University of Tsukuba

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University of Tsukuba
University of Tsukuba emblem.svg
MottoImagine the future
Type Public (National)
EstablishedOctober 1973 (founded in 1872)
President Kyosuke Nagata  [ ja ]
Academic staff
2,616 [1]
Administrative staff
2,284 [1]
Students16,459 [1]
Undergraduates 9,798 [1]
Postgraduates 6,661 [1]
Location, ,
Logo of University of Tsukuba.svg
The University of Tsukuba campus University of Tsukuba dsc04769.jpg
The University of Tsukuba campus

The University of Tsukuba (筑波大学, Tsukuba daigaku) is a national research university located in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


The university has 28 college clusters and schools with around 16,500 students (as of 2014). [1] The main Tsukuba campus covers an area of 258 hectares (636 acres), making it the second largest single campus in Japan. [2]

The university has a branch campus is in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, offering graduate programs for working adults in the capital and managing K-12 schools in Tokyo that are attached to the university.

Three Nobel Prize laurates have taught at the university, Leo Esaki, Hideki Shirakawa and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. [3] Apart from them, Satoshi Ōmura studied as an audit student. [4]


The University of Tsukuba can trace its roots back to Tokyo Higher Normal School (東京高等師範学校, Tōkyō Kōtō Shihan Gakkō), a normal school established in 1872 to educate primary and secondary teachers. The school was promoted to a university in 1929, as Tokyo University of Literature and Science (東京文理科大学, Tōkyō Bunrika Daigaku). In 1949, Tokyo University of Education (東京教育大学, Tōkyō Kyōiku Daigaku) was established under the post-war educational system, and most faculties and facilities were transferred to the new university. The old university was closed officially in 1962. [5] When the plan was made to build an entirely new city dedicated to science and research and education in 1963, it was decided that the university was to be relocated to the new city as the hub for the research activities. This plan caused outrage amongst some students, and fierce student protests forced the university to cancel classes for a few months and even the admission process for 1969. Meanwhile, the new university, the University of Tsukuba, was established by the government in 1973, and the first group of students were matriculated at the new campus in Tsukuba in April 1974. The old university was officially closed in 1978, with most of its assets and faculties transferred to the new university in Tsukuba. [6]

In October 2002, the University of Tsukuba merged with the University of Library and Information Science (図書館情報大学). The School of Library and Information Science and the Graduate School of Library and Information – Media Studies were subsequently established.


The university is primarily focused on STEMM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine), physical education, and related interdisciplinary fields. This focus is reflected by the university's location in the heart of Tsukuba Science City, alongside over 300 other research institutions. [7] The university counts among its faculty three Nobel laureates (two in Physics and one in Chemistry), and over 70 Olympic athletes. [8]

It has established interdisciplinary PhD programs in both Human Biology and Empowerment Informatics and the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine, which were created through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's competitive funding projects.

Its Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences is represented on the national Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction. [9]

International education

Their founding philosophy states the University of Tsukuba is "a university which is open to all within and outside Japan." [10] The university is also known for its internationalization efforts. It has won Japanese government funding projects for internationalization of Japanese universities, including the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's "Global 30" Project [11] and the "Super Global University Project" [12] (formally known as "Top Global University Project"). In the Super Global University Project, University of Tsukuba won Type A funding, which is for 13 elite Japanese universities to be ranked in the top 100 in global university rankings by 2023. Their initiative includes expanding the number of courses and degree programs taught in English only, sharing faculty members with partner institutions such as National Taiwan University, University of Bordeaux, and University of California, Irvine to promote education and research collaboration, and establishing so-called "Course Jukebox System" which enables their and partner institutions' students to take partner institutions' courses as if they are at their original institution. [13]

In 2004, the university established the Alliance for Research on North Africa (ARENA) as an academic research center with the purpose of promoting comprehensive research concerning the North African Region through integration of humanities and sciences. Since then, ARENA has been expanding its research fields, and the university established a branch office in Tunis, Tunisia in 2006. The University of Tsukuba is also accepting African students through the ABE initiative, which was initiated by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and is bringing 1,000 African graduate students to Japanese universities in five years from 2014. The University of Tsukuba is planning and leading Japan-Africa Academic Network (JAAN) initiative to bring together all the Japanese universities' resources for Africa and to deepen the academic relationship between Japan and Africa.

In May 2008, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development became an opportunity for the African Development Bank (AfDB) and universities in Japan to promote partnership on higher education, science and technology. Donald Kaberuka, the president of the AfDB, and the president of University of Tsukuba signed a memorandum of understanding during the three-day event. [14] In 2009, the University of Tsukuba participated in the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization's (SEAMEO) affiliated member, and it has been cooperating in the development of education in the ASEAN region. The university is a member of AIMS program, which is to promote regional student mobility among the ASEAN and participated countries including Japan.

As of August 2015, the university has over 300 international inter-university agreements [15] and 13 overseas offices in 12 countries, located in Brazil, China, Germany, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Tunisia, Taiwan, United States, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. [16]

In March 2023, the university announced the establishment of a new international campus in Malaysia, becoming the first Japanese public university to set up a campus outside Japan. [17]

Outside the Main Library Tsukuba-U-quadrangle.JPG
Outside the Main Library

Academic rankings

University rankings
THE National [18] General 9
T. Reuters National [19] Research 12
WE  [ ja ] National [20] Employment 60
Shimano National [21] Selectivity A1
QS Asia
(Asian Ranking version) [22]
General 55
THE Asia [23] General 93
THE World [24] General 351–400
QS World [25] General 355
ARWU World [26] Research 201–300
Program rankings

Research performance

Tsukuba is one of the leading research institutions in Japan. According to Thomson Reuters, Tsukuba is the 10th best research institutions among all the universities and non-educational research institutions in Japan. [27]

Weekly Diamond  [ ja ] reported that Tsukuba has the 27th highest research standard in Japan in research fundings per researchers in COE Program. [28] In the same article, it's ranked 11th in the quality of education by GP (in Japanese) funds per student.

It has a good research standard in Economics, as Research Papers in Economics ranked Tsukuba as the eighth best Economics research university in January 2011.

Graduate school rankings

Tsukuba's law school was ranked 19th in 2010 for its passing rate of the Japanese bar examination. [29]

Eduniversal ranked Tsukuba as seventh in the rankings of "Excellent Business Schools nationally strong and/or with continental links" in Japan. [30]

Alumni rankings

According to the Weekly Economist's 2010 rankings, graduates from Tsukuba have the 64th best employment rate in 400 major companies in Japan. [31] By contrast, the alumni of Tsukuba's average salary is very high with the 8th best in Japan, according to PRESIDENT, Inc. [32]

Popularity and selectivity

The University of Tsukuba is regarded as a selective university, with the selectivity for its undergraduate programmes usually ranked amongst the top 20 in the country. [33] [34]


Undergraduate schools and colleges

Graduate schools and programs

Research centers

University libraries

University hospital

Laboratory schools

Famous alumni






Artists and writers


The University of Tsukuba has been embroiled in a number of controversies during its relatively short existence. According to Debito Arudou, the university's dealings with foreign staff members has proven particularly controversial. Arudou notes that in 1985 the university decided to terminate the contracts of foreign teaching staff resulting in litigation being brought against the institution. [39] An account of the university's poor treatment of and breaking of contractual obligations with foreign staff is also included in Ivan Hall's Cartels of the Mind. [40]

On 12 July 1991, the university became the site of a murder when the Japanese translator of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, Hitoshi Igarashi, was killed in the context of the fatwas initiated by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini following the book's publication. Igarashi's murder case was closed in 2006 with no suspects having been brought to trial. [41]

Between 2019 and 2021, a number of controversies revolving around the university's president Kyosuke Nagata came to light. Under Nagata's leadership the university became the first institution of higher education to receive large scale funding from the Ministry of Defense in December 2019. According to Alexandra Sakaki and Sebastian Maslow 'Illustrating a lack of consensus within the Japanese academic community...the university's official decision has triggered internal backlash and fierce criticism from academic and civic groups.' [42] Indeed, the decision was heavily criticized by both the Science Council of Japan and Japanese academics. [43] Critics were particularly dismayed by the fact that this marked a complete u-turn in university policy – only one year earlier in December 2018, the university had issued a policy statement against military research on campus. [44]

The university met controversy again in 2020 when Nagata was re-elected as its president despite losing the faculty's ballot by almost two-thirds of the vote. [45] Additionally, the president's selection committee decided to scrap limits on the president's term of office allowing Nagata to remain in charge indefinitely. [45] This created backlash among academic staff resulting in the genesis of a campaign against Nagata's presidency. [46]

In 2021, journalists discovered discrepancies in the number of international students that the university had reported to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and Japanese University Rankings. The 2021 world rankings claimed 20% of the student body were international students positioning the university as one of the most diverse higher education institutions in the country, however, the Japanese rankings claimed that only 12.6% of the student body were international students. [45] As a result, Times Higher Education launched an investigation and advised the university on its submission of data in the future. [44] The erroneous data was also submitted to the government when the university applied for the status of "Designated National University" (指定国立大学) in 2020. [44] As such, the matter was discussed in the National Diet on 21 April 2021. [47] Critics have suggested that the university is attempting to circumvent its short comings in research which negatively affects its ranking by falsifying data. [45]

Partner institution


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36°06′41″N140°06′14″E / 36.11143°N 140.10383°E / 36.11143; 140.10383