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Japanese Education System

Q:What is the difference between Advanced Diploma and Bachelor’s degree? Is a holder of an Advanced Diploma eligible to apply for admission to postgraduate education in Japan?

A:Bachelor’s degree is awarded to graduates of universities (undergraduate program) while Advanced Diploma is awarded to graduates of certain programs of Professional Training Colleges designated by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Universities focus on academic studies while Professional Training Colleges provide education and training to develop abilities necessary for work and everyday life.

The standard program length is 4 years for both programs.

In terms of admission to postgraduate programs (Master’s program and zenki of Doctoral program) in Japan, graduates of university undergraduate programs, graduates of certain programs at Professional Training Colleges designated by the Minister of MEXT are both eligible to apply.

Therefore, regardless of whether a student has been awarded an Advanced Diploma or not, a student who has completed a program designated by the Minister of MEXT has eligibility for access to Master's and zenki of Doctoral programs in Japan.

List of the designated programs at Professional Training Colleges for award of Advanced Diplomas (in Japanese)

Entrance qualification for Master’s courses and Doctoral courses (first half)