Top 10 Universities in Japan for 2020 - Postgraduate |
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2020 Japanese University Rankings - Top Choices for Postgraduate Study

Japan offers a raft of unique opportunities for international postgraduates. Combining a proud academic tradition with rigorous standards and a welcoming attitude towards foreign students, Japan makes for an emerging postgraduate destination and a great place to study a Masters.

There are currently around 130,000 international students in Japan, but this figure is increasing year-on-year. This page takes a look at how Japanese universities do in current global league tables.

Top Ranked Japanese Universities

The following table lists the best 10 universities in Japan in 2019, according to global rankings.

This information is based on the latest rankings tables, researched and published by Times Higher Education, QS and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

Each ranking system uses its own methodology, with different factors having more or less influence on a university's result.

For more information on using international rankings as a postgraduate, see our guide.

Top 10 Japanese Universities in 2020
University THE 2020 QS 2020 ARWU 2019
The University of Tokyo =36 =22 25
Kyoto University 65 =33 32
Tohoku University 251-300 82 101-150
Tokyo Institute of Technology 251-300 =58 101-150
Nagoya University 301-350 115 90
Osaka University 301-350 71 151-200
University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan 351-400 - -
Fujita Health University 401-500 - -
Hokkaido University 401-500 =132 151-200
Kyushu University 401-500 =132 201-300
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.

How do rankings work for Masters study?

International rankings use all sorts of metrics to assess universities and they aren't all equally relevant to postgraduate study. That's why we've put together a guide to university rankings for Masters students.

So, how good are Japanese universities for Masters study?

Japan holds its own in the global rankings, with five universities in the top 100 of the QS rankings (and 11 institutions in the top 50 Asian universities of that table).

However, these league tables don’t tell the whole story. In particular, one of the metrics that the Times Higher Education ranking uses is how many times a paper has been cited in English. Japanese scholars don’t always have the same tendency to publish in English as academics elsewhere in the world, which may help explain the relative lack of Japanese universities at the top end of the Times Higher Education worldwide league table.

One way to get past this is to look at rankings that are designed specifically for Asian universities. For example, the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings ‘recalibrate’ the metrics used for the international table to give a clearer indication of Asian universities’ relative position. As you can see in the table below, Japanese institutions feature heavily in the top 60 of this particular ranking.

Top Japanese Universities - THE Asia University Rankings
University 2019 Rank
University of Tokyo 8
Kyoto University 11
Tokyo Institute of Technology 30
Tohoku University =31
Nagoya University 34
Osaka University 40
Kyushu University 58
Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) 66
Hokkaido University 68
Fujita Health University =74
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings.

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Last updated - 30/09/2019

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