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Programs : Brochure

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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.5 Language of Instruction: English, Japanese
Housing: Campus Housing Number of Credits Offered: 12-16
Language Courses Offered: Japanese Eligible Population: 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate
Type of Program: Bilateral Exchange Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Religious Studies, Art History, Sociology, Theater, Honors, Government and International Policy, Chinese, Communication, Criminology Law and Society, Anthropology, Foreign Languages, Global Affairs, History, Integrative Studies, Japanese Studies
Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office Minimum GPA (Graduate): 3.0
Open to non-Mason Students: No Click here for a definition of this term Course Equivalency Database: View Approved Courses
Program eligible for VA Benefits: No
Program Description:

Akita International University

Akita, Japan

Surrounded by the beautiful nature of northern Japan, Akita International University (AIU) is a window to the world. Unique in Japan for offering an International Liberal Arts education entirely in English, AIU is on the cutting edge of Japanese higher education. The university itself is fairly small with less than 1,000 students allowing for an intimate, immersive experience. AIU is located in Akita city (population about 313,000), the capital of Akita prefecture (population about 1,010,000), an ideally-sized city that provides the opportunity to get immersed in the local culture while also offering convenient access to international goods and services. A state-of-the-art sports facility, hiking, cycling, golf courses, and a large shopping mall, are all in the vicinity of campus. The university organizes various events, activities, and field trips providing students with hands-on experience in Japanese culture. Akita prefecture is known for its natural beauty and resources and the university is located close to ski areas, scenic hiking opportunities, and the Sea of Japan coastline. 

Application cycles are open one semester at a time. Applications for the fall/academic year will open around December 1 of the year prior and applications for spring/calendar year will open around July 1 of the year prior.​​

Click through the brochure tabs to learn more about this program.


In order to participate in this program, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Students must have completed at least 45 credits at the time of departure.
    • For students applying for fall or academic year programs, this total does not include summer coursework that has yet to be completed.
    • AIU requires students to have at least two semesters of MASON grades on their academic transcript at the time of application in order to be considered for exchange. 
  • Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA at the time of application and departure.
  • Students planning to study abroad in the last semester of their senior year should discuss this with their GEO program administrator and major advisor as this may affect their ability to graduate on time.
  • Recent transfer students cannot study abroad their first semester (not including summer) at Mason.

Courses Available

All subject matter courses are taught in English (excluding some higher level language courses) and are available to international students. Exchange students may not enroll in preparatory English language courses or required non-content courses for degree-seeking students.

Course Equivalency and Plan of Study

The Global Education Office has a Course Evaluation and Registration System (CERS), which you will use to complete the steps needed to evaluate your courses abroad, and see how they will count at Mason. This database is accessible whether you have already applied, or are just beginning to think about studying abroad. Look at the courses in the database. You are by no means limited to these courses. The database shows courses that have already been evaluated. You can request equivalency for any course not yet evaluated, through CERS.

You are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to look at this institution’s courses ahead of time to see how they will match up to your Mason degree requirements. Talk to your academic advisor about what courses you will need to receive credit for during your time abroad to stay on-track for your degree. When looking at courses keep in mind that course schedules can change. We recommend having twice as many courses approved as necessary.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar at AIU is fairly different to Mason. The fall semester runs from late August to late December and the spring semester runs from early April to late July. 

Credit Conversion

Students are expected to take a full-time course load during their time abroad. A full-time course load is 15 credits. A typical course is worth 3 credits. 

  • 1 credits at AIU = 1 credit at Mason

Students are allowed to take 4-5 courses per term which will allow you to transfer back 12-15 credits. 

Grade Conversion

When transferring courses back to Mason, the credits will transfer but the grade will not. However, you must receive the equivalent of a "C" or above in order to transfer your credit back. Refer to the table below regarding how grades are converted at this institution.

 AIU Grade Mason Grade
A+ (100) A+
A (95-99) A
A- (90-94) A-
B+ (87-89) B+
B (83-86) B
B- (80-82) B-
C+(77-79) C+
C (73-76) C
C- (70-72) C-
D+ (66-69) D+
D (60-65) D
F (0-59) F

Global Understanding

Students participating in this study abroad program will automatically fulfill the Mason Global Understanding core requirement.


All international students a required to live in on-campus housing. Students will live together with other international or Japanese students. Utilities are included at Komachi Residence Hall but will cost extra at Sakura Village Apartment, Global Village, and University Village. All students will be charged a Bedding and Cleaning Fee which covers weekly cleaning of the pillowcase, mattress cover, blanket cover, and comforter cover. 

Note: As of April 2017, AIU is proud to be a smoke free campus. All students are required to live on campus, where there are no smoking areas and there are no places to smoke anywhere near campus.


AIU offers three meal plans for students based on their lifestyle preference. You can also choose to cook on your own or purchase individual meals from the Cafeteria in cash.
  • 21 Meal Plan (21 meals/week, 3 meals/day)
  • 10 Meal Plan (10 meals/week, Lunch and dinner Monday-Friday only)
  • Pre-Paid Card
Details can be found on the dining website.

All new students are required to purchase a meal plan for the first two weeks on campus due to the busy orientation schedule. This costs approximately 14,400 JPY (2018). The meal cost, which varies depending on the meal option you select, after the first two-week new student orientation period must be paid after your arrival by cash or credit card.

Program Cost

This is a Bilateral Exchange Program. Students are enrolled as regular students at the partner university, pay Mason tuition to Mason, and pay room and board abroad. Students can use the budget sheets located at the top of this page to see what GEO estimates as expenses.

Program Payments

As this is a Bilateral Exchange Program, students will pay for their tuition as they normally do in PatriotWeb.

Application Fee: A non-refundable application fee of $200 for Mason students. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system.

Administrative Fee: A non-refundable administrative fee of $325 (for semester length programs) or $525 (for year-long programs) must be received in order to confirm your enrollment in the program. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system.

Financial Aid: Students using financial aid are encouraged to talk to their counselor regarding how their financial aid can transfer to their program.


GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:

Application Deadline:

Fall/Academic Year: Early-Mid October*
Spring/Calendar Year: Early-Mid September*

*See the bottom of this page for the exact deadlines for the upcoming term(s).

Visa Information

Once accepted into a program, it will be your responsibility to apply for a student visa and/or residence permit (if required, based on your citizenship). You will receive details on this with your acceptance letter. Do not apply for a visa until after you have been officially accepted. Visit Akita's Visa and Entry to Japan information page and the Embassy of Japan's website for further information.

Application requirements:*

Application fee: $200 for Mason students.

Official Transcripts: An official copy of your Mason transcript is required as well as copies of official transcripts from any other college or university you have attended.

Passport Status: If you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents.

Questionnaires: Read and complete the documents according to the instructions.

*Additional paperwork may be required for this program and can be viewed inside your application.

Application instructions:

GEO Program Administrator

Name Martha Sadler
Phone +1 703-993-2154
  Make an appointment

Additional Resources

Follow AIU on Social Media

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2023 10/10/2022 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
Calendar Year 2023 10/10/2022 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.