Application Materials

Application for admission to the MA program for the Fall 2015 term is now OPEN.  Application deadline for the Fall 2015 term is January 10, 2015.  All application materials must be received by the Center by the deadline.

Please read the instructions on this page carefully before you start your admission application.  All applicants are required to submit the materials specified in Items 1 through 10 below. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to complete Item 11.  If you are interested in being considered for the Japan Foundation Graduate Fellowship, you must submit additional materials specified in Item 12.  To send materials not submitted online through the Rackham Online Graduate Program Application system, please see mailing instructions at the bottom of this page.

If you are a dual-degree applicant, please also see important information in the Dual Degree Admission page for additional requirements.

Please click on each section title to expand the page and reveal the content details for each section.  Once you are done, you may close the section by clicking again on the section title.

1.  Rackham Graduate Program Application

You must complete the Rackham Graduate Program Application if you meet any one of the following criteria:

  • You have never enrolled as a student in the Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
  • You are a Rackham student on the Dearborn or Flint campus.
  • You have taken courses through Rackham as a non-degree student (e.g., Rackham or departmental NCFD, Visiting Graduate Student) or guest student (e.g., CIC Traveling Scholar, Spring/Summer Guest Student).
  • You are currently enrolled at the University of Michigan in a non-Rackham graduate or professional program (e.g., JD, MBA, MPH, MSI).

Important Note to current and previous Rackham students: Please go to this Rackham website to determine which application form you need to complete:  http://www.rackham.umich.edu/prospective-students/admissions/applying/various-applications

Rackham Graduate Program Application must be completed online.  To begin your online Rackham Graduate Program Application, please go to the Rackham Graduate School application site and follow the steps outlined on this page (see the end of this paragraph for a link).  In Step 2, choose Master's, Doctoral, or Certificate Degrees.

Rackham Graduate Program Application site: http://www.rackham.umich.edu/prospective-students/admissions/applying/submit-your-application/start/apply-annarbor/rackham-graduate-program-application

If you are not certain about which application form to complete, please contact the CJS Academic Services Coordinator at cjsacademics@umich.edu to discuss your situation and determine the correct application form.

If you have problems completing the online application, please contact the CJS Academic Services Coordinator at cjsacademics@umich.edu and explain your situation.

Returning to Your Application

The online application does not need to be completed in a single session; you may leave the application site and return as many times as you need with your Username and password.  Please remember to keep your ApplyWeb Username and password in a safe place so that you can remember them when you need to return to the online application.

To return to your application, go to: http://www.rackham.umich.edu/prospective-students/admissions/applying/submit-your-application/start/apply-annarbor/rackham-graduate-program-application and in Step 2, look in the Master's, Doctoral, or Certificate Degrees section for the Return to Your Application button.  Click on this button and sign in to the application with your ApplyWeb Username and password.

We encourage you to start your online application early so that you can register your recommenders for online recommendation and give them plenty of time to complete the process before the deadline.

Forgot your ApplyWeb Username or Password?

If you have forgotten your Username or Password for the ApplyWeb account used to access your online Rackham Graduate Program Application, follow the instructions above to return to the online application until you get to the ApplyWeb login page where it asks for your Username and Password.  Then, use the button labeled "Forgot Your Username or Password?" just below the password box.

2.  Rackham Application Fee

All students completing the Rackham Graduate Program Application will be asked to pay an application fee or apply for a fee waiver. The amount depends on your status (new or current Rackham student; US citizen/permanent resident or international student).  The application fee is paid by credit card on the online application before the application is submitted.

Links to more information on the Rackham website on:

3.  Academic Statement of Purpose

The Academic Statement of Purpose should be a concise and clearly written essay that discusses your previous academic experience, your current academic interests, what you would like to study in the MA program, and how this degree relates to your overall academic and career goals.  The Statement should address as specifically as possible any interest(s) in disciplinary fields, topics, regions, and/or time periods, and your experience studying the Japanese language.  Please be aware that you are being evaluated on the quality of the writing as well as the content of the essay.

There is no formal page limit for the Academic Statement of Purpose.  Most applicants write 2-3 double spaced pages.

The Academic Statement of Purpose is your primary tool for communicating to the Admission Committee about your academic interests and commitment in Japanese Studies and your preparation for undertaking graduate studies.  In preparing your essay, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your interest(s) in Japanese Studies (beyond simply developing higher Japanese language proficiency)?  What are some research issues/topics/questions that interest you?  How did you develop these interests?  Are there any specific courses, assignments, or events that contributed to the development of your interests?  As a general rule, "I want to continue studying Japanese language and culture" by itself is not a sufficient reason for undertaking a graduate degree in Japanese Studies.  Your Academic Statement of Purpose should explain and provide specific details.
  • What have you done so far to prepare yourself academically and intellectually for graduate study in Japanese Studies?
  • What do you hope to accomplish through graduate study in Japanese Studies?  What do you hope to get out of the MA program?  What are you looking forward to learning?
  • What are your long-term academic and career goals?  What plans, if any, do you have after completing the MA program?  How does the MA program fit into these plans and goals?

In preparing your Academic Statement of Purpose, please follow the guidelines below for formatting:

  • Please put the following information on in the header of the Academic Statement of Purpose so that it appears at the top of each page:
    • "Academic Statement of Purpose"
    • Your full name
    • Name of the graduate program ("Asian Studies: Japan")
    • Your University of Michigan Identification Number (UMID, if you have one)
  • Please use at least one inch (2.5cm) margin on all sides on US Letter size paper.  Note to international applicants: Be sure to select US Letter as your paper size, not A4; otherwise, your statement will not be formatted correctly by the online application system.
  • Please prepare the document in PDF (Portable Document Format), DOC (Microsoft Word document) or DOCX (Microsoft Word document) format for upload in the online Rackham Graduate Program Application system.  For more information on acceptable file formats and how to convert files to one of these formats, please see this Rackham webpage: https://secure.rackham.umich.edu/templates/insert_pc.html.
  • Please note that if you use any Japanese characters (hiragana, katakana, kanji) in any font in your statement of purpose, you must submit your statement in PDF format; otherwise they cannot be processed correctly by the online application system.

4.  Personal Statement

While the Academic Statement of Purpose is a more formal statement of your academic and career interests, the Personal Statement is a more informal and personal statement about who you are. In this statement, please tell us a little about your background, how you became interested in Japan and Japanese Studies, and any previous experience living in Japan.  If you have had difficulty or obstacles in completing your previous studies, the Personal Statement is a good place to explain what happened and how you overcame the difficulty or obstacle. Please do not repeat the material already contained in your Academic Statement of Purpose, and limit your Personal Statement to 500 words.

The online Rackham Graduate Program Application contains a section that allows you to upload your Personal Statement. Please note that the online application system only accepts documents with file types of PDF (Portable Document Format), DOC (Microsoft Word document), or DOCX (Microsoft Word document). Please prepare your Personal Statement in one of these file formats, and follow the same formatting guidelines mentioned in the previous section on the Academic Statement of Purpose. For more information on acceptable file formats and how to convert files to one of these formats, please see this Rackham webpage: https://secure.rackham.umich.edu/templates/insert_pc.html.

5.  Curriculum Vitae/Résumé

Please include your academic experience (all postsecondary institutions attended, including any study abroad programs), work experience (including any summer and part time jobs and internships), teaching and research interests and experience, professional affiliations, publications if any, and community involvement (e.g., any club activities and/or volunteer activities). The page limit is four pages.  Note to international applicants: Please prepare your résumé using US Letter size paper, not A4; otherwise, the online application system will not format your résumé correctly.

The online Rackham Graduate Program Application contains a section that allows you to upload your Curriculum Vitae. Please note that the online application system only accepts documents with file types of PDF (Portable Document Format), DOC (Microsoft Word document), or DOCX (Microsoft Word document).  Please prepare your Personal Statement in one of these file formats. For more information on acceptable file formats and how to convert files to one of these formats, please see this Rackham webpage: https://secure.rackham.umich.edu/templates/insert_pc.html.

6.  Academic Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) academic letters of recommendation are required. You should ask people who know you well and can speak to your academic abilities (such as your ability to think critically, to analyze problems/issues, to express yourself clearly in writing and speech, etc.) to be your recommenders. In most cases, academic letters of recommendation should be completed by instructors who have taught you in a course or supervised you academically for honors theses or research projects.  These recommendations should be completed by instructors of "content" courses rather than language instructors (language recommendation is discussed in the next section).  A Japanese language instructor may be included as one of the three recommenders if he/she is a regular instructor (professor or lecturer, not teaching assistant) at an institution of higher education, or at a Japanese language program or study abroad program intended for US college students (e.g., Middlebury Japanese School, IUC, KCJS, AKP, etc.).  Furthermore, this person must be able to speak to your general academic abilities and performance in English in addition to your Japanese language proficiency and skills.  If you are currently not enrolled in school, you may also ask your current or former employer or work supervisor to complete this recommendation, but please be sure to ask this person to discuss your academic abilities.  In all cases, at least one letter must come from an academic setting.  All academic recommendations should be written in English.

If you are interested in being considered for the Japan Foundation Graduate Fellowship, please see Section 12 below for further instructions on the types of recommendations required.

All academic recommendations should be completed using the online recommendation system that is a part of the Rackham Graduate Program Application (also known as ApplyWeb); this results in more accurate and faster processing of your application. You will need to register the names and contact information of the recommenders in the Rackham Graduate Program Application, and be sure to check the box confirming that the recommender will be using the online recommendation system.  Please inform the recommenders that they are strongly encouraged to attach a letter in addition to filling out the form. If you use ApplyWeb, you will be able to track whether your recommenders have completed the recommendation online and send them additional reminders if needed.  For more information on tracking the status of online recommendations, please go to the Online Recommendation section on the Tracking Status page.  Do not send duplicate paper copies of recommendations completed online.

Important notes about managing your recommendation information online:

  • Once you click the Submit Recommendation Request button, the information for that recommender will lock.
    • To make any changes prior to application submission, go back to the Rackham Graduate Program Application's Recommendation page (page 11), and use the link to the Activity Page, located near the top of the page just above the box for Recommender 1.  
    • Once you submit your application, you must use the your ApplyWeb Activity Page to make any changes. Go to the Online Recommendation section on the Downloads and Links page for further instructions.
  • Be sure to complete information on all  recommenders before you submit your application.  You will NOT be able to ADD any recommenders to the application once you submit your application.  You can still change the recommenders you have already registered.  Go to the Online Recommendation section on the Downloads and Links page for further instructions.
  • You can track the status of online recommendations, edit recommender information, substitute a new recommender, and send reminder emails through the ApplyWeb Activity Page.  Go to the Online Recommendation section on the Downloads and Links page for further instructions.
  • All academic recommendations should be completed using the online recommendation system.  A recommender who does not have access to the internet may complete the paper recommendation form.  Please contact the CJS Academic Services Coordinator at cjsadmissions@umich.edu to obtain the necessary form.  Contact information for a recommender using the paper recommendation form still needs to be listed in the recommendation section of the Rackham online application.
  • If you are using an online credentials service called Interfolio to submit your recommendations electronically, please contact the CJS Academic Services Coordinator at cjsadmissions@umich.edu to inform the Center of this fact so that we can locate your recommendation in a timely manner.

7.  Language Recommendation

If you have studied Japanese language, either formally or informally, we strongly encourage you to get a recommendation from a Japanese language instructor or someone familiar with your Japanese language proficiency.  This person may be your most recent Japanese language instructor (at a university or a Japanese language school/program) or someone who is familiar with your language ability, such as your private tutor or Japanese-speaking supervisor or colleague at work.

If this person is one of your three academic recommenders, please register this person as Recommender 3 in the online recommendation system, and make sure that he/she can evaluate and discuss your general academic abilities as well as your Japanese language ability.  Otherwise, please register this person as Recommender 3 or 4 in the online application system.

In addition to the regular web-based form that all recommenders are asked to complete, we request that your language recommender complete additional questions regarding your Japanese language proficiency.  You will be given the opportunity to download a form to be emailed to your recommender when you complete your Rackham Graduate Program Application. You may also download the form here

Please ask the evaluator to upload this file as their recommendation letter in the online recommendation form.  If the recommender is not using the online recommendation system, the file should be printed and sent with the recommendation form to the address indicated on the form.

If you are a native speaker of Japanese and have received either a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree from a Japanese educational institution, or passed the Ministry of Education's high school graduation equivalency exam (formerly college entrance eligibility exam), a Japanese language recommendation is not necessary.  Instead, please get three academic recommendations from content course instructors (non-language instructors), following the criteria outlined in the previous section.

If you have any question regarding who you should ask for this recommendation, please contact the CJS Academic Services Coordinator at cjsadmissions@umich.edu.

8.  Transcript Uploads

You will be given opportunities to scan and upload your transcripts when you complete your online Rackham Graduate Program Application. In addition to the transcript from your bachelor's degree institution, CJS encourages you to scan and upload your transcripts from other postsecondary institutions at which you have completed relevant Japanese language and area studies courses, such as study abroad programs, junior colleges, and summer sessions. These uploaded transcripts are considered unofficial, but the Center for Japanese Studies uses these transcripts to evaluate your academic background for admission, and the availability of these scanned transcripts will expedite the admissions process. If possible, please scan and upload official transcripts "issued to the student," and check the quality of the scanned document before uploading.

Transcript uploads take place on two different pages on the online Rackham Graduate Program Application.  Upload for transcripts from degree granting institutions take place on Page 6 under Education Information.  Uploads for additional transcripts of relevant language and area studies courses take place on Page 11, Program-Specific Information, in the Additional Education Information section.  Please only include those institutions at which you have completed relevant language and area studies courses.

Important Note: All files uploaded to the Rackham Graduate Program Application, including your scanned transcripts, must be in one of the following formats: PDF (Portable Document Format--Adobe Acrobat), Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX), or Rich Text Format (RTF).  Image files, such as JPEG, TIFF, or GIF are not allowed. For instructions on how to scan and upload your transcript to the Rackham online application site, click here.

9.  Official Transcripts

Important Note: Please read the instructions in this section carefully and follow them exactly; otherwise, your transcripts may not reach the correct offices in a timely manner and the processing of your application may be delayed.

Attention Dual/Joint Degree Applicants: If you are applying to another graduate degree program OUTSIDE of Rackham (MBA, JD, MSI, MPH, etc.), you MUST provide a separate set of official transcripts for each degree application.  If you are applying to two or more Rackham programs, only one set of official transcripts are required for Rackham.

A. Official Transcript(s) for Rackham

Please send one official transcript from all final degree granting institutions ONLY (that is, institutions from which you actually received, or will receive your bachelor's, master's and/or other postsecondary degree) directly to the Rackham School of Graduate Studies admissions office for its admission evaluation. Do NOT send to Rackham any transcripts from junior college, summer session, or study abroad.  Please see the Rackham web page on Transcripts for instructions on how to send the official transcript to Rackham.

In order to be considered official, all academic records/transcripts must bear a seal and a signature in ink of an authorized official of the institution (such as the Registrar or Recorder of Records). Official documents must be provided from the institution awarding the degree and sent directly from the institution to Rackham Admissions. Electronic transcripts (e-transcripts) are acceptable but must be sent directly from the institution.  Rackham Admissions does NOT accept transcripts stamped "Issued to the Student."

Important Note to International Students: If your undergraduate degree is NOT from the United States, please read Rackham website page on Required Academic Credentials from non-US Institutions for additional requirements regarding the official transcript.

Important Note: DO NOT send official transcripts for Rackham Admissions to CJS.  You MUST send them directly to Rackham Admissions.  See the Rackham web page on Transcripts for instructions.

B. Official Transcript(s) for CJS

You DO NOT need to to send to CJS a duplicate copy of any official transcript(s) from degree granting institutions sent to Rackham Admissions.  Once Rackham Admissions processes your official transcript, it will be accessible to CJS in electronic format.

CJS requires additional non-degree transcripts that are not required by Rackham Admissions.  Please send directly to the Center for Japanese Studies one copy each of official transcripts from each of the following types of postsecondary institutions you attended:

  1. Study abroad programs to Japan, including summer, one term, or academic year
  2. Any additional institutions such as junior colleges, summer sessions, or college-level extension courses in which you studied the Japanese language or took courses related to Japanese studies.  (Transcripts from institutions at which you did NOT take Japanese language or Japan-related courses are not necessary.)

The CJS copy of the official transcript(s) is required ONLY IF the credits have NOT been transferred to your final degree-granting institution, OR even if they have transferred the original course title and final course grade do NOT and appear on its transcript. (Some institutions, including the University of Michigan, will show on the official transcript the local equivalent course title and number of credits awarded for transferred credits, without recording the original course title and course grade.  In these cases, we need to see the original course title and final course grade from the official transcript of the original credit granting institution.)  The hard copy official transcript is required even if you scanned and uploaded these transcript(s) to the online Rackham Graduate Program Application. Please see mailing instructions at the bottom of this page for the address.

Important Note: Do NOT send Rackham's copy of the official transcript to CJS or the CJS copy to Rackham.  Due to the volume of mail, Rackham will not forward the CJS copy to us. You MUST send two separate packages directly to each unit, one to Rackham and one to CJS.

In order to be considered official, all academic records/transcripts must bear a seal and a signature in ink of an authorized official of the institution (such as the Registrar or Recorder of Records). Official documents must be provided from the institution awarding the degree and should be sent directly from the institution to the Center. Electronic transcripts (e-transcripts) are acceptable but must be sent directly from the institution.  Transcripts stamped "Issued to the Student" are acceptable for CJS ONLY if it is in the original envelope from the institution and the envelope seal is unbroken.

10.  Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores

Official scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or Revised General Test are required. University of Michigan's institution code is 1839. The score is reported centrally to Rackham so the department code does not matter. The scores must be less than five years old. Scores from both the old General Test (scored 200-800, administered prior to August 2011) and the Revised General Test (scored 130-170, administered since August 2011) are acceptable.  GRE subject test scores are not required.

There are no minimum required scores for the GRE, either for the total score or for the individual components.  The Center does not disclose summary statistics, such as average or range, on GRE scores of its applicants.

Additional information for dual/joint degree applicants: Applicants to the joint degree program in Japanese Studies and Business (MA/MBA) may substitute their GMAT scores for the GRE general test scores. Applicants to the dual degree program in Japanese Studies and Law may substitute their LSAT score for the GRE general test scores. If you are using GMAT or LSAT in place of the GRE, please send a photocopy of your student score report to the Center. The photocopy is required because the institutional score report goes to the professional school only.

11.  Proof of English Proficiency for Non-native English Speakers

Native speakers of English are not required to complete this item.  All students whose native language is not English AND whose undergraduate institution does NOT provide instruction exclusively in English must submit official scores from one of the following:

  1. Michigan English Language Battery (MELAB): minimum acceptable score: 80
  2. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): minimum acceptable scores: 560 on the Paper-Pencil TOEFL; 84 on internet based TOEFL. Scores from computer-based TOEFL are no longer accepted.
  3. International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS): minimum acceptable score: 6.5
  4. Examination for the Michigan Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE)

Please note that scores more than two years old will not be accepted as valid. Please request an official score report to be sent directly to the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan. CJS follows Rackham rules for exemptions from this requirement.  For more information about this requirement as well as instructions on how to send the official score report, please see the Required Tests for Non-native English Speakers page on the Rackham website.

12. Application for Funding

Applicants to the Master's of Arts degree in Japanese Studies apply for merit-based funding awarded by the Center for Japanese Studies as a part of the admission application process.  By completing the online admission application, applicants will be considered for all eligible merit-based funding from the Center including the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship and the Center's own Academic Year Fellowship.  Amount of funding varies from tuition scholarship of a few thousand dollars to full tuition and stipend.

Applicants should be aware that the Center is unable to provide merit-based funding to all admitted students.  The majority of students in the MA program pay their own way through a combination of their own savings, family support, part time employment, and need based financial aid.

Japan Foundation Graduate Fellowships

Beginning with the Fall 2013 entering class, the Center is pleased to offer two Japan Foundation Graduate Fellowships per year to entering students in the MA program.  For more details on this fellowship, including eligibility and fellowship requirements, please see the Japan Foundation Fellowship page in the Student Funding section of this website.

Applicants to the MA program who wish to be considered for this fellowship should submit the following materials in addition to their admission application:

  • Required: Supplemental Application for Japan Foundation Graduate Fellowship (Click here to download Supplemental Application in Microsoft Word 2010 .docx format; for files in .doc and .rtf formats, see the Downloads and Links page)
  • Strongly Recommended: One Letter of Recommendation from someone familiar with your teaching and administrative skills and interests.  This recommendation may be completed by a work supervisor or a faculty member.  This recommendation may be one of the three required recommendation for admission if the person is qualified to address both you academic skills AND your teaching and administrative skills, or you may obtain an additional, 4th letter.  Please use the online recommendation system for admission to submit this recommendation (see Section 6 above for how to use the online recommendation system), and ask your recommender specifically to address your teaching and administrative skills and experience.

Deadline for these additional materials is January 10, the same as the deadline for admission.

Need-Based Financial Aid

After completing your admission application, we strongly encourage US citizens and permanent residents to apply for need based financial aid through the Office of Financial Aid.  Because financial need is evaluated using a different formula for graduate students, we find that many students who did not quality for need based financial aid as undergraduates do qualify as a graduate student.  Please go to the Office of Financial Aid's graduate student page for more information and instructions on how to apply.

Other Materials

Please do NOT send duplicate paper copies of materials submitted through the online Rackham Graduate Program Application, such as your academic statement of purpose, curriculum vitae, and recommendations.  Duplicate paper copies are not needed and simply add to the processing time required by Center staff.

Please do NOT send any other materials, such as writing samples, unless you are specifically requested by the Center to do so. We do not consider materials other than those specified in items 1 through 11 above, and the submission of extra materials has no bearing on the admission decision.

For international students, financial statements are NOT required until you are admitted to the program and have agreed to enroll.  You will receive specific instructions of the requirements at that time.  Please do NOT send them until you receive this request.

Mailing Instructions

All required documents not submitted online through the Rackham Graduate Program Application should be sent by mail or by a document delivery service (e.g. UPS, FedEx, DHL) to:

Academic Services Coordinator
Center for Japanese Studies
University of Michigan
1080 S. University Ave., Suite 4640
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
USA

We do not accept admissions materials by fax or electronic mail except for electronic transcripts (e-transcripts) sent directly by the institution and letters of recommendation and language evaluation sent directly by recommenders (never by applicants or third parties). E-transcripts may be sent to cjsacademics@umich.edu.  Recommenders may fax the recommendation form and letter to 734.936.2948 or send electronic mail attachments to cjsacademics@umich.edu.

For instructions on where to send the Rackham copy of your official transcript, click here for detailed instructions on the relevant Rackham web page.