Japan is not only a travel destination but has been a constant choice for students wanting to study abroad. Aside from the fascinating culture and conducive learning environment, the country also offers world-class science and technology attracting about 140,000 international students coming from 170 different countries all over the world. However, not everyone has the financial ability to study abroad.
Scholarships exist to alleviate the financial burden of students with financial difficulties who are chasing their big dreams. One of them is the MEXT scholarship or Monbukagakusho which is a program funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. It is offered to international students who wish to further their studies at Japanese universities. This is open to graduate, undergraduate, college of technology, professional training college, Japanese studies, and teacher training students.
The scholarship amount for MEXT Scholarships
Monthly financial assistance for chosen scholars vary by course and level.
- Undergraduate students:117,000 yen (1,026 USD)
- College of technology students: 117,000 yen (1,026 USD)
- Japanese studies students: 117,000 yen (1,026 USD)
- Specialized training college students: 117,000 yen (1,026 USD)
- Teacher training students: 143,000 yen (1,254 USD)
- Research students: 143,000 yen (1,254 USD)
- Research students (master’s course): 144,000 yen (1,263 USD)
- Research students (doctoral course): 145,000 yen (1,272 USD)
- Young Leaders’ Program or YLP students: 242,000 yen (2,123 USD).
An educational fee which includes fees for tuition and entrance examination; and an economy airline ticket to Japan is also shouldered by MEXT scholarship. By the end of the scholarship period, airline ticket going back to their home country will be provided.
Eligibility criteria for MEXT Scholarships
The criteria that an applicant must meet to be qualified for the MEXT scholarship are nationality, age, academic background, and Japanese language requirements.
For the nationality, the applicant must come from a country that has diplomatic relations with Japan. Japanese nationality is not eligible for this scholarship. Applicant must also be 18 years of age at the time of admission or technically born after April 2, 1996.
As for the academic background, requirements vary depending on the category you will be studying in. For research students, applicants must not be over 35 years of age, college graduates (or are expected to graduate), or have completed 16 years of schooling.
Teacher training students have similar age and degree requirements to that of research students but include another requisite which is 5 years teaching experience in primary, secondary, or teacher training in the country of origin. This scholarship, however, disqualifies college and university teachers who are presently in active service.
Undergraduate students who desire to receive MEXT scholarship must be at least 17 to 25 years of age and have finished 12 years of school education or have completed courses in a school that is similar to a high school ( or to a Japanese high school for those who want to enroll in a specialized training college) including candidates for graduation.
Students must be at least 17 years old but less than 25 years of age and have finished school education similar to high school ( with a minimum of 11 years of school education starting from primary school) to those eyeing to join the College of Technology.
Lastly, Japanese studies require applicants to be aged 18 to 30 years old. They must also be enrolled undergraduates majoring in Japanese language or Japanese culture outside of Japan before their arrival, and must still be enrolled in the home institution upon returning to their home countries.
Once deemed eligible, other conditions provided by MEXT are found here.
How do I apply for MEXT Scholarships?
The application process is done either by embassy or university recommendations.
For this type of recruitment, the guidelines differ by country. For more information on the application process in your country, the list of websites for the different Japanese embassies can be found here. For undergraduate, research, college of technology, and special training students, they are initially screened through interviews, documentary examination, and written tests that are usually held between June and July. By the end of August, the embassy would recommend the qualified students to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) in Japan.
Teacher training and Japanese studies applicants however follow a different timeline. Recruitment is done in December and February the following year for those who are scheduled to arrive in September to October. Between February and March, the screening is expected to be completed. In the same way, successful applicants are then recommended to MEXT by the start of April.
The second way for applying to MEXT scholarshaip is through university recommendations. Exchange students majoring in Japanese studies and research are selected by Japanese universities that are entitled to the Japanese Government Scholarship. Once qualified, the selected students are recommended by the Japanese universities to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). By September to October, university-recommended research students sponsored by the government to study in Japan arrive in the country.
Needed documents for the MEXT scholarship application are provided at this link.
Deadlines for MEXT Scholarships
The deadlines for submission of the needed documents differ per country. If you are applying through embassy recommendation, you should be familiar with the website of the Japanese embassy in your home country to take note of important dates. Between April and May is where the recruitment process for undergraduate, research, college and technology, and special training students takes place.
For those who would like to enroll in teacher training and Japanese studies, they should constantly check for announcements from December to February of the next year for recruitment announcements.
If your application is through recommendation by a Japanese university, confer to the study abroad center of your chosen university (or where you are currently enrolled) or visit the website of the Japanese university that you would like to enroll in.