Culture & Art

Ago 1, 2015

Top education

As Asian powers rise, the University of Tokyo is trying to strengthen its reputation as a globally relevant institute of higher learning. Internationalization is nothing new for the University of Tokyo (UTokyo), although it remains a vitally important initiative. The university's research activities have always been at the forefront of all the universities around the world.

University of Tokyo, (japanese: Tōkyō Daigaku), formerly (1886–1947) Tokyo Imperial University, was founded in 1877 and is known as Japan's top university. The campus occupies what was once the estate of the Maeda clan; the school's Aka-mon (Red Gate) was once part of the clan's villa. Also of note is the 'Sanshiro Pond' – named for the novel by Sōseki Natsume in which the pond appears.

Founded as the first Japanese institution of higher learning formed on a Western model, it incorporated three schools established in the late 18th and 19th centuries devoted, respectively, to the Chinese classics, Western studies, and Western medicine. The university was reconstructed after the great earthquake and fire of 1923. After World War II it was renamed the University of Tokyo (1947) and then reorganized (1949). The university is the most prestigious in the country, and admittance to it almost guarantees students attractive job offers upon graduation. The University of Tokyo has faculties of agriculture, economics, education, engineering, law, letters, medicine, pharmacology, and science, and it has a college of arts and sciences and a graduate school. The university has institutes for research in molecular and cellular biology, earthquakes, nuclear studies, solid-state physics, cosmic radiation, medical science, oceanography, journalism and communications, historiography, culture, and social science. 

UTokyo is consistently ranked in the top 15 according to the "World Reputation Rankings" published by the Times Higher Education. And its alumni include eight Nobel Prize laureates and a Fields Medal recipient. Since the 1970s, UTokyo has been striving to globalize its educational programs. 

Prospective students have long needed strong Japanese-language skills to do well at the university, which was founded 135 years ago, but that is beginning to change with the introduction of an undergraduate degree program taught in English. The groups of international students adds less than 1 percent to the freshman class of 3,000. But expectations are high among top officials at the university.

Students who speak English will be able to take an array of classes during their first two years, including physics, mathematics, philosophy, linguistics and economics. They will then proceed to a major in one of two fields during their third and fourth years: environmental science or East Asian studies, with a particular focus on Japan.

About three-quarters of the students are eligible for a full-tuition waiver and a monthly living allowance. Tuition is ¥535,800 annually, or about $6,800, plus a one-time admission fee of ¥282,000.

The University of Tokyo aims to be a world-class platform for research and education, contributing to human knowledge in partnership with other leading global universities. The University of Tokyo aims to nurture global leaders with a strong sense of public responsibility and a pioneering spirit, possessing both deep specialism and broad knowledge. The University of Tokyo aims to expand the boundaries of human knowledge in partnership with society. Details about how the University is carrying out this mission can be found in the University of Tokyo Charter and the Action Scenarios. The Future Timing of Enrollment page outlines another one of the University's mission objectives.


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