If you’re looking to study medicine in top-of-the-range facilities with excellent laboratories and research institutions, Japan is a great choice. However, studying in Japan requires that you have a great level of language knowledge, so you cannot plan to study there unless you are not only fluent but also have a good grasp of scientific Japanese.
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.
Here we’ll review the top medical schools in Japan.
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.
- Free Medical Schools for International Students
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- How to Study in Japan for Free
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.
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