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 by 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 required credit of liberal arts and general education courses)” on the website “WKU: Welcome to Kyoto University” or “ Handbook of Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses (Japanese text only)”.

Liberal arts and sciences courses are organized into course groups depending on its contents. They were reorganized into 8 groups in AY2016. 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

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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 in one term. A class in one time block is set depending on class style as follows.

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

*A number of credits are doubled for year-round courses and classes in 2 time blocks because their number of time is 30.

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. University Establishment Standard requires equal hours of preparation and review to class hours or more hours of preparation and review than class hours. Credits are set on the assumption of self-instruction. 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. Earning credits requires getting a pass grade by taking exam, submitting term paper, and/or completing coursework.

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 period (used for reviewing the exam, etc.). The schedule from the class start to the end is as below.

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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.

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Please check here for more detail about class schedule.

Class Designated Course in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses organize around forty-student classes by the faculty and division.
(Classes are announced on Tuesday, April 2.)
Timetables for mandatory courses for graduation, recommended courses, courses needed to control 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 for designated courses each faculty sets. Students are not necessarily required to take all the designated courses. However; if a course you want to register specifies classes, please register that designated course for your class. 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.

Course Choice before semester begins

The application periods of “Foreign Language Registration”, “Application for ILAS Seminar Lottery” and “Pre-registration of enrollment restricted courses” are scheduled before a semester begins.

Foreign Language Registration (mandatory, on the “Welcome to Kyoto University” website)

Students in all faculties are required to register two or more foreign languages. Please be sure to check which foreign 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 required credit of liberal arts and general education courses)” on the website “WKU: Welcome to Kyoto University” or “Handbook of Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses (Japanese text only)” for foreign language credits you need to earn. If you would like to obtain a take teacherʼs 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.
If you choose English, German, French, Chinese and/or Spanish, your classes are designated. You cannot change over from them the other classes.
Russian, Italian, Korean, and Arabic 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.

Seminars in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Application for ILAS Seminar Lottery (optional, on the “Welcome to Kyoto University” website)

Each ILAS seminar has its quota, so 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. 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, Korean, and Arabic)
  • Major subject each faculty conducts
  • Some ILAS seminars held from 1st to 4th period

To avoid these cases, please check the timetable of major courses, designated courses and free elective courses held as foreign language courses from “Syllabus (Class Contents) and Timetable” on WKU: Welcome to Kyoto University, before application for ILAS seminar.

Pre-registration of enrollment restricted courses (optional, on KULASIS website)

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 some time between 8:00, April 1st and 23:59, April 4th 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 22th on the Welcome to Kyoto University website and the “INFORMATION” section of the home page of this website.

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.

When pre-registration, you should take it into consideration a schedule of the prioritized courses such as language courses, class designated courses and mandatory or the kind of major courses for first year students. Though you can pre-register on April 1st, you have to pay particular attention to the class designated courses that you cannot move to the other slots at the class registration page on KULASIS which you can access from April 2nd. In addition, there is the upper limit of the number of the liberal arts and sciences courses you can take in a semester. You cannot complete your class registration if the number of the courses exceed the limit. For more details, see 「学びに関すること:卒業に必要な全学共通科目の単位数について」on Welcome to Kyoto University website or 「各学部の修得すべき全学共通科目の単位数について(平成28年度以降入学者)」 on Handbook of Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses. (Both of the pages are Japanese text only)

Reference: Timetable of class designated courses in the liberal arts and sciences program and mandatory/recommended major courses (Japanese text only)


Syllabus shows detailed plan of courses. It becomes a key to choose subjects and a guide to learn subject.
Please use syllabus when you choose free elective courses.

How to make timetable

Please make your timetable considering your designated course and graduation requirement of your faculty and division. Please refer to the followings for more details.

  • Check the timetable of designate courses and major courses in “Syllabus (Class Contents) and Timetable” on WKU: Welcome to Kyoto University. Then, decide courses you register, considering the graduation requirement of your faculty and division.
  • As for the vacant periods, check the course contents of free elective courses using “Syllabus (Class Contents) and Timetable”.

You actually make your timetable in April via KULASIS as a class registration (KULASIS is a web system which are used when you register courses and look at information about classes.). Please look at What is KULASIS for more details. Regarding the registration period, check “履修登録について(Course Registration)” in Handbook of Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses (Japanese text only) for more details

As you see by making your own timetable by yourself, you need to choose and decide what subjects you study by yourself unlike being in high school. It is important to make a registration plan considering your goal and future major field of study. When you choose subjects, please attend the registration guidance each faculty holds and gather necessary information. Please be sure to attend the guidance of Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences and each faculty hold after April. (Here is the guidance schedule for liberal arts and sciences courses and each faculty, New Student Orientation.)