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Programs and Deadlines
About Penn Abroad
Hitotsubashi University (BHI)
Tokyo, Japan (Exchange Program) (Fall Spring Academic Year Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall,
Homepage: Click to visit
Budget Sheets Fall,
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
English, Japanese
Language Prerequisite:
6 or more semesters of college level language, See Program Description
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Credit Available For:
College, Huntsman, Wharton
Other Eligibility Requirements: Grades of B or better in Japanese
Type of Program:
Direct Enrollment, Exchange
Application Deadline:
Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: September 10
Program Description:
Photo Credit: Erika Yamasaki

Program Snapshot

(click on the links highlighted in blue below to learn more)
The Academic Program
  • Direct Enrollment through Hitotsubashi University
  • Spring Semester (only):  late-March to early-August
  • Academic Year: mid-September to early-August
  • Minimum 3.0 overall cumulative GPA
  • Priority to Wharton juniors and majors in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business
  • Language requirement: 6 semesters of college-level Japanese or equivalent with B grades, participants must be able to pass the Japanese language Proficiency Test level 2
  • Japanese citizens should consult with their Overseas Program Manager regarding eligibility for the exchange
  • Student dormitories
The City of Tokyo
  • Official language: Japanese
  • Tokyo is the seat of the Japanese government and the home of the Imperial Palace and Japanese Imperial Family.
  • The city of Tokyo began as a small fishing village named Edo and during the subsequent Edo period, Edo grew into one of the largest cities in the world with a population topping one million by the 18th century.
  • Population: 13.35 million
The Application Process
Financial Matters
Penn Resources

This program requires an advising session with a Program Manager prior to opening an application. To view the schedule for upcoming group advising sessions, or to schedule an individual appointment, select the ‘Schedule an Advising Appointment’ button on the Penn Abroad homepage.  


The Academic Program

Hitotsubashi University

Hitotsubashi University is a national educational institution under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The University was privately established in 1875, and at that time was known as the Institute for Business Training (Shôhô Kôhûjo). To meet the demands of the time, its specific purpose was to educate the businessmen who would later become the motivating force in the establishment of a modern Japanese society after the collapse of the feudal structures of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Since then, Hitotsubashi has developed in keeping with the economic and social progress of Japan, while also maintaining its spirit of practical learning, to become the country's foremost institution for education and research in the social sciences. It is currently the only university in Japan to specialize exclusively in the humanities and social sciences.

There are currently about 4,400 undergraduates at Hitotsubashi, of which nearly 200 are international students from 26 different countries. The academic organization of the University consists of the four undergraduate faculties of Commerce, Economics, Law, and Social Sciences; graduate schools in the same fields as the undergraduate faculties as well as the two additional programs of International Corporate Strategy and Language and Society; the Institute of Economic Research; and the Institute of Innovation Research. Hitotsubashi has long been recognized by the academic world and society as a whole to be one of the country's best universities, with an outstanding record of achievement and a talented academic staff to carry out the school's tradition of excellence.
The university is located in Kunitachi, a suburb of metropolitan Tokyo. The district has been designated by the Tokyo metropolitan government as a cultural and academic zone, where commercial activities related to entertainment (i.e. arcades, pachinko, and hostess clubs) are restricted. Hitotsubashi University, with its Romanesque buildings, is an ideal environment for higher learning. A second feature of the University is its seminar system, which Hitotsubashi was the first to adopt in this country. In view of Japan's current educational system, with its perhaps unavoidable emphasis on mass education, the fact that all Hitotsubashi students are required to participate in small-group seminars deserves special mention. The seminars help to support a high standard of study and research, and contribute notably to the creative and liberal character of this unique institution and to the strong sense of solidarity of its members.

Program Structure

There are three types of courses offered: a full year course with one lesson (90 minutes) per week for four credits; a semester course in the autumn or spring semester with two lessons per week for four credits; and a semester course in the autumn or spring with one lesson per week for two credits. The normal course load for undergraduate exchange students at Hitotsubashi University is 30 Hitotsubashi credits for the year.

At Hitotsubashi University, the year-long emphasis is placed on seminars. The seminars are not lectures, but rather focus on reading, student presentations, field work and discussions. In some seminars, students form their own sub-groups or they organize special workshops and outings to share their studies and concentrate on specific research with their supervisors and fellow students A list of actual course titles can be found online at Hitotsubash University's web syllabus site. Note that courses are conducted in Japanese with the exception of courses offered in Hitotsubashi University Global Education Program (HGP).

"Seminars" conducted in Japanese

Every April, degree-seeking students join a particular Seminar after being interviewed and getting accepted by seminar instructors. The Seminar system of instruction keeps class sizes small; participants number about a dozen per (each) grade cohort at most, and often less, thus preserving a traditional private-school style that both focuses on intense student-faculty interaction and provides rich course content. While this highly personalized approach to education immensely helps student learning, it is OPTIONAL for exchange students, as only a few exchange students typically get accepted into Seminars because they require a high level of Japanese language proficiency and specialized knowledge in the subject matter. Your Japanese language proficiency level as well as compatibility with a particular Seminar's subject matter should be carefully considered before indicating your interest for Seminar in the Exchange Student Application Form. Your participation is subject to permission by seminar instructors.


Academic evaluation is made on the basis of class attendance, exams and essays. Passing grades are A (100-80%), B (79-70%), C (69-60%), while D (59% or less) is a failing grade. These percentage grades will be converted to appropriate U.S. equivalent grades. As on all Penn-sponsored programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in to the grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy.

Learn More About Hitotsubashi University

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Hitotsubashi University has two dormitories for exchange students; International House on Kunitachi Campus and International Villageon Kodaira International Campus. Rooms in the two dormitories are assigned by a random lottery process. The University cannot take any preference requests from students. Students cannot choose which dormitory or room to be placed in. International House on Kunitachi campus opened in 1992 to accommodate international students and researchers. Those living in single rooms share shower rooms, kitchen and lounge area. There are Hitotsubashi students who live there as floor leaders. Each floor leader is in charge of a specific floor. In this 4-story building, there are 54 single rooms for international students. International Village opened in 2003 as a residence complex for the students of Hitotsubashi University (both Japanese and international students) and international students of Tokyo Gakugei University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and the University of Electro-Communications. There are 175 single rooms for international students of Hitotsubashi University.

A single room at International House has its own toilet/washroom. Facilities and equipment in the common area will be shared with residents on the same floor. At International Village, six single rooms form one suite. Each suite has a kitchen, a living room, shower rooms and washrooms to be shared among the students in the same suite. Please note that there is no storage for residents. Bringing a large amount of luggage should be avoided. Smoking is prohibited in both International House and International Village. A phone connected to the internal line is already placed in each room, and this can be used free of charge to make room to room phone calls within the dormitory. To use internet in the room, an individual contract with a private service provider must be made. Each resident is responsible for his/her own internet bill. It may take a few weeks to set up the internet service for your room.


Financial Matters

Students are charged Penn tuition and student fee (called study abroad fee the semester abroad) for all Penn programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, meals, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheet to determine other costs. 

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package.  

Penn Resources

Students who study abroad are encouraged to take advantage of Penn's many resources for students, even if you haven't used them before going abroad.  There is an extensive list of resources on the Penn Abroad website that can help you to explore issues that might pertain to you and to help you prepare for a term abroad. 

In addition to these resources, we encourage you to reach out to a past program participant or ambassador to learn more about the program from a student perspective.
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