UNHCR-Refugee Higher Education Program (RHEP) is a program implemented by eight universities in Japan which supports

  • refugees who live in Japan,
  • to complete a four-year undergraduate degree program,
  • through scholarships from the universities.

>> Click to Japanese webpage

The aim of the program is to provide access to higher education for refugees in Japan who would otherwise have difficulty completing a four-year undergraduate degree program. The students' tuition fees and other study expenses will be funded by the universities. At the discretion of the universities, additional scholarship stipends may be paid to the students on a monthly basis.

The program is coordinated by UNHCR in Japan and Japan for UNHCR.

With two new partner universities, Meiji Gakuin University and University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo joining the program, there are now 8 partner universities as follows;

Universities Campus Number of openings
Kwansei Gakuin University Nishinomiya-shi and Mita-shi, Hyogo 3 positions
(Japanese degree program 2, English degree program 1)
Aoyama Gakuin University Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Sagamihara-shi, Kanagawa
1 position
(Japanese degree program)
Meiji University Chiyoda-ku, Suginami-ku and Nakano-ku Tokyo
Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa
2 positions
(Japanese and English degree program)
Tsuda College Kodaira-shi, Tokyo 1 position
(Female candidates only, Japanese degree program)
Soka University Hachioji-shi, Tokyo 1 position
(Japanese degree program)
Sophia University Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 1 position
(Japanese or English degree program)
Meiji Gakuin University Minato-ku, Tokyo
Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
1 position
(Japanese or English degree program)
University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 1 position
(Female candidates only, Japanese degree program)

*Japanese degree program: for applicants who aim to complete the degree in Japanese
*English degree program: for applicants who aim to complete the degree in English

The following universities provide English degree program for candidates with sufficient language skills for pursuing a degree in English;

Universities Program
Kwansei Gakuin University School of International Studies
Meiji University School of Global Japanese Studies
Sophia University Faculty of Liberal Arts
Meiji Gakuin University Department of Global and Transcultural Studies, Faculty of International Studies

Application for academic year 2018

Schedule for academic year 2018

  • Application period: From 28 June (Wed) to 4 August (Fri) 2017
  • Written test: 19 August (Sat) or 20 August (Sun) 2017
  • Interview: 26 August (Sat)
  • Selection process of partner universities: From mid-September to the beginning of December*

* Time limits for applications and dates for selection processes will differ for each university. For details, please see the application guidelines of each university.

For the 2018 program (i.e. for those who would like to enter university in April 2018), the application period is from 28 June (Wed) to 4 August (Fri) 2017.

Applications must be submitted by simplified registration (kanni-kakitome) no later than 4 August 2017 to:

c/o Japan for UNHCR
Secretariat of UNHCR Refugee Higher Education Program
3F Wesley Center, 6-10-11 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 107-0062

2018 UNHCR-RHEP Application FormPDF opens link in new window/tab

Application Guidelines for the respective universities (for candidates with sufficient language skills for pursuing a degree in English);

* School of International Studies of Kwansei Gakuin University, School of Global Japanese Studies of Meiji University, Faculty of Liberal Arts of Sophia University and Department of Global and Transcultural Studies, Faculty of International Studies of Meiji Gakuin University provide English degree programs.

Q&APDF opens link in new window/tab

Required documents

  1. Official documents which certify the applicants are recognized by the Japanese authorities as a refugee or as having a refugee-like status with a residency permit;
  2. Academic transcript which certifies either successful completion or expected completion of a twelve-year course of formal education by March of the admission year, in Japan or in another country;
  3. Identification of household finances which certify that the applicants have financial difficulties and have no other means of support for university studies;
  4. Official documents which certify that the applicant has sufficient Japanese or English language ability to complete a four-year undergraduate degree program.
  5. Results of the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)*. (Results must be from a test taken within 3 years of the application deadline. The required exam subjects differ depending on the universities and their academic programs);
  6. RHEP application form, photo, letter of recommendation among others. Please find the RHEP application guideline for further information.

* Important Note:

All applicants are required to submit results from the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).

The EJU is a test organized by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) and is conducted annually. Please check the date of the test on the JASSO homepage, and take the examination so that the results may be submitted by the deadline for the RHEP applications.

Click here for more information on the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).

Expectations for RHEP Students

  1. Students must complete with satisfactory academic performance an undergraduate degree that is in principle, a maximum of four years in duration.
  2. Students must submit a progress report and financial status report to the UNHCR twice a year.
  3. During the course of their studies, students must complete at least one RHEP project, for example, students may participate in a seminar as a speaker.
  4. Students must participate regularly in RHEP follow-up meetings, and interviews following their graduation from university.

Selection Process
(The schedule is subject to change, and dates may vary from year to year.)

1) Applications open
By the end of June each year

2) Applications deadline
By the beginning of August each year

3) Written Exam
The end of August each year (language and essay)

4) Interview
The end of August each year (in Tokyo)

5) Results announced
The beginning of September each year

6) Decision process by partner universities
From the middle of September to the beginning of December

Contact Information

For inquiries regarding applications, as well as educational institutions seeking further information about the programme, please contact the following number:

Secretariat of UNHCR Refugee Higher Education Program
c/o Japan for UNHCR
tel: 0120-540-732 (toll free) or 03-4366-7373

Privacy Policy

UNHCR and Japan for UNHCR will protect personal information in conformity with our confidentiality policy. UNHCR and Japan for UNHCR will only refer to the applicants' personal information when necessary in carrying out operations, including reviewing the program and its outcomes, gathering statistical data for conducting publicity activities. Applicants' personal information will only be shared with partner universities as necessary in order for recommendation of applicants.