Castle in Tokyo, Japan near trees

Exchange in Tokyo, Japan: Sophia University

  1. Program Details

    Experience life in the heart of Tokyo, studying at one of Japan's most highly-regarded universities.

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

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 3.0
    Student Type UofM Students
    Student Year Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite
  2. About Exchange in Tokyo, Japan: Sophia University

    Attend classes at the Ichigaya campus of Sophia University, one of the best known private universities in Japan, just 20 minutes from central Tokyo. Sophia is one of Tokyo's most internationally diverse universities, hosting several hundred visiting students each semester. 

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

    Housing & Meals

    Sophia University organizes various types of housing for exchange students.  Dormitories are located in different areas of Tokyo and will require commuting. The dorms vary in size and type of amenities provided.

    Homestays can be organized by a private housing organization in Tokyo.


    Student life in Japan is active, and Sophia University offers many student clubs and organizations, which are a great way to meet people and socialize.

    Learning Outcomes

    Students having participated in a bilateral exchange program will:

    • 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 their experience abroad has impacted them personally, academically, and professionally

    Faculty & Staff

    Sophia University has staff available to provide orientation, on-site support and advising to help you adjust to a new educational system and integrate into campus life.

    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 credits per semester



    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.

    Some classes are designed specifically for US and other international students. There are also opportunities to take courses taught in English alongside Japanese students and other international students. Japanese-taught Sophia University classes are only available to students with very advanced Japanese language skills.

    Finding Course Information

    Course information can be found on the Sophia University website. Students will take either the Regular Japanese language course (4 credits) and 2-4 electives taught in English, or the Intensive Japanese language course (8 credits) and one or two electives. 

    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 spaces 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
    Academic Year 2020/21 TBD TBD
  5. Fees for Exchange in Tokyo, Japan: Sophia University

    Spring 2020

    Academic Year 2020/21

    Spring 2021

    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 Bilateral Exchange in Tokyo
    Track Name Sophia 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 résumé
    • 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 Sophia; 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, especially at Sophia. 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 fist 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

    Cathy Huber or call at 612.624.9016.

  8. Contact Program Alum

    The past participants listed here are available to answer your questions about this program. Feel free to contact them to get a student perspective if you are considering this program or if you have been accepted to the program and have specific questions about student life in Japan.


COVID-19 Update

This program was canceled for spring semester 2021 due to COVID-19.