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Best private universities in Japan

Find the top private universities in Japan using Times Higher Education’s rankings data

    March 24 2020


    It is easy to differentiate between a private and public university in Japan. All universities must register with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan under “Standards for Establishment of Universities” and declare who is the establishing body of the university.

    Using data collected for the Times Higher Education Japan University Rankings, we’ve put together a list of the top 50 private universities in Japan. 

    Many of the top private universities in Japan can also be found in the top 100 of the overall Japan University Rankings. 

    The Japan University Rankings are calculated based on four broad “pillars” (resources, engagement, outcomes and environment) covering 16 performance indicators. They differ from the THE World University Rankings in that they are more focused on what institutions offer students rather than on research data. Click here to read the full methodology for the Japan rankings.

    Top five private universities in Japan

    Scroll down to view the universities in the top 50

    1. International Christian University

    The International Christian University is a non-denominational private university located in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan.

    It is considered to be the most prestigious liberal arts college in Japan. It has several international partners including the University of California system, University of British Columbia and many more. 

    Classes are held in both English and Japanese across 31 different undergraduate majors and seven different master’s programmes. 

    2. Waseda University

    Waseda University is organised into 36 departments that are then broken down into 13 undergraduate schools and 23 graduate schools. There are also 21 research institutes at the main Shinjuku campus. 

    In addition to a central campus in Shinjuku, the university has campuses in Chuo, Nishitokyo, Tokorozawa, Honjo, and Kitakyushu.

    A number of notable alumni have come from the university including seven prime ministers of Japan, author Haruki Murakami, CEO of Uniqlo Tadashi Yanai and CEO of Nintendo Shuntaro Furukawa. 

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    3. Keio University

    Keio University is a private university located in Minato, Tokyo. It is considered to be Japan’s oldest private university having been founded in 1858. 

    It has 11 campuses located across Tokyo and Kanagawa. It has ten faculties: letters, economics, law, business and commerce, medicine, science and technology, policy management, environment and information studies, nursing and medical care, and pharmacy.

    Some 14 of the degree programmes are taught in English. 

    4. Sophia University

    Sophia University was established in 1913 by the Jesuits, a Catholic order renowned for excellence in education. 

    The university was founded with just three academic departments (philosophy, German literature and commerce) and has since expanded to nine undergraduate faculties and 10 graduate schools. 

    Students can study business and economics, science and technology and environmental sciences in English. The university also has a long tradition in Japanese studies.  

    5. Pacific University (APU)

    Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University is a relatively young university having been established in 2000. It is part of the Ritsumeikan Trust. 

    It is located in Beppu, Oita on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan. 

    There are over 100 students organisations available, which cover sports, academic research, arts and social organisations (such as volunteering). Students are able to join the clubs that they are interested in, as well as start their own new ones. 

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    The best private universities in Japan: top 50

    Private University Rank 2020 Japan University Rank 2020 University  Prefecture
    1 11 International Christian University Tokyo
    2 13 Waseda University Tokyo
    3 14 Keio University Tokyo
    4 20 Sophia University Tokyo
    5 =21 Pacific University (APU) Oita
    6 33 Ritsumeikan University Kyoto
    7 34 Toyota Technological Institute Aichi
    8 35 Shibaura Institute of Technology Tokyo Tokyo
    9 =36 Kanda University of International Studies Chiba
    10 39 Tokyo University of Science Tokyo
    11 44 Tsuda University Tokyo
    =12 =45 Doshisha University Kyoto
    =12 =45 Kwansei Gakuin University Hyogo
    14 =47 Rikkyo University Tokyo
    15 =49 Gakushuin University Tokyo
    16 =53 Meiji University Tokyo
    17 60 Chuo University Tokyo
    =18 =62 Kansai Gaidai University Osaka
    =18 =62 St Luke’s International University Tokyo
    20 64 Toyo University Tokyo
    21 =65 Nanzan University Aichi
    22 68 Hosei University Tokyo
    =23 =72 Aoyama Gakuin University Tokyo
    =23 =72 Kansai University Osaka
    =25 =75 Kindai University Osaka
    =25 =75 Soka University Tokyo
    27 90 Nagoya University of Foreign Studies Aichi
    28 93 Juntendo University Tokyo
    29 =95 J. F. Oberlin University Tokyo
    30 97 Musashi University Tokyo
    =31 =100 Ryukoku University Kyoto
    =31 =100 Showa Women’s University Tokyo
    =33 101-110 Dokkyo University Saitama
    =33 101-110 Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) Ishikawa
    =33 101-110 Kitasato University Tokyo
    =33 101-110 Kyoto University of Foreign Studies Kyoto
    =33 101-110 Kyoto Sangyo University Kyoto
    =33 101-110 Seinan Gakuin University Fukuoka
    =33 101-110 Tokyo University of Agriculture Tokyo
    =40 111-120 Meiji Gakuin University Tokyo
    =40 111-120 Nagoya University of Commerce & Business Aichi
    =40 111-120 Seikei University Tokyo
    =43 121-130 Fukuoka Institute of Technology Fukuoka
    =43 121-130 Hyogo College of Medicine Hyogo
    =43 121-130 Japan Women’s University Tokyo
    =43 121-130 Jikei University School of Medicine Tokyo
    =43 121-130 Kogakuin University Tokyo
    =43 121-130 Konan University Hyogo
    =43 121-130 Nihon University Tokyo
    =50 131-40 Aichi Medical University Aichi
    =50 131-40 Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts Kyoto
    =50 131-40 Kyushu Sangyo University Fukuoka
    =50 131-40 Nippon Medical School Tokyo
    =50 131-40 Osaka Medical College Osaka 
    =50 131-40 Teikyo University Tokyo
    =50 131-40 Tokyo International University Saitama
    =50 131-40 Tokyo Woman's Christian University Tokyo

    See the full results of the Japan University Rankings


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