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  • Locations: Akita, Japan
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Calendar Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: English Click here for a definition of this term Minimum GPA: 2.5
Click here for a definition of this term Housing Options: Residence hall or dormitory Click here for a definition of this term Program Type: Exchange / Direct Enroll
Recommendation Requirement: 1 required; refer to the Eligibility section below for details
Program Description:
About the Program Accommodations
Eligibility Dates and Costs
Academics Visa Information

About Akita International University 
Akita International University was founded in 2004 as a unique Japanese university with a focus on liberal arts education to produce global leaders for 21st century Japan.  Located about 20 minutes outside of Akita City population 325,000 inhabitants, which is about 4 hours by high speed train from Tokyo. It is located on the northwestern coast on the main island and is an ideal location to learn and study Japanese language and culture.  With a small student body of just over 800 students, Richmond students have the opportunity to study in an inimate residential college setting with Japanese students and international students from around the world. 

Akita offers an English language curriculum and requires all of its degree students to study abroad.  Akita has over 170 exchanges with universities around the world.  Twenty percent of the student body is comprised of international students representing over 30 countries worldwide.

One of the main attractions of Akita is the interactive nature of the classroom, which distinguishes Akita from other Japanese universities.  Additionally, the calendar is the same for international and Japanese students so that students are studying and socializing together during the school year.

Akita offers clubs, sports and community events such as rice planting and harvesting as well as volunteer opportunities to engage in local schools and with local Japanese families.  Akita also has a health room for minor illnesses and injuries as well as a counseling center on campus with bilingual counselors.  Students need to be aware that Akita is a smoke free campus so smoking is not allowed anywhere on campus including residential buildings.

Read about a UR student's experience at Akita this fall 2015 semester
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Note: Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university to study abroad. When reviewing applications for approval, disciplinary records will be taken into consideration and students must be cleared by the Dean’s office to study abroad.  Students on conduct probation will not be able to study abroad if they are on conduct probation that does not expire prior to the start date of the semester abroad program.

Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to participate; however, specific majors (such as the business school) may require a higher GPA to be considered for participation. Students should read the specific major and/or minor requirements on the relevant departmental web pages. 

Additionally, undergraduate applicants should have junior or senior year standing. Second semester sophomores will be considered on a case by case basis.

No prior study of Japanese language is required.  Students are encouraged to study Japanese prior to study abroad.  Students who have taken Asian studies courses prior to studying abroad will have preference as long as the other admission requirements are met.

Students applying to Akita must obtain one recommendation from a UR faculty member. The online application will explain how to request the recommendation. 

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Akika offers an English taught curriculum. Additionally, Japanese language and culture classes are offered for international exchange students. 

With the exception of Japanese language courses, exchange students take courses in English alongside the Japanese undergraduates.  The average class size at Akita is 18 students.

Web links for courses available to exchange students
Course Load

Richmond students will take one Japanese language course worth 6 credits plus 2 or 3 English taught courses at AIU each semester.  The minimum credit requirement at Akita is 12 credits per semester.  Subject courses at Akita are worth 3 semester credits and students may take a maximum of 18 semester credits per term. 

Semester hours from Akita will be converted using the formula:  Semester hours/3.5, round up to nearest tenth of a unit.  A 3-semester credit course at Akita will be transferred back to Richmond as .9 units. For more information about conversion to units, see the Registrar's web page.

Akita uses an A-F grading scale.  Credit for grades less than "C" will not be transferred back to the University of Richmond.
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Richmond students are guaranteed on-campus accommodations in double rooms or suites of three single rooms. Dormitory floors are separated by sex, to the maximum extent possible, and all rooms/ suites are single-sex. All buildings at AIU are handicapped-accessible. The dormitory has a shared kitchen and all on-campus apartments have in-room kitchenettes for students who wish to cook their own meals.

Detailed information about meal option and housing information can be located on the following web pages:

Housing Information
Dining Information


Dates & Costs *Click here for Dates and Costs for Akita International University
Fall semester is early September through late December
Winter program is early January through early March (*only for students who started Akita in the fall term.  There is a 9-credit maximum for the winter term.)
Spring semester is early April through end of July

Visa Information

Students are required to apply for a student visa prior to departure. Do this early! For more information, please visit the Japanese embassy website at and review the Akita International University web page.

For More Information

See Michele Cox in the Office of International Education, suite 103, International Center.
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This document represents the most accurate information available at the time of publication. Statements contained herein are not contractual obligations, and verbal or other representations that are inconsistent with or not contained within the document are not binding. The University of Richmond reserves the right to change without specific notice programs and the conditions under which they are offered.

February 2, 2015