FAQ information

Please refer to the FAQ page at the same time.
Application FAQs

General rules for submitting applications

Please read the following instructions for each item carefully before submitting the application documents.

  1. Application form and other designated forms are available online. Account and URL for application portal will be provided after official nomination by the exchange program coordinator of their home institution. Applicants are required to submit online application form and upload application materials through the portal.
  2. Documents in a language other than English or Japanese have to be translated into English or Japanese and certified by the home institution.

List of Documents to be Submitted:

*REQUIRED for all applicants

(1) Application Form (Complete and Download PDF through online) *

In this application form, you will input basic and important information such as

  • Personal Information (Name, Birth Date, Nationality)
  • Contact Information (Current and Emergency Contact)
  • Current Academic Information
  • Academic Background
  • Study Plan (Program / Department, List of Courses You Expect to Take at Sophia)
  • Other Information
  • Personal Statement and Applicant Survey

(2) Letter of Recommendation (Form Provided) *

Letter must be completed by professor / lecturer who has taught the applicant in an academic course at his/her home institution.
If the professor/ lecturer would not like to share the letter with students, they can send the letter directly to our office by email (inbound-co@sophia.ac.jp). In such case, please upload a text file to the portal site indicating that the Letter will be submitted separately.

The recommendation letter in its original format will be accepted when the letter covers the following points:
1 How long have you known the applicant? In what capacity have you known him/her?
2 Course Title and Course Code which you have taught.
3 As far as you know, what is the applicant’s purpose in coming to Sophia?
4 Judging from your intelligence, steadiness, and social adaptability, how do you assess your chance of fulfilling such purpose?
5 Any other information or remarks.

(3) Official Academic Transcript(s) *

Transcripts must be OFFICIAL documents issued by the home institution.
If official documents will be issued digitally, please send it to the letter directly to us (inbound-co@sophia.ac.jp). In such case, please upload a text file to the portal site indicating that the transcript will be submitted separately.
If you scan and upload the transcript by yourself, please note the documents is OFFICIAL one.

  • Explanations of the grading system used at the applicant’s home university should be attached to the transcript(s) by the applicant’s home institution.
  • UNDERGRADUATE programs applicants
    Provide latest and all official transcript(s) of currently enrolled undergraduate level institutions.
  • GRADUATE programs applicants
    Provide bachelor diploma copy with latest official transcript(s) of all previous undergraduate and graduate studies.
  • Applicants for spring semester entrance: submit transcript including grades of previous spring semester.
    Applicants for autumn semester entrance: submit transcript including grades of previous autumn semester.
  • Applicants who have previously studied in Japan under student visa should provide a copy of transcript issued by the related Japanese institution.


(4) List of courses currently enrolled

Please upload a text file or image scan include the list of courses in progress, if not printed on transcript.

(5) Proof of English Language Proficiency

REQUIRED for all applicants applying to Sophia’s English taught program.

  • Minimum score for each test is as following:
    79 on TOEFL iBT / 550 on TOEFL ITP / 6.0 on IELTS(Academic) / 730 on TOEIC (LR) / Cambridge English C2 Proficiency (CPE) or C1 Advanced (CAE)
  • Applicants who apply for the Graduate Program in Global Studies are expected to have a higher English ability. Applicants who cannot fulfill the following minimum language requirement will be denied the entrance into the program.
    100 on TOEFL iBT / 600 on TOEFL ITP / 7.0 on IELTS(Academic) / 870 on TOEIC (LR)
    (Cambridge English is not acceptable)

Condition of Exemption

  • This can be waived if the students belong to the institutions located in the following countries:
    • USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Canada (*Canadian Institutions where the courses are taught in French are required to submit Proof of English Language Proficiency.)
  • This can be waived if the students belong to the degree program, that is entirely taught in English, AND if its admission requirement of English Proficiency is higher than Sophia’s requirement, we will accept official letter that certifies the students’ English proficiency from applicant’s home institution.
    • Please note that GPGS requires higher proficiency.
  • The official letter must clearly state the above situation.
    An objective evidence of language proficiency requirement for admission, such as a URL link or screenshot is preferred.

Definition of the valid certificate date for Sophia Exchange

  • It should be taken not more than two years before the start day of application (1 March for Autumn Semester application and 1 October for Spring Semester application).
    • Cambridge English: Please note that even for the Cambridge Exam, which does not officially have an expiration date, we will not accept it after two years.
  • Only if you have already taken the test and cannot get the results in time for the application deadline, you can submit the following explanation and we will wait a couple of weeks for your test results. The letter of explanation including the following:
    – test name and date
    – expected date of test result to be released

(6) Proof of Japanese Language Proficiency

(only for applicants applying for Japanese-taught program)
Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1 level certificate (日本語能力試験N1)is required for non-native Japanese speakers applying to Japanese-taught undergraduate / graduate programs.

  • Applicants who wish to enroll in the Graduate Program in Linguistics(言語学専攻) must submit proof of a JLPT N1 obtained within two years from the time of application.
  • Applicants who wish to take the Japanese Language Education Course (日本語教育学コース) subjects in the Graduate Program in Linguistics(言語学専攻) must submit proof of a JLPT N1 score of 150 or higher.
  • For those who are applying to Japanese-taught graduate program, a higher level may be required for the breakdown score in addition to passing the N1 level.
  • For details and overseas testing of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, refer to: http://www.jlpt.jp/e/index.html

(7) Certificate of Health (Form Provided) *

All applicants should submit the Certificate of Health completed within 6 months prior to the application period (1 September for Autumn Semester application and 1 April for Spring Semester application), signed by a practicing physician and indicating that the applicant is physically fit to study abroad and do the required academic work. All items on the certificate must be filled out.

  • Chest X-ray test is mandatory. Please indicate the results and date of X-ray examination.
  • Note: applicants who need reasonable accommodation at Sophia should let us know in Online Application Form. (Additional documents will be required.)

(8) Digital Color Photo *

Submit one digital photo data.
Please refer to the Document “11_How to complete Digital color photo for student IDデジタル写真の加工方法.pdf” in the online portal.

(9) Photocopy of Passport *

Submit a photocopy of applicant’s passport personal information page. Renew passport if it will expire during the exchange period at Sophia.

  • If you have Japanese nationality, you should enter Japan with your Japanese passport.
    If you have not applied for Japanese passport, or if you do not have a valid one, you must renew it prior to your arrival.

A Photocopy of Passport should be

  • Scan or take a clear photo of your passport info Page.
  • Make sure all four corners are visible
  • The image is high resolution and readable

(10) Essay explaining motivation and academic background for GPGS courses

(Only for applicants applying for the Graduate Program in Global Studies)
Applicants to the Graduate Program in Global Studies are required to attach a separate document which list all courses they wish to take, indicating for each the relevance to their degree of study in their home institution and their background for the course.

(11) Application for Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) *

Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) is necessary for applicants who do not hold a Japanese citizenship.
The process is handled separately from the application.

  • After the completion of the application process, you will receive a contact from an administrative law firm to which Sophia University has outsourced regarding the COE (Certificate of Eligibility).
  • You must follow the instruction to issue the CoE.
  • Applicants who do not hold a Japanese citizenship will not receive a contact from the administrative law firm.

(12) Housing Application *

ALL applicants must submit the housing application regardless of whether they wish to make accommodation arrangements through Sophia or not.
If applicants wish to make the accommodation arrangement through Sophia, they must fill out all sections.
Since housing allocation works on first come, first served basis, early and perfect submission of documents is encouraged for higher priority in housing place.
For Housing Information:

Inquiries about the
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Department Name
Center for Global Education and Discovery
Bldg.2, 1F