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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad Click here for a definition of this term Language Prerequisite: No previous study
Click here for a definition of this term Credit Available For: College Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: English, Japanese
Other Eligibility Requirements: 1 Area Studies Course in Language or Culture (Recommended) Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Click here for a definition of this term Housing Options: Apartment/Off-Campus Click here for a definition of this term Application Deadline: Fall/Year: February 1, Spring: September 15
Program Description:

Sophia University
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Based on Christian principles of education, Sophia University attests to the four-hundred-year-old interest of the Jesuit Order in Japan. Established in 1913, Sophia University has grown to be one of the foremost of Japan’s private universities with a student body of 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students across four campuses throughout Tokyo. The main campus of the university is located at Yotsuya in the Chiyoda Ward of Tokyo and is situated just inside the outer moat of the old city of Edo.  It’s an urban campus, consisting of roughly 25 large, modern buildings in the center of Tokyo. Sophia University has seven faculties with 29 departments in the undergraduate school and seven graduate divisions with 24 areas of concentration.

For additional information, visit the Sophia University website
The City of Tokyo

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 in the 18th century. The current population is around 13.35 million, and the official language is Japanese.

Did you know…?

Tokyo Station is one of the two stations designated as an Important Cultural Asset in Japan which is currently operating. The entire floor space of Tokyo Station measures 182,000 square meters which is 3.6 times the size of Tokyo Dome.


The program at Sophia University is for College credit only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: No previous language study required.
Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of one Area Studies course in language or culture by the end of the academic semester prior to departure recommended, but not required.

The program at Sophia University is a spring or academic year program only.

Language of Instruction

English, Japanese


A full course load at Sophia University consists of a minimum of four 4-credit courses and a maximum of five 4-credit courses per semester. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level. One 4-credit course at Sophia is equivalent to 1 Penn CU.

Penn students enroll in the Faculty of Liberal Arts (FLA) which enables them to work on Japanese language skills while studying other disciplines in English. It is assumed that Penn students wishing to spend a semester or year at Sophia will take courses in Japanese language and other humanities and social science courses about Japan and East Asia.

Sophia University Academic Calendar
Sophia University Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students
Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s academic policies.

BSO Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by Sophia University prior to the start of each semester. 

Student Associations

Penn students studying at Sophia University have access to a wide range of student activities and associations.

BSO CampusParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Students accommodations are arranged in one of the dormitories affiliated with Sophia University. 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 45-90 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.

Sophia University's website provides further information regarding accommodation.

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare. Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s financial policies.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

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. Visit SFS's website for more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad.

Budget Sheets

Academic Year

Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad: Supports undergraduate study abroad focusing on geographical areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to US national security. (Excludes study in US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.) These US government grants entail a service obligation. 

Several different scholarship opportunities also exist for international students studying in Japan.

Please review the Penn Abroad application process, policies, and procedures.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Tokyo program, contact a Penn Abroad Past Participant or Exchange Student.