Cooperative Laboratory Study Program



The main purpose of the Cooperative Laboratory Study Program (COLABS) is to offer an opportunity for international students from all partner universities throughout the world to take scientific research training in the assigned research laboratory as well as to get basic education courses taught in English at Tohoku University in order to increase their abilities to expand their activity into new science fields, without having to attain the Japanese language proficiency that would be necessary to take the same courses in Japanese. Then, a rather broad set of thematic fields has been chosen to let international students study in new, interdisciplinary, scientific fields in the future.

The COLABS program is graduate-level and research-oriented with its center on the course of Individual Research Training in Lab (IRTLab) at Tohoku University. It is to be desired that student exchange will be arranged on the basis of collaborations between scientists in the partner and Tohoku universities, who will make sure students get to the right places in the Tohoku University. These processes will make academic collaboration between the partner and Tohoku universities closer and stronger. Though the short-term exchange international students are not degree candidates at Tohoku University, through the IRTLab course a similar experience is offered by special arrangements.

The COLABS program also offers courses on Japanese language, culture, and society aimed at promotion of understanding of Japanese language and social customs, which are taught in English. Cultural and intellectual exchange with Japanese students and professors is an integral part of the program. This will be accomplished through class work as well as participation in the various activities of research groups. These education processes will contribute to develop human resources for the global society.

Depending on your home university's grading requirements, you may also be able to have the successful results obtained at Tohoku University credited towards your degree back home. The duration of each student exchange shall be one semester or one year.


Each semester consists of 15 weeks of class work. Two credits are given for most of the lecture courses that meet once a week for 90 minutes. The Japanese language classes meet four times a week and 4 credits are given for 60 classes.

Accompanied by the above credits of Tohoku University, we will provide information regarding the students’ academic performance of course works. The home university is responsible for the award of credits of the home university, based on the work undertaken and evaluated by the Tohoku University.

Participation in the research group activities counts as 12-30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) equivalent for the IRTLab course each semester, which is only one required course. According to the ECTS-compliant School hours table for IRTLab, which is provided to facilitate credit transfer between Tohoku University and partner institutions, ECTS equivalent will be awarded based on "Total School hours", after successful performance as determined by the committee in charge, although the students are not required to complete a thesis. A certificate of completion of advanced short-term exchange program (COLABS) will be awarded to the students who earn 30 ECTS Equivalent or more in each semester including the ECTS Equivalent of IRTLab.

1. Courses Offered in Academic Year 2016-2017
2. Course Description of Individual Research Training in Lab 
3. Related Graduate Schools and Research Activities for IRTLab



The duration of each student exchange shall be one semester or one year. To be considered as a COLABS student at Tohoku University, applicant must:

- be a graduate student at the home university, which must have a formal student exchange agreement with Tohoku University.
- after completing the exchange program, remain registered as a full-time degree student at the home university.
- be continuing towards the degree of the home institution.
- have a good grade average.

How to Apply

If you are studying at the partner university, which must have a formal student exchange agreement with Tohoku University, you can contact your Exchange Program Coordinator for information about applying to Tohoku University COLABS as an exchange student. The Coordinator will be able to give you information about the selection criteria and will be available to assist you through the application and selection processes. The selection process shall consist of stringent evaluation of the student’s previous academic record, motivation, and overall potential to succeed in an international academic environment.

Your application must be submitted through the Exchange Program Coordinator at your home institution. You cannot apply directly to Tohoku University.


Tohoku University provides a fully integrated support service for International students.

Click here for details


Student Exchange Division

41 Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-8576 Japan

Tel: +81-22-795-3775 or 3745

Email: studyab@grp.tohoku.ac.jp

Students Voice

Stephan Wollstadt (Technische Universitat Darmstadt, Germany)

Stephan Wollstadt

It was my first time to stay abroad. I thought about doing my research project at Tohoku University since it is among the best universities on this planet. I applied for the COLABS program and started my studies of Japanese language. It is a sign of respect to learn the language of the country you are going to. So, in Sendai, I met several new friends, collected a lot of experiences about the life in Japan and Japanese people and other cultures. My co-workers in my laboratory were all very friendly and I felt very comfortable there. The research work itself was pretty familiar to what I did in Germany. It turned out that my work ended in decent results. Also the weekends were full of leisure. I went on a lot of trips. Sendai, Japan, itself is a very nice city with a million inhabitants, and is one of the greenest among Japanese cities. In summary, I will always keep my stay in Sendai in good memories. I gathered a lot of experience. It was not only a benefit to my scientific knowledge but also in my character. I will try to keep up some habits I learned in Japan.

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