Bright red toriis (gates) with Japanese characters written on them in Kyoto, Japan

Exchange in Kyoto, Japan—Ritsumeikan University

  1. Program Details

    Live in the historic city of Kyoto and study at one of Japan's largest, most prestigious private universities.

    Location Kyoto, Japan
    Term Academic Year, Spring Semester
    Housing Dormitory, Hotel
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor Learning Abroad Center

    Program Eligibility

    Student Type UofM Students
    Student Year Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite
  2. About Exchange in Kyoto, Japan—Ritsumeikan University

    Ritsumeikan University enjoys a rich and prominent history and is considered one of the most distinguished institutions of higher learning and research in Japan. The Kinugasa Campus is located in northwestern Kyoto, a 1,200 year old city rich in culture and art. Business Track students will take classes at the Biwako-Kusatsu Campus which is located in Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture.

    For more information on the University of Minnesota's other Japanese exchange partner schools, view the at a glance comparison page.

    Housing & Meals

    Ritsumeikan University organizes dorm or apartment housing for exchange students.


    Ritsumeikan hosts a large number of visiting students each year, and various student groups and activities are a great way to meet other Japanese and international students.  Read more about Student Life on the Ritsumeikan University website

    Learning Outcomes

    • Develop a stronger sense of confidence by engaging in a highly independent study abroad program and foster second language acquisition whenever possible
    • Learn to appreciate diverse world views, accept complexity, and embrace ambiguity; added benefit of reciprocity to foster mutual respect and understanding
    • Experience a new culturally specific academic system and incorporate different academic perspectives
    • Identify and communicate how your experience abroad has impacted you personally, academically, and professionally

    About the Learning Abroad Center

    Learning Abroad Center programs are:

    • Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
    • Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
    • Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
    • Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.
  3. Program Structure

    Program Type Host University Study
    Program Level Upper and lower division coursework available.

    13–16 credits for spring semester or 26–30 credits for the academic year.


    Grade & Credit Conversion Scale

    You receive resident credit for the courses you take. Your grades factor into your University of Minnesota GPA and each course appears on your transcript with an A/F grade. Consult the Learning Abroad Center's Academic Policies page for more information.

    Enroll in one of the following academic tracks:

    • Intensive Japanese Language Track : for students whose main goal is language acquisition.  Take 8-9 credits of Japanese language plus 2-3 elective courses from the Japan and World Perspectives Track menu or the Business Track menu. 
    • Japan and World Perspectives Track : for students whose main goal is to learn about Japanese culture.  Take an optional 2 credit language course, and 5-6 electives taught in English.  
    • Business Track : for business students.  Take an optional Japanese language course (2 or 3 credits) and 5-6 business electives taught in English. 

    Japanese Traditional Arts courses (taught in Japanese) are also offered. 

    Finding Course Information

    You can find more information on the courses offered through the Study in Kyoto Program on their website.

    Global Identity

    Global Identity: Connecting Your International Experience with Your Future is an optional 1-credit online course that helps you process your international experience and apply what you've learned upon your return.  Global Identity gives you the opportunity to work individually with a trained cultural mentor, helping you articulate your newly acquired skills and differentiating you from your peers.

    This course is offered at no additional cost on programs six weeks or longer. The Learning Abroad Center will email out registration instructions, or you may contact a program team member.

    Syllabus for Global Identity (PDF)

  4. Dates & Deadlines

    Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
    Term Program Dates Application Deadline
    Academic Year 2020/21 Late September–Early August* Feb 1, 2020
    Spring 2021 Late March–Early August* Sep 11, 2020


    Because Exchange in Japan spots are limited each year, applicants are encouraged to have a backup program in mind.

    *Program dates are subject to change. Contact the LAC for verification of dates before purchasing your airfare.
    **If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.

    Orientation Dates & Locations

    Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.

    See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.

    Term Abroad Date/Time Location
    Spring 2020 TBD TBD
  5. Fees for Exchange in Kyoto, Japan—Ritsumeikan University

    Academic Year 2019/20

    Spring 2020

    Students participating on exchanges are charged a program fee which is inclusive of University of Minnesota-Twin Cities tuition and fees, University of Minnesota Advising, Placement, Academic and Administrative Costs (APAAC) and international health insurance. The APAAC covers application processing, advising services, orientation, course registration, grade transfer and posting for resident credit as well as program billing and assistance with financial aid when applicable.

    Billing & Payments

    Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.

    Financial Aid & Scholarships

    Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

    Bridging Loan

    Bridging Loan, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.

    Cancellation Policy

    Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
  6. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Education Abroad Term Academic Year, Spring
    Program Name Exchange in Kyoto
    Track Name Ritsumeikan University
    Country Japan


    University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee.


    Upon submitting the online application, you will be assigned an application checklist that includes:

    • Application Essay
    • 1 page resume
    • Advising appointment with the Exchange Coordinator
    • Japan Exchange University Preference List (Submit this document if you are willing to be placed at another Japanese university if you aren't selected for placement at Ritsumeikan; list up to four alternates. View the at-a-glance comparison page for information on other options.)

    Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you. 

    Application Review Process

    Exchange programs can be competitive.  We are typically not able to place all students who apply.  After the application deadline, a Learning Abroad Center selection committee will review applications and make endorsements.  If an applicant is not selected for his/her first choice Japanese university, we will place students at second and third choice schools.  Having flexibility is recommended, as well as having investigated other options abroad. 

    If nominated, you will also be assigned a confirmation checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program.

    If at any point you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the Education Abroad application system and submit a cancellation request.

  7. Program Contact

    For further information or questions about this program, send an email to

    Ryan McCarthy or call at 612.626.9373.

  8. Contact Program Alum

    Below is a list of additional students who participated in past program sessions. They are ready and willing to answer your questions about this program. Feel free to contact them during your decision-making process or anytime during your pre-departure preparation to get a student perspective.

    We don't currently have any past particpants that can be contacted.