Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies

Night photo of the Yasaka tower and a Kyoto street with traditional wooden buildings

Program Term:

Autumn Academic Year

Language Requirement:



 Eric Benjaminson

Application Deadline:


The University of Chicago Kyoto program provides students in the College with an opportunity to live and study for an academic year or an autumn term in the ancient capital of Japan.

    The headquarters for the program is the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies (KCJS), a facility operated by Columbia University on behalf of a consortium of fourteen American universities including the University of Chicago. The Kyoto program calendar is divided into two semesters. Japanese language study is central to the program, and students will devote at least half their time during both semesters to an intensive double-credit language course pitched at an advanced level. Beyond this, participants take two courses per semester in Japanese culture, literature, art, history, or politics. In the Spring semester, students may substitute an independent study course for one of the non-language courses. Instruction in the non-language courses is in English or a combination of English and Japanese. At the end of the program, KCJS personnel are happy to help students arrange summer internships as a means of rounding out their Japanese experience, although this is not an established part of the program and cannot be guaranteed.

    Participants in this program will be housed either with a local family or in an apartment. The former option is by far the most popular.

    Participants in the Kyoto program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They receive a full year’s credit for their work in Kyoto. Course titles, units of credit and grades are placed on the College transcript. Since the use of these credits in a specific degree program is variable, students should consult with their academic adviser and program chair to determine the exact distribution of credits.

    Kyoto program participants pay regular College tuition and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition is paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Students also pay, directly to Columbia, a deposit in an amount specified by the Kyoto Consortium and a program fee that covers housing and meals in Kyoto. Precise figures for the Kyoto program for the 2024–2025 year are listed below:

    Academic year tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Program fee: a program fee, covering accommodation and partial board, is billed separately by KCJS

    Program fee* includes:

    • accommodation
    • meals

    *paid directly to Columbia

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • passport/visa fees
    • transportation on site
    • course materials
    • personal entertainment and travel
    • communications (most students bring or buy a cell phone)
    • health insurance and upfront payments for care
    • other miscellaneous expenses 

    Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

    Special note: The Center for East Asian Studies offers a transportation subvention of up to $1,500 to a Chicago student participating in the Kyoto Program for the full academic year. Only one award is available. The application process will be explained to students after they have been admitted to the Program.

    The Kyoto program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Students at one of the other KCJS universities should apply through their home institution.

    The program is designed for undergraduates in good academic and disciplinary standing who are beyond their second year in the College. By the start of the program, participants are expected to have completed at least two years of Japanese in the College or demonstrate comparable competence by examination. Applications will also be considered from students who have one year of Japanese and an acceptable plan for attaining the second-year level with an intensive summer course. Though the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity.

    The application process includes a required conference with Eric Benjaminson.

    To discuss the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies program and the possibility of participating, please contact Eric Benjaminson.