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Programs : Brochure

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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
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: Art History, Honors, Government and International Policy, Communication, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Economics, English, 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:

Soka University

Hachioji, Japan

Soka University
In 2014, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) designated Soka University as one of Japan's Super Global Universities. Soka is a private university with approximately 8,000 students. Soka is located in Hachioji, a city located in the western portion of Tokyo Metropolis, approximately thirty miles from the city center. The city is surrounded on three sides by mountains, forming the Hachioji Basin which opens up toward the east in the direction of Tokyo and is the home of popular hiking destinations. Being located in the Tokyo suburbs allows Soka University to have a beautiful campus surrounded by nature and flowers with easy access to the city. It's suburban location also enables Soka to have on-campus housing which is free to exchange students!

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.
  • 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

As an exchange student, you may take any of the courses within the Undergraduate Non-Degree Program at Soka. This program consists of three options:
  1. Japanese language courses designed for exchange students.
  2. Regular undergraduate courses, both general and specialized subjects, instructed in Japanese.
  3. Undergraduate courses instructed in English.
You may view sample courses here:

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 Soka University is different from Mason's. The fall semester runs from early September until late January and the spring semester runs from late March to late July. 

During the fall semester, classes end in mid-January. However, the exam period usually runs through the beginning of Mason's spring semester of classes. Therefore, it is recommended that students study abroad at Soka for the academic year or for spring. Students who wish to study abroad at Soka University for the fall or calendar year must request alternate arrangements for their exams with their professors as soon as they arrive on campus.

Credit Conversion

Students are expected to take a full-time course load during their time abroad. A full-time course load is 12-15 credits. A typical course is worth 1-2 credits. 

  • 1 Soka Subject Credit = 1 Mason Credit
  • 1 Soka Language Credit = 2 Mason Credits*
*Japanese language courses have a higher number of contact hours than regular subject courses and are worth more credits.

Japanese visas require that students must take a minimum of 10 hours (600 minutes) or class (at least 7 classes) per week. This will allow you to transfer back at least 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.

 Soka Grade Mason Grade
A+ (100-90) A+
A (89-80) A
B (79-70) B
C (69-60) C
D (59-50) D
F (49-0) F

Global Understanding

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


Soka University provides free housing to exchange students. All dorms come furnished (bed, closest, chest, desk, chair, bookshelf) with bedding. Details on the dorms as well as maps of campus can be viewed here.

International Female Dormitories

  • Cosmos Dormitory
    • Private room, shared bathroom, kitchen, and living area.
    • 20 minute walk to campus.
  • Sunflower Hall
    • Private room, shared bathroom, kitchen, and living area.
    • 15 minute walk to campus
  • Soshun Dormitory
    • Shared room with shared bathroom, kitchen, and living area.
    • Located on campus.
  • Manyo International Dormitory
    • Single room with shared bathroom, kitchen, and living area.
    • Located on campus.

International Male Dormitories

  • Hoyu Dormitory International Block
    • Shared room and shared bathroom, kitchen, and living area.
    • 20 minute walk to campus.
    • Cafeteria on site.*
  • Takiyama International Dormitory
    • Single room and shared bathroom, kitchen, and living area.
    • Located on campus.
    • Cafeteria on site.*
*The Hoyu and Takiyama International dormitories offer a cafeteria inside. Exchange students living in these dormitories who prefer to eat in the cafeteria may purchase meal tickets at the Certificate Issuing Machines at the university after arrival at a monthly cost of 22,000 JPY (2018-2019 pricing). This covers breakfast and dinner Monday-Saturday. Students in dormitories without cafeterias have access to cafeterias on campus and kitchen space in the living rooms of each dorm.

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 February*
Spring/Calendar Year: Mid-Late 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 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 703-993-2154
  Make an appointment

Additional Resources

Follow Soka 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.