Global Education

Japan - Yokohama National University 

Yokohama National University, situated in the center of Japan's second largest city, is one of the foremost institutions of higher education in Japan. It is located on a hilltop and is only 4 kilometers from Yokohama Station, the city's transportation hub. While its history can be traced back to 1874 with the founding of the Kanagawa Normal School, YNU took its present name in 1949 when four different colleges merged to form the university. YNU has approximately 10,700 undergraduate and graduate students. Bachelor's degrees are offered in four faculties: Education and Human Sciences, Economics, Business Administration, and Engineering Science. Master's programs are available in Education, Engineering, Environment and Information Sciences, Social Sciences, and Urban Innovation. YNU also offers doctoral degrees in a few select fields.

The study abroad program is with the JOY (Junior Year Overseas at YNU) Program, an undergraduate program offered by YNU’s International Student Center.  JOY students take courses taught in English by top YNU faculty spanning the fields of humanities, social sciences, and engineering as related to Japan in addition to taking Japanese language courses. Participants with sufficient Japanese language proficiency also can take courses taught in Japanese.

The city of Yokohama has been a port since 1858 and a city since 1889. It has an interesting combination of old and modern architecture and has a vibrant international community. Yokohama is convenient to Tokyo, the ancient capital of Kamakura, and the hot springs of Hakone.


The JOY program is designed for undergraduate students interested in studying for between six months and a year at this prestigious national university. It offers courses taught in English for students who wish to learn more about the Japanese society, culture, business, and environment, and advances in technology and science of Japan while working on their Japanese language skills. Japanese language courses are offered from beginning to advanced levels. To allow for as much contact as possible with students from Japan, JOY courses offered in English also are made available to regular students of YNU.

Most courses offered through the JOY program are two credits each and in the past have included courses such as:

Advanced Lecture Series on Japanese Corporations, An Introduction to the Arabic Language and Culture, Aspects of Japanese Culture, Developmental Psycholinguistics, Environmental Accounting in Japan, Foundations of Genrative Grammar, History of US-Japan Relations, Homelessness, How to Teach Japanese in English, Intercultural Communication in the Japanese Context, Introduction to Second Language Acquisition, Japan during the American Occupation, Japan in the World I, Japan in the World II, Japan’s Issues and Media Reports, Japanese Automobile Technology, Japanese Management, Japanese Popular Culture, Japanese Production Management, Japanese Society and Culture; Languages of Japan, Macroengineering and Architecture, Multilingual Communication I, Multilingual Communication II, Music of Japan and the World, Primary School ESL I, Primary School ESL II, Recent Advances in Materials Science and Technology (1), Road Map to a Bilingual and World Legal Systems

All JOY students are required to complete a group research project (2 credits) each semester in the seminar “Japan in the World” as part of their academic program. The project begins with the project proposal that prospective JOY students submit as part of their application and culminates in the final paper and presentation session at the end of the semester. The topic relates to Japan, broadly defined, and includes an international perspective, most commonly relating to the student’s native country. Students are placed into groups according to their research interests. Our students should obtain approval in advance from the appropriate department at this university for their project topics.

Classes in the JOY program, other than language instruction courses, usually meet once a week for a 90-minute period (though some classes may require students to attend additional sessions for field trips, etc.). There are four periods a day, with classes offered every day from Monday through Friday.

Participants in the program who have sufficient language skills also can attend regular classes in their discipline offered in Japanese. Yokohama National University offers the following fields of study: business administration, economics, education and human sciences, and engineering science (electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and materials science, and computer science).  More information on these fields of study can be found under Undergraduate Studies on the Yokohama National University home page.


All participants are required to be full-time while studying in Japan and, thus, take the equivalent of 15 units during each semester of participation.

Applicants should have upper division standing with a declared major at this university by the end of the semester prior to departure, good academic records, a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 at the time of application, one semester of college-level Japanese or the equivalent and one Asian culture-related course by the end of the semester prior to departure. In most cases, the lower division course requirements of the field to be studied in Yokohama (with the exception of Japanese language) must have been completed by the end of the semester prior to departure. All applicants should check to ensure that they are on track for meeting the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). The applicant also should be prepared to accept the challenge of study in a country with an educational system different from our own.


The academic year at YNU is divided into two semesters: fall semester, which starts around October 1 and ends in late February, and spring semester, which starts around April 1 and ends in mid-August.

Please note that due to the late February end date of the fall semester in Japan, students who participate in the YNU program during the fall semester only will not return to Sacramento in time to participate in the spring semester at this university.


Students accepted to the program will pay the usual California State University, Sacramento fees, remain eligible for financial aid (except work/study), if otherwise qualified, and receive resident credit just as if they were attending classes at this university. (Please note that equivalency of courses falls under the jurisdiction of the academic department.) YNU has agreed to waive non-resident tuition, making this a particularly attractive opportunity for participants. Students will pay for their travel to and from Japan, room and board, books and incidentals. In addition, each student must have the required insurance during his or her stay in Japan.

Expenses for a semester (6 months) in Japan are estimated at the following: usual undergraduate fees - $3,314, airfare - $1,250, insurance - $455, room (single in dorms) - $1,150, meals (students cook own food in dorms) - $3,500, incidentals (including settling in expenses, local transportation, books, clothing, entertainment) - $3,095.  Total $12,764.  The estimated expenses for an academic year are about $24,141. This estimate is given for planning purposes only and is subject to changes from currency fluctuation, inflation, and fee changes. Keep in mind that students are responsible for obtaining their own passports and student visas. The costs to obtain these are not included in this estimate.


Campus financial aid, with the exception of federal work study, is applicable abroad.  Whether or not you have ever received financial aid, you should investigate this possibility by contacting Miesha Williams (study abroad contact) in the Sacramento State Financial Aid Office. Students also are encouraged to investigate and apply for scholarships for their study or research abroad. A listing of specific scholarships and scholarship resource information, with websites, is available on the Office of Global Education website. For individual advising and application information on scholarships/grants for study or research abroad, you should contact Dr. Jack Godwin in the Office of Global Education. 

JOY program applicants also are eligible to apply for the Japan Student Services Association (JASSO) scholarship (approx. ¥80,000 per month stipend). Applicants do not apply for this scholarship separately since the application for it is included in the YNU JOY Program application.


Yokohama National University places all JOY program participants in university housing for international students. Participants automatically are assigned a single room at one of two dormitories, the YNU International Student House in Gumyoji or the Minesawa International Student House. The monthly rent is about 15,000 yen, excluding utilities. The dormitory rooms are furnished with a bed, desk, bookshelf, and closet. Since all participants are placed in university dormitories and there is not room in the dormitories for married students, this is not an appropriate program for married students.


The International Student Center (ISC) is the main site for the JOY program. The Center offers international students Japanese language instruction, counseling on living and studying in Japan, and assistance with other matters. Two of the Center’s nine faculty, a professor and associate professor, are specifically assigned to coordinate the JOY program. Most JOY classes are held at the Center, and the Center lounge provides a social gathering point for overseas and Japanese students. All JOY program students will be assigned an advisor in the faculty to which they belong who, along with the two JOY program professors, will offer basic supervision. JOY students also usually are assigned counselors from among the Japanese student population to help them adjust to the university and life in Japan.


Field trips to local places of interest, study trips to businesses, factories, and government organizations, as well as cultural activities are available to JOY students as curricular and extracurricular activities during their stay at YNU. On campus, JOY students can join one of the many student clubs centered on special interests in arts, sports, hobbies, or various fields of study.


The mild climate is marked with clear seasons. Summers tend to be hot and humid with some days exceeding 86° F. During winter, the high temperatures range from 41° F to 50° F with only occasional snowfall. Temperatures in the spring and fall range from 59° F to 68° F, and there is little rainfall.

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