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Fields of Study: Science, Engineering

The Engineering and Science Program at Tohoku University offers science, engineering, and Japanese language and culture courses taught in English through the Junior Year Program in English (JYPE). You can also take courses taught in Japanese or English from other departments.

All UCEAP students participate in a research group (lab) with Japanese and international students under the supervision of Tohoku University faculty. Tohoku University has a wide variety of research groups to meet student interests. You will be placed in a group based on your research proposal (statement of purpose) submitted prior to departure.

Unique study opportunities

  • Learn research techniques, like fluorescence, electron, and infrared spectroscopy.
  • Practice tissue and micro-organism culture techniques.
  • Participate in breeding, growth, and rearing experiments.


Language of Instruction: English, Japanese

Language Study: Optional

Japanese language study is available. Courses taught in Japanese are open to UC students with the requisite language skills (near native fluency).

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Five courses for a minimum of 21 quarter/14 semester UC units. Taking more than 27 units is not recommended.
  • Take a lab research course for 8 quarter/5.3 semester or 15 quarter/10 semester UC units each term. Taking this course for a letter grade is recommended.
  • You can take up to 1/3 (33%) of your units for pass/no pass credit.

Current Program Courses

This program has a required lab research component. Available labs are in various disciplines through the Faculty of Science in the physical sciences and mathematics, the Faculty of Engineering, and the Faculty of Agriculture.

You may participate in the regular research component for 15 to 20 hours per week (8 quarter/5.3 semester UC units) or you may participate in a more intensive research opportunity for approximately 30 hours per week (15 quarter/10 semester UC units). The intensive lab option requires the approval of the lab supervisor.

To fulfill the remaining program requirements, students may choose Japanese language and culture courses, STEM courses taught in English from JYPE, or courses taught in English or Japanese from other departments.

JYPE is intended for juniors and seniors and many courses are advanced and are assigned upper-division UC credit. The language and culture courses are typically assigned lower-division UC credit.

Graduate level courses are not open to undergraduate students. Graduate students may participate in the Tohoku University Cooperative Laboratory Study Program (COLABS). COLABS offers a wide range of research topics in all fields of natural science.

Catalogs and resources

Academic culture

Japan is a country where courtesy and behavioral propriety are extremely important in all social interactions. Be respectful toward teachers at all times and sensitive to the cultural styles and ethics of Japanese society.

Most locals and Japanese professors will avoid correcting unacceptable behavior. Follow the example set by the Japanese students. If you have questions about what is considered acceptable behavior in Japan, talk to the study center staff.

Japanese university courses typically have less structure than UC courses. Professors rarely provide syllabi and, even if they do, may change the content of the course during the term. Check with each professor about specific course requirements, paper deadlines, exam dates, and any other matters related to your academic responsibilities.

Beware of being influenced by the rigor—or lack thereof—with which Japanese students appear to be engaged in their studies. In contrast to UC students, Japanese students often place less emphasis on letter grades and more on passing their courses.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Final grades are usually available in late October.

It is not the Japanese custom for instructors to give detailed comments on written work and final papers, and exams are not usually returned. The grade itself is generally considered appropriate and adequate feedback.

Grading is typically conducted by detracting points for errors, rather than rewarding points for correct work. 

Beware of rumors about lenient grading at Japanese institutions. Some universities are similar to UC in their standards and grading system. Language courses in particular can be more demanding than at UC and the grading is often rigorous. In many cases, poor grades are the result of excessive absences, tardiness, missing assignments, and lack of communication between UC students and instructors. Class attendance is required unless you are explicitly excused for a valid reason. Many faculty members monitor and consider attendance in class, on field trips, and at academic events when determining the course grade.

Tip: If you intend to put yourself on your campus degree list for graduation while on UCEAP, consult your campus advisors before departure about possible delays in the degree verification process.