Why and How to Apply for the Japanese MEXT Scholarships

  • July 30, 2018 / Lily Cernak / 0 Comment

The 文部科学省 Monbukagakusho (Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) offers scholarships every year. This article will tell you about the types of scholarships offered, their differences and requirements, and how to apply.

For more articles on studying abroad in Japan, click here.

If you are currently looking to study abroad, check out our Study in Japan Program here!

 

Essential Information

There are seven types of scholarships offered by MEXT. Depending on your country of origin, all seven may or may not be available for application. To find out which scholarships is applicable in your country, do a Google search for “Embassy of Japan in [your country name] MEXT scholarships.”

For example, here is the link to the Embassy of Japan in the United States of America: click here

and here is a link to the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia: click here

and so on.

Below are the seven types of MEXT scholarships. In here we list down various eligibility requirements under each type of scholarship. Note that the scholarship paperwork indicates that there are exceptions depending on circumstances.

The seven types of MEXT scholarships are:

1. Scholarships for Research Students

  • Research students are :

a. Enrolled students in a master’s course, a doctoral course, or a professional graduate course at a graduate school

b. Those who are conducting research in a specialized field. These are in the undergraduate department, graduate school, an institute attached to a university, etc. without the aim of completing the course.

  • There are no particular fields of study listed for these scholarships.
  • To apply for these scholarships, you must be under 35 years old.
  • Fluency in Japanese is not required to apply for these scholarships. But, 6 months of preparatory Japanese language courses is a need before beginning their regular studies/research.


Full information here: click here


2. Scholarships for Teacher Training Students

  • Applicants must be :

a. Graduates of universities or teacher training schools

b. Have worked as teachers at primary/secondary educational institutions or teacher training schools (excluding universities) in their home countries for five years in total.

  • To apply for these scholarships, you must be under 35 years old.
  • Japanese fluency is not required for application to these scholarships. However, “The training at universities will be conducted in Japanese or English in principle. You can confirm the language(s) used in each course in “Course Guide of Teacher Training Program.”
  • The recipient students whose Japanese language ability is insufficient shall take Japanese-language education. It’s conducted in a Japanese language study course at the appointed university or at a university designated by MEXT. Japanese-language education is generally provided for six months at the beginning of the program. But, some of the accepting universities may conduct Japanese language education parallel to the training.”


Full information here (NOTE: this is the 2018 version, not the 2019 version): click here


3. Scholarships for Undergraduate Students

  • The applicant must be:

a. An undergraduate-level student or is about to become an undergraduate-level student.

b. The applicant should be 17-21 years old.

  • The list of majors for these scholarships is quite broad. But if you have a highly specialized or unusual major you may want to check the list in the document below. If your major is not listed we recommend discussing the issue with someone at your Embassy before deciding whether or not to apply.
  • Japanese fluency is not required for application to these scholarships. However, “Each grantee will be enrolled at a preparatory educational institution (either at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies or Osaka University). This is designated by MEXT for the first year of the scholarship period. The preparatory course is a one-year intensive course in the Japanese language and other subjects necessary for preparation for proceeding to university.”


Full information here: click here


4. Scholarships for Japanese Studies Students

  • To apply for these scholarships, you must be 18-29 years old.
  • You must be able to understand spoken and written Japanese fairly well. The courses that you take while on these scholarships will be in Japanese.
  • To apply for these scholarships, your major must be in a field(s) related to Japanese language and/or Japanese culture.


Full information here: click here


5. Scholarships for College of Technology Students

  • The listed fields of study for these scholarships are the following.

Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Information, Communication and Network Engineering, Materials Engineering, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Maritime Engineering, and Other Fields.

  • To apply for these scholarships, you must be 17-21 years old.
  • The scholarship paperwork indicates that “Each grantee will be enrolled at a preparatory educational institution designated by MEXT for the first year of the scholarship period. The preparatory course is a one-year intensive course in the Japanese language, Japanese affairs, mathematics, and other subjects necessary for preparation for proceeding to a college of technology.”

Full information here: click here


6. Scholarships for Special Training College Students

  • The listed fields of study for these scholarships are the following.

Technology, Personal Care and Nutrition, Education and Welfare, Business, Fashion and Home Economics, Culture and General Education, and Other Fields.

  • To apply for these scholarships, you must be 17-21 years old.
  • The scholarship paperwork indicates that “Each grantee will be enrolled at a preparatory educational institution designated by MEXT for the first year of the scholarship period. The preparatory course is a one-year intensive course in the Japanese language, Japanese affairs, and other subjects necessary for preparation for proceeding to a specialized training college.”


Full information here: click here


7. Scholarships for Young Leaders’ Program Students

These scholarships are more country-limited than the other MEXT scholarships. You should check the country list for your categor(ies) before applying.

  • This scholarship program is divided into five categories.

Government, Local Governance, Healthcare Administration, Business Administration, and Law.

  • To apply for these scholarships, you must be under either 35 years old or under 40 years old, depending on which of the five categories you fall into.


Each of the five categories for these scholarships has differing language, education, and experience requirements. Please follow this link to see the specific paperwork for each category: click here

 

Why You Should Apply for a MEXT Scholarship

1. MEXT scholarship can cover all of your tuition for the duration of the scholarship. This is a huge boon for any student, and especially for students who are paying for college themselves.

2. Mext covers airfare. Again, a huge boon, since airfare to and from Japan can be quite expensive. This depends on where you are flying from and the time of year of your flight. (Air prices tend to spike during particular Japanese seasonal and holiday periods).

3. Quite a large number of students receive MEXT scholarships every year! We don’t have statistics on what percentage of applicants receive a scholarship. However, the MEXT scholarships with the smallest recipient quotas accept 50 or more applicants. (That’s the College of Technology and Specialty Training College scholarships). The Research Student scholarships accept upwards of 2,000 applicants.

4. Studying abroad is expensive (yes, even if you are rich). There are many expenses it may be hard to calculate until you are there. If you have plans or a desire to study in Japan, definitely consider applying for a MEXT scholarship!

5. Your Japanese will almost certainly improve while you are studying abroad in Japan. But knowing as much Japanese as possible before you arrive would be a big advantage. It will help you maximize the amount of real conversational practice you are able to get with local people.

Because many of the MEXT scholarship programs have built-in preparatory Japanese language schooling, they provide a great opportunity to get that head start on your Japanese before you get to Japan. Especially if you were not able to take much Japanese during your high school career or thus far in your university career.

How to Apply for MEXT Scholarships

1. To begin the application process for a MEXT scholarship, contact the Embassy of Japan or Consulate General of Japan in your country.

Note: If you are staying in a country of which you are not a citizen, you need to contact the Embassy of Japan in the country of which you are a citizen.

2. Not in Japan? You will need an Embassy or Consulate General recommendation, or a recommendation from the school or university in Japan that you would be attending. If you are in Japan, you may need a recommendation from the school or university that you are attending.

3. You will need to take Japanese language exam if you are applying for the Japanese Studies scholarships. For any of the other scholarships, you will need to take a Japanese language exam and an English language exam. You need a math exam too if you are applying for the Undergraduate, College of Technology, or Special Training College scholarships.

If you are applying for the College of Technology scholarships, or for the Undergraduate scholarships and are majoring in a natural science field, you will also need to take one or more science exams. This can be physics or chemistry for the former, and either chemistry and physics or chemistry and biology for the latter.

You can find some sample exam questions here: click here

 

About the application Forms (Things to Be Careful of)

Applicants to MEXT scholarships must fill out application forms with personal information and personal history information. This must be done meticulously. There are some pitfalls to watch out for, depending on the country in which you reside and which scholarship you are applying for.

The Transenz blog did a detailed article about what to watch out in Research Student MEXT Scholarship application. Here is the article: click here

Note that the Transenz post only discusses the Research scholarships application. Other applications may have their own pitfalls that the post does not discuss. However, it is a very good reference, and if you are applying for any MEXT scholarships we recommend giving it a read.

 

 

That’s all on the MEXT scholarships for now!

There is a lot to any study abroad application process.  There are also many details about MEXT and the MEXT application process that we did not cover. We hope that the links to the MEXT PDF documents will answer any additional questions you may have. If not, please feel free to comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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And, for more articles on studying abroad in Japan, click here!

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