Sophia University is ranked as one of the top private universities in Japan as well as one of the most selective. It takes its name from the Greek Sophia meaning "wisdom". The Japanese name, Jochi Daigaku, literally means "University of Higher Wisdom". It recently celebrated its one hundredth anniversary in 2013. One of the top three private universities in Japan, Sophia is home to over 12,500 students. Sophia is located in the heart of Tokyo, the capital of Japan, on a modern, urban campus. The campus is centrally located within walking distance of the National Diet, Imperial Palace and the State Guest House. Shinjuku, the world's busiest transport hub, is just a 5 minute train ride away from Yotsuya, the closest station to Sophia.
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.
Attention: This Exchange program is currently out of balance, Calendar Year and Academic Year application cycles will be suspended until balance is achieved again.
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.
- Applicants must have at least one semester of Mason grades on their transcript at the time of application.
- Students must have a minimum 3.0 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.
As an exchange student, you may take any of the courses offered in English as well as Japanese language courses.
- Japanese Language Courses
- Regular Track (4 credits): Offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses where 90-minute classes meet four or five times per week. This course aims to focus on developing communication competence through extensive practices by integrating four skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. English is occasionally used for instruction as necessary.
- Intensive Track (8 credits): Offers four levels of intensive courses at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Designed for students whose main purpose of coming to Japan is to study Japanese. Classes meet for three hours a day, Monday-Friday. Fifteen hours of class time per week allow student to spend sufficient time to gain a high level of Japanese proficiency. English is occasionally used for instruction as necessary.
- Courses Available in English
- Faculty of Liberal Arts (FLA)
- Centered around courses in Comparative Culture, International Business and Economics, and Social Studies, the broad interdisciplinary curriculum of FLA is designed to extend the general knowledge of students while developing their critical thinking ability. A wide range of courses that are focused on Japan help students gain understanding of both present-day Japan and its traditions in a global context.
- Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) - Scroll through the most recent Bulletins of Information (Handbooks) to find the courses
- Department of Materials and Life Sciences - Green Science Program
- The Green Science Program is designed to provide a fundamental knowledge of substances, and to resolve environmental issues at the atomic and molecular levels based on green materials science.
- Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences - Green Engineering Program
- The Green Engineering program is designed to provide electrical and mechanical engineering skills that will lead to the further development of energy-conservation technologies, efficient power generation, transmission, and distribution.
- Syllabus Search
Exchange students must choose the majority of their classes from one department - either Liberal Arts, Green Science, or Green Engineering.
Exchange students cannot take the following courses: FLA core programs, FST laboratory classes, foreign language courses (except Japanese language), and seminar and Studies in Christian Humanism.
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.
The academic calendar at Sophia University is slightly different from Mason. Courses in the fall do not often end until late January/early February after Mason classes start. Therefore, students will no longer be able to attend Sophia for the fall semester only or the calendar year. Students may only apply for spring semester or the academic year.
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 2-4 credits for a subject course and 2-8 credits for a language course.
- 1 Sophia Credit = 1 Mason Credit
Students must take a minimum of 7 class periods (90 minutes constitutes one period) per semester. Most students take one of the following options to reach a standard course load:
- one regular Japanese language track course and 2-4 lecture classes
- one intensive Japanese track course and 1-3 lecture classes
- 14 credits of lecture classes
These types of standard course loads will allow you to transfer back at least 12-15 credits.
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.
| Sophia Grade
Students participating in this study abroad program will automatically fulfill the Mason Global Understanding core requirement.
Sophia University has several off-campus dormitories and offers affiliated housing options. For inquiries and application, contact the dormitory/organization directly. Since the Sophia campus is located in the heart of Tokyo, the cost of living near campus is very high. As reasonable housing is located in the suburbs, students should expect a 30-90 min. commuting time to campus.
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.
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 $2000 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:
Academic Year: Mid-March*
Spring/Calendar Year: Early-Mid September*
*See the bottom of this page for the exact deadlines for the upcoming term(s).
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 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.