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Hokkaido University

Program Terms:

Spring Semester & Academic Year


Hokkaido University is one of Japan’s oldest and largest universities, currently hosting over 18,000 students. As one of seven top national universities, it is considered to be one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Located in Sapporo, it has a very green campus that experiences all 4 seasons. Students at the university may easily access many cultural festivals throughout the year in Sapporo, for example the Snow Festival, which brings in millions of tourists during the winter.

Education at Hokkaido University is guided by four basic philosophies: “Frontier Spirit,” “Global Perspectives,” “All-round Education” and “Practical Learning.” These four guiding principles have been cultivated over the course of the institution’s long history, which dates back to 1876. (Source: Hokkaido University Profile 2018)

The campus boasts over 250 student led clubs, all open to exchange students. Exchange students are also welcome to participate in a number of athletic activities, clubs, and competitions. Students may also apply for the Japan Student Services Organization Scholarship, which grants them 80,000 yen a month for 5-11 months of their stay. Hokkaido University also focuses on international relationships, and has a world wide network with 462 partners across 6 continents.

Hokkaido is also a leading university for research in Japan and around the world. The university encourages its students to be great thinkers, and their alumni include a Nobel laureate, business leaders, research pioneers, artists, and prolific writers. The university also has a number of research-driven facilities for its students such as a museum, botanic gardens, experimental forests, marine stations, a livestock farm, and marine research vessels.

Academic Details

The Hokkaido University Short-Term Exchange Program (HUSTEP) provides an array of classes to students in English across the fields of Culture & Society and Environment, Science & Technology. Students also have the chance to study Japanese language, though it is not required. in this program, it is typical that students will have one Japanese language class and one core subject class per day, though this varies from student to student. Some examples of the core classes offered include Contemporary Japanese Society, Music and Culture, The Politics of History in East Asia, Marine Science, Robotics, and Food, Nutrition and Culture in Japan.

The Japanese Language and Culture Studies Program (JLCSP) is designed for students who are Japanese majors and would like to develop their language and cultural knowledge about Japan. The university has a list of courses posted from students to choose from before they enter the university. The program consists of courses in Japanese language and courses in Japanese linguistics, culture and society. By the end of the program, students will have improved their Japanese language proficiency, acquired basic knowledge and methodologies for Japanese studies, and gained a deeper understanding of both Japanese language and culture. Students must complete 20 credits for the year-long program, or 10 per semester.

Housing Details:

In total,  Hokkaido University has 6 dormitories all located at and near Sapporo Campus. Most house students in single rooms. Some dormitories are single-sex, others unisex, some mix Japanese students with International Students, and others are purely for international students. Each dormitory room is fully furnished and comes equipped with fresh bedding and linen, as well as high speed internet access. (Source: Hokkaido University Accommodation Page)

If you would like to live off-campus, students generally go to a real-estate agent with what they would like with a room. These agents usually speak Japanese and all paperwork is in Japanese, so it is recommended you are fluent or have someone who is fluent in the language to help you with the process.


Hokkaido University Short-Term Exchange Program (HUSTEP):

  • Junior standing
  • Completed at least two years of undergraduate study at UHM
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA

Japanese Language and Culture Studies Program (JLCSP):

  • Undergraduates only
  • Age 18-30
  • Majoring in Japanese Language and/or Japanese Culture
  • Japanese language proficiency equivalent to JLPT level N3 or higher

Special Audit Student:

  • High academic record at UHM in the field of desired department
  • Japanese language proficiency equivalent to JLPT level N2 or higher (preferably native level)

Graduate Special Audit Student:

  • High academic record at UHM in the field of desired department
  • Japanese language proficiency equivalent to JLPT level N2 or higher (preferably native level) – depending on graduate school

Graduate Special Research Student:

  • High academic record at UHM in the field of desired graduate school
  • English or Japanese fluency in order to communicate with academic supervisor

Useful Links for Exchange Students:

Program Budgets:

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