Sophia University offers a Japanese Language, Japanese Studies and Liberal Arts curriculum in heart of Tokyo. Highlights include wide array of courses, extensive student club activities, easy access to Tokyo cultural/night scene, and an international, English-speaking student body. Study at Sophia is available for the year or spring semester.
Sophia University was officially established in 1913 as a special school by the Society of Jesus, and has since grown into a large and well-reputed university with over 10,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students across four campuses in the Tokyo area. It takes the name Sophia from the Greek sophia meaning "wisdom". The Japanese name, Jochi Daigaku literally means "University of Higher Wisdom".
Sophia's main campus, at Yotsuya, is an urban campus, consisting of roughly 25 large, modern buildings in the center of Tokyo. The majority of Sophia's 10,000 undergraduate students spend nearly all of their time here. The Faculties of Humanities, Law, Foreign Studies, Economics, Liberal Arts, and Science and Technology have their home here, as do the main library, cafeteria, gymnasium, chapel, bookstore, and offices. Sophia offers courses taught in English in the Faculty of Liberal Arts, the Faculty of Science and Technology, and the Global Studies Program.
All exchange students must study Japanese. Regular Japanese (4 credits) is offered for those beginning Japanese or those who do not wish to take the Intensive program. Intensive Japanese (8 credits) is offered at 4 levels, and meets 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. Students who are in the Intensive language course are recommended to choose only 1 or 2 lecture courses from the English taught course offerings. Students in Regular Japanese may enroll in 3 or 4 lecture courses.
International dorms and apartment style housing are available through Sophia University; students are strongly encouraged to live in university-arranged housing. The cost of living near campus is very high, so student housing is located in the suburbs, and requires a 45-90 minute commute to campus. The train and subway systems in Tokyo are well-developed, but during the morning rush hours, the trains are very crowded. Housing does not include meals.
IPO may nominate one spring semester student each year for the JASSO Scholarship through Sophia University. Students must have excellent academic record, strong motivation to study in Japan, financial need, and plan to return to their home universities to complete their degree. The scholarship provides a monthly stipend of 80,000 yen. Application form is available from Asia Programs Advisor, and due at the end of February.
Financial Documentation Requirement
Students applying to study at a Japanese university through the UMass exchanges must provide evidence of adequate financial resources to cover living expenses and must also provide a notarized letter from parents or guardian pledging to provide financial support for their son/daughter while studying in Japan. The specific amount required for study at Sophia is 150,000 yen per month, or about $6300 per semester. The student or his or her parents/guardian will need to obtain a signed letter from their bank stating the balance of their checking/savings accounts, money market accounts, mutual fund accounts or retirement accounts. The letter must be on letterhead of the financial institution and must be signed by a real person. This is a reciprocal requirement between the U.S. and Japan; Japanese students seeking to enter the U.S. must also show evidence of ability to support themselves in the form of a signed letter from their bank.
If you are a financial aid recipient, do not panic or give up hope because of this requirement. Note that you or your parents are only being asked to show evidence of funds available; these funds don’t necessarily need to be earmarked for your educational expenses. Talk with your family to see if there is any way to satisfy this requirement yourselves. You should also apply for as many scholarships as possible (see Scholarship section). If you receive a scholarship, you will be able to use the award letter to satisfy part of this requirement.
Students applying to any of the UMass-sponsored Japanese exchange sites must first complete the UMass Japan Exchange Program application and screening process which includes an interview. The deadline is early October for the spring semester, or early January for the following fall semester & year. After your interview, during which your preferred host university will be confirmed, your "UMass Japan Exchange Program" application in the UMass Abroad system will be changed to an application for your preferred university. There will be some additional documents that you must complete, and information about the actual university application.
Application to Sophia
The Asia Programs Advisor must nominate students to Sophia. Application materials are available online beginning February 10 and October 1, and include a Certificate of Health with a chest x-ray signed by your physician and two letters of recommendation. Application materials should be submitted to the Exchange Coordinator well before the deadline, for mailing to Sophia.