MEXT Scholarship Recommendation Criteria for 2023/2024 Embassy MEXT Fellowship

MEXT Scholarship Recommendation Criteria for 2023/2024 Embassy MEXT Fellowship Do you meet the requirements for the MEXT Scholarship recommended by the Embassy for 2023–2024?

For further information on how to apply for the MEXT Scholarship, go here.

Are you eligible to apply for the Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Scholarship offered by the Japanese Government?

The application requirements for the 2024 Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship (apply in 2023; scholarship begins in 2024) have just been made public by MEXT as of the time of this writing.

 Everything you need to know about those requirements is covered in this article.

MEXT Scholarship Recommendation Criteria for 2023/2024 Embassy MEXT Fellowship


For the Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship, please see the prerequisites listed below.MEXT Scholarship Recommendation Criteria for 2023/2024 Embassy MEXT Fellowship There are variances between the eligibility standards for University and Embassy Recommendation, as I go into depth in my book, How to Apply for the MEXT Scholarship. 

Regarding the prerequisites for the University Recommendation MEXT Scholarship, I have written another article.

The MEXT Scholarship for Research (Graduate) Students has similar eligibility conditions.

 The prerequisites listed below for undergraduates are not covered by me. I suggest reading the official application guidelines if you're interested in learning more about the MEXT Scholarship for undergraduate students.


The criteria outlined by MEXT are what I'll be describing as eligibility requirements below. 

However, the colleges may also have tougher eligibility requirements when you apply for Letters of Acceptance

* after clearing the initial screening. You must fulfil both sets of requirements if the university to which you are applying stipulates requirements that are higher or different from those I list below. 

Try not to make the university believe that MEXT's criteria are lower. That won't operate!

*The piece that is linked above is from the application cycle from last year, but I will update it as soon as I can.

There may be additional restrictions that are specific to your nation. 

For instance, there can be restrictions on what disciplines of study are allowed, a GPA requirement set down in your nation's GPA system, or other regulations. 

Verify the application requirements on the website of the Japanese Embassy in your nation!


At the time of application, you must have a minimum 2.3 / 3.0 GPA on the MEXT scale for the entirety of your most recent degree, taking into account all grades listed on your record.

I have a full article entirely devoted to explaining how to calculate your GPA if you're interested in learning more.

This condition is not mentioned in the MEXT or the embassies' (or universities') official application requirements.

 MEXT is required to deploy representatives to institutions and embassies to request candidate nominations.

However, to be quite honest, you will have a tough time winning this coveted scholarship if your converted GPA is even remotely close to that minimum requirement.


You must not be a Japanese national, including through dual citizenship, and you must be a citizen of a nation having established diplomatic ties to Japan (i.e., not Taiwan or North Korea). 

If you are a dual national and currently hold Japanese nationality, you must renounce it before travelling to Japan.

You can disregard the comments about dual nationality throughout the application criteria if you have dual nationality (or more) but Japanese nationality is not one of them. For this application, you will choose one of your nations.

You must submit an application for the scholarship through the Japanese embassy in the nation where you were born, and you must attend some application-related events in person at the embassy. 

If you have more than one nationality, you must select the nation that is your principal nationality (usually the nation in which you currently reside).


Applicants for the 2023/2024 scholarship must have been born on or after June 9, 1989 as of the application deadline.


Only if MEXT has determined that you could not apply during the ages when you would have been eligible due to a circumstance in your country outside of your control, such as mandatory military service or the complete suspension of higher education due to war, etc., will the aforementioned date of birth requirement be waived.

Although I have never heard of a country being eligible for this exception, if you do, please let me know in the comments section!

MEXT won't make an exemption based on your personal circumstances, like your employment, family, health, etc.

Academic history

Depending on the level of degree you are applying for, you must fulfil the requirements below to be eligible for the Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship. However, you must be able to demonstrate that you will satisfy them prior to beginning your studies in Japan.

 You do not need to meet the requirements at the time of application.


has successfully completed a 16-year educational programme outside of Japan.

obtained a degree equating to a bachelor's degree after completing an undergraduate programme with a typical study length of at least three years at a university outside of Japan.

Not satisfy either of the aforementioned conditions but be qualified to pursue a master's degree in a Japanese graduate institution.

The presumption for criteria 1 is that you must finish 16 years of education in Japan, beginning in elementary school, to obtain a bachelor's degree.

 (However, you wouldn't qualify if you finished 16 years of study but didn't receive a bachelor's degree because the system in your country required additional years, you repeated a year, etc. See criteria 2 for nations where a bachelor's degree can be earned with less than 16 years of formal schooling.

The term "standard study period" in the second requirement above refers to the duration of study that the university recommends. You would not be ineligible if you graduated early due to high talent and credit loading.

 For instance, finishing a 3-year programme in 2.5 years still counts as finishing a 3-year programme. (If this pertains to you, you'll know!)


The list of requirements that practically all PhD degrees must meet is as follows:The following list includes specific requirements for doctoral degrees in the colleges of medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, and several branches of pharmacy.

a Master's or Professional Degree or its equivalent was obtained from a university outside of Japan.

Obtain a bachelor's degree, have at least two years of post-bachelor research experience at a university or research facility, and be deemed by a Japanese graduate school to possess academic proficiency equivalent to that of a master's degree holder.

Not satisfy one of the aforementioned standards yet still be qualified to pursue a doctorate in a Japanese graduate institution.

DOctorate (medical, dental, veterinary, and specific pharmaceutical fields)

completed an 18-year educational course of study outside of Japan.

obtained a degree equating to a bachelor's degree by finishing a course of study with a typical study length of at least five years outside of Japan.

completed a 16-year educational programme outside of Japan, gained at least two years of research experience at a university or research centre after earning that degree, and been deemed by a Japanese graduate school to possess academic proficiency comparable to that of university graduates in the fields of medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, or certain pharmaceutical fields.

Be qualified for a doctoral degree in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, or pharmaceutical science at a Japanese graduate school but not meet any of the prerequisites listed above.

In addition to the qualifications listed above, you must evaluate and fulfil all admissions requirements for the particular program(s) you intend to enrol in. 

For instance, it's possible that the colleges in Japan may need that your previous degree be in the same subject as the one you're applying to (such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, or pharmaceutical science).


Do you require assistance with your Field of Study and Research Programme Plan? 

To offer you the best chance of success, How to Write a Scholarship-Winning Field of Study and Research Programme Plan will guide you through selecting a field, creating a research topic, and writing the final report!

You must submit your application in the same or a relevant field to the one you previously studied at the university.

 Your topic of study must be offered by the university you are applying to and taught there in an English or Japanese that you are proficient in.

I've written a different essay (as well as a book) about where to look for English-taught degree programmes in Japan. 

The book goes into great detail about how to choose the ideal professor to serve as your academic advisor as well as how to get in touch with them.

Here is a recap of what I have said about what constitutes a "related field of study" in previous posts and in my book, How to Apply for the MEXT Scholarship:

A research area that belongs to the same discipline as your prior major is referred to as a "related field". 

Your prior and present fields are connected if they could both be majors in the same faculty or if one is a subset of the other. Political science and international relations, for instance, have a clear connection. 

The same may be said of mechanical engineering and robotics, as well as media studies and communication. Any of the linked fields are eligible if you come from a multidisciplinary field like area studies.

The only thing that matters is whether the course requirements for the degree programme are linked, so don't worry about the precise name of the major or graduate programme.

If there isn't a clear connection between your disciplines, you must build and verify it in your Field of Study and Research Programme plan by demonstrating how research in your previous field helped you naturally move to the one you are studying now. 

For instance, you might be effective if you can demonstrate that you are looking into the same topic from a new angle.

 That strategy has frequently been successful for candidates who wish to pursue a business degree in Japan after earning a degree in a different subject during their prior study.

 It can be argued that they are connected if they can demonstrate their desire to investigate company development chances in their prior subject of study.


The disciplines of study you can apply for may be restricted by MEXT, with the consent of the local government in each nation. To see if this pertains to you, please visit the website of the Japanese Embassy in your nation.


Traditional Japanese performance arts, such as Kabuki and Japanese Dance, which need studio training, are not permitted to be studied under the MEXT Scholarship. You may research kabuki, for example, from the standpoint of literature or history, but you wouldn't be a part of a training programme for actors.

In a similar vein, programmes requiring technical training at companies, etc., are not covered by the scholarship.


Clinical training is frequently required for medical, dental, and social welfare degrees, however students cannot participate in such training until they have obtained the necessary licences from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare.

 Any degree that needs clinical training will be practically impossible unless you are already extremely skilled in Japanese because these licences must, of course, be earned through testing in that language.


MEXT has no stated minimum language requirements, presuming that you aim to enrol in a degree programme that is taught in English, but does ask that candidates have a strong interest in devoting themselves to studying the Japanese language and expanding their understanding of Japan. You must also meet MEXT's language proficiency requirements if you want to finish your research and get by in Japan.

There are no minimal standards for language proficiency in either English or Japanese, and you are not required* to present documentation of your language skills at the Primary Screening. 

Nevertheless, language proficiency will still be a significant factor in the screening. You will take Japanese and English language exams at the embassy as part of the Primary Screening, and the results will be used to evaluate you. (The official Study in Japan website for learning has archives of assessments.)

*Note: During the COVID-19 Pandemic, some embassies suspended in-person written tests and demanded that candidates provide evidence of their language proficiency in the form of test results, such as those from the TOEFL or JLTP. Make sure to research the requirements for your year in your nation.

When you apply to institutions for a Letter of Provisional Acceptance after passing the Primary Screening, this is the second occasion when language proficiency test results are significant. 

You might need to submit your results from a language competence test to the universities.This is especially true for Japanese-language courses!I advise you to visit the websites of the programmes you intend to apply to beforehand.

It would be safe to infer that if you do not have at least N2-level Japanese language proficiency at the time of application, you cannot apply for a programme that is taught in Japanese. 

You need to have at least B2 level English proficiency on the CEFR scale in order to apply for a programme that is taught in English.


The scores that MEXT found to be equal to the CEFR B2 are listed below:

Minimum score of 160 for Cambridge English (Preliminary, First, Advanced, Proficiency)

  • (Jun-1 kyu, 1 kyu) Eiken: Any passing grade

  • 1190 or more on the GTEC (Advanced, CBT)

  • 5.5 or better on the IELTS

  • 309 or more on the TEAP

  • At least 600 on the TEAP CBT

  • 72 or higher on the TOEFL iBT

  • 1560 TOEIC L&R/TOEIC S&W

The aforementioned N2/B2 recommendations are not recognised minimum standards. Depending on the programme you want to apply to, the criteria could be greater or lower.


To study in Japan, you must be in good physical and mental health, as certified by a physician on your medical certificate.

As long as your doctor certifies that you are still qualified to study in Japan, a pre-existing medical condition will not disqualify you. You should be alright if you can control your condition on your own or with the ongoing assistance of a Japanese physician. (If you require ongoing treatment, though, it may restrict your options for universities in Japan because you'll need to be close to a doctor who can provide you with English-language care.)


You will indicate on the application form whether you wish to arrive in Japan in June 2024 or in the September/October term. It should be noted that this is the time that you will arrive in Japan, not necessarily the beginning of your studies or degree at your university (you may spend the first semester in an intense language programme). Your choice of arrival month cannot be changed after you've made it.

  • Arrival in June: You must depart your home country no later than June 9, 2024, and you must arrive at your university in Japan between June1 and 7, 2024.

  • Arrival Dates in September or October: You must be able to come on the days that your accepting university specifies, which should fall within a 2-week window surrounding the beginning of the Fall 2024 semester there.

Unless MEXT deems that your failure to arrive was due to unforeseen circumstances, you would have to resign from the scholarship if you did not arrive on specified days.


In theory, you must apply for and receive a "Student" visa from the Japanese embassy in the nation where you are a citizen, then enter Japan using that visa. 

If you already have a residence status other than "Student" in Japan, you may be permitted to convert to that status without departing the country. If so, you must switch your status to "Student" no later than the last day of the month before the month you start getting paid.

There is an additional warning in the Japanese version of the guidelines that says it's possible you won't be allowed to change your status back to "Permanent Resident," "Long-term Resident," etc. after the scholarship is over if you currently live in Japan with a residence status of "Permanent Resident" or "Long-term Resident," etc.

Make sure to adhere to the instructions for getting a visa at the Japanese diplomatic mission in your country of nationality because the Japanese government also mandates pre-arrival tuberculosis screening for select nations.

The "Disqualification Criteria" section below discusses what would cause you to forfeit the scholarship if you changed your resident status before finishing your studies or receiving the grant.


The following qualifications must be met in order to be eligible to apply for the scholarship. Any scholar who is discovered to meet one of these requirements while enrolled in classes will be required to immediately resign from the scholarship.

At the time of arrival in Japan or at any time during the scholarship award period, the applicant must be an active duty military member or a civilian employed by the military.

not being able to go to Japan by the date set by MEXT or the accepted university.

Previous MEXT Scholarship recipients (including those who discontinued the scholarship in the past after formally enrolling in a Japanese institution).

However, candidates with more than three years of educational or professional experience between the month after the final stipend payment from their prior scholarship award and the start of the new grant are eligible to apply.

Previous winners of the Japan-Korea Joint Government Scholarship Programme for Students in Science and Engineering Departments, the Young Leaders' Programme scholarship, and previous winners of the MEXT Scholarship for Japanese Studies who returned to their home universities and graduated after receiving those scholarships (including those anticipated to graduate before the start of the new scholarship) are all eligible to apply, even if they do not have three years of experience.

Applicants who have previously received a MEXT Honours Scholarship for International Students with Private Funding are not disqualified.

It should be noted that you would not be eligible if you previously received a MEXT scholarship and more than three years have gone since your last grant, but you were not employed or enrolled in school for at least three full years during that time.

applicants who are concurrently submitting an application for any other Japanese Government (MEXT) scholarship, including those who submitted an application for a scholarship that will start in Fiscal Year 2023 (June 2023–July 2024) but have not yet received official results, as well as those who are submitting an application for another programme that will start paying in Fiscal Year 2024.

As a result, applicants who successfully completed the Primary Screening for the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship or the University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship in 2023 and are awaiting the final confirmation of results from MEXT are not eligible to apply this year. You cannot even submit an application as insurance in the event that yours is ultimately denied.

applicants who, at the time of application, are enrolled as privately funded students with the residence status of "Student" at a Japanese university or any other institution (including Japanese language schools in Japan), or who will enrol in one before the start of the scholarship award period. However, applicants who can demonstrate that they will unquestionably finish their studies, return to their home countries, and secure a new student visa before returning to Japan as privately funded students and who are currently enrolled in (or who will enrol in) a Japanese university or institution are eligible.

In essence, this stipulation states that you are not permitted to be enrolled in a Japanese university, language programme, etc. with the intention of leaving after receiving the MEXT Scholarship.

 Students who are enrolled in Japanese universities (or language programmes) and who will graduate before the scholarship's commencement date are exempt from this rule. A Certificate of Expected Graduation, etc., would need to reflect this.

applicants who anticipate receiving additional scholarship funding during the MEXT scholarship award period from a source other than MEXT, such as a government organisation from the applicant's home country.

*Please take note that this only applies to scholarships that cover the same expenses as the MEXT scholarship, such as travel, living, or educational costs. It does not apply to particular research awards, etc.

applicants who, at the time of application, have not completed their qualifying degree and who do not complete it before the deadline.

You can still apply if you haven't graduated, but you'll need to present a "Certificate of Expected Graduation" rather as a diploma. To demonstrate that you finished as planned, you will also need to submit your final Certificate of Graduation before beginning your studies in Japan. You would forfeit the scholarship if you failed to graduate as scheduled.

applicants who, at the time of application, hold more than one nationality, including Japanese citizenship, and who are unable to demonstrate that they gave up their Japanese citizenship before arriving in Japan (and before formally enrolling as a student at the Japanese university).

You are still qualified even if you hold numerous nationalities as long as none of them are Japanese. To you, this requirement does not apply.

applicants who, after arriving in Japan during the time of the scholarship award, alter their residency status to one other than "Student" are not eligible.

applicants who, at the time of application, planned to complete fieldwork or an internship outside of Japan or take a protracted study break.

The term "long period of time" is not defined, but I would read it to indicate any time frame longer than one month or that interferes with a semester's worth of coursework. 

MEXT Scholars must sign in at their universities once per month to verify that they still maintain the "Student" residence status. You forfeit your stipend for the month in question if you don't sign in on time; if you miss three consecutive months, you forfeit the scholarship outright. During vacation times, it can be able to conduct short-term fieldwork abroad.

applicants who do not wish to study in Japan for a degree.

This means that you must specify in your application that you want to pursue a degree because it is not possible to apply simply as a "Non-Degree Student."

applicants who were discovered to have cheated or attempted to cheat during the Primary screening's written examination.

According to item 4 above, candidates for the University- or Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship for 2023 who have not yet received the final confirmation from MEXT are ineligible to apply for the University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship for 2023. However, you may apply if you applied through one of those channels and were already informed that it was declined. Only applicants who have not yet submitted their applications are ineligible. 

There is no need to apply in that situation because, practically speaking, applicants who have not yet received news of rejection should be awarded the scholarship without fail.

Willingness to engage in cross-cultural dialogue

You must be eager to actively participate in interactions with local schools and communities while you are studying in Japan if you want to help improve ties between your home country and Japan. You must stay in touch with your university after graduating, participate in follow-up research projects, and get involved in initiatives run by the Japanese diplomatic mission in your country to foster relationships with Japan once you've returned home.

Although this cannot be measured, it would improve your application if you indicated during the application process that you would be eager to participate in such events.


You will lose eligibility, be disqualified from the scholarship, or lose the scholarship in progress (including losing your funded travel back to your home country) if any of the following are discovered during your application or during your scholarship award period. 

It is possible to request repayment of all or a portion of the scholarship awarded to students who have already begun receiving it. MEXT reserves the right to stop paying your stipend if any of the elements listed below are in doubt.

  • It has been established that United States you provided in your application was fake.
  • You break any provision of your oath before the minister of science, technology, culture, and education.
  • If you break a Japanese law, you will receive a punishment and time in prison that is either endless or more than a year.
  • You will be disciplined in accordance with the rules of your Japanese university or preparatory education institution, and you could be expelled, suspended, given a warning, or anything similar.
  • It has been established that your subpar academic performance, suspension, or absence from the university or preparatory educational institution will make it impossible for you to finish the course within the allotted time.
  • You arrive in Japan without already having "Student" as your primary residence status, or you switch to another status after you are there.
  • You are given a second scholarship (not one that is intended for use on research expenses).
  • You continue your education at a higher level without having your request for a scholarship extension approved.

The only one of the aforementioned requirements that most applicants genuinely run the danger of not meeting is number 5. In essence, you would be unable to continue your education if you were to fail a class and, as a result, not be able to complete the necessary credits in time to graduate. You would forfeit the scholarship and your return flight as soon as it was discovered that you couldn't complete your studies in time. However, all of these circumstances can be avoided with ease.


The "articles of your pledge to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology" are mentioned in item 2 above. The 2024 version of the Pledge Form, which you must sign after you arrive in Japan, is not yet accessible, but you may find the 2023 version on MEXT's website.

In the twelve years that I have worked with the scholarship, this paper has not undergone material alteration, and I do not anticipate it changing in the near future. The following is a list of the things you must pledge:

should adhere to the guidelines established by the college or enrolling institution and focus on your studies and research in order to fulfil the Scholarship's objectives.

It is obvious and understandable to follow the restrictions established by the university, but "devote yourself to your study and research" also indicates that you should refrain from participating in any other activities, such as part-time employment.

It may seem apparent, but I really witnessed a MEXT Scholar at my former university lose his scholarship after being caught shoplifting and fabricating records of tutoring hours he provided for the school in order to receive further compensation.

not to harm the reputation of the MEXT Scholarship programme.

The Japanese statement really goes a step further and promises that you won't do anything to undermine Japanese colleges' acceptance of international students.

should agree to take financial responsibility for any costs that are incurred that are not covered by the MEXT Scholarship.

to agree to settle any debts you might amass while visiting Japan.

not to be awarded any additional scholarships (apart from those that are designated as being used for research expenses).

to confirm that the scholarship grants are valid for the time frame specified in the notice of selection.

By checking this box, you confirm that you are aware that the scholarship time cannot be extended or amended. (It is possible to request an extension at a later time, for as when transitioning from the status of a research student to a degree programme or from a Master's to a PhD, but it would require a separate scholarship award for that programme.)

To agree that the MEXT Scholarship recipient's personal data (name, gender, date of birth, nationality, accepted university/graduate school/undergraduate school, field of study, length of enrolment, intended career after completion of scholarship, and contact details [address, phone number, e-mail address]) may be shared with other relevant government organisations for the use of overseas students programmes run by the Japanese government.

Additionally, to acknowledge that information about the recipient other than their date of birth and contact details might be published in materials created by the Japanese government as publicity data for promoting the admission of international students in order to highlight the activities of recipients in other nations after their study in Japan.


The initial eligibility criteria for 2024 are listed below in both English and Japanese in the application procedures on the Study in Japan website.Also read more scholarship


My book, How to Apply for the MEXT Scholarship, goes into great detail on the scholarship, including the qualifying requirements, goal, and coverage, as well as how to cultivate a successful applicant mindset and create your application plan for the best chance of success!


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