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Academics

Fields of Study: Science, Engineering

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. 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 will be placed in a group based on your research proposal (statement of purpose) submitted prior to departure.

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), and you can take courses in Japanese or English from other departments.

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

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.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Five courses for a total of 21 quarter/14 semester UC units.
  • Take a lab research course for 8 quarter UC units each semester. Taking this course for a letter grade is recommended.
  • You can take up to a third of your units pass/no pass.
  • Taking more than 27 units is not recommended.

Current Program Courses

This program has a required lab research component.

  • During the fall semester, you will spend approximately 15 to 20 hours per week in lab research (for 8 UC quarter units).
  • During the spring semester, you can either continue your lab research from the fall at 15 to 20 hours per week or you may participate in the intensive lab research for approximately 30 hours per week for (16 UC quarter units). The intensive lab option is only available during the spring and requires the approval of the lab supervisor.

Catalogs and resources

Tohuku University provides information on:

  • Research groups: Find out about academic research staff at the university.
  • Exchange programs: Undergraduate and graduate students can take courses and conduct research through a variety of programs (the Junior Year Program in English is the most popular).

Other catalogs and resources:

  • UCEAP Course Catalog: See a list of courses UC students have taken on this program.
  • Campus Credit Abroad: Learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic culture

To be successful academically, you must take the initiative. Take personal responsibility for your education, formulate clear academic goals, and then pursue those goals with determination rather than depending solely on UC or host university requirements for direction. 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 merely passing their courses.

Student Behavior

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 director and staff.

Attendance

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.

Grades

You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework.

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. If you experience difficulties with language courses, talk to the study center director and staff.

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.

Final grades are usually available in mid-October.