Kobe Design University Graduate School 2014 Fall Semester Admission Information for International Students from Exchange Partner and Cumulus Member Institutions Applying from Outside Japan

Message from the President

Prof. Takahito Saiki, President, Kobe Design University

Kobe Design University Graduate School is one of the few postgraduate institutions in Japan conducting comprehensive education and research in design and art. In addition to studying their specialized programs of choice, Kobe Design University Graduate School students study design theories forming the backbone of academic activities, as well as state-of-the-art science and technology.

“Arts and design” is an area of study for fostering—through training in arts and culture rooted in human activities and history, and academic activities in design and art that draw on the strengths of science and technology—advanced levels of expertise demanded by the times and by society, as well as rich creativity, flexible conceptual power, and an unconventional, yet solid ability to express thoughts and ideas.

From its establishment in 1993 to September 2013, Kobe Design University Graduate School has conferred he Master of Design to 404 students, and the Doctor of Design to 49 students, who have then gone on to advance their careers at Japanese and overseas corporations, and research and educational institutions. They have also achieved remarkable success in various competitions, and many of their papers have been awarded by the Design Research Association.

Our graduate students hail from many countries, including China, South Korea, Iran, India, Argentina, Tunisia, Bosnia, Myanmar, and Russia. Contact with different cultures and values encourages the production of diverse designs and ideas.

I sincerely hope that each of you experience a fruitful and rewarding time at this innovative and unique Graduate School.

Message from Division Heads

Prof. Shunsaku Koga, Head, Arts & Design Division
Prof. Mitsuo Toyazaki, Head, Integrated Arts Division
Prof. Jiro Sagara, Head, Integrated Design Division

Kobe Design University Graduate School of Arts and Design has three divisions: Integrated Arts, Integrated Design, and Arts & Design. The first two are master’s degree courses; the last one is a doctoral degree course.

The Integrated Arts Division is designed to develop comprehensive artists who are capable of devising and developing practical ideas and strategies; who are equipped with advanced professional knowledge, abilities and skills in art; and who possess a rich background in imaginative, progressive arts employing information and media technologies, as well as in traditional culture and arts.

The Integrated Design Division is designed to develop, through practical and theoretical work in design, comprehensive designers capable of devising and developing practical ideas and strategies, who are highly creative, and who have the advanced professional knowledge, abilities and skills that meet today’s diverse environmental and systemic needs.

More advanced than the above two master’s programs, the Arts & Design Division is designed to develop intellectual experts capable of supporting a knowledge-based society in their diverse capacities founded on arts and design. At the same time, through theoretical work in design and art, the program develops scholars capable of innovative and outstanding research and development, as well as educators equipped with sound educational and research capabilities.

Number of Places

Course Division Admission category Number
Master’s Integrated Design or Integrated Art International student Up to 10 students

Application Deadline, Selection Date, Notification of Results, etc.

Item Schedule
Application period June 9 (Mon) to 19 (Thu), 2014(required documentation must be postmarked by the deadline)
Selection date July 16 (Wed), 2014
Notification of results July 18 (Fri), 2014
Enrollment procedure period July 21 (Mon) to 31 (Wed), 2014
period (required documentation must be postmarked by the deadline)
Withdrawal notification deadline September 23 (Tue), 2014
(withdrawal notification must be received by the Graduate School on or before this date)

Selection Method

Method Remark
Documentary screening Submitted research plan and portfolio of works* will be examined for screening.* To be written in Japanese as a rule, but English is also accepted.

* Since selection is by documentary screening, candidates do not need to travel to Japan for the screening process.


Non-Japanese nationals who are not permanent residents of Japan and who meet the following four criteria:

  1. Aged 22 or over, and holds a bachelor’s degree from one of the following exchange partner institutions and Cumulus member institutions, or expects to obtain a bachelor’s degree from one of the exchange partner/Cumulus member institutions by September 23, 2014.
  2. ●Exchange Partner Institutions
    Beijing Institute of Technology
    Dongseo University
    National Yunlin University of Science & Technology
    National Taiwan University of Arts
    National University of Kaohsiung
    Institut Teknologi Bandung
    Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee
    Université de Montréal
    University of Canberra
    Aalto University
    School of Arts, Design and Architecture
    FH JOANNEUM Gesellschaft mbH University of Applied Sciences

    ● Cumulus (International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media) Member Institutions
    * Please refer to http://www.cumulusassociation.org/members/full-members for a list of member institutions.

  3. Has attained level N2 or higher on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) administered by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services. All courses are taught in Japanese. The JLPT is usually held on Sundays in early July and December.
    * Details are available from the JLPT website at
  4. Resides outside Japan at the time of application, and can expect to obtain, as a rule, the “College Student” status of residence under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act once admitted to the Graduate School.
  5. Prior to applying, has consulted with the Graduate School Admissions Office, contacted his/her research adviser of choice, and obtained consent for research supervision.
  6. Application Materials

    (All documents must be in black ink or black ballpoint pen. Please do not use an erasable ballpoint pen.)

    1. Completed application form
    2. Research plan
    3. Statement of reason(s) for selecting your preferred research supervisor
    4. Certificate of graduation (or prospect of graduation) from your university
    5. Official transcript (undergraduate)
    6. Résumé
    7. Two letters of recommendation: one from your university’s president, dean or equivalent, and one from your direct academic supervisor
    8. Materials showing past research work, such as a portfolio of works or research papers (please attach abstracts in Japanese)
    9. Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Certificate of Result and Scores
    10. Photocopy of passport (all pages including blank pages)
    11. Health certificate

    *As for the application materials 1 to 3, and 6, please download the relevant formats from the website of Kobe Design University Graduate School at http://english.kobe-du.ac.jp/admissions/semester-admission/

    If incomplete application materials are submitted, the application might not be accepted. Please make sure that your application materials are free from any deficiencies before submitting them.

    How to Submit Your Application

    • Please send the above application materials by EMS (Express Mail Service) or equivalent to the following address (application materials must be postmarked on or before June 19, 2014):
    • Kobe Design University Graduate School Admissions Office
      8-1-1 Gakuennishi-machi, Nishi-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 651-2196,
    • In principle, no submitted materials will be returned.
    • Notification of Results and Enrollment Procedures

      1. Results will be notified to applicants by email and postal mail. The Graduate School cannot respond to telephone inquiries.
      2. Successful applicants are required to pay half the entrance fee (180,000 yen) and submit enrollment documents within the prescribed enrollment procedure period (details will be notified to successful applicants).
      3. he remaining half of the entrance fee (180,000 yen) and the first installment of the tuition and equipment & laboratory fee (130,000 + 70,000 = 200,000 yen), as well as the Japanese language tuition (150,000 yen) are due by Friday, September 19, 2014.
      4. Successful applicants are required to submit, within the prescribed enrollment procedure period, proof of ability to finance their expenses, such as certificate of sponsor/guarantor bank balance, certificate of employment, or certificate of tax payment. Please prepare such documents in good time, since the enrollment procedure period is quite short.
      5. Admission will be denied to applicants who fail to complete, for whatever reason, the required enrollment procedures within the prescribed enrollment procedure period.
      6. The entrance fee is non-refundable.

      Tuition and Other Fees by Academic Year


      Spring semester 2nd payment
      Item Due Entrance fee Tuition Equipment & laboratory fee Japanese language tuition Total
      2014 Jul. 31 180,000 180,000
      Fall semester 1st payment Sep. 19 180,000 130,000 70,000 150,000 530,000
      Fall semester 2nd payment Jan. 20 130,000 70,000 200,000
      Spring semester 1st payment Apr. 20



      Spring semester 2nd payment Jul. 21



      Fall semester 1st payment Oct. 20



      Fall semester 2nd payment Jan. 20 130,000 70,000 200,000
      Spring semester 1st payment Apr. 20 130,000 70,000 200,000
      Jul. 20 130,000 70,000 200,000
      Fall semester 1st payment Oct. 20 130,000 70,000 200,000
      Fall semester 2nd payment Jan. 20 130,000 70,000 200,000

      * Tuition and equipment & laboratory fee are paid in four installments.
      * A number of scholarships, offered either by Kobe Design University or by external organizations, are open to application by international students.

      Course Duration (September 2014 to March 2017)

      Students are required to enroll for two years and six months to complete the master’s degree course at Kobe Design University Graduate School.

      Other Points to Note

      1. International students admitted to Kobe Design University Graduate School are required to take a six-month Japanese language course offered at a Japanese language school designated by Kobe Design University Graduate School. Students are responsible for their own travel expenses (a six-month student commuter pass costs around 47,000 yen) to and from the language school.
      2. The Japanese language course runs from October 2014 to March 2015. Students are required to take an end-of-course exam on Friday, February 27, 2015. Students who do not pass this exam must retake the Japanese language course at their own cost.
      3. For any inquiries, please contact the Kobe Design University Office of Student and International Relations.
      Email: international@kobe-du.ac.jp

      Entrance Ceremony

      The entrance ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at Kobe Design University.

      Educational and Research Goals

      The Graduate School develops researchers’ creativity through specialized research and theoretical deepening in design. The School provides training for students to become versatile designers equipped with knowledge, ability and skills responding to today’s diverse environmental and systemic needs, and who are capable of devising practical strategies.

      “Arts and design” constantly evolves and develops in pace with society. Kobe Design University Graduate School offers a curriculum and practical program for exploring design principles, ideas and methods addressing the latest themes and issues presented by contemporary society.

      Educational and Research Structure

      Led by 54 selected faculty members from the various departments of Kobe Design University, the Graduate School offers comprehensive study in interdisciplinary art and design theories and methods, which in turn serve as the basis for further, specialized research in art and design practices.


      The discipline of “arts and design” covers a vast area. Students are therefore admitted from a diverse range of academic backgrounds that include but are not limited to art and engineering subjects. The Graduate School also welcomes older adult and international students.

      Research Supervision

      When applying for admission, prospective students select the faculty member they wish to be their research or project supervisor. Under the specialized supervision of the appointed instructor, students complete their master’s thesis, project work, or doctoral thesis (in Arts and Design). Students may also select to receive supervision from instructors from more than one area of specialization.