Ritsumeikan University



Ritsumeikan University (立命館大学) was founded in 1900 as a private university in Kyoto, Japan. It is home to approximately 35,000 students. Of which, over a 1,000 are international students. Needless to say campus life can be pretty exciting with nearly 200 active student clubs as well as a wealth of community festivals. In addition to campus clubs and circles, students can get involved in the local community through various volunteer activities. The Ritsumeikan University Volunteer Center provides support for students wishing to volunteer for a good cause. Whether you are interested in health issues, the environment, or international activities, the Volunteer Center can direct you to an opportunity that meets your interests and schedule. This program is university-wide, meaning any undergraduate Pitt student regardless of major may participate.

Fact sheet: 
Learning Objectives: 

As an active and engaged participant on this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • the ability to succeed independently in a foreign education environment.
  • non-US based perspectives on your field of study and/or future career path.
  • a global network of peer in similar fields of study and connections with faculty in Japan.
Partner Information: 

International Center at Kinugasa Campus

Ritsumeikan University

Study in Kyoto Program

56-1, Toji-in Kitamachi

Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8346


+81 75-465-8230



Location Description: 

Located in central Japan, the ancient city of Kyoto is known for its traditional festivals such as Gion Matsuri, one of the largest and most famous in Japan. It is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, of which the famous Ryoanji Temple and Golden Pavilion are located within walking distance of Ritsumeikan. At the same time as being an ancient city with a rich cultural heritage, the city of Kyoto is also progressive and modern.

Housing Description: 

Ritsumeikan offers options for university-affiliated housing or private accommodations. Although Pitt students are not guaranteed spots within university-affiliated housing, Ritsumeikan will provide instructions on when and how to apply for housing. See Ritsumeikan’s general housing website

Academic Description: 

At Ritsumeikan, courses are taught in Japanese, as well as English. Credits taken at Kobe are equivalent to credits received at Pitt according to a 1:1 ratio. For example, 3 credits at Ritsumeikan will transfer as 3 Pitt credits.
All credits taken at Ritsumeikan require approval by both your academic advisor(s) and study abroad program manager. Additionally, for the purpose of full-time status here at Pitt, students should be prepared to take what is equivalent to at least 12 Pitt credit hours. Courses taken at Ritsumeikan will be treated as transfer credits and will be marked as pass/fail (S/NC) on a Pitt student's transcript. In other words, transfer credits will not affect your Pitt GPA. Actual grades earned will appear on the transcript from the exchange university. 
At Ritsumeikan, Pitt students will choose between one of three tracks: Intensive Japanese Language (ILJ), Open Study in English Track (OSE), and Business Track (BT). See their website for more details regarding each track.

Students who have attended this program in the past have taken classes in the areas of:: 
Like Pitt, Ritsumeikan’s grading scale follows the practice of assigning letter grades, such as A, B, C, D and F.  
The grading system is based off the following scale: 
Ritsumeikan North America
S (90-100%) A (4.0)
A (80-89%) B+ (3.5)
B (70-79%) B (3.0)
C (60-69%) C (2.0)
F (below 59%) F

For Pitt transfer credit, in order to earn a grade of “S,” (satisfactory) at Pitt, you must make an equivalent to a grade of “C” or higher. An equivalent to a “C-” or lower will result in a grade of “NC” (no credit) at Pitt.

Ritsumeikan will provide hardcopy (or electronic transcripts) to the University of Pittsburgh’s Study Abroad Office. Make sure that you follow their instructions on how to ensure that an official copy of your grades are receive. Hardcopies should be sent the following address: 3959 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA. Electronic copies should be sent to the designated exchange program manager under “SAO Staff.”  
Exchange university transcripts typically do not arrive from the exchange university until 3 to 4 months after the end of exchange period. Therefore, Pitt students should be mindful of how this may affect their ability to graduate, especially when exchanging during one's senior year. Another consideration is how this may affect your financial aid package, as the S/NC grades are not posted until transcripts are received. 

Pitt students may utilize the following online resource to understand the grading scale within this host country.


Program Fees: 
Pitt students participating on an exchange program will pay regular Pitt tuition and fees, according to their in-state or out-of-state residency status. In addition to the Study Abroad Administrative Fee, this also includes all Mandatory Fees, such as the Student Activity Fee, Wellness Fee, Computing and Network Services Fee, and the Security, Safety, and Transportation Fee.  
Pitt Students on financial aid and/or tuition scholarships will need to consult the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid or respective entity providing the funds to confirm coverage for study abroad. 

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition* $9,880 $17,982
Mandatory Fees $645 $645
Study Abroad Fee $400 $400
Total Billed by Pitt* $10,925 $19027
*The tuition rate listed is defaulted to reflect the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. For Pitt students of another Pitt school or campus, the tuition rate will reflect the home school or campus. See posted rates on the Institutional Research page.


How Much To Budget: 

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Travel Expenses: Airfare, Passport, Visa, Resident Permit  $2,500
Room & Board $4,000
Personal Expenses $3,500
The Estimated Costs reflect information provided by Ritsumeikan and are reported to OAFA to calculate financial aid packages.The listed costs are defaulted to one semester. Multiply the costs by two for two semesters. 
Personal expenses vary with individual students. Review the Ritsumeikan's website for more information, and visit our budgeting page for more information. 

Students studying abroad through Pitt Study Abroad are automatically provided health insurance coverage during the official program dates. However, you may need to purchase additional insurance if the exchange university you will attend requires purchase of a specific health insurance coverage per their regulations. It is your responsibility to ensure you know the cost of that insurance prior to committing to the program.

Program Dates: 

Pitt students enroll at Ritsumeikan for either a full semester (spring) or a full academic year (two full semesters). Ritsumeikan's academic calendars may differ from Pitt's normal fall (August through December) and spring (January through April) semesters, so Pitt students should check the academic calendar at the exchange university. Unlike Pitt, Ritsumeikan’s academic calendar follows a Spring-Fall progression, meaning Spring is the first semester followed by the Fall semester as the second. Because Ritsumeikan’s academic calendar varies significantly from Pitt’s, exchanging for only the fall semester is not possible. However, if a single semester at Ritsumeikan is desired, then the Spring (or second) semester is the only option. The dates listed above are estimated and therefore subject to change according to the host university’s schedule.

Dr. Shawn Alfonso Wells

Hujambo, Hola, Bon jour! I am the Exchange and Panther Programs Manger. I have a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and am an Adjunct professor of Anthropology who has taught in the Anthropology, History, Sociology, and Africana Studies departments at Pitt and CMU. I recently helped students to achieve their goals as their Academic Advisor. I did my fieldwork on Color Classification in Cuba and have led many ground breaking experiential student trips to Cuba. I love learning about different cultures and want to help facilitate students being able to travel abroad learn the world. I look forward to assisting you to achieve your goals.


Schedule a Zoom appointment with me below or get in touch with me through email to discuss exchange options and your future global experience.


Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!

  • Click here to schedule an appointment with me through Pathways.
  • Log into Pathways with your Pitt username and password
  • Select Find Available Time
  • Select the time that works for you
  • Click the schedule button
  • You will see a confirms message on the screen. You will also receive a confirmation in your Pitt email.

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email!

Application Instructions: 

Pitt sends a limited number of students per semester to Ritsumeikan. In addition to applying to the Pitt Study Abroad application above, be sure to review Ritsumeikan's website regarding their application requirements for incoming exchange students. A formal nomination from Pitt Study Abroad is required for Pitt students to be recognized as an exchange student at Ritsumeikan. Therefore, Pitt students must complete all necessary Pitt Study Abroad steps in addition to Ritsumeikan's requirements. In other words, acceptance by Pitt Study Abroad does not guarantee acceptance by the exchange university.  
The exchange university may require the following to be submitted through an online application. Requirements may include but are not limited to the following:  

  • Application Form 
  • Copy of Valid Passport 
  • Official Pitt Transcript 
  • Official Pitt Verification of Enrollment 
  • Statement of Intent or Purpose 
  • Resume or CV 
  • Official Language Evaluation 
  • Up to 2 instructor letters of recommendations 
  • Up to 2 passport photos 


Additional Information: 

Scholarships: Pitt students exchanging at Ritsumeikan are eligible for the JASSO and RUSSES scholarships. For details, visit Ritsumeikan's scholarship page
Language Requirements: Non-native English speakers will be required to show evidence of English proficiency either through the IELTS or the TOELF. In order to take courses in Japanese at Ritsumeikan, Pitt students will be required to submit evidence of Japanese proficiency through the JLPT. Please check with Ritsumeikan regarding these requirements.  


Insurance Requirements: 

Students studying abroad through Pitt Study Abroad are automatically provided health insurance coverage during the official program dates. However, Japan requires Pitt students to purchase additional coverage through their national health plans. Students are required to join the National Health Insurance system while in Japan, costing approximately ¥2,000 per month. This insurance allows the bearer to pay only 30% of the incurred medical costs. To provide assistance with this payment, the Kyoto City International Foundation reimburses a portion of the National Health Insurance cost to international students living in Kyoto. Contact Ritsumeikan for more details. 

Visa Requirements: 

In order to study as a student in specific countries, a visa is required. A visa is formal endorsement by the host country to grant permission for an individual to enter, live or stay in that country for a specific purpose and period. In addition to a visa, some host countries may require a residency permit upon arrival. 


For those without Japanese nationality, students must obtain a student visa to study in Japan. For an overview regarding the visa process, please review Ritsumeikan's website.  Also, check the Japanese Embassy or consulate closest to you for additional information. Ritsumeikan will provide general direction after formal admission on for how to apply for either the visa and/or residency permit. Pitt students should also research the visa and/or permit process through the specified country consulate website. In general visa and/or permit application requirements include but are not limited to the following requirements:  

  • Visa application 
  • Valid Passport 
  • Verification of acceptance from sponsoring university (exchange university) 
  • Financial Documents, such as bank statements, tax documents or pay statements.   
  • Passport photos 
  • Application fee 
  • Medical/physical examination (likely to require a doctor's appointment so plan accordingly)