The MIT-Japan Program empowers MIT students and faculty to advance knowledge and solve the world’s great challenges by connecting them with leading researchers, companies, and other partners in Japan. Founded in 1981 by Professor Richard Samuels, the MIT-Japan Program prepares MIT students to be global citizens by training and giving them a first-hand look at knowledge creation in Japan. The Program offers students opportunities to work and conduct research at leading Japanese universities, companies, and institutions. MIT students can also study abroad and earn transfer credit at University of Tokyo (Course 2, 3) and Tokyo Tech (Course 22) in Japan. The ULVAC-Hayashi Seed Fund facilitates dozens of research collaborations between MIT faculty and their Japanese counterparts.

Our approach to collaboration is grounded in delivering bi-directional value: contribute to the research, education, and innovation while providing opportunities for MIT students to gain fluency in navigating different cultural contexts.



Program Opportunities


MISTI’s award-winning international internship program provides a one-of-a-kind, world-class experience for MIT students: the opportunity to gain real-life work experience in leading companies and labs around the world. Best of all, all expenses are paid, including airfare.

MIT-Japan provides students with internships and research at leading companies, research labs and universities in Japan. Internships last from 10 weeks to 12 months and are fully-funded. This means that, if you are selected as a MIT-Japan Program intern, there are no program costs to participate!

  • Mandatory Pre-Departure Preparation
  • Minimum GPA of 4.0
  • Undergrads: Japanese IV (21G.504) or equivalent proficiency (for proficiency you must be tested by a Japanese teacher at MIT)

  • Graduate students: Japanese II (21G.502) or equivalent proficiency

  • One class on Japanese culture, history or society (see tab below for courses)


Undergraduates are highly encouraged to take 'The Rise of Asia' 17.53 offered during Spring 2020

Informational meetings are available year-round. Contact program manager to schedule an interview.


For summer internships:

  • Nov 1: Deadline to complete MISTI Launchpad Application for early placement.
  • Dec 1: Deadline to interview with MIT-Japan Managing Director and complete MIT-Japan Application by specifying up to 3 internship hosts of interest and submitting cover letters for each.
  • Dec – Feb: Internship hosts review interested students and interview select applicants.*
  • Feb 28: Most hosts send internship offers to students before the end of February.
  • Mar – early May: Mandatory training and preparation sessions.
  • Most internships take place in summer for 10-12 weeks, starting in early/mid-June and ending in mid/late-August.
*Some companies (like SONY, consulting firms and  financial institutions) have early offers so please complete Launchpad Application ASAP and schedule a meeting with MIT-Japan Managing Director.
Longer internships of 3-12 months with flexible start/end dates outside summer are also available. Contact MIT-Japan Managing Director at least 3 months before anticipated internship start date to apply.
How to Apply




International Relations of East Asia (UG) - Spring


International Relations of East Asia (G) - Spring

21G.064 meets with 21G.592

Introduction to Japanese Culture (UG) HASS-H, CI-H - Fall


Japanese Literature and Cinema - Fall


Digital Media in Japan and Korea - Spring


Cinema in Japan and Korea -Spring


Inventing the Samurai - Spring


World War II in Asia

17.486 (NOT offered during 2019-2020 academic year)

Japan and East Asian Security (G) - Fall

17.53 (Not offered during 2020-2021 academic year)

The Rise of Asia (UG) HASS-S

17.538 (NOT offered during 2019-2020 academic year)

Politics and Policy in Contemporary Japan (G) - Fall

21G.027/CMS.874 (NOT offered during 2020-2021 academic year

Visualizing Japan in the Modern World (UG) HASS-H, CI-H - Please contact department about enrollment

21G.039/21A.143/WGS.154 (Not offered during 2020-2021 year)

Gender and Japanese Popular Culture (UG) - Fall (will not be offered next year--2020-2021)

21G.063/21G.596 (NOT offered during 2019-2020 academic year)

Anime: Transnational Media and Culture (U) HASS-H - Spring

21G.095 (NOT offered during 2020-2021 academic year)

Cultures of Music in East Asia: Japan, Korea, China

21H.155 (NOT offered during 2019-2020 academic year)

Modern Japan: 1600 to Present (UG) HASS-H - Spring

Study Abroad at the University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo is the top Japanese university. It produces socially impactful research to find solutions for the world’s most pressing issues and has the top scholars in their faculty. MIT has formal exchange program agreements with Course 2 and 3 departments. 

Tokyo Institute of Technology, affectionately know at Tokyo Tech is one of the best universities in Japan. MIT has a special relationship with their Nuclear Engineering department. 

  • Study Abroad Application
  • Interview
  • Minimum GPA of 4.5
  • Mandatory Pre-departure Preparation


  1. Apply for MIT exchange for the term you wish to study. Go to the MISTI Portal, find your program, and apply before the deadline.
  2. MISTI will be in touch regarding an interview with the applicable MISTI Program Manager and major department.

Direct Enroll:

  1. Apply directly to the host university/program provider by their program deadline. (Their deadline may be earlier than the MISTI deadline.) 
  2. Apply to MISTI for MIT approval to study abroad before the deadline for the term you wish to study. Go to the MISTI Portal, find your program or use the Direct Enroll General Application to apply.
  3. MISTI will be in touch regarding an interview with the applicable Program Manager.

How to Apply

Financial Aid:

Financial aid can be used to study abroad during academic terms. Awards will be adjusted based on expenses such as airfare, living expenses, and local tuition costs. Students should meet with their financial aid counselor and a MISTI Program Manager at least one term before they go abroad to start planning how aid will be affected. MISTI and Student Financial Services will work together to gather and verify cost information . Based on this information, financial aid counselors will advise students on their adjusted financial aid packages and process any refunds accordingly.


Click here to learn more about external study abroad scholarships.

We are currently considering if it is possible to travel to Japan during IAP

COVID policy update for Japan:

Japan is currently considered a Level 3 (High Level of COVID-19 in Japan) country by the US State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who are traveling to Japan are required to quarantine for 10-days if you are vaccinated. However, Japan is not allowing any non-Japanese citizens and non-residents to enter Japan.

We are monitoring the situation to see if we can travel to Japan in January 2022. Although we cannot travel at this time, we are proceeding with the application process for the IDJ2022 and the MIT-Japan Program @MISTI's limited scholarship opportunity for IDJ2022.

Please note the MISTI IDJ funding / scholarship will give preference to those who are studying Japanese language or cultural courses and/or have plans to include Japan in their career trajectory.

When asking for a letter of recommendation, please:

1. Fill the front side of this form and give this form to your recommender; 2. give your recommender at least two-weeks advance notice for you to write a letter/fill this form out (this is common etiquette); and 3. inform the recommender why you are applying for the IDJ/MISTI-Japan funding including your motivation of going to and interest in Japan.


Please note that IDJ2022 may become a virtual program.

Start your application here.


Please click here for details about MIT Travel Policy

Global Seed Funds for MIT-Japan

MISTI's Global Seed Funds program supports MIT's global engagement by promoting collaborations between MIT faculty and researchers and their counterparts in Japan.

Joe's and Ulvac 2016
Winslow Tohoku group photo sHayashi eed

ULVAC-Hayashi MISTI Seed Fund

Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Chikara Hayashi and the ULVAC Inc., the Hayashi-ULVAC MISTI Seed Fund supports MIT's global engagement by promoting new collaborations between MIT faculty and researchers and their counterparts in Japan.

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Watch MIT-Japan in action


Take a 60-second journey of exploration to Japan with Qiaochu Li, PhD '17 Course 3


Take a different journey with Mina Bloom, '17 Course 3 to her internship at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Meet Your Program Manager

Christine Pilcavage headshot

Get in touch with Chris Pilcavage, Managing Director for MIT-Japan, to get your questions answered.