Higher Education Qualifications in Japan

Japanese higher education caters to pupils from novices to advanced. Higher education institutions in Japan provide diploma, advanced diploma, and degrees, upon the type of the institutions and the duration of the programme/course of studies.
Following are the higher education qualifications offered in Japan

Bachelor's Degree (Gakushi Shogo)

A bachelor’s degree is an asset that offers pupils many, vocation and scholastic opportunities.  Bachelor degree is awarded after the successful completion of undergraduate studies. Bachelor studies are structured along a credit system. Students must obtain at least 124 credits for a 4-year programme, and 188 credits in the case of medicine or dentistry and 182 credits in the case of veterinary science.
  • Duration: 4 years (6 years for medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine)
  • Awarded by: University

Master's Degree (Shushi-go)

To gain admittance to a Master’s course, you need to hold a Bachelor’s degree. Master degree is awarded after the successful completion of Master’s course studies. Master’s degree is carried out by dissertation, coursework and examination. Students must obtain at least 30 credits in his or her particular subject area.
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Awarded by: Graduate School

Doctorate Degree (Hakushi-go)

A doctorate degree signifies that you’ve achieved a high level of expertise and knowledge in your area of study. It also indicates the employers that you possess required analytical/logical skills and knowledge to carry out  rigorous research activities. Doctorate degree is awarded after the successful completion of postgraduate studies in a doctor’s course of studies. Along with coursework and research, students must obtain a minimum of 30 credits, draft a doctoral thesis and oral defense, and pass an examination, in order to receive the degree. The primary focus is on the student’s research. 
For students coming from medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine, and veterinary medicine, they have a period of 4 years to complete the doctoral program, after successful completion of the 6-year Undergraduate course of study.
  • Duration: 5 years if applying directly after a bachelor’s degree (3 years for the students who have completed a Master’s course of study)
  • Awarded by: Graduate School

Associate Degree

An associate degree is awarded upon successful completion of courses/programmes of junior colleges.
  • Duration: 2 to 3 years
  • Awarded by: Junior College.
Junior College- Students must obtain a minimum of 62 credits in junior college for a 2 year programme in order to get an ‘Associate degree’ or ‘Junior College Certificate of Graduation’ (Tanki Daigaku Shuryo Shosho), and 93 credits in case of a 3-year programme. 

Technical College Graduation Diploma (Koto Senmon Gakko Sotsugyo Shosho)

Students who have completed a 5-year course/programme in College of technology receive technical college graduation diploma. Students must receive a minimum of 167 credits.
  • Duration: 5 years
  • Awarded by: Colleges of Technology

Diploma and Advanced Diploma

A Diploma is awarded to pupils after the successful completion of a particular specialized course of 2 to 3 years, while an ‘Advanced diploma’ is awarded to students who have completed a specialized course of 4 years at the professional training college.
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