General FAQ | APU Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

General FAQ

This page is mainly for applicants and covers general information about APU, our application and enrollment process, as well as costs, life in Japan and APU. We also have a FAQ for Teachers, Counselors, and Family for more information and answers guardians of applicants may have.


What can I study at APU?

There are three colleges to choose from at APU―Asia Pacific Studies, International Management, and Sustainability and Tourism. Asia Pacific Studies will lead to a Bachelor of Social Science degree, International Management will lead to a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, and Sustainability and Tourism will lead to Bachelor of Sustainability and Tourism degree. For more details regarding each college, see our Undergraduate Programs page. Students study major-related courses in their base language (English or Japanese) while also taking language courses in the opposite language. For more details on language education, visit our Language Education page.

I've never been to Japan and I don't speak Japanese. Can I still study at APU?

Yes. Many of our international students have never visited Japan or studied Japanese before studying at APU. Almost all courses at APU are offered in both English and Japanese, meaning applicants only need sufficient ability in one of these languages at the time of enrollment. However, for English-based students that have no Japanese language abilities, it is highly encouraged for you to start learning basic Japanese on your own before coming to APU. This will ensure you have a smooth start as you will be required to take intense Japanese language classes in order to graduate. The reverse applies to Japanese-based students with limited or no English ability.

Am I required to study Japanese at APU?

In order to graduate, it is necessary for English-based undergraduate students to fulfill at least 16 credits of Japanese language courses (excluding third year transfer students). Most students fulfill this requirement by the end of their second year. However, APU encourages students to continue their Japanese studies beyond the minimum requirement as Japanese language skills greatly benefit students when interacting with the local community and when applying for jobs. Similarly, for Japanese-based undergraduate students, learning English is required to graduate. Students are required to fulfill 12 or 24 credits of English language courses. The number of required credits of English language courses will be decided by placement test.

Can I major in Japanese at APU?

APU does not offer a Japanese language major. However, English-based undergraduate students (excluding third year transfer students) undergo intense Japanese language classes as part of their regular degree. The same applies to Japanese-based students.

What career support does APU offer?

APU has extensive support through the Career Office to help students in their job search. For the 2018 Academic Year, 96.2% of APU students looking for employment received at least one job offer by the time of graduation. Some students choose to continue their studies by pursuing a graduate degree at APU or other graduate schools around the world.


I have never been to Japan and/or do not speak the language. What assistance does APU provide to help me when I first arrive?

APU provides an arrival assistance service on specific dates before each semester where student staff greet incoming students at Fukuoka Airport to help them travel to APU for the first time. Before classes start, as a new student, you will participate in several orientation sessions. A select group of second to fourth year students serve as resident assistants (RAs) and live on each floor of AP House, APU's on-campus housing, to help you adjust to your new life in Japan.

Is it expensive to live in Japan?

While Japan's metropolitan areas such as Tokyo and Osaka have quite high costs of living, APU is located in Beppu, which is a mid-sized city and considerably less expensive. Many students also choose to do part-time work while studying to help cover expenses. However there are restrictions for international students working part-time in Japan. For more information regarding living costs, working part-time, and other money matters, visit our Money Matters page.

Can I live on campus?

Yes. Incoming international students are required to live on campus at AP House (APU’s on-campus housing) during their first year at APU. AP House allows you to adjust to your new surroundings and make friends from all around the world.

I heard international students are required to live on campus at AP house for their first year at APU. What about second year onwards?

After the first year, you will move off campus but you can apply for an extension of stay in the dormitories before the end of your first year (subject to the availability of rooms and particular reasons). Also, you can apply to be a Resident Assistant (RA). RAs continue to live in AP House in order to help new students adapt to life in Japan and at APU.

What about second year onwards? Where do students live off campus?

After their first year, most students move to private apartments or independent dormitories in Beppu. Many students choose to rent an apartment with friends to reduce costs. Housing support is available at APU to help students find off-campus accommodation.

How do most students commute to campus? Can students have a car or motorbike?

The city of Beppu is serviced by a public bus system, which provides easy access to campus. As a student, you will be eligible to purchase a discounted yearly commuter bus pass. While you may own a car, you are not permitted to drive or park on campus. You may drive a motorbike to campus with proper permission from APU.

Is part-time work available? Can I have a part-time job?

If you wish to do part-time work as an international student on a student visa, you are first required to apply for a work permit that allows you to work up to 28 hours per week part-time while school is in session. During breaks and vacations, you are permitted to work up to 40 hours a week. You can apply for this permit at the On-Campus Student Job Center after arriving at APU. Jobs are available both on and off campus. The current minimum hourly wage in Oita Prefecture is 899 JPY.

What dining options are available on campus?

The APU cafeteria serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is open daily, even when classes are not in session. Food may also be purchased at the APU Co-op and Lawson convenience store.

I am on a restricted diet. What options are available to accommodate this?

APU's cafeteria and café offer a variety of foods to meet the needs of students with personal or religious diet requirements, such as offering vegetarian food or halal options. Additionally, AP House has over 40 communal kitchens that students are free to use to prepare their own meals. Some restaurants in Beppu offer vegan, vegetarian, and halal options as well.

What about getting a phone and phone plan in Japan?

It is possible to bring a phone with you from your home country/region. However, you will need to do some research as certain countries/region’s phones do not support the radio frequency bands used in Japan. If this applies to you, there is the option of buying a phone in Japan. You can buy phones from electronic stores like Yamada Denki or from second hand shops in Beppu. Prices will vary depending on the model, but another thing to keep in mind is that you will need to check with the provider you choose to go with whether that model is compatible with their SIM cards. In Japan there are the 3 big companies for phones but in recent years there have been more discount or cost effect companies. All of these companies also typically provide student discounts.


How much is tuition at APU?

Yearly tuition at APU is as follows:

First year Second – Fourth year
1,500,000JPY per year

For more information regarding tuition, visit our Tuition and Fees page.

What is included in the yearly tuition?

Tuition at APU covers course fees. Tuition does not cover other expenses such as books, transportation, housing, food, or health insurance. In addition, some off-campus programs conducted by APU require a participation fee. However, these programs are not required for graduation and are taken voluntarily.

What scholarships are available at APU?

International students who will obtain a student visa are eligible to apply for the APU Tuition Reduction Scholarship at the time of application. Please note that this scholarship only covers the cost of tuition. Additionally, APU offers the AP House Global Community Scholarship. This scholarship exempts recipients from the full AP House Fees for a total of 11 months.

How can I apply for the APU Tuition Reduction Scholarship?

You can apply for the APU Tuition Reduction Scholarship in the APU Online Application System. You will be evaluated for the scholarship based on your submitted documents, online assessment, and interview. It is not possible to apply for the APU Tuition Reduction Scholarship after enrollment. For more information regarding the APU Tuition Reduction Scholarship, visit our Scholarships Before Enrollment page.

Does APU offer any scholarships to cover living expenses?

APU offers the AP House Global Community Scholarship. This scholarship exempts recipients from the full AP House Fees for a total of 11 months. Applicants who wish to apply for this Scholarship must complete the relevant fields within the APU Online Application System by the application deadline. Additionally, there are external scholarships for living expenses that you may apply for after enrollment. For more information regarding external scholarships, visit our Scholarships Available After Enrollment page.

Does APU provide any loans or grants?

No, APU does not have a loan or grant program, but you may apply for a number of different scholarships after enrollment. You are also encouraged to apply for private scholarships in your home country.


I am currently in my last year of high school. When should I submit my application?

If you are currently in your last year of high school, you may apply at any time during the application period that corresponds to your country of residence and desired time of enrollment, as long as you will graduate before enrolling at APU. If you apply to APU before graduating from high school, you will be required to submit your most recent official transcripts with your application. If you are accepted to APU and decide to enroll, you will need to submit proof of high school graduation (such as a high school diploma or graduation certificate) before enrollment. Please check the relevant application handbook for specific application deadlines. Please go to the Downloads page for the Application Handbook.

In my country, only 11 years of education are required to graduate from high school. Can I still apply?

Students are required to complete the equivalent of 12 years of formal education before enrolling at a university in Japan. If your education system only requires 11 years to finish high school, you will need to complete at least one year of university-level study or an equivalent program in order to meet the 12-year education requirement. However, you can apply to APU if you have completed an 11-year standard education curriculum at an educational institution in Uzbekistan, Sudan, Belarus, Peru, Myanmar, Russia, or an 11-year standard education from an educational institution designated by MEXT, even though your country's standard length of education is 11 years. For more details, contact the Office of International Admissions before applying.

Am I required to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores to apply to APU?

Whether or not you are required to submit an English Proficiency Test score such as TOEFL/IELTS depends on your educational history. Please refer to the relevant application handbook for information which is available on the Downloads page.

Is there a way to check whether or not I am eligible to apply to APU with my educational background?

Yes. If you wish to apply to APU as a first year student, please go to the Application Eligibility page and answer the questions in our YES/NO chart for more clarity. If you are hoping to apply to APU as a transfer student, please go to our Contact page to fill out the inquiry form to get in touch with one of our admissions counselors.

Do I need to send any original documents with my application? Can I apply by sending an application by post, email, or fax?

No. APU will only accept your application through the online application system. However, you will be required to submit original documents, not photocopies, after acceptance to APU during the enrollment process by post.

I cannot pay the application fee. Can you waive the application fee for me?

No. APU requires every applicant to pay the application fee. This fee cannot be waived. The fee covers the cost of screening your documents and the postage necessary to send you documents during the application process such as your admission result. APU cannot begin screening your application until the application fee has been confirmed.

What happens if an application is submitted without an application fee?

APU will not screen applications without confirming the payment of the application fee. In principle, APU will not contact applicants regarding unpaid application fees.

Can I ask for a refund of the application fee?

In general, the application fee is not refundable. However, a partial refund (after administrative fees are deducted) or a full refund may be possible in the following cases.

  • When the application fee has been paid multiple times, or in cases in when it is clear that the amount paid exceeds the amount for the application fee and administrative fees set by APU.

  • When your application is deemed inadmissible and is not screened.
    Further information about our refund policy for the application fee can be found on the Application Fee Refund Policy page.

I am older than most students. Does this affect my application's chances?

There is no age restriction when applying to APU. We welcome individuals of any age to apply.

I am a dual citizen of Japan and another country. Can I still apply as an international student?

Applicants with Japanese citizenship, including dual citizenship, are not eligible to apply as an international student regardless of their country of residency. If you have Japanese citizenship, you must submit your application through Domestic Admissions, you can also contact them at [email protected]. If one or both of your parents has Japanese citizenship but you are unsure if you yourself have Japanese citizenship, you are encouraged to contact your local Japanese embassy to confirm this.

I submitted my application, but I have not heard anything from APU. How can I stay updated on my application’s status?

After we receive your online application and application fee payment, we will send you a confirmation email usually within one week. This may take longer if you submit your application close to a deadline or when the office is closed for an extended period, such as during mid-August or the New Year’s holidays. If you have not heard from APU within two weeks of submitting your application, contact the Office of International Admissions.

How long does it take until I receive my admission result?

After completing your interview, your application will be evaluated and you will be able to view your admissions result and APU Tuition Reduction Scholarship result on the final result notification date specified in the Undergraduate Application Handbook on our Downloads page. On this date, you will receive an email with instructions for how to view your final results online.

Will you let me know if I forget to submit one of my documents?

If anything is missing from your application or we require any additional documentation, APU will contact you by email. Please check your email regularly so that you can respond to our inquiries as soon as possible. When you submit your application, make sure your email address and your postal address are written accurately. Please be aware that missing or incomplete documents may delay your admissions decision significantly.

After applying, I moved or changed my mailing address. How should I update this information?

Inform us at [email protected] when you change your mailing address, telephone number, or email address.

I cannot afford to pay the amount listed on the Invoice for Enrollment Procedure Fees all at once. Can I pay in installments or after I arrive at APU?

No. In order to begin your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) application process, APU must be able to confirm that you are financially able to support the cost of studying in Japan. For this reason, we must receive all fee payments before beginning the COE process. For more information regarding the Certificate of Eligibility (COE), please see the About Student Visa section below.


What is a student visa?

A student visa is issued by your local Japanese embassy/consulate and grants you permission to enter Japan for an extended period of time and undertake university level studies. However, before you can apply for a student visa, you must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

What is a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)?

A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is a document that is required to obtain a visa and is issued by the Immigration Bureau of Japan. If you are accepted and plan to enroll at APU, APU will apply for the COE on your behalf once you complete all enrollment procedures. Through the Online Enrollment Procedure System you can submit information necessary for your COE. Enrollment Procedures Handbook can be found within the Online System and please follow the instruction in the Handbook on what documents to submit and how to complete the procedure. When the Immigration Bureau of Japan issues your COE via email, APU will forward the email to you. You must then apply at your local Japanese Embassy/Consulate for your student visa. Be sure to inquire at the Japanese Embassy/Consulate in advance about what documents are necessary to apply for a student visa and have them ready.

As part of the COE application, I must send documents such as bank statements. Can I send a photocopy?

First, please upload official documents such as bank statements or income statements on the APU Online Enrollment System. After APU confirms that the documents are acceptable, please send these documents to APU by the document submission deadline. If there is any problem with the documents, APU will contact you. If you submit photocopies, we will not be able to apply for your COE until the original document or certified copy is received. If you send us an original document that cannot be reissued, it can be returned to you upon request.

I have submitted all documents and paid all enrollment fees. When will I receive my COE?

Once APU has received all your documents and enrollment fee payments, your COE application will be processed and submitted to the Immigration Bureau. Once your COE application is approved, you will receive your COE by email. Most incoming students may expect to receive their COE during the following months: February – mid March (April Enrollment), July – early September (September Enrollment). As the COE issue date varies among the students and each year, we cannot guarantee that each student will receive their COE during the above mentioned months.


When should I travel to Japan/APU?

APU will advise you on the dates that you should arrive on campus. Arrival Assistance is available for those who arrive on the dates specified by the university before the semester begins. You should not arrive on campus earlier than the specified dates as there will be no available rooms in the dormitory, and you will have to look on your own for accommodation.

What airport in Japan should I fly in to?

If you would like to take advantage of APU's Arrival Assistance Service where we help you go directly from the airport to our campus, we recommend flying into Fukuoka Airport, the closest international airport to APU. The closest domestic airport to APU is Oita Airport, but unfortunately we do not currently offer Arrival Assistance at that airport. Arrival assistance will be provided at Fukuoka Airport on specified dates only.

Can my family accompany me when I travel to APU for the first time?

Your family can accompany you to APU, but they will need to find their own accommodation and transportation during their stay. If they need a visa to enter Japan, they will also have to apply for their visas on their own. If your family needs an invitation letter to obtain a visa to visit Japan, contact the Office of International Admissions.


What is APU's basic policy for students with disabilities?

We provide support in accordance with the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University Guidelines on Support Services for Students with Disabilities. We will work to contribute to the learning and growth of all students through these support services. The content of the support will be determined on a case-by-case basis in consideration of the nature and degree of the disability, the characteristics of the college, and area of study the student will belong too, and the overall needs of the student. For more details about the guidelines, please refer to the Support Services for Students with Disabilities page.

Is there any support for students with disabilities during the application or while applying?

Prospective applicants with disabilities or other medical conditions can request support during the admissions process, in accordance with the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University Guidelines on Support Services for Students with Disabilities, if they so desire. Please download the Admissions Support Request Form for Students with Disabilities which is available on the Downloads page and send it at least 4 weeks before the deadline of your intended application period. When sending the email, please enter “Request for Support during the Admissions Process” in the subject line. APU will send the Support Request Results in an email within three weeks after sending out the Support Request Arrival Receipt.

I am planning to enroll at APU. Does APU offer any support for students with disabilities in their daily life and studies?

Support for students with disabilities (physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, mental disabilities, and other disabilities of physical and mental functions) at the university is provided by a support system in each office so that appropriate support can be provided according to the needs of each student. For consultation regarding support during your studies and life after enrollment to APU, you should submit the following information to [email protected]. When sending the email, please enter “Request for Support after Enrollment” in the subject line.

  • Name or application number

  • What you would like to discuss

  • Desired support after enrollment

For more information regarding support for students with disabilities or other medical conditions, please refer to the Support for Students with Disabilities page.

I heard there is a health clinic on campus. Can you tell about the available services?

The APU Health Clinic is not a full-service medical institution and therefore cannot perform medical procedures such as prescribing medication or giving injections and infusions (IV). Students who require medical care or treatment will need to use off-campus medical institutions. For information about the service provided by the APU Health Clinic, please go to the Health Clinic page.

Can I receive treatment or prescriptions for medications at the health clinic on campus?

At the university, no medical treatment consultations can be performed and medication prescriptions cannot be made. If you are currently undergoing treatment for an illness or psychiatric disorder, please consult with your doctor about whether or not continued treatment will be necessary after enrolling. If you wish to continue your treatment at a Japanese medical institution after enrollment, you will need to prepare a treatment plan or a patient referral document in advance that clearly states the name of the condition, symptoms, test results, and course of treatment/treatment plan.
In addition, there are strict restrictions on bringing medications into Japan. Please be sure to check with the Japanese Embassy or the Health and Welfare Bureau in advance.
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare webpage, "Personal Import of Medicines from Overseas". You can refer to the Japanese version here and the English version here.

I am planning to enroll at APU. Does APU offer any support for students undergoing medical treatment or who have a psychiatric disorder to consult about academic or living considerations?

APU cannot provide consultations for medical treatments or medication, but if you are currently undergoing medical treatment or have a psychiatric disorder and would like to consult with us about the academic or living considerations at APU, please contact us at [email protected] with the information below. Please note that it may take more than 1-2 weeks to receive a response depending on the information sent.

  • Name or application number

  • Name of the disease or illness (if possible)

  • What you would like to discuss

  • Whether or not you have a personal doctor*

*If possible, include the status and history of treatment.

What is APU's policy and initiative regarding sexual and gender diversity?

APU respects sexual and gender diversity as part of its commitment to human rights. APU aims to create an environment in which people of any sexual orientation and gender identity are able to study and live with the security of knowing that their human rights are fully protected, that they will be treated fairly, and that they need not suffer any discomfort or pain as a consequence of their sexual orientation or gender identity. You can refer to the Policies and Resources Regarding Sexual and Gender Diversity page to learn more about the University's basic policies and various initiatives.

Can you tell how APU handles my information provided while applying, especially my gender and name?

For registration at APU, the gender and name on your passport will be used. The gender and name you provided will be used during the admissions process to apply for a visa to enter Japan and to register as a student at APU. However, after enrolling at APU, we will take into consideration your gender identity and how you have used your name in the past. If you wish to use a name or gender different from the one on your passport after enrollment, please contact [email protected] with the following information. Please note that when applying for a visa, you must use your gender and name in accordance with the policies of the Japanese government.

  • Name or application number

  • Your gender identity

  • Administrative name and nickname (if applicable)

  • Whether or not there is a possibility of having your administrative name changed in the future (if applicable)

  • Desired action after enrollment

This email will only be shared with a limited number of International Admissions Office staff. Please be assured that your personal information will not be shared with anyone outside of the International Admissions Office without your permission. However, in order to respond to your inquiry, your personal information may be shared with the Student Office or Academic Office in a non-identifying manner. The Student Office provides life support and manages student information after enrollment. The Academic Office manages student’s classes and examinations after enrollment.


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