Saint Joseph's University has a direct exchange with Sophia University, our fellow Jesuit institution in Tokyo. Tokyo provides an amazing backdrop for a yearlong or spring semester study opportunity. Students from SJU are considered exchange students at Sophia and will be eligible to enroll in the program of study in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and, on a space available basis, in other Sophia faculties for which they are linguistically and academically qualified.
The Faculty of Liberal Arts at Sophia is distinguished from other universities in Japan and other faculties within Sophia by several notable characteristics. The student body as well as teaching staff is international in character. It includes graduates of ordinary Japanese high schools, foreign students who have been educated in high schools and universities overseas, Japanese students returning from abroad, exchange students from overseas, and dependents of foreign families resident in Japan. The aim is for all students to acquire a bilingual capacity in both English and Japanese.
Sophia's main campus, at Yotsuya, is an urban campus, consisting of roughly 25 large, modern buildings in the center of Tokyo. The majority of Sophia's 10,000 undergraduate students spend nearly all of their time here, as do the main library, cafeteria, gymnasium, chapel, bookstore, and offices. Chiyoda is located at the very heart of former Tokyo City in eastern mainland Tokyo. The central area of the ward is furthermore occupied by the Imperial Palace. The east side of the ward, bordering Chuo, is the location of Tokyo Station.
SJU students are admitted to Sophia University as Visiting Students. Visiting Students are admitted for a period of one semester (spring only) or one full, academic year. Please keep in mind that a Visiting Student is not being admitted to a program leading to a degree, diploma or any other award from Sophia. The normal course load for Visiting Students is four courses per semester, making it part of the SJU Four Course Policy (see below).
All courses except language classes are conducted in English. At the same time, intensive training in the Japanese language is offered for students whose native language is not Japanese, and classes in reading and writing in Japanese provide special training for native speakers who have been educated abroad or in a non-Japanese speaking environment. Fields of study offered by the Faculty of Liberal Arts include: Anthropology, Art and Art History, Business, Computer Science, Economics, History, Japanese and Japanese Studies, Linguistics, Literature, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology. Course listings and descriptions can be found on their website,
and the list of pre-approved courses for SJU students can be viewed by clicking "Pre-Approved Courses" at the top of this page.
SJU Four Course Policy
It is understood that Saint Joseph's students who participate on the Sophia University study abroad program will only take four, 4-credit courses that will transfer back to Saint Joseph's as three credits each. Due to the fact that this may impact a student’s graduation course requirements, Saint Joseph's University will waive one free elective for the student upon their return, provided they meet the following conditions:
- The student must have one free elective remaining over and above the ones taken with the study abroad program.
- The student will still have at least 120 credits at time of graduation.
- The student MUST remain enrolled as a full-time student according to the study abroad program’s requirements.
- The student is obliged to successfully complete all coursework on the study abroad program and pass each of the four courses taken abroad.
Students participating on this program will be required to sign a Four Course Policy Form at the time of application. If you do not have a free elective available to waive, please contact the CIP to discuss your options.
Students are encouraged to get involved in the campus life by joining student clubs and organizations. For more information about student clubs and organizations, please visit the website here.
Housing and Meals
There is no "on-campus" housing at Sophia University. Instead, they will assist exchange students with housing arrangements in off-campus dormitories or apartment-style facilities. For more details about the housing options, please visit this website.
Since the Sophia campus is located in the heart of Tokyo, the cost of living near campus is very high. As reasonable housing is located in the suburbs, exchange students should expect a 30-90 minute commuting time to campus. The train and subway systems in Tokyo are well-developed, but during the morning rush hours, the trains are very crowded.
Students should consult the Budget Sheets at the top of this page for estimated program costs. For the most up-to-date cost information, please Sophia's website. In addition, before choosing to study abroad in another country for anywhere from three to six months, you should consider the exchange rate of your host country as well as the cost of living in the city where you will be.
The academic calendar at Sophia University is quite different from that at SJU. For the Fall semester, students are expected to arrive in mid-September and stay through early February when exams end. The Spring semester typically begins at the beginning of April and continues to the end of July/early August. Due to the fact that Sophia's fall semester overlaps with the spring semester at Saint Joseph's, students can only choose to attend Sophia for the spring semester or a full academic year. Please note that it is not possible to ask for early scheduling of exams to return home before the semester officially ends.
JASSO Scholarship for Study in Japan
Center for International Programs Study Abroad Grant
Please apply for this program before applying for the CIP Study Abroad Grant (due October 15th or March 15th). Use the 'Featured Program' Search to apply to this grant.
SJU Department of Asian Studies
A limited number of scholarships are available to Asian Studies majors and minors for study in Asia. If you are an Asian Studies major or minor and would like to apply for a scholarship to cover a portion of the costs of your program, you can download an application here.
JASSO offers scholarship for qualified international students who are accepted by a Japanese university, graduate school, junior college, college of technology under a student exchange agreement or other student exchange arrangement on a short-term basis from eight days to one year between Japanese school and their home higher educational institution outside Japan. You must be accepted by Sophia University before applying for JASSO. For more information, please visit their website
Things to Remember Before Applying
- You must meet with a CIP advisor before beginning your application.
- Per the Semester Abroad Policy, a limited number of completed applications will be approved on a first come, first serve basis.
- This program requires a separate paper application, which will be provided to you through the CIP's on-line application.
- If approved by the CIP, you will be required to submit a $300 Confirmation Deposit WITHIN 10 DAYS of receiving your approval notice.