postgraduate medical courses in japan

Last Updated on December 24, 2022

Are you an international student? Are you interested in learning more about Medical Schools In Japan? Do you get overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting information you see online? If so, you need not search further because you will find the answer to that question in the article below.

To get more information on Medical Schools In Japan. You can also find up-to-date, related articles on Collegelearners.

Japan has excellent medical schools for obtaining the M.D. degree, solely for Japanese speakers. If you have already studied medicine to the degree level, you can, however, find English-language graduate courses to further enhance your knowledge.

There are 79 medical schools in Japan—42 national, 8 prefectural (i.e., founded by a local government), and 29 private—representing approximately one school for every 1.6 million people. Undergraduate medical education is six years long, typically consisting of four years of preclinical education and then two years of clinical education. High school graduates are eligible to enter medical school. In 36 schools, college graduates are offered admission, but they account for fewer than 10% of the available positions. There were 46,800 medical students in 2006; 32.8% were women.

Since 1990, Japanese medical education has undergone significant changes, with some medical schools implementing integrated curricula, problem-based learning tutorials, and clinical clerkships. A model core curriculum was proposed by the government in 2001 that outlined a core structure for undergraduate medical education, with 1,218 specific behavioral objectives. A nationwide common achievement test was instituted in 2005; students must pass this test to qualify for preclinical medical education. It is similar to the United States Medical Licensing Examination step 1, although the Japanese test is not a licensing examination.

The National Examination for Physicians is a 500-item examination that is administered once a year. In 2006, 8,602 applicants took the examination, and 7,742 of them (90.0%) passed. A new law requires postgraduate training for two years after graduation. Residents are paid reasonably, and the work hours are limited to 40 hours a week. In 2004, a matching system was started; the match rate was 95.6% (46.2% for the university hospitals and 49.4% for other teaching hospitals).

Sustained and meaningful change in Japanese medical education is continuing.

Medical Schools

There are currently 79 Japanese medical schools, representing approximately one school for every 1.6 million people. There are 42 national, 8 prefectural (founded by a local government), and 29 private medical schools. There is an additional medical school, the National Defense Medical College of the Japan Defense Agency, which is sometimes included as one of the national medical schools, bringing the total to 80 schools. The regulating body over all of the medical schools is the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). Two of the private medical schools have unique missions: the Jichi Medical School educates all physicians for community care, and the University of Occupational Environmental Health educates physicians for industry, such as occupational physicians (employed by companies with more than 50 employees to care for them and foster a safe work environment), physicians for 34 hospitals of occupational diseases, medical officers of the organizations related to laborers’ health, and researchers of occupational and environmental health.

A few years ago, the Japanese government decided to convert the national universities to nongovernmental institutions, in an effort to reduce the number of government employees and save money. In 2003, the National University Corporation Law was legislated, and on April 1, 2004, all of the national universities, including 42 national medical schools, became “national university corporations.” This change required the universities to take responsibility for their own finances and financial management. To cope with this change, by 2006, 7 of the 12 stand-alone national medical schools had merged with their neighboring national universities.

Undergraduate Medical Education

Programs for high school graduates

The standard Japanese undergraduate medical education program is six years long. Typically, there are four years of preclinical education and then two years of clinical education. High school graduates are eligible to enter medical school. The initial phase of undergraduate medical education contains, to varying degrees, general education in subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, as well as a wide range of liberal arts subjects. The academic year starts on April 1 and ends on March 31. Japanese is the official language for medical education.

Programs for college graduates

Programs for college graduates were implemented for the first time at Osaka University in 1975, and by 2006, they had been adopted by 36 (46%) of the 79 medical schools, but they account for fewer than 10% of the available positions. The graduate-entry programs were implemented in a structure parallel to that of the typical entry programs for high school graduates. The graduate-entry programs are four years long in 21 schools and five years long in 11 schools. For the remaining four schools, MD–PhD programs are provided as a part of their graduate-entry programs; the number of seats for the MD–PhD program is limited to five or fewer at each of these schools.

Student selection

Approaches to student selection vary, but all include some combination of paper-based achievement tests, interviews, reports of high school grade-point averages, recommendations from students’ high school principals, and writing essays. In 2005, all 43 of the national and 8 of the prefectural medical schools used a national test administered by the National Center for University Entrance Examinations, which was established in 1988. The required subjects are Japanese language, English, mathematics, two natural sciences (biology, physics, chemistry, geoscience, etc.), and two social studies subjects (Japanese history, world history, human geography, etc.). Private schools require English, mathematics, and two of three natural sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics). The test items are created primarily by the individual schools. There are admission offices in 7 of the 79 schools.

Medical students

In 2006, out of 103,384 applicants, 7,282 matriculated in the 79 schools. In that year, there were fewer than 5% of graduate-entry students per school in 26 schools, 10% in 7 schools, 15% in one school, 20% in another school, and 40% in one other school. The total number of medical students in Japan was 46,800 in 2006, of whom 15,331 (32.8%) were women.

The model core curriculum

In 2001, the Report of the Coordinating Council on the Reform of Medical and Dental Education of the MEXT advocated guidelines for innovative changes to Japanese medical education. The report proposed an exemplary model of an integrated medical education curriculum, a “model core curriculum,” which was developed by the Subcommittee for Research and Development of Medical Education Programs. The model curriculum outlined essential core components of the undergraduate medical education program; these were presented as educational content guidelines with 1,218 specific behavioral objectives. All Japanese medical schools were expected to implement the core curriculum using 70% of the existing contact hours, leaving 30% of contact time to achieve their school-specific curriculum goals. The coordinating council report also contained guidelines for implementing the clinical clerkship and guidelines for evaluating the educational activities of faculty. The guidelines were a product of cooperative work involving representatives of all 79 Japanese medical schools. The guidelines include the essential knowledge and skills of medical education as well as noncognitive elements and topics, such as principles of medical practice, communication and the team approach, problem solving and logical ways of thinking, safety, and risk management.

In response to this report, a series of remarkable changes have occurred in Japanese medical education.

Responses to a survey conducted by the Association of Japanese Medical Colleges in 2005 revealed that the components of the core curriculum had already been implemented in 66 medical schools (83%), were under way in three schools (4%), were being planned by four schools (5%), and had not yet being planned by three schools (4%). Three schools (4%) did not reply to the question.

Curriculum structure

Integrated curriculum.

In 2005, 32 schools (41%) had implemented an integrated curriculum in various ways. In another 38 schools (48%), the curriculum was only partially integrated. Of these 70 schools, integration was throughout all four years in 16 schools, in years 2 to 4 at 19 schools, in year 3 in 15 schools, and in year 4 or later in 11 schools. Precise information was not obtained from nine schools. The remaining nine schools (11%) of Japan’s 79 schools maintained a discipline-oriented curriculum.

Problem-based learning.

Problem-based learning (PBL, or tutorial education) was systematically incorporated into an integrated organ- and system-based curriculum for the first time at Tokyo Women’s Medical University in 1990. In October 2004, a survey indicated that PBL was the prevalent educational method at 63 of the 79 Japanese medical schools (80%), and PBL was planned in an additional 13 schools (16%). Two schools (3%) expressed no intention of adopting PBL at the time of the survey, and one school (1%) did not reply to the questionnaire.

The implementation of PBL in Japanese medical education has accelerated since it was first introduced in 1990. By 1994, three schools (4% of 79 schools) had introduced PBL; from 1995 to 1999, 11 more schools (14%) had done so; and between 2000 and 2004, PBL became the teaching method in 49 schools (62%). PBL was implemented beginning in the first year at 16 schools, at the beginning of the second year in 13 schools, in year 3 in 18 schools, and in year 4 in 16 schools. All of the PBL programs are the so-called “hybrid” type (a mixture of Barrowsian PBL and lectures).

Student assessment

The Common Achievement Test.

The Common Achievement Test (CAT) is a new quality-assurance measure of students’ mastery of the preclinical core curriculum at their medical school. The Common Achievement Tests Organization (CATO) was established in March 2005 as a consortium of all the Japanese medical and dental schools and is responsible for the administration of the CAT. After several nationwide yearly trials since 2002, the CAT was officially implemented in December 2005. Students must take and pass the CAT before starting their clinical education. The content of the CAT and the expected level of achievement have been developed in accordance with the model core curriculum of 2001. The CAT is composed of two phases: a computer-based testing (CBT) phase and an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).

The CBT phase can be administered at the individual member schools at their convenience; an examinee can access the test from his or her desktop computer. The CBT is composed of 300 items, and the testing time is six hours. The blueprint for the CBT portion of the test was developed with national input from medical school faculty. Subject areas, and the proportion of each for the CBT, are

  • principles of medicine, 5%;general principles of biomedical sciences, 20%;organ-based normal structure, function, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment, 40%;systemic physiological/pathological changes, 10%;introduction to clinical medicine, 15%; andhealth promotion/patient care/society, 10%.

Every year since 2001, approximately 10,000 new items have been collected from all 79 medical schools, then reviewed by the education committee of CATO, edited, tested in trials, reevaluated, and pooled when regarded as appropriate. Item-writing workshops have been held throughout Japan. The nationwide trials have been repeated each year since 2002. The test items are randomized sets of questions from the item pool, which is housed in the central host computer at CATO. The order of the items is shuffled by the computer so that individual examinees will have different-looking examinations, although the contents are the same.

The second part of the CAT is the OSCE. The OSCE assesses clinical competencies in six stations: medical interviewing (10 minutes), head and neck (5 minutes), vital signs and chest (5 minutes), abdomen (5 minutes), neurological examinations (5 minutes), and basic minor surgical procedures and life support (5 minutes). Because of the constraints in facilities and budget, the number of stations was restricted to six in 2005. The evaluators in each station consist of one person from outside and one within the institution, for economic reasons. The evaluation sheets were developed and standardized through repeated trials between 2002 and 2005. Workshops for training standardized patients and OSCE evaluators have been conducted both locally and nationwide.

The CAT is similar in format to the Step 1 examination of the United States Medical Licensing Examination, although it is not actually a licensing examination. Each school establishes its own policy for use of the test results. Schools may choose to use the CAT to perform a formative evaluation or a summative one. Test results are given individually to the students and to the medical schools. The costs per school for the administration of the CAT are ¥1,514,000 ($13,000) each year, and ¥28,000 ($240) for each applicant.

Clinical skills laboratory.

With the implementation of the CAT, many medical schools were under pressure to provide clinical skills laboratories for their students. By 2005, 50 schools (62.5%) had developed clinical skills laboratories, and an additional 14 schools (17.5%) were preparing to develop them. A series of simulators are used in the laboratories. Responses to the 2005 survey by the Association of Japanese Medical Colleges indicated that the costs of the necessary equipment ranged between ¥5,770,000 ($50,000) and ¥70,000,000 ($600,000) (average is ¥31,500,000, or approximately $270,000).

Clinical clerkship

The Japanese Medical Practitioner Law (Ishi-hou) Article 17 prescribes that no one will be allowed to perform medical acts without a physician’s license, and Article 37 determines that a person who violates Article 17 will be sentenced to no more than two year’s penal servitude or be punished with a fine of no more than ¥20,000 ($170). For many years, this legislative control inhibited medical educators from developing and implementing clinical clerkships. Because of the restrictions, undergraduate clinical education had consisted either of observing what the instructors did in actual medical acts (bedside teaching) or of practicing simulations of history taking or physical examinations with the consent of patients (bedside learning).

In 1991, a study committee for clinical education of the Ministry of Health and Welfare issued a report arguing that the purpose of Article 17 was to protect the life and safety of patients. Therefore, medical procedures performed by medical students would not be deemed unlawful when the purposes, contents, and processes were reasonable from an educational standpoint and when the procedures would be as safe as when performed by a certified medical doctor. The study committee also proposed four requirements to allow medical students to perform certain limited medical acts during their clinical training:

  • The acts should not be highly invasive, which should be stipulated explicitly.The acts should be carried out under the meticulous guidance and watchful supervision of teaching faculty.The clinical competence of the students should be evaluated/qualified in advance.Informed consent of the patients/families should be obtained.

The committee developed the following classification of medical acts: level 1, low-invasive medical acts, to be performed by ordinary-level medical students; level 2, moderately invasive medical acts, to be performed only by selected students deemed capable; and level 3, highly invasive medical acts, which should not be performed by medical students. Every medical school takes responsibility for determining which medical acts are permitted at a given level. This committee report provided the incentive for the development of clinical clerkships in Japan. In 2005, clinical clerkships were implemented in 66 medical schools (84%), although their degree of emphasis within each school’s entire clinical education program varied. Clinical clerkships were under consideration in an additional 13 schools (17%).

The MD degree

At the end of the final academic year, there is a graduation examination designed by each medical school. It is usually a paper-based test, but it may also include an advanced OSCE (not the same as the CAT OSCE) in some medical schools. The successful examinee is awarded an MD degree in the graduation ceremony at the end of March.

National Examination for Physicians

The Japanese National Examination for Physicians is conducted once a year for three days in mid-February by the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Labor at 12 sites covering the Japanese archipelago. The applicant must submit a certificate of completion of formal undergraduate medical education in Japan or in a foreign country. All students eligible to graduate on March 31 of the same year may sit for the examination. Those who pass this examination are granted a National License for Physicians and are eligible for residency training (discussed in the next section).

The examination is a paper-based test with 500 multiple-choice questions. There are 100 required items containing a number of essential questions designed to reveal possible contraindicated behaviors of a physician. The “blueprint” for the examination (i.e., its composition and the proportion that each topic area contributes to the examinee’s grade on the required items) is publicized and available for all candidates to view before taking the examination for a recent blueprint). The passing level for these required questions is 80% or more correct answers. There are an additional 200 items of general questions and 200 items of clinical vignettes. The blueprint for these general questions and clinical vignettes is also publicized. The passing levels for general questions and clinical vignettes are determined by norm-based relative assessment. Each individual is informed of the exact results of his or her examination performance, the pass level of the examination, whether he or she passed or failed, his or her scores on each category, and his or her position in the distribution of total applicants. In 2006, the total number of applicants taking the examination was 8,602, and the number of successful candidates was 7,742 (90.0%): 5,213 men and 2,529 women. Success rate was 93.9% for the new graduates and 57.3% for the others; the success rate was 88.5% for men and 93.3% for women

Is it expensive to study medicine in Japan?

Medical school is very expensive in Japan, especially relative to other countries. There are enrollment fees of c. $9,000 and then tuition can be anywhere $23,000 and $69,000 per year (by the time all additional fees are included). You will also need to consider living costs which are quite high in the big Japanese cities.

How tough is it to be admitted to medical school in Japan?

Japanese students have to take entrance exams to the school of their choice once they have successfully finished high school.

If you are an international student residing in Japan and graduating from a Japanese high school, admission is done on the basis of a General Screening Test based on academic results, an application, and then entrance exams. Non-resident international students also can have access to a Special Screening Test followed by an entrance exam.

As you can see, admission to any undergraduate university program is not straightforward in Japan and requires careful research and preparation.

How long will it take to study medicine in Japan?

To obtain the clinical medicine degree as an undergraduate, you will study for six years – four years of pre-clinical education and two years of clinical education.

Top Medical Schools in Japan

1. University of Tokyo – Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tokyo is the highest-ranked medical school in Japan and also has a spot in the top 100 best clinical medicine universities in the world. Their aim is to offer a holistic education that focuses not just on clinical studies, but also on research and the involvement of doctors with society and the world at large.

The medical school offers the undergraduate program in Medicine as well as a School of Integrated Health Sciences for related studies, and a Graduate School of Medicine. It is proud to count a number of Nobel Prize winners in Physiology and Medicine.

The University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Medicine has a 160-year history, having started with a smallpox vaccination post at Kanda-Otamagaike in 1868. Through many iterations, the vaccination center evolved and became a school in 1872 – leading on to an Imperial University, an affiliated hospital, a Midwives’ School, and so on. The School now also features a Museum of Health and Medicine and numerous research centers.

2. Kyoto University – Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine

The Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine was established in 1899. Since then, it’s been a magnet for students in Japan and worldwide due to its high quality of education and practical experience in the fields of medicine. There are two sections of the faculty: the Medical Science Division and the Human Health Sciences Division. The first is the one for developing doctors as well as medical scholars and researchers, whereas the latter develops nurses and other healthcare professionals.

At this medical school in Japan, there is also an option to embark on a joint MD/Ph.D. course whereby, after four years in the medical school, one can transfer into the Graduate School of Medicine, study to obtain a Ph.D., and finally return to the medical school to complete clinical training afterward. Alternatively, you can follow the six-year MD program and then follow that with a program in Graduate School.

3. Osaka University Faculty of Medicine

The Osaka University School of Medicine traces its origins back to a school opened by Ogata Koan in 1838. He had taught students western studies and medicine. By 1931, this developed into Osaka Teikoku University – including a School of Medicine and a School of Science.

Today, the Osaka University School of Medicine offers a 6-year program to become a doctor through its Medical School. Students are taught to develop their teamwork skills and to be adaptable to what is believed to be an ever-changing, dynamic discipline. The Medical School also provides advanced research opportunities in new fields such as Genomic Medicine, Medical Robotics, and Regenerative Medicine. This is due to the school’s firm belief in developing medical professionals for the future and thought leaders in their profession.

The Medical School at Osaka University works in accordance with international criteria, in order to ensure that its degrees are recognized worldwide. Moreover, the Medical School has a number of international agreements with partner schools across the world, from the University of Oxford in the UK to Alexandria University in Egypt.

4. Keio University School of Medicine

Next on our list of top medical schools in Japan is the Keio University School of Medicine. Founded in 1917, this medical school started off under the management of world-renowned microbiologist Dr. Shibasaburo Kitasato, who had dedicated his career to making medicine more accessible to the public and therefore founding his own institute of medicine.

The school’s aim has remained that of educating doctors in a combination of basic science and clinical medicine, developing physicians who dedicate their lives in a commitment on improving society. These strong values drive a world-class education backed up by advanced research capabilities.

Keio University School of Medicine is also part of an extensive medical science and healthcare network, partnering with a number of institutions and teaching hospitals

5. Tohoku University School of Medicine

The first medical school at the origins of Tohoku University School of Medicine started out in 1817 as Sendai han Medical School. It eventually became an Imperial Medical University in 1915 and developed as a highly ranked educational, research, and practice institution for medical students in Japan. With a small number of admitted students every year (135 new students per year), Tohoku University ensures the high quality of the education received during its medical program.

The School of Medicine also includes a Health Sciences division where Nursing, Radiological Technology, and Medical Laboratory Science can be studied.

6. Tokyo Medical and Dental University

Tokyo Medical and Dental University is part of Japan’s national universities, and therefore a much cheaper place to study in our list of Japanese medical schools. The university’s vision is to cultivate professionals with knowledge and humanity, thereby contributing to people’s well-being.

The Faculty of Medicine welcomes international students as long as they pass the Examination of Japanese University and qualify with the subjects that the university designates for application. Within the Faculty, you can either obtain an MD degree via the School of Medicine or study Nursing Science or Medicine Technology within the School of Health Care Sciences.

7. Kyushu University School of Medicine

The final in our list of best medical schools in Japan is the School of Medicine at Kyushu University, which was founded in 1903 as Fukuoka Medical College of Kyoto Imperial University. It then became associated with Kyushu Imperial University in 1911 and became the School of Medicine we can find today in 1947.

Medical research is a key part of the development of the School of Medicine, therefore Kyushu University invests heavily in research facilities and interdisciplinary collaborations through various partnerships. Some of the research institutes include Bio-Regulation, Applied Mechanics, Materials Chemistry and Engineering, etc.

Japan is an excellent place to pursue higher education due to its world-class universities and high-quality education. Moreover, the country provides international students the opportunity to explore its rich cultural heritage and enjoy its beautiful nature spots. Studying in Japan also offers the perfect reason to learn its widely popular language, and Medicine is one of the sought-after programs that require Japanese proficiency. In this article, you will learn about the best medical schools in Japan.

Can Foreigners Study in Medical Schools in Japan?

Yes, medical schools in Japan accept international students. One of the universities open to foreign applicants is Okayama University. The university offers a six-year degree in Medicine for aspiring international students in Japan. Applicants must have completed their 12-year basic education and pass the National Center Test for University Admissions before applying to the university. The university conducts most Medicine classes in the Japanese language, so it is necessary to obtain at least JLPT N1 level.

What is the most prestigious medical school in Japan?

The University of Tokyo has the most prestigious medical school in Japan. As the country’s leading university, the university also received international recognitions from reputable ranking institutions such as the QS Top Universities, ShanghaiRanking, and Times Higher Education. Along with its 36th place in world universities ranking, the university also took 27th in clinical and health subject ranking of Times Higher Education in 2021. Meanwhile, QS Top Universities ranked it 30th in its Life Sciences and Medicine for 2020 and 24th in the overall score for 2021.

Best Medical Schools in Japan

1. The University of Tokyo – Faculty of Medicine

The University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine goes back to 1858 when European trained practitioners established a vaccination center. After several years of further transition, the vaccination center changed its name to Tokyo Medical School. It later became the Faculty of Medicine along with the establishment of the University of Tokyo in 1877.

Together with the University of Tokyo Hospital, the Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine, and its affiliated institutes, the University of Tokyo is the best medical school in Japan, which aims to train future global healthcare leaders through its holistic view in education and research.

The faculty offers a four-year Bachelor of Medicine degree, with courses taught in English or Japanese and classified into Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Medicine, and Social Medicine.

Students start their clinical clerkship in the second year until the fourth year, after successfully passing a series of examinations, including the Objective Structured Clinical Examination. Two years in clinical training follow the completion of Bachelor’s studies. Meanwhile, students looking to advance their medical education through research can take the PhD-MD degree program.

2. Kyoto University – Faculty of Medicine

Established in 1899 as Kyoto Imperial University College of Medicine, the Faculty of Medicine, looks to producing international professionals with leading contributions to Medicine and healthcare. This top medical school in Japan has the Medical Science Division and the Human Health Sciences Division.

The former focuses on training medical doctors, scholars, and researchers, while the latter produces nurses and other health care professionals. Though Japanese is still the primary language of instruction in the university, some of the Medical Science Division classes use the English language.

The faculty offers several degree programs in Medicine. For aspiring doctors, Medicine study at Kyoto University starts with a four-year Bachelor’s degree followed by a two-year clinical training. The faculty also offers an MD Researcher degree where students experience laboratory research from their first year of studies.

3. Osaka University – Faculty of Medicine

The Osaka University Faculty of Medicine, established in 1931, is one of Japan’s best medical schools. The faculty aims to develop excellent human resources, lead and contribute in the medical field by providing forward-looking education and promoting future-oriented research studies. Under it are the Division of Medicine, which has 16 departments, and the Division of Health Sciences, with five departments.

The university offers the six-year undergraduate program in Medicine, which, upon completion, awards the Doctor of Medicine degree. The program starts with Liberal Arts courses in the first year, followed by Basic Medicine courses in the second year. Students also take the Medical English program during their second year. The research program starts in the students’ third year, while clinical clerkships occur in the fifth year. In their last year, students have the option to complete their studies abroad.

4. Tohoku University – School of Medicine

Tohoku University School of Medicine, founded in 1817 in its former name, Sendai Han Medical School, has developed to become one of the best medical universities in Japan. It aims to train leading specialists, contributing to human health and welfare while delving deeper into medical science through research.

The school offers an undergraduate program in Medicine, taught in Japanese. It is a six-year program that starts with medical communication in the first year and an optional research program for interested students. The program also includes a Medical English course where students whose native language is English are encouraged to teach.

Research starts in the third year, and students have the option to accomplish this abroad. Students undergo clinical training at Tohoku University Hospital or other affiliated hospitals during the second half of their fourth year.

5. Tokyo Medical and Dental University – Faculty of Medicine

The Tokyo Medical and Dental University joins the best medical schools in Japan. Its Faculty of Medicine, founded in 1951, trains students to gain academic and medical knowledge, professional skills, a researcher’s mindset, a heart full of humanity, and excellent insights. Furthermore, the faculty’s curriculum strives to nurture future leaders in Medicine, contributing to medicine development for disease prevention and treatment and maintenance of good health.

The six-year undergraduate Medicine program in Tokyo Medical and Dental University underwent innovation in 2011 to meet Japan’s aging society’s demands.

The introductory course in Medicine starts in the second semester of the students’ first year in medical school, earlier than undergraduate programs in other medical schools. The succeeding years allow students to master the human body’s biological mechanisms and diseases according to physiological systems through lectures, seminars, and laboratory classes. Research and clinical training start in the fourth year through the program, and clinical clerkship occurs during the fifth and sixth year.

MBBS in Japan

Why Study in Japan?

Opting to study in Japan is quite popular for Indian students not only because of the ample higher education opportunities offered by the country but also since it offers them a chance to be a part of the rich cultural heritage. Here are some of the reasons which makes study in Japan the preferred option for Indian students:

  • Japan is not only among the most technologically advanced countries globally but also is famous for its advanced system of educationIn comparison to countries like the USA, Japan offers more affordable education for international students, who can also avail a range of scholarship programs by the governmentStudying in Japan can help you experience the rich culture of the country which is a perfect balance between the modern and the traditional

Why Pursue MBBS in Japan?

Whether you are attracted by high educational standards or the rich cultural heritage of the country, below is a list of reasons as to why you should consider pursuing MBBS in Japan:

  • Japan provides high educational standards in the field of science expanding opportunities after completing an MBBS degree.Reasonable education fees and a wide range of scholarship programs make Japan highly preferable for an MBBS course.Learning is all about building a new perspective and vision. This is very significant while pursuing a degree in medicine. An interesting opportunity to grasp the Japanese language all throughout your degree program.The process of studying in Japan is quite simple and systematic.Known to be one of the safest countries in the world, Japan also has one of the world’s most advanced healthcare systems. This has resulted in a high life expectancy rate.Japan has a strong job market for highly qualified MBBS professionals due to sustainable Japanese medical education.Many public universities in Japan promote international education to magnify the quality of medical education.For those planning to study in Japan, the country offers secure accommodation facilities with a comfortable environment for students. 

Top Universities for MBBS in Japan

A bachelor’s degree in medical science may vary depending on the university. Below is a list of major universities that are offering an MBBS in Japan:

  • Tokyo Medical UniversityTohoku UniversityNagoya UniversityKyushu UniversityChiba UniversityKeio UniversityWaseda UniversityTokyo Medical and Dental UniversityUniversity of TsukubaKyoto UniversityOsaka Medical CollegeAichi Medical UniversityKobe UniversityWakayama Medical UniversityShiga University of Medical Science

Duration of MBBS in Japan

Major bachelor’s degree courses in medical science offered by Japan have a total duration of six years, divided into two parts:

  • 5 years of classroom education1 year of internship or training

MBBS in Japan: Eligibility Criteria

Below is a list of basic criteria that need to be fulfilled before you apply for MBBS admission in Japan: 

  • Your age must be above 17 years.You must have scored a minimum aggregate of 50% in class 12th.You must have studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English as subjects in class 12th.NEET is a compulsory exam.Some universities may also require TOEFL/IELTS test.You must provide all the certificates such as mark sheets, school leaving certificate etc to authenticate your qualification while sending an application for admission.

Opportunities for Indian Students after MBBS in Japan

  • Students can pursue higher education and training in the UK or USStudents can practice medicine and settle in Japan after the completion of their degreeStudents can return back to India and start practising medicine or pursue advanced studies after undergoing an MCI screening test.

Study MBBS in Japan & Explore the Colorful Country

  • Attractive and enriching year-round traditional ceremonies and summer festivals build a friendly atmosphere for students to enjoy and discover the gems of the country.Studying in Japan gives you an unparalleled chance to live, work and explore the quirky pop culture.Inhabited with a fascinating history of war and intrigue, Japan is all about exploring the peaceful shrines and temples, museums and much more.Students have a broad opportunity to master the skills of judo, kendo, karate, and kyudo and to be trained at one of the world’s foremost university clubs.Japan is filled with unique and wonderful cuisine like sushi, sashimi, ramen, tempura, miso soup, shabu-shabu, onigiri, etc.There is a range of never-ending glittering delights in Japanese cities to discover while pursuing MBBS in Japan.

Study Medicine in Japan: 7 Things You Should Know

It takes a lot of time and effort for an aspiring student to become a professional doctor. Starting from their high school years and earlier years of undergraduate studies, they must already prepare for getting into medical schools if they want to pursue medical studies because some requirements from several medical schools are good grades from your previous institutions so do well in your early education. After that, a student will at least spend another six years of education introducing medicine and specializing in its general field. Next is to get their license, and then specialize in the specific field they wanted to.

As you can imagine, becoming a doctor is not as easy as saying it. You will need to work hard and prove that you’re worthy of becoming one. Especially if what you will be handling usually are the lives of people. This is a type of profession in which no mistakes shall be made as possible as you can because even small details such as wrong dosage or wrong time of intaking a medicine could become a factor of someone losing his or her life.

With that said, medical student must get their education from the best medical institution that there is. To become a respectable doctor, one must have a good educational background in medicine. And there are no other countries to get that education except in Japan. As every person knows, in terms of technology advancement, research progress, and community development, Japan is one of the leading countries, especially in the field of medicine. So, if you aspire to be among the best doctors around the world, having the best experience, skills, and education learned from the best country is a good way of starting your journey. To help you with that, here are some things that you needed to know if you are considering studying medicine in Japan.

1. Can you study medicine in Japan as an international student?

Yes! Japan is considered to be one of the most accepting and hospitable countries in the world for foreign visitors including international students, and accepting them in their medical programs is no exception. Many international students have already graduated and studied medicine in Japan in various universities. Most universities in Japan have an international office or center, particularly for students from other countries. These universities are the University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University Medical School, etc.

2. What are the requirements for its medical schools?

Like the usual requirements to study other degree programs in Japan, the requirements to study medicine in the countries’ medical schools are almost the same, except for the quota grades or grade requirements that you must have on your previous educational institution or entrance examinations.

For example, the usual requirements of a medical student include a document that proves your identity and nationality such as a birth certificate or a passport, your previous education documents such as report cards, a good moral certificate, proof of graduating high school, and lastly, other needed documents and payments such as application forms, student visa, entrance exam scores, and admission fees from other universities

If you studied from a non-English speaking country, you will also be required to submit an IELTS score. Sometimes, universities also require to take a Japanese Language Proficiency Test as an additional requirement of the medical school.

3. How many medical schools are in Japan?

Currently, Japan has a recorded number of 79 medical schools around the country. Out of those schools, 42 are national medical schools, 8 are founded by the Japanese government, while 29 are private universities. This number is expected to rise because of different crises that, not only Japan but also the world, are facing.

4. In what language is Japan’s medical curriculum?

Japanese medical schools are known internationally for offering education with the English language as the medium of instruction. That is why many aspiring students from around the world want to study medicine in Japan because aside from its good-quality and modern education, having the international language as their medium lessens the language barrier between students and faculty of the universities.

This is also a learning chance for Japanese students who want to pursue graduate studies abroad. However, in some cases, some universities require international students, especially graduate students, to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test because they believe that it would be easier to explain and teach medicine in this medium. One of the universities with this type of requirement is the University of Tokyo Medical School

5. What are the components of the medical curriculum in Japan?

Like other medical curriculums in other countries, the medical curriculum in Japan does not differ in terms of the period of study and yearly components of the curriculum. There might be a slight difference in the time or year of teaching a specific component, but they are the same. The period of the curriculum is within the usual timeframe of six years.

The first four years of studying medicine in Japan will solely be dedicated to preclinical studies or education that is usually held in classrooms and sometimes in laboratories. The last two years of the curriculum, on the other hand, will be for clinical education which is mostly an application of the theories learned in the first four years.

6. How difficult is it to study medicine in Japan?

Medical school dropout in Japan is relatively low compared to other countries because the education system in Japan at less than 10%. On average, the total dropout rate of students in any degree program is at most 15%.

The reasons for these dropouts are very sensible and rational as some of the students who could not continue studying medicine in Japan suffer from either too much workload from school and their jobs or they are completely unprepared for the degree program or curriculum. With this data, it can be said that yes, it is difficult to study in Japan if you will be unprepared, but it is not possible if you are determined.

7. What do you need to become a doctor in Japan?

After finishing your 6-year medical curriculum, you will be then eligible to take the National Medical Examination for Doctors to become a licensed doctor. However, to be able to take the exam, you also need to be proficient in the Japanese native language because the exam will be written in Japanese. So, if you are still unsure of your proficiency in Japanese despite the period of your stay in Japan, it is suggested that you must take additional language courses.

Four main reasons explain it why.

  1. Advanced medicineRelatively lower medical costA tender-hearted and compassionate dispositionHigh standards of services

Japan is the country with the most advanced medical technology in the world, but the medical cost in Japan is relatively cheap compared to other industrially advanced countries. Moreover, it has great number of doctors and nurses earnestly thinking about patients and treating them with compassion.

Why medical treatment in Japan is cheaper than other industrially advanced countries if its medical technology is one of the most advanced in the world?

▲ This is because of the national social insurance system of the country, which covers most part of medical expenses and as a result the patients’ share of medical expenses becomes considerably small.

▲ As we know Japanese are hardworking and diligent people. The size of its hospitals is big, but the number of its medical personnel, running the whole hospital, is very small due to productive management system, implemented in Japanese hospitals. This is another reason why medical services are relatively cheap here.

How to Become a Medical Doctor in Japan (8 Steps)

1. Japanese Language Requirements

Any East Asian language will be fairly difficult to learn for most people who don’t come from that part of the world. While not as hard as Mandarin, Japanese is a very challenging language and can take quite some time to master. Sure, learning things such as ordering a meal, or asking for directions is in fact not that difficult, but being good enough at the language to be able to work as a doctor is a whole nother story.

In order to pass the medical exams needed for obtaining a medical license, which we will talk about in more detail later, you will need to have a near-native knowledge of the Japanese language, and even more than that as you will be asked to know some Japanese medical terms that aren’t known to most natives. So, if you are serious about becoming a medical doctor in Japan, you better start learning the language as soon as possible.

2. Study in Japanese Medical Schools

Studying medicine in Japan is the easiest way for someone to become a doctor in Japan, and is heavily recommended if you are serious about doing so. Japanese medical education lasts for a total of 6 years. The first two years are dedicated to general studies, which then transition into two more years of applied medical sciences. Years 5 and 6 are reserved for a clinical clerkship at the University hospital that they are attending, learning about many different things related to their field.

Applying for medical university is very easy and the process is the same for both foreigners and Japanese citizens. However, you not only have to be fluent in the language, but you also need to be very familiar with scientific Japanese, which is pretty much impossible for someone who hasn’t spent at least a few years in the country before applying for university. If that’s the case, you also have the option of obtaining your undergraduate degree elsewhere, and then take on a postgraduate degree in Japan, which you can find a large number of in English, for further specialization.

3. Pass the Medical Exams

Before becoming eligible to take the final medical license, you first need to apply for it, but only if you first meet the necessary criteria. If you are a foreign medical graduate from a program similar to ones that can be found in Japan (6+ years), and you are also licensed in the country that you graduated from, you can freely apply for the final licensing exam in Japan. However, whether you are approved or not is a big if, and it varies from case to case, with no clear reason why some candidates are accepted and some not. Another pre-requisite to taking the exam is an evaluation of your language skills. You need at least an N1 level in order to qualify, but in practice, if you want to pass the exam, you will need a lot more, as N1 is generally thought of as barely good enough to apply to medical school in Japan, let alone passing the final exam.

4. Complete the Residency

After obtaining their medical license, before opening their practice or finding a job in a hospital, all doctors are required to spend 2 years as a resident before being able to start working as a regular doctor in Japan. The residency must be completed in either a university or a hospital that is affiliated with a university. Prior to applying for residency, candidates can select a course in a broad category that is of interest to them. Please have in mind that for graduates of medical schools outside Japan, it is very hard to find residency, as that typically requires connections with Japanese universities, as well as trusted letters of recommendation.

5. Getting Medical License

The final exam you need to pass to get a medical license in Japan is called the National Medical Practitioners Examination. Passing this exam is no easy feat, especially for foreigners, but if you possess the necessary language skills and technical knowledge, it is not more difficult than any final medical exam you will find around the world. If you pass the test, you immediately become a licensed medical professional in the country, but you will need to complete 2 years of residency before becoming eligible to seek employment.

6. Getting a Work Visa to Become a Doctor in Japan

Medical professionals generally fall under the standard Working Visa that Japan has. The process of applying for the visa is fairly simple. You need to fill out a Japanese visa application form at your local Japanese consulate. You also need to bring your passport, a recent photograph, a written letter from your employer stating your position and expected salary, as well as a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

7. Finding jobs as a doctor

After obtaining a medical license, you are free to start your own practice or look for employment in a hospital in Japan, but not before you complete the 2 years of mandatory residence, of course. Private practitioners, especially when it comes to psychiatry, are few and far between in the country. If you want to find a job at a hospital, you can look for any popular job-finding platform on the internet, but keep in mind that applying online with little to no connections in the medical field in Japan, means that you will have a very slim chance of getting the job compared to other native and perhaps more well-connected candidates. That being said, there is also a small demand for English speaking doctors across hospitals in Japan, especially in major cities, so you can be on the lookout for that.

8. Becoming a doctor in Japan as a foreign-trained doctor

Assuming that a foreign-trained doctor also has a medical license from the country he is coming from, he is eligible to apply for the final exam before getting a medical license in Japan. The candidate will, of course, also have to possess a very high level of knowledge in scientific Japanese to become a doctor in Japan. If he fulfills those two conditions, it generally means that the candidate will be accepted to take the final exam, but this is not always the case. Upon passing the exam, the candidate is eligible to start the mandatory residence period which lasts for two years, after which he is free to start seeking employment as a medical professional in Japan.

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