Hokkaido University Exchange

Language Requirement: 1 year recommended
Academic Standing by Program Start: Junior or Above
Location: Asia, Japan
GPA: 3.0
Program Overview

Enroll in classes at Hokkaido University, one of the largest and most prestigious universities in Japan. Hokkaido University offers a broad-based educational experience, world-class research facilities, and all the attractions of living in the cosmopolitan city of Sapporo.

With a student body of around 20,000 students, Hokkaido offers abundant opportunities for international students to participate in the many activities available on campus. There are over 250 clubs and societies to choose from, providing numerous opportunities to connect with local Japanese students and other international students. Hokkaido’s campus is considered one of the most beautiful campuses in Japan, and it is centrally located in a city of close to 2 million residents.

Hokkaido is the northernmost region of Japan, and offers many opportunities for students interested in the outdoors. The capital city of the Hokkaido region, Sapporo is known for its amazing food, unique history, natural beauty, and relaxed atmosphere. Sapporo offers a high quality of life with its perfect blend of bustling city life and the natural peace of the great outdoors. Sapporo is also home to the world famous Sapporo Snow Festival, during which international teams compete in the snow sculpture contest, creating giant sculptures out of snow.

Scholarship Opportunity

Scholarships from the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) or the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) may be available. These scholarships provide around 80,000 JPY (around 550 USD) per month and are highly competitive. If funds are available, the scholarship application will typically be part of your secondary application for Hokkaido, which happens after the GEO deadline.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date  
Fall/Winter Semester 2024-25 12/15/2023 Late September Mid-February  
Academic Year 2024-25 12/15/2023 Late September Mid-August  
Spring Quarter 2025 6/15/2024 Early April Mid-August  

Discount for Pell Recipients

To expand access to study abroad, GEO is offering a $400 discount for this program to UO students who currently have the Pell Grant as part of their federal financial aid (FAFSA).

Academic Details

As an exchange student, you will either participate in the Hokkaido University Short-Term Exchange Program, (HUSTEP), or the Japanese Language and Culture Studies Program (JLCSP). HUSTEP is ideal for students wanting to focus on taking content classes in English on a variety of topics or students with minimal or no Japanese language skills, while the JLCSP is ideal for Japanese language and culture majors.

Note: UO credits listed below are estimates and are subject to change. Please refer to the Hokkaido links for the updated credit information on their classes. One credit at Hokkaido is equal to 1.5 UO quarter credits.

Hokkaido University Short-Term Exchange Program (HUSTEP)

Participants in this program choose from a wide variety of classes offered in English in the fields of culture and society, social sciences, environment, science and technology. In your classes, you will be studying alongside local Japanese students as well as other international students. You also have the option to take one or more Japanese language classes with specialized focuses such as kanji and vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, etc. In addition, yearlong students can pursue independent study research under the guidance of a faculty member. During the program, there will be opportunities to take part in numerous traditional and contemporary Japanese cultural activities.

In the HUSTEP program, you will earn:

  • Around 22-25 UO credits per semester. This may include a mix of content classes, which are typically worth 3 UO credits each, and Japanese language classes, which are typically worth 2-3 UO credits each.

For more information about program and courses, visit the HUSTEP website.  

Japanese Language and Culture Studies Program (JLCSP)

In the JLCSP program, you will take Japanese language classes as well as classes taught in English on Japanese culture, linguistics, and society. Yearlong students have the opportunity to participate in an independent study class in which you complete a research paper within your field of study.

For more information about the program, visit the JLCSP website.

Course Equivalencies

UO students: please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Non-UO students: Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

Additional requirements

Eligibility Requirements for HUSTEP program:

  • Junior standing or above by the time the program starts
  • No language requirement, but one year of Japanese is recommended to facilitate daily life in Sapporo and navigating a Japanese university
  • Note for non-native English speakers: Hokkaido has a higher TOEFL requirement than UO. Read the complete list of eligibility requirements for HUSTEP.

Eligibility Requirements for JLCSP program:

  • Junior standing or above by the time the program starts
  • Must be a Japanese language and/or culture major
  • By 6 months before the program start date: Must have language proficiency of level N3 or higher on the JLPT test, or equivalent: applicant should know 500 or more kanji and have the ability to understand conversation spoken at a natural speed and read/write simple sentences. Applicants will take an online language placement test during the secondary application for Hokkaido.
Application process

The application process for this program is competitiveGEO staff will review your application materials, and a decision about your enrollment will not be made until after the application deadline. In some cases, an interview is required. If your program requires an interview, you will be contacted with further details about this process after the application deadline. Early applications are encouraged.

Successful applicants will receive an exchange nomination from GEO. Selection will be based on a holistic review of your application. This includes a review of your GPA, transcripts (including courses taken and in-progress), any additional requirements or prerequisites (see section "Additional Requirements"), and written statements. 

Applying for an exchange program involves 2 steps. If you receive a nomination from GEO, you will also need to complete the host university's application, which is administered and reviewed by your host university directly. Instructions will be provided after acceptance by GEO. The host university makes the final decision regarding acceptance into the program.

Housing Description

Residential life is an integral part of the Hokkaido University experience with around half of all international students living on campus. Exchange students live in dormitories that are usually within walking distance of campus. Most rooms are single rooms, and dormitories are either single-sex or unisex. You will be living alongside another international students, or a mix of international students and local Japanese students. Each dormitory has internet access and typically includes a kitchen, lounge, and laundry facilities. Please note that dormitory living in Japan may involve a curfew and cleaning duties.

Visit the Hokkaido University website for more information about housing.