MEXT Scholarship Guide – Study in Japan 2021

MEXT Scholarship Guide – Study in Japan 2021
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Study in Japan 2021  MEXT Scholarship Guide

Hi, Readers. In today’s blog post, I want to share with you how you can go to Japan to study at a university for free.

 All of this will only possible to an amazing scholarship provided by the Japanese government, It gives an opportunity to foreign students, to obtain a Master’s or Ph.D. Degree in Japan. \

Students have been asked a lot of questions about this scholarship, so I thought today I will write only about that and explain to you what exactly is this program, and when and how do you apply for it.

The scholarship is called JAPANESE GOVERNMENT (MEXT)SCHOLARSHIP MEX. There stands for The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), which funds these scholarships.

Under this program, the Japanese government will provide you with a monthly scholarship of around 140,000 yen for the whole period of study.

It will cover your tuition fees, again for the whole period of your study, and will also pay your travel expenses to and from Japan.


There are a few types of MEXT scholarships, I think six in total, out of them these two will result in an academic degree:

Number one is Undergraduate student scholarship It will provide you with a scholarship for 5 years in total. During your first year, you will take obligatory Japanese language courses which will prepare you for the classes at a Japanese university.

And in the following 4 years, you will study along with Japanese students in order to get a bachelor’s degree in the desired field.

Number two is the Research StudenMEXT-Scholarship-Guide-Study-in-Japan-2021t scholarship which allows you to study at a graduate school in order to obtain either a Master’s or a Ph.D. Degree, depending on what you are aiming for.

Let’s talk in more detail about how does it actually work. If you are accepted for the research student scholarship, you arrive in Japan at the beginning of their academic year, which is April.

In some cases, you can arrange it to start in October as well, because October is the beginning of the 2nd semester. At first, you are not officially enrolled at your graduate school, but you are granted a special status called ‘research student’ (kenkyuusei).

This status basically allows you to use all the facilities of the university. So, for example, you can go to the library and borrow some books there, you can also use computers at the network center at your faculty, etc.

Also, you can take classes at your graduate school, but you will not get credits for them, because you are not an official student yet. Also, for example, if when you came to Japan you didn’t speak Japanese very well or at all, then you can take Japanese language classes at your university for free.

You can choose between taking them for one semester or for two semesters. And don’t worry because any university nowadays has a variety of classes for different levels of proficiency.

So you can choose between classes for the beginners, intermediate level, or…and this one I do recommend you to take – a Japanese class of academic writing. You will need this one. Your main objective as a research student is to prepare yourself for the entrance exams for either a Master’s or Ph.D. program.

The entrance exams take place twice a year. In February and at the end of August, beginning of September. So, for example, If you want to start in April, you will have to take exams in February. And if you want to start your program from October, then take exams at the end of August/ beginning of September.

So, the MEXT scholarship Guide is provided for you as for a research student, and it is for a maximum of 2 years, within which you have a few attempts to pass the exam. So the regular path for you would be to arrive in Japan in April, then to take free Japanese language courses in the first half a year, study hard for the upcoming entrance exams and take the exam in August.

If you didn’t pass them, you still can try again in February. If it was again unsuccessful, don’t give up, you still have one last chance – in August next year. If you did manage to pass the exams, then you would be officially enrolled at your graduate school as a master or Ph.D. student.

That would mean that your status as a research student has changed. Therefore, you would have to apply to MEXT for the extension of your scholarship so it would cover your Master’s program as well.

But don’t worry, because this is quite an easy procedure. The only thing you have to do is to submit a set of documents to the office of your faculty. Among those documents should be the letter of recommendation from your professor and your research plan.

There will be no more exams and no more interviews. And also, as far as I know, every MEXT research student who has applied for the extension of his scholarship – got it.

Again, if in two years, after you have completed your Master’s degree, you want to stay at your faculty or at your university, and to get a Ph.D. degree as well, then you have to apply to MEXT again.

So, now when you understand a bit better what is the MEXT scholarship for a research student, let’s talk about how, when, and where do you apply for it.

If you are outside of Japan, there are two main ways through which you can get accepted for this scholarship:

The first is to get recommended by the Embassy consulate general of Japan in your country. Second – is to get recommended directly by the Japanese university which wants to accept you.

The last option is extremely difficult and extremely rare, so let’s mainly focus on how most of us will have to do it – which is to apply through the embassy or consulate general of Japan in your country.

The application procedure starts around April each year, but this deadline may vary depending on your country, so make sure to check the deadlines carefully. You can find them on the website of the embassy or consulate of Japan in your country.

In the first stage of the application, you are required to submit a set of documents such as, for example, your application form, your graduation certificate, a transcript of records, etc. But the most important factor is your estimated research plan.

Here, you have to make it clear how is your research connected to Japan, and why you should do it in a Japanese university, and nowhere else. Convince them! Another document you should take seriously is the Placement Preference Form, which is a list that contains three universities you would like to study at.

I will recommend you to do online research beforehand to find the professors who are doing research in a related field, and then to contact them. Tell them that you are coming to their university as MEXT student and you would be very grateful if they could be your supervisor.

It gives you a huge advantage if you have contact with professors this early in the application process.

The next stage of the application starts in June when you are invited to the embassy or the consulate of Japan in your country to take exams and an interview. Applicants for the undergraduate program are required to take 3 exams: Japanese, English, and mathematics.

Also in some cases, you might be asked to take biology, chemistry, or physics exam, depending on what you are going to study at a Japanese university. For those applying for the research student program – you have to take two exams – Japanese and English.

As I mentioned in my previous video, many universities nowadays have programs in English, so for them, you are not required to know Japanese at all. However, for such fields as Japanese linguistics or Japanese literature, naturally, you need to know Japanese for them.


So the high level of Japanese proficiency will be expected from you. You will also have an interview with a few Japanese professors, during which you should show a clear understanding of your research goals, and you should also express your interest and passion for Japan.

The results of this screening will be announced around the end of August. If you managed to successfully pass these stages, you have to once again contact the Japanese professor at the university of your choice and ask him to send you the letter of acceptance.

If you manage to achieve this, your chances to get accepted for the scholarship are extremely high. The final results will be announced in September and you will travel to Japan at the beginning of April.

I know this sounds complicated, maybe even scary. But as long as you really want it, you can do it! Every day I talk to other friends who are also studying in Japan through the MEXT Scholarship. I write this blog post because I want to help you to understand how does this scholarship work.

But also I want to show you that it is possible! Thank you guys for reading.

If you have any more questions about studying in Japan, the MEXT Scholarship, or Japan in general, just leave them in the comments down or use the Contact Page and we will get back to you ASAP.

That’s all for today. 

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