Class registration is very different at Doshisha University than the UC system, and can be very confusing. Let’s start with the basic setup of the Doshisha class schedule. There are 6 potential periods in a day, spanning from 9am to 8am (excluding a lunch break). Each period is 1.5 hours long, so all classes are the same amount of time no matter what you take.

As a UC student, you will mainly part of the Language and Culture program, usually called Nichibun. So, your focus will be on classes relating to these topic; your language classes alone will be 15 UC quarter units, leaving you with There are several types of courses you can take:

  1. Center for Japanese Language and Culture (CJLC): As Nichi-bun, you will mainly be taking CJLC classes. These classes are taught exclusively in Japanese, but vary in difficult depending on your Japanese level. Every Nichi-bun student takes Japanese classes for their first two periods every day, from 9am-12:15pm. CJLC also offers language seminars and Japanese culture classes that are optional, and vary by level.
  2. Center for Global Education (CGE): Another program Doshisha offers for exchange students is CGE, which is focused on studying Japan’s place in the world as a whole. These courses are taught in English to a class of mixed Japanese and exchange students in order to encourage a multicultural perspective on global topics. These classes are competitive, and UC students can only take them if they are chosen in a lottery system which I will explain below.
  3. Institute for the Liberal Arts (ILA): Finally, UC students are allowed to take special ILA classes. Not all Nichi-bun students are allowed to take these, so it’s a huge privilege that we can! ILA is taught in English and is open to all international students at Doshisha, not just exchange students. These courses are focused on Japanese culture as well, but have more expansive topics than the previous two course types.

Now that you know what kinds of classes you can take, I’ll explain how registration works. On the first day of orientation at Doshisha, you’ll take a written placement test, followed by an oral interview the next day. This will place you at a certain Japanese level, ranging from 1a (no Japanese experience) to 9 (essentially fluent). From level 5 and beyond, you can take courses in Japanese, so many students who have previous Japanese experience study hard to test into this level.

Registration begins with Advanced Registration, where you can enroll for the CGE class lottery. Advanced registration doesn’t ensure your spot, but allows you to enter the lottery. After two days, that closes and general registration opens. You’ll automatically be signed up for your CJLC classes, so you don’t have to worry about that. The Doshisha staff will also be readily available to help you with this part of the process.

For ILA, you have to go to the office and get a form signed on one of two designated days. Then, when you go to the first day of class, the teacher will sign off on it, and you turn it back in to the office. Then you’ll be registered and ready to learn!

Essentially, the main difference between UC registration and Doshisha registration is that registration goes on right before (and during) the start of the school year. You can continue to add and drop classes for the first month or so of school, but be careful: if you don’t go to class, the professor may assume you just dropped it. While this is fine in the Japanese school system, it looks like an ‘F’ on the UC transcript!

The Doshisha registration system may seem a little complicated, but as long as you pay attention to deadlines, it’ll be easy!

Mackenzie Lorkis studied in Kyoto, Japan in the Language & Culture, Doshisha Univ. Program – Spring 2018