Agriculture.

The School of Engineering provides a system that allows exceptional students to graduate and apply for graduate school early (less than four years for graduation).

For information on graduate school admissions, please visit the website of the department you are interested in applying to. It is possible to enter a graduate school in October instead of April.

Tohoku University is creating a support system that will provide career consulting and employment information to students to assist with their post-graduation plans.

4. Scholarships and Housing

Q1. What kind of scholarships and other support are provided to students?


Tohoku University actively supports FGL students by providing scholarships and dormitory housing to those with exceptional academic abilities.

Tohoku University will recommend 10 students who achieve particularly excellent entrance examination results for the Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship. Scholarship recipients will receive a monthly stipend of JPY 119,000 (estimated amount) for four years, from their enrollment until graduation.

Up to 20 successful applicants (excluding those who underwent the 2nd Stage Screening in Japan) who achieved outstanding entrance examination results, are of excellent character, and for whom studying poses economic hardships, are eligible for the Honors Scholarship for Privately Financed International Students. Scholarship recipients will receive a monthly stipend of JPY 48,000 for half a year after they enroll.

About 20 enrollees will be selected for the President Fellowship, which awards a scholarship that covers examination, entrance, and tuition fees.  

Please note that this scholarship does not include a living stipend. Living expenses for 1st-year students in Sendai are about JPY 70,000-80,000 per month.

Scholarship Award

Details, RecipientsParticularly Outstanding Students (10), Japanese Government (MEXT) ScholarshipOutstanding Students (20), President Fellowship, MEXT Honors Scholarship for Privately Financed International Students
Examination Fee JPY 5,000-Equivalent amount awarded
Entrance Fee JPY 282,000Upon EnrollingWaivedEquivalent amount awarded
Living StipendJPY 119,000/mo. x 12mos. x 4 yrs., economy air ticket to/from JapanNone
(MEXT Honors Scholarship JPY 48,000 x 6 mos.) 
(JPY 267,900 x 2 = JPY 535,800 per year)
1st yearWaivedEquivalent amount awarded
2nd year
3rd year
4th year

FGL undergraduate students are given preferential access to the University House Sanjo dormitory for their first two years. University House Sanjo rooms are furnished with desks and beds, and are inexpensive. More specific details will be given during the enrollment procedures.

Dormitory fees (rent + maintenance fees) are approximately JPY 19,000/month plus a deposit (JPY 30,000) upon moving in. You must pay these fees yourself. You will also be charged for utilities such as water, gas, etc. each month.

University House details can be found at the URLs below:

From your third year, you will have to live in a private apartment. Rent costs about JPY 30,000-60,000/month. You will also have to pay 1-3 months of rent as key money/deposit. The International Support Office can help you find a private apartment.

For information on private apartments, please see the TU Support Website.

Q2. What is the President Fellowship system?

A. This is a unique scholarship system offered by Tohoku University to international students who possess both outstanding academic abilities and character.

By providing this scholarship, the system aims to promote enrollment by international students, contribute to international diversity in our undergraduate curriculum, and foster leaders, both foreign and Japanese, who will be active on a global scale.

Q3. I am concerned about paying my living expenses.

A. The President Fellowship covers the entrance fee and four years' worth of tuition. Living expenses are not covered. If you are concerned about living expenses, you should arrange to receive financial support from your home country (parent/guardian, government etc.).

The class schedule is also extremely tight and it will take time to settle into your new life, so it will be difficult to do part-time work soon after you arrive. Do not rely on scholarships and part-time work to pay your way after enrolling. It is essential that you get financial support from your home country somehow.

Q4. How much are monthly living expenses?

A. Living expenses vary greatly depending on living arrangements (dormitory or private apartment). Please see the Living Expenses section of the Tohoku University Guide for details.

Rent (Maintenance) (Monthly) Electricity, gas, water Deposit/key money
University House Sanjo A-type: JPY 16,600 (2,500) Other fees depend on usage Deposit (JPY 30,000), remainder refunded upon moving out
Private apartment JPY 30,000-60,000 Other fees depend on usage Varies, but is generally equal to 1-3 months of rent.

5. Other information

Q1. Where is Tohoku University located?

A. Tohoku University is located in Sendai City about 1.5 hours by train (Tohoku Shinkansen) from Tokyo. Sendai boasts a lovely natural environment, and is considered one of the most pleasant and livable cities in Japan. Most of the campuses are situated near downtown Sendai. For more information, please visit here.

Q2. I am worried about the Sendai earthquake and radioactivity. What is the current situation?

A. The earthquake of March 11, 2011 triggered massive tsunami over the entire eastern part of Japan, causing much damage. Moreover, it led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Concentrated efforts at restoration have been ongoing since then, both on the local and national level. We are very grateful for the warm support we received from people around the world immediately after the disaster.

Although some of Tohoku University's buildings and facilities were greatly damaged, we quickly began recovery efforts, and the university's research and educational activities are now completely back to their pre-earthquake state.

With regards to radiation, Tohoku University is located in Sendai, which is about 100 km from the Fukushima nuclear plant. The Nuclear Regulation Authority publishes the results of environmental radiation surveys daily, and Sendai's levels are basically the same as those in other major Japanese cities. Compared with radiation in cities around the world, Sendai's levels are actually fairly low.

Even so, we understand that those considering studying here are very concerned about radiation in Sendai. For reference, here is a comparison of environmental radiation levels in Japan and major world cities, as of March 2016.


Readings are shown in microsieverts.

Beijing 0.058 London: 0.093 Nagoya: 0.040
New York: 0.094 Osaka: 0.042 Paris: 0.057
Sendai: 0.041 Seoul: 0.115 Singapore: 0.100
Taipei: 0.058 Tokyo 0.032

Tohoku University is committed to providing a safe, secure environment for its students.

Q3. When and how should entrance and tuition fees be paid?

A. The method and deadline for payment of entrance and tuition fees for the FGL program will be described in the admission information that will be sent to you if you are accepted.

Usually, payment of the entrance fee is required in order to enroll at Tohoku University. However students can obtain a temporary deferment by submitting a deferment application stating they will pay by a certain date. However, failure to pay will result in revocation of your permission to enroll (you will lose your Student status). You will be provided more detailed information once you are accepted by the program.

Q4. Is there any information on private scholarships? About how many of the international students at Tohoku University receive a scholarship?

A. Information on scholarships for international students offered by private organizations can be found here.


If you require a scholarship, you should actively obtain information independently. Also, there are about 2000 international students enrolled at Tohoku University. Their financial arrangements are summarized below. (FY 2015)

Japanese Government Scholarship Students (MEXT Scholarship)About 340
Privately Financed StudentsStudents financed by the governments of their home countries About 110
Honors Scholarship About 100
Private scholarship recipients About 150
Other (self-financed) About 1,300

Q5. Am I allowed to work at a part-time job?

A. Yes, students may work part-time as long as it doesn't interfere with their studies. International students are allowed to work a maximum of 28 hours per week. If you plan to engage in part-time work, you can apply for permission to do so when entering Japan. If you do not submit the application when entering the country, you can do so at the Sendai Immigration Bureau. For more information, please visit the Immigration Bureau website.

Q6. Can I participate in student clubs?

A. Yes, beyond academic study, Tohoku University conducts sports and cultural activities through the campus-wide Gakuyu-kai (Students' Friendship Association). Information on the Gakuyu-kai can be found here.

You can see a list of student clubs and circles on the Tohoku University website. Many Tohoku University students participate in these activities.

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