Education System in Kyoto University

Bachelor course system in Kyoto University consists of general education and professional education. Professional education is conducted by each faculty, and general education is conducted by Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The purposes of conducting general education are as follows.

  • To make students understand various interests, questions and academic methodology through learning of the specialism which they did not major in.
  • To acquire basic knowledge and skills needed in professional education
  • To acquire enough international point of view and communication ability in order to be involved with studies in global society and to succeed in various field in society

Students in every faculty are required to register “liberal arts and sciences courses” as general education.
You begin studying “liberal arts and sciences courses” before or in parallel with learning professional education. You need to earn credits to satisfy the graduation requirement (the number of credits, designated courses, etc.) which each faculty sets.
Please be sure to check ”各学部の修得すべき全学共通科⽬の単位数について (The number of credits required for graduation in the liberal arts and sciences program)” on the website “WKU: Welcome to Kyoto University” or “Handbook of Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses”.

Liberal arts and sciences courses are organized into course groups depending on its contents. Please look at Course Design and its Objects for more details.

*Professional education is held by each faculty to acquire learning methods and expertise in each field. The curriculum is decided based on educational ideas and policy of each faculty.

Img wariai en

Academic Calendar and Class Hours

Kyoto University conducts classes by dividing a year into 2 semesters, the first semester and the second semester. Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses consist of fourteen-week class period, one-week exam period, and one-week feedback class* period. The schedule from the class start to the end is as below.

* A feedback class is one class of a course to give you an opportunity to reflect on how much you attain new knowledge in the course by instructor’s remarks or asking questions to an instructor and to enhance your learning in the future.

Img schedule en

The class hours are as below. 5 time blocks are held from Monday to Friday. In total, there are 25 time blocks in a week.

Img jikantai en

Please check here for more detail about class schedule.

Academic Credit in University

The number of credits issued for each courses are decided based on total class time and class style in university. Generally, a class is held for 90 minutes once a week, and at 15 times in total per semester. A class in one time block is set depending on class style as follows.

  • Lectures, seminars
    • [Class hours×Number of classes]
      90 minutes×15 times
    • [a number of credits]
      2 credits
  • Experiments, Practical trainings
    • [Class hours×Number of classes]
      90 minutes×15 times
    • [a number of credits]
      1 credit
Class style Class hours×Number of classes a number of credits
Lectures, seminars 90 minutes×15 times 2 credits
Experiments, Practical trainings 90 minutes×15 times 1 credit

*Credits for experiments and practical trainings are fewer than lectures and seminars because they cannot have so much self-instruction compared with lectures and seminars.

When you see the credits required for graduation, class hours in university seem like fewer than those in high school, but there is a reason for this. The Standards for Establishment of Universities orders one credit is composed of contents to take 45 hours to study, which means out-of-class study needs other than in-class study. Therefore, credits are set on the assumption of self-instruction. It is not enough for you, university students, just to take classes. You are required to do self-study and to think for yourself based on the knowledge you attain in class.
Earning credits requires getting a pass grade by taking exam, submitting term paper, and/or completing coursework. As to the examinations and grades on the liberal arts and sciences program, please refer to Classes, Examinations and Grades page. Please also consult a syllabus for the details about how you will be assessed in each course.

Each faculty determined the upper limit of the number of credits a student can take per semester, which is called credits cap system, and it enables students to secure the study times for preparation and review. You might not set aside enough time for preparation, review and thinking for yourself in your daily life when you take too many courses. You can find the upper limit of the number of credits you can take per semester at the ”各学部の修得すべき全学共通科⽬の単位数について (The number of credits required for graduation in the liberal arts and sciences program)” on the website “WKU: Welcome to Kyoto University” or “Handbook of Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses”. Under the limit, students have to make their study plan of the liberal arts and general education courses and their major courses referring to the following instructions and the guidance by your department.

Class Designated Course in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses organize around forty-student classes by the faculty and division.
Timeslots of mandatory/selective mandatory courses for graduation, courses recommended by your department*, or courses controlling the number of enrollment are already decided for each class. These courses are called class designated course. Almost all of the designated courses are held for every faculty and division at the same period, but some timetables are different depending on classes like foreign language courses and others. Please check “Syllabus (Class Contents) and Timetable” on WKU or “Timetable of class designated courses in the liberal arts and sciences program and mandatory/recommended major courses” at the “Course Choice before semester begins” part below for designated courses each faculty sets.

*Mandatory courses must be completed for graduation. Selective mandatory courses require students to earn at least a given number of credits from the courses designated by the faculty (department). Courses recommended by the faculty (department) are not required for graduation but are recommended for a reason such as providing a foundation for major courses.

Classes except for designated courses are called free elective course. Students can register free elective courses regardless of their classes.

Regarding foreign language courses, you need to choose which language you register at first. Please refer to “Course Choice before semester begins” for more details.

Regarding foreign language courses, you need to choose which language you register at first. Please refer to “Course Choice before semester begins” for more details.


Syllabi show detailed plan of courses. They become keys to choose subjects and guides to learn subjects. Please use syllabi when you choose free elective courses.

How to make timetable

Following the above instruction, let’s make your own study schedule.
You have to choose and decide what subjects you study by yourself in the university and make your study plan considering your study field in the future and your goal of learning. The first semester of the freshman year is especially important to get into a habit of learning and healthy lifestyle in the university. You are strongly recommended for a reasonable study plan in order to spare enough time for each course, a moderate number of classes you take, and securing times for preparations and reviews of the courses.

There are many class timetables according to the number of students, however, there is one common procedure of class registration for all students. The following instruction is the major flow of the whole process of class registration for the first semester of freshman year.

In March

Check out the graduation requirement and rough class timetable of the first semester through Welcome to Kyoto University website. Complete the selection of the second language courses and the application for ILAS seminar by the due date on the website.

Point 1: Number of credits to earn from the liberal arts and sciences program for graduation

  • The number of credits and its breakdown of the liberal arts and sciences courses required for graduation differs according to the department and division. As it is the most important on planning your study plan, you must check it out first of all.
  • Check the upper limit of the number of credits to register per semester. You have to decide the courses to take in the first semester within the limit.
  • The students of Faculty of Science should learn the courses classified to Fundamental major courses (専門基礎科目) referring Instruction guide for subjects of Faculty of Science (理学部教科の手引き). The students of Faculty of Engineering should learn the selective mandatory courses in the natural sciences course group designated by the division referring Class registration guidelines of Faculty of Engineering (工学部履修要覧).

Point 2: Schedule of the designated course

  • The courses which can be allotted to different timeslots for students even in a department/division as well as the second language classes are not fixed yet at this time. Please keep it in mind when planning your class timetable.
  • Take free elective courses in vacant timeslots.
  • Timetable of class designated courses in the liberal arts and sciences program and mandatory/recommended major courses, and advice from your faculty (department)(Japanese text only)

Point 3: Sign up for second language you take by 17:00, March 24th (mandatory, on the “Welcome to Kyoto University” website)

  • Students are required to register two or more foreign languages. Please be sure to check which languages are approved for graduation before choosing language because it depends on faculties. Please check ”各学部の修得すべき全学共通科⽬の単位数について (The number of credits required for graduation in the liberal arts and sciences program)” on the website “WKU: Welcome to Kyoto University” or “Handbook of Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses” for language credits you need to earn.
  • If you would like to obtain a teacher’s license, you need to earn 2 credits in English, German, French, Chinese, or Russian regardless of the field of the license. Please confirm at the student affairs office at your faculty or at Faculty of Education for the teaching profession courses.
  • The reason why you need to register foreign language before the first semester begins is that we need to make up classes based on the number of students in each language. So if you choose English, German, French, Chinese, Spanish and/or Arabic, the classes you take are designated. You cannot change over from them the other classes.
  • Russian, Italian, and Korean are held as free elective courses. You can choose classes and add them to the candidate courses.
  • If international students choose Japanese, they are informed of its registration procedure.
  • Regarding features and class explanations of each language, please check English Education Programs and E-Classes or Second Foreign Languages.

Point 4: Apply for ILAS seminar by 17:00, March 24th (optional, on the “Welcome to Kyoto University” website)

  • What’s ILAS Seminar? here
  • Each ILAS seminar has its quota, so a random lottery is conducted if an ILAS seminar is oversubscribed. Please check the outline and preregistration period on ILAS Seminar before you apply for them.
  • ILAS seminar is mainly held at 5th period in the first semester that designated courses, including foreign languages, are in principle not held at (there are some exceptions). However; if you take courses as below, it might overlap with ILAS seminar (ILAS Seminar-E2), and you can only register either of them.
    • Free elective foreign language courses (6-hour German class, 8-hour French class, English Writing-Listening Advanced class, Russian, Italian, and Korean)
    • Major subject each faculty conducts
    • Some ILAS seminars held from 1st to 4th period
  • To avoid an overlap of courses, please check the timetable of major courses, designated courses and free elective foreign language courses from “Syllabus (Class Contents) and Timetable” on WKU: Welcome to Kyoto University or the timetables posted above, before application for ILAS seminar.

Before semester begins

You actually make your class timetable at this time. The application period of the enrollment restricted courses is here as well, so please do not forget to apply for the courses you want to take. Class timetable creation and class registration should be operated on the KULASIS website. Please ask at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses Student Desk if you are not sure how to do it.

Point 1: Check out the allotted timeslots for class designated courses in “Class Registration” page on KULASIS website

  • What’s KULASIS? here
    On April 1st and thereafter, you can access KULASIS website after logging in Common Portal for All Students.
  • Mandatory courses, class designated courses, language courses (if you chose English, German, French, Chinese or Spanish) and permitted ILAS seminar (if you were selected) are registered in your timetable in advance.
  • The courses which can be allotted to different timeslots for students even in a department/division as well as the second language classes are fixed at this time. However, a couple of class designated courses are registered in a single timeslot because some class designated courses are allotted to one class, or they are allotted by your division. For the details, go to KULASIS, to Information and to Liberal arts and general education student affairs information, and see “Registering class designated courses in AY 2024 first semester (2024年度前期「クラス指定科目」の履修について)” posted there.
  • The upper limit of credits per semester you can register and the number of credits of courses put in your timetable are displayed on that page.

Point 2: ILAS seminars accept applications on a first-come first-served basis between 9:00, April 2nd and 17:00, April 4th (optional, on KULASIS website)

  • If you got no permission of ILAS seminar and ILAS seminar-E2, you can apply for a seminar in “ILAS Seminar” page on KULASIS website.

Point 3: Enrollment restricted courses accept entries for lottery,
Period 1: 8:00, April 1st to 24:00, April 2nd,
Period 2: 19:00, April 3rd to 24:00, April 4th

  • There are the courses requiring a restriction on the number of enrolled students because the oversubscriptions are presumed there. If you would like to take a first semester or year-round course with enrollment restricted, you need pre-registration in this period on the “Limit of number of students who can take class” page on KULASIS.
  • The enrollment restricted courses in the first semester will be announced around March 21st on the Welcome to Kyoto University website
  • In order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection, we have to keep physical distance in the classrooms and to strictly monitor the number of enrollments in courses. Therefore, we decided to set the enrollment restrictions on almost all the courses. Usually, this application is not a mandatory but hope not to miss out on an opportunity to take a course.
  • After the pre-registration period, if a course is oversubscribed, successful candidates will be determined by a lottery. In the case that, the number of enrolled students does not meet expected capacity of the class, students can sign up for the remaining placements of the class on a first-come-first-served basis. In the pre-registration period 2, only courses that did not reach their capacities in the period 1 can be applied.
  • When pre-registration, you should take it into consideration schedule of the prioritized courses such as language courses, class designated courses and mandatory or the kind of major courses for first year students. As mentioned above, please note the class timetable on KULASIS that shows up on April 2nd. You also have to pay particular attention to the upper limit of the number of the credits per semester.
  • In some enrollment restricted courses, in order to provide opportunities for particularly motivated students, the instructors may ask students to write an essay to measure their motivation for taking the course. And then, they recommend motivated students to give them priority in the lottery. The courses adopting this framework will also be posted on the “Information“ page of the new student’s website around March 21st. In addition to the list, you will be informed of the submission forms (Google Forms) and period. This framework allows student to apply for an enrollment restricted course without submitting the pre-assignment. Consequently, those who have a special interest in a course should submit its pre-assignment. Please note that students not only submit the pre-assignment but also must register for the course through the Limit of number of students who can take class page on KULASIS during the registration period. Otherwise, they are not supposed to get permission of the course even if they are recommended by the instructor. Please also note that you can only register for one of the courses with the same name, and in another case, one of the courses which are provided at the same timeslot. Students have to take this into account when submitting their pre-assignment.

Point 4: Attend Guidance for New Students and Guidance by your faculty, to get information for selecting courses

  • The guidance videos for the new students will be provided on demand. The students should watch them by the designated time.

Point 5: Lottery results of enrollment restricted courses are notified by adding the permitted courses to your class timetable

  • They will be scheduled on April 3rd for the period 1 and April 5th for the period 2 in early evening on each day. Even if you are not selected at the lotteries, you might get a chance of additional application in the first-come, first-served application periods (see below).
  • The courses which did not reach the limit will accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis. The first additional application period is between 7:00, April 6th and 19:00, April 12th.

During class registration and class registration confirmation/revision periods

Point 1: Participate in classes

  • The first semester begins on April 8th. The classes are conducted even before the class registrations are confirmed. You should participate in the selected/registered courses in restricted courses and ILAS seminars, the class designated courses, and the other courses you decided to take.
  • Each syllabus shows its classroom.
  • You can buy textbooks at Kyoto Univ. CO-OP. Kyoto Univ. CO-OP book store page
  • Textbooks are necessary for classes. Reference books are not must. You might as well purchase them and as well refer them in university libraries as necessary for deepening your learning.

Point 2: Drop and add courses

  • Selective courses without enrollment restrictions and second language courses without class designation (Russian, Italian, and Korean) should be added to the timetable by yourself.
  • Apply for in first-come, first-served application periods to take more ILAS Seminar-E2 classes.
  • It is possible for you to want to cancel a permitted enrollment restricted course after the first class session. You should remove the course from your class timetable, which makes other student to have a chance to take the course.
  • The second additional application period is between 7:00, April 13th and 13:00, April 18th. It is also on a first-come, first served basis. The course where the number of applications reaches the capacity in the lottery phase can accept additional applications, if a seat becomes available for a cancellation by the end of previous application period.

Point 3: Do not forget the finalization in the class registration period

  • In principle, only one course among the same title courses can be registered per semester.
  • It is not allowed to register a larger number of credits than the upper limit per semester.
  • You cannot press “finalization” button if either of the above case is applicable. Make the necessary arrangements for the class registration and finalize it within the class registration period.

Point 4: Check out any errors and finalize again in the class registration confirmation/revision period

  • The third additional application period is between 7:00, April 23rd and 13:00, April 24th.
  • Make sure to finalize the class registration after you drop or add any course during this period. If you forgot to do it, the classes are finalized as they were in the class registration period (excluding courses with error).

This is a normal way to make timetable. Progress procedures step by step grabbing the whole process. Please check out “Handbook of Liberal Arts and General Education Courses”Handbook of Liberal Arts and General Education Courses” for more notes for the class registraiton.
You might be at a loss what to do because of the class registration procedure for the first time and soon after the entrance into the university. If you have any questions, ask the Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses Student Desk, or the student affairs office of your department.

We receive inquiries via Share Your Opinion on ILAS Courses page.
Frequently asked questions at the Student Desk are gathered at Q&A page.