The University of Tokyo, also known as "Todai" was established in 1877 as the first national university in Japan. As a leading research university, Todai offers courses in essentially all academic disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate levels and conducts research across the full spectrum of academic activity. The university aims to provide its students with a rich and varied academic environment that ensures opportunities for both intellectual development and the acquisition of professional knowledge and skills.
Faculty of Law
The purpose of the programs in the Faculty of Law is to cultivate talented individuals with broad vision, a sharp legal mind and the basics of political insight through education and research centered on legal and political studies.
The origin of the Faculty of Law dates back to the "Law School" established by the Ministry of Justice in July 1872 (Meiji 5) and the “Law Department of Kaisei Gakko” established by the Ministry of Education in April 1873 (Meiji 6). Since then, the Faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo has consistently served as the research center for legal and political studies, and provides highly sophisticated education supported by its history. The Faculty has produced innumerable outstanding professionals including both Japanese and foreign nationals in the fields of law practice, government service, politics, business, news media and academia. The focus of the education in this Faculty is to cultivate legal and political viewpoints and to provide students with a broad perspective and powers of discernment relating to social life through the understanding of basic theory in relation to a wide range of legal and political matters.
Faculty of Medicine
The Faculty of Medicine comprises both the School of Medicine and the School of Integrated Health Sciences. The School of Medicine is dedicated to the development of research and education in medicine so that we are able to address various problems in present-day medical systems, and is also dedicated to training competent medical staff and clinicians who can take a holistic approach to patient care. The School of Integrated Health Sciences studies the interrelations between healthy people, medicine and society and also covers the training of nurses and nursing science. The University of Tokyo Hospital, which is affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine, is located in Hongo, the same area as the Faculty of Medicine, providing clinical training for medical students and helping to produce highly competent physicians and nurses for society every year. The Faculty of Medicine implements an active program of basic medical research, in neuroscience, immunology, oncology and cell biology. Our researchers energetically engage in basic medical research, which may lead to clarifying disease mechanisms and establishing new approaches to their treatment. Although each of these fields is highly competitive globally, the Faculty of Medicine has a high reputation for its world-class basic medicine, and every year many articles are published in scientific journals includingNature, Cell, and Science.
This faculty makes active efforts to cultivate researchers in basic medicine. In the MD Researcher Training Program, approximately ten students from each year join seminar style small-group education and engage in full-scale research activities in basic research laboratories. The result of four years of undergraduate research is finalized as a graduation thesis. After graduation, students continue to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. degree. For those who prefer a more direct path to research, there is the Ph.D.-M.D. program which enables them to enter the Ph.D. program right after completing two or three year's of basic medical studies in the undergraduate program. Another program, the Clinical Research Training Program, emphasizes the importance of clinical research through lecture courses, small-group journal clubs, and participation in academic conferences, aiming to instil the basic way of thinking required by clinical researchers. Graduates from the School of Integrated Health Sciences will either pursue a Ph.D. degree in various academic fields ranging from basic biomedical sciences to social medicine or take career opportunities in a wide range of health-related fields, including nursing.
Faculty of Engineering
Over the past 140 years, Japan has made enormous academic and industrial leaps in the study and application of science and technology, enabling the country to become highly competitive in these fields. The emphasis of today's research and development has moved from a narrow focus driven by the desire for knowledge and more affluent lifestyles, to a more socially and environmentally aware approach that includes the creation of new values, and aims to provide synergistic solutions for humankind's coexistence with nature. Following this increased awareness of the significance and scope of our work, the operations of Japanese universities have greatly changed. It is fair to say that we have been at an academic crossroads over the past several years, not just in terms of education, research and operation, but also in relation to international and social contexts as well. We have now reached a key point in our university's history.
For any society intending to offer global technological and scientific leadership today and tomorrow, the development of its human resources will remain the most pressing issue. It can be said that societies succeed only as far as the development of their human capital will allow. In order to educate tomorrow's talent, we must foster individuals' ability to apply themselves flexibly to academic, social, and environmental issues based on a rigorous understanding of the diversity inherent in the discipline of engineering. Of course, a critical step is to ensure they have the confidence gained from having mastered the fundamentals ― which remain constant through every age ― as well as their specialist areas of study. Furthermore, our aim is to forge ahead with inspirational ground-breaking research, as well as taking the initiative in identifying new interdisciplinary research areas, and flexibly applying our collective abilities to the complex issues facing society today. Within Japan, new forms of collaboration and dialogue may be needed in order to reinforce the technological foundations upon which the country is so reliant, and to nurture individual technological developments for academic-industrial or social partnerships, both at home and abroad. We must also intensify our efforts not only to maintain international competitiveness, but also to exert a centripetal force felt overseas, thus attracting the highest caliber of students, researchers and professors. The Faculty of Engineering has made the construction of this outstanding educational system with its enhanced international appeal our central strategy.
Currently, there are 16 departments in the Faculty of Engineering, a truly diverse and wide structure. In each department, apart from the usual lectures, there are other lectures where reading and explaining are done in turn, and a wide variety of courses are provided including problem solving exercises, experiments, practical workshops, design exercises, field surveys, project exercises, graduation research and graduation design. Employing such diverse educational methods, faculty members make plans and efforts to attain strategic goals such as building a wide range of talented individuals and enrichment of the international appeal of the faculty. For graduation research, students share laboratories with graduate students where they have opportunities to get a glimpse of cutting-edge research and can learn the pleasure of creating intellectual value. The Faculty of Engineering continues to lead the world with research outcomes created by these methods.
Faculty of Letters
The University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Letters was formed in conjunction with the founding of the University of Tokyo in 1877, alongside the Faculties of Law, Science, and Medicine. It is the humanities faculty with the oldest history in Japan. In addition to transmitting and developing the academic traditions of East Asia, the Faculty of Letters aspired from the outset to incorporate the academic structures and achievements of the West, thus striving to create an educational system that achieved a good balance between the two paradigms. In 1886, the University of Tokyo was renamed Tokyo Imperial University, and then in 1947, after defeat in World War Two, was changed again to the University of Tokyo. Several times during this process, the organization and curriculum of the Faculty of Letters was expanded and reformed.
The nucleus of the Faculty of Letters, which consisted of the three subjects of philosophy, history, and literature, had already been developed by the 1890s. To this were added psychology and the social sciences, and in 1963 these disciplines were organized into a basic institutional structure for undergraduate education consisting of four primary areas (currently called divisions). Since then this structure has undergone a number of expansions and reforms, to the point where one can now view on the homepage the Faculty’s four areas and 27 specialized programs.
Faculty of Science (School of Science)
In the Faculty of Science, education and research in relation to science are carried out. Science is a scholarship to search for the fundamentals and laws of the natural world through a dialogue with nature. Starting with simple questions like "Why?" and "How come?" we approach the mysteries of nature. Many of our motives for research arise out of genuine interest and the wisdom that human beings have gathered since time immemorial. Sometimes such understanding of nature is immediately applied to the real world, other times it brings about drastic changes in our lives over a long span of time.
For example, let us look at quantum mechanics that describes the world on the micro-scale. This field derives from the search through genuine interest in atomic structure, the true nature of light and so on. The results of such quests produced fruitful results; through the understanding of the behavior of electrons in materials, semiconductor technologies and computer technologies have been created, and further, the modern information-based society was developed. Quantum mechanics clarified the true nature of chemical bonds and brought about understanding of nanoscale molecular structures and chemical reactions. Based on such understanding we are able to develop various functional materials. Now we are surrounded by products that are outcomes of such quests in quantum mechanics. Meanwhile, the concept of molecular structures is extended to include organisms and ― triggered by the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA ― a technological explosion in biotechnology occurred. Were it not for the studies in quantum mechanics, many of the conveniences we enjoy today would not be available.
The importance of science lies in not only the basics that are positioned at the opposite side of applications. The understanding of nature forms the base of our view of nature as well as the universe. It teaches us the importance of living in harmony with nature and sometimes it gives us wisdom to stand up against forces of nature. Through such functions, science gives safety to society as well as peace of mind. Thus, science forms the deepest foundation of culture human beings have developed. In other words, the development of science enriches the view of nature that human beings have and motivates us to carve out the future. There are many mysteries in nature. Those who intend to learn science should have a large-scale dream such as "I want to solve this mystery" and acquire strong abilities to solve the mystery through learning science.
Faculty of Agriculture
Agricultural science covers a surprisingly wide spectrum of research activities. Arable land, forests and aquatic environments are the fields of research and education in this science. Making full use of the techniques in natural and social sciences, we study the life processes of animals and plants. In the 21st century, the key issue as to how we can develop a system to continuously harvest nature's bounty forms the focal point of agricultural science. Through its original Course/Major system, the faculty aims at nurturing and training individuals who can deal with these issues. In accordance with the scope of its scientific research, agricultural science is largely classified into three courses: the Applied Life Sciences Course, Environmental and Resource Sciences Course, and the Veterinary Medical Sciences Course, which are further organized into various majors.
Students of the Applied Life Sciences Course learn about life processes closely related to the human life from molecular and cellular levels to individual and group levels. This course is further divided into six majors according to the specialized fields covered. The Environmental and Resource Sciences Course, which is divided into eight majors, deals with issues of food, resources and regional development through science and technology involving environmental conservation and planning. The Veterinary Medical Sciences Course, aimed at understanding life processes and diseases of animals, foster individuals who can contribute to veterinary medicine and public health. This course has a single major, and it takes four years to graduate. The undergraduate students belong to one of these 15 majors. Under this education system, students extensively learn subjects common to agricultural sciences, and systematically receive step by step education with a high level of specialization. In the faculty, we focus on understanding research subjects through one's own experiences. Field education is also carried out utilizing the affiliated facilities. The Institute for Sustainable Agro-ecosystem Services (ISAS) located in Nishitokyo City has arable land as well as forest area to provide agricultural and forestry education by combining society and nature. From Furano, Hokkaido, in the north to Aichi in the south, we have seven university forests in which education is imparted taking advantage of local features of the forest environment. Also we have a wide variety of field education facilities including the Veterinary Medical Center, Experimental Station for Bio-Animal Science, and Fisheries Laboratory.
Faculty of Economics
The objective of education in the Faculty of Economics is to provide students with basic methods to understand various and complicated socio-economic developments of our society in a systematic way. The analysis of developments in economic society may use a variety of approaches including historical, mathematical and statistical methods. Students are required to master the basic methods of those disciplines and ways of applying the methods to practical issues.
The Faculty of Economics is comprised of the Department of Economics, the Department of Business Administration and the Department of Finance.
The Department of Economics provides students with an instruction in various economic theories that are useful in understanding the workings of the economic system. The department also teaches students how to apply those theories to practical problems in our society. For example, one important topic taught in this department is how macroeconomic variables such as GDP, unemployment rate, inflation rate, and economic growth are determined. The department also takes up theoretical issues including resource allocation and control, strategic interactions of economic actors, income distribution and poverty.
The Department of Business Administration focuses on education in theory and practical methods related to business administration and management. This department focuses on various issues that individual firms face such as business management, decision-making, personnel affairs, corporate research and development, and marketing. Accounting and methods of industrial analysis are also basic topics covered in the department.
Launched in April 2009, the Department of Finance's object is to create a talented group of graduates who have an outstanding analytical capability and the conceptual power to apply knowledge of both theory and practice of finance and economics to practical issues. The curriculum of this department attaches great importance to the theoretical discipline of economics and accounting. It also places emphasis on practically-oriented coursework developed in collaboration with financial institutions. The Center for Advanced Research in Finance (CARF) provides analytic facilities with an extensive database for empirical studies. The students in the department will be exposed to the center's latest research outcomes in their coursework.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences (College of Arts and Sciences)
In the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (the Senior Division of the College of Arts and Sciences) we conduct interdisciplinary education in the humanities and sciences with the aim of fostering students whose understanding transcends both regional and disciplinary boundaries.
One main role of the College of Arts and Sciences is to provide Junior Division (first- and second-year) liberal arts education for all students entering the University of Tokyo, but it is also responsible for specialist Senior Division education for those third- and fourth-year undergraduate students who major in the interdisciplinary fields which are the special feature of study at Komaba. This Senior Division education comprises courses in both humanities and sciences; the aim is to develop further the liberal arts spirit of the Junior Division through cutting-edge teaching that is interdisciplinary in scope and international in focus. Through this, we aim to nurture students whose interests span multiple domains, who are actively involved in multilingual and multicultural environments, and whose pioneering spirit may lead them into new fields of research.
After the creation of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1951, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on the Komaba Campus was quick to establish a course in International Relations, along with other programs which transcended the boundaries of the traditional disciplines. Further, to respond to the demands of modern society and the changing times, in 2011 a bold new reorganization of the established disciplines took place. The reorganized Faculty of Arts and Sciences now comprises three departments, each providing an education drawing strongly on their unique areas of expertise. The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is comprised of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Area Studies, and Social and International Relations. The Department of Interdisciplinary Sciences consists of Science and Technology Studies, Geography and Spatial Design, Informatics, Earth System and Energy Science, and Evolutionary Biology. The Department of Integrated Sciences is composed of Mathematical Sciences, Matter and Materials Science, Integrated Life Sciences, Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences, and Sports Sciences Sub-course.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences offers a wide range of courses, given by specialists in diverse areas of expertise. The class size is usually small, creating an ideal educational environment. In the humanities, a variety of foreign languages is taught, making it possible to obtain a broad international perspective that is not tied to a single area; in particular, programs in the major languages enable students to reach a level of proficiency advanced enough for them to be able to express flexible and cross-disciplinary creativity in international contexts. In the area of science, the Department of Integrated Sciences has developed an original cross-disciplinary program, through which students can acquire insight and expertise in a variety of disciplines en route to participation in cutting-edge studies, while in the Department of Interdisciplinary Sciences, students learn to take a holistic approach combining arts- and science-related thinking, and to apply suitable methodologies to new challenges. In addition to this, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences provides a range of cross-disciplinary programs that do not fit into any of the fields mentioned above, including Global Ethics, Evolutionary Cognitive Brain Science, Barrier-free, and the Science Interpreter. The Senior Division of the College of Arts and Sciences thus provides a distinctive education in both the arts and sciences, one with a strong emphasis on promoting thinking across disciplinary boundaries.
Faculty of Education
The objective of the Faculty of Education is to cultivate professionals with profound understanding of human beings and society, and experts who engage in pedagogical research as well as practice education through scientific analysis and consideration of educational issues. In this faculty, students learn about the activities of people as they learn, grow, and develop. The role of preschools, elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, and special-needs schools and universities in the development of society and culture and the role of education in realizing the well-being of people and creating a better society are examined from various angles. The Faculty of Education is composed of five divisions: the Division of Basic Theories of Education, the Division of Social Sciences in Education, the Division of Educational Practices and Policies, the Division of Educational Psychology and the Division of Physical and Health Education.
Although this is a comparatively small faculty with less than 50 faculty members, we have a teaching staff with diverse specializations including in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The number of students for each year is fewer than 100, which creates a friendly atmosphere on the campus where highly concentrated small-group lectures and seminars are given. Lectures in the faculty are systematically organized around the three basic units of Basic Theories of Education, Educational Sociology and Physical and Mental Development Science. The characteristics of the lectures are practicality, reality, diversity and interdisciplinarity. The curriculum includes many surveys and experiments and students engage in surveys in actual schools or leading-edge research in laboratories.
Additionally, the graduation thesis course is a compulsory subject for all students and guidance is given in accordance with the interest of each student. Affiliated institutes include the secondary school attached to the Faculty of Education of the University of Tokyo, where educational research activities are conducted through extensive cooperation and collaboration. Together with the Graduate School of Education, the Faculty of Education forms a center for teacher education in Japan, and furthermore, we are open to the world and becoming a world center for education and research. Every year, many international students from all over the world come to study in our faculty, and there is an active exchange of international researchers. Some graduates of the faculty of Education go on to further study in the graduate school, while others are now working in a variety of different fields. There are also options for teacher or specialist certification.
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
The discovery of new drugs requires detailed knowledge about the mechanisms of life and the causes of disease. Unfortunately, in every aspect, from the molecular level to pathological conditions, our knowledge is insufficient and many issues are still to be clarified. We need the ability to explain life phenomena from the perspectives of biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, physiological chemistry, genetics and immunology. Synthetic chemistry and reaction chemistry are essential for the synthesis of drugs. Historically, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences has produced excellent research outcomes in its research centered on organic chemistry. Additionally, in order to understand herbal medications and create drugs capable of surpassing them, natural product chemistry is also necessary, as are analytical chemistry and physical chemistry for discovering drug properties and their molecular-level interactions with living organisms. An understanding of drug metabolism and disposition and drug formulation design is required to transport drugs to target areas of the body. In order to explain the reaction of the living body to drugs, pharmacodynamics and toxicology are essential. Thus pharmaceutical science requires the combination of extensive basic and applied research. There is also an increasing amount of research in borderline areas that cannot be classified into traditional academic fields. In summary, the discovery of drugs is a compilation of these cutting-edge sciences.
The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Tokyo has fulfilled its role as a research center where pharmaceuticals, a difficult field which requires a high degree of perfection, are studied from the aspects of materials, living organisms and medical care. The faculty focuses on basic research before moving on to drug discovery and concentrating effort on education to nurture pharmaceutical specialists. Students of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences are provided with a curriculum including many lectures and practical lessons necessary for the training of pharmaceutical specialists. Additionally, education in the faculty focuses on economic issues relevant to the pharmaceutical industry, providing information to pharmacists and the general public, and training individuals who are equipped with the skills to participate in pharmaceutical business management at bio-ventures. Graduates from this faculty are active in universities, research institutes, pharmaceutical companies and health service agencies.
Graduate School of Medicine
The Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Tokyo continues on its missions to train excellent physicians and medical researchers, and to contribute to the progress of medicine and the life sciences. According to the journal Nature’s recently released Publishing Index 2012, the University of Tokyo ranks first in the Asia-Pacific region and ninth worldwide. These rankings are based on the number of articles, letters, and reviews written by authors affiliated with the ranked institutions and published in Nature and its sister journals. We can point to our ranking as evidence that natural-sciences research at the University of Tokyo is among the world’s best. We should also note that the Chinese Academy of Sciences has quickly advanced in those rankings and is now in twelfth place. As we continue to collaborate with researchers throughout Asia and worldwide, our first priority is unchanged: to lead the world in medicine and the life sciences.
The university was chartered by the Meiji government in 1877 under its current name by amalgamating older government schools for medicine and Western learning. It was renamed “the Imperial University” in 1886, and then “Tokyo Imperial University” in 1897 when the Imperial University system was created.
In 1947, after Japan's defeat in World War II, it re-assumed its original name. With the start of the new university system in 1949, Todai swallowed up the former First Higher School and the former Tokyo Higher School, which thenceforth assumed the duty of teaching first- and second-year undergraduates.
Although the university was founded during the Meiji period, it has earlier roots in the Astronomy Agency (1684), Shoheizaka Study Office (1797), and the Western Books Translation Agency ( 1811).
In the fall of 2012 and for the first time, the University of Tokyo started two undergraduate programs entirely taught in English.
The University of Tokyo offers accommodations for international students and researchers as part of its efforts to promote international exchanges in the education and research fields.
Two types of accommodation are available for international researchers and students at the University: residences operated by the University and apartments and flats rented by private businesses.
Residences operated by the University are available at lower rents than private accommodation, and are furnished to the minimum level needed for students on arrival. Each residence is highly motivated to promote international exchanges and pursue activities to encourage communication among residents.
Private accommodation, on the other hand, enables you to secure housing at locations close to your campus that are convenient for shopping and amenities. However, you would have to bear a higher rent for such housing.
Four types of private accommodation are commonly available for international students:
- Rented Apartment, Rented Detached House
- Short-term Rented Apartment
- Guest House
- Business Hotel
The University of Tokyo provides many opportunities for students apart from study courses but also related to education and science research.
International activities at the University of Tokyo are intended to ensure that the University is able to thrive in the face of competition from universities within Japan and around the globe, while at the same time benefiting the international community as a whole through collaboration with the world's leading institutions aiming at creating new knowledge for humankind. The construction of an internationally attractive environment for education and research is in part founded on relationships with other universities.