Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) | Okayama University

Discovery Program for Global Learners at OKAYAMA University

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below is a list of responses to commonly asked questions. If you don't find your answer here, you may contact us by email.

1. Questions about the Program

2. Questions about the Application Process

3. Questions about Study Abroad and Internships

4. Questions about Housing and Visa

5. Questions about Scholarships

6. Questions about Employment Opportunities after Graduation

Still have questions? Contact us at (change @ to @)

1.Questions about the Program

Q1: What kind of degree will I earn?
A1: Students who complete the four-year program earn a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences. The diploma will state that the recipient is a graduate of the Discovery Program, regardless of the department or faculty under which the senior project is completed.

Q2: What kind of courses can I take?
A2: The Discovery Program offers an open curriculum, which means students can create a personalized course of study based on individual academic interests and career goals. An English-based personalized curriculum could draw primarily from one of the Discovery Program’s three clusters, or it could incorporate coursework from multiple clusters.

Q3: What kinds of courses do students take in the first year as part of the Discovery Program’s liberal arts focus?
A3: Courses taken by first-year students include (1) language training in English or Japanese as needed, (2) Discovery seminars which emphasize intercultural communication strategies and critical thinking skills in small class settings, and (3) introductory courses in a range of fields which expose students to perspectives across academic disciplines, and lay the foundation for later, in-depth coursework in specific fields.

Q4: Can I take courses in other departments or faculties?
A4: Yes, students with advanced language ability and prerequisite knowledge may also take courses in Japanese offered across campus. Other departments and faculties may also offer occasional courses in English. However, the Discovery Program is the only fully English-medium curriculum on campus.Discovery students who wish to take courses taught in Japanese also have the option of creating a personalized course of study drawing upon departments and faculties across campus.

2.Questions about The Application Process

Q1: Is there an entrance exam?
A1: No. The Discovery Program conducts interviews for international applicants in lieu of a traditional written exam. For students living overseas, interviews are conducted online.

Q2: Do you accept applications from transfer students?
A2: No, we do not currently have an application procedure for transfer students. All accepted applicants must be prepared to complete the four-year program from the beginning.

Q3: Can international students begin the program in the spring?
A3: April entry is possible, but students must have a high level of Japanese ability (JLPT N1 or equivalent) to complete first-year guidance courses in Japanese. International students who wish to apply for April entry must apply during the first application period.

Q4: I’m a Japanese citizen but I am currently going to school in a foreign country. Can I apply through International Admissions?
A4: Yes. International Admissions are open to applicants of all nationalities, including Japanese. Applicants for April may also apply through the Domestic Applications process, but the dates and procedures for this application are entirely different from International Applications. Japanese nationals should choose the admission process that is most appropriate for them.

Q5: Who is required to submit English proficiency test scores? Which test scores should I submit?
A5: International applicants who have not completed their last three years of formal education entirely in English are required to submit test scores. Students applying via IB admission who have not received their two most recent years of formal education entirely in English are also required to submit proficiency test scores.

Students must submit scores from at least one of the following tests: Cambridge English / 実用技能英語検定 / GTEC CBT / GTEC for STUDENTS / IELTS / TEAP / TEAP CBT / TOEFL iBT / TOEIC Listening & Reading Test / TOEIC Speaking & Writing Tests /TOEIC Speaking Test / TOEIC Writing Test (including former TOEIC Test / TOEIC Speaking & Writing)

Q6: What are the minimum English Proficiency test scores necessary for admission?
A6: There are no set minimum scores, but students are expected to have sufficient ability to take courses taught in English. English language proficiency test scores will be considered in conjunction with other application material, including the Statement of Purpose and the interview.

Q7: Is Japanese ability required?
A7: No, Japanese language ability is not required for admission to the Discovery Program. However, non-native speakers of Japanese are highly encouraged to acquire at least basic language skills for daily life by taking classes in Okayama University’s Japanese language program after enrollment. All non-native speakers of Japanese will sit for the placement test after enrollment and will be placed in Japanese classes appropriate to their levels.

Q8: Should I submit SAT scores or other standardized test scores?
A8: If available, please submit as supplementary material. However, SAT and other standardized test scores are not required.

Q9: I am graduating from an IB school. Can I apply for the program without an IB Full Diploma?
A9: Applicants who have not yet taken the IB exam but will do so by the time of enrollment can submit predicted test scores. For students applying through IB admission, their acceptance will be conditional pending submission of exam results prior to enrollment. Students attending IB school may also apply via International Admissions. In this case, acceptance is not conditional on IB exam scores.

Q10: I will earn a full IB Diploma but will not be 18 years of age by the start of the first term. Can I still apply?
A10: No, you must be 18 to apply via IB Admission. However, students who will be under 18 by the start of the first term are still eligible to apply via the International Admission process.

Q11: What is the difference between the Letter of Evaluation and the Letter of Recommendation?
A11: The Letter of Evaluation must be written by someone at your secondary school such as a school principal, counselor, or teacher, even if the evaluator does not know or remember you well. The evaluator should confirm your years of attendance and graduation date, and provide information about your academic performance while at the school. If the evaluator has interacted with you personally, he or she may also include information and examples regarding your interests and accomplishments, and your ability to work independently, think creatively, communicate effectively, and maintain motivation.

The Letter of Recommendation should be written by someone who knows you well and has interacted directly with you in a supervisory position at school, work, or through extracurricular activities - a teacher, manager, boss, coach, or advisor. In addition to commenting on your ability to work independently, thinking creatively, communicate effectively, and maintain motivation, the recommender should also provide information about your personal interests, abilities, and accomplishments.

The two letters may not be written by the same person.

Q12: Does Okayama University offer application fee waivers?
A12: No, there are no application fee waivers available at this time.

Q13: If I have other questions about the application process or encounter trouble with the online application system, what should I do?
A13: For additional information or assistance, contact the Admissions Division of the Discovery Program at

3.Questions about Study Abroad and Internships

Q1: Do I have to study abroad?
A1: Study abroad is not required; however, you need to take at least one of the practicum courses, such as laboratory work, an internship, fieldwork, study abroad, or independent studies.

4.Questions about Housing and Visa

Q1: Are there any dormitories available?
A1: Yes, first-year students who are selected through international admission and move directly from overseas have priority. The maximum period of stay is 1 year.

Q2: How do I get a student visa?
A2: Okayama University facilitates the visa process. A few months before arrival on campus, accepted students will receive an e-mail describing the application procedures from the address (change @ to @). If you have questions about a student visa, please contact (change @ to @).

Q3: I am currently living in Japan, but my visa will expire before I begin the Discovery Program. Can Okayama University sponsor me for an extension on my current visa?
A3: International students residing in Japan on a visa that will expire before enrollment at Okayama University are typically asked to return to their home country to reapply for a new student visa. If you have any further questions, please contact (change @ to @).

5.Questions about Scholarships

Q1: What kind of scholarships are available for international students?
A1: All international students accepted to the Discovery Program for April and October 2018 who hold either student or dependent visas and do not receive full scholarships from other institutions are eligible for monthly scholarship of 40,000 yen per month for four years as long as they remain in good academic standing.

6.Questions about Employment Opportunities after Graduation

Q1: What kind of job can I get if I graduate from the Discovery Program?
A1: Unlike students who major in a specific discipline, graduates of the Discovery Program have a broad range of options, including careers in science, business, social work, health, and education, both in Japan and abroad. Students are encouraged to pursue internships, fieldwork, or study abroad opportunities to acquire the practical skills needed for their desired career path.