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Waseda Law School

This semester-long study abroad program undertaken in the Fall of a student’s 3L year enables Penn Law students to study at one of Asia’s most highly-regarded law schools and develop expertise in a wide range of legal issues with global significance.

Eric Zember ’14 visits Mt. Fuji outside of Tokyo during his semester abroad at Waseda Law School

Program Description

Waseda Law School is widely considered to be Japan’s most elite and innovative institution for the study of law.  It hosts an extraordinarily distinguished faculty and a highly selective student body, and is connected to one of Japan’s top four universities.  Students who attend Waseda have the opportunity to study a wide range of legal issues of importance to Japan, Asia, and globally.  The Law School enjoys a location in the heart of Tokyo, which may enable students to network with Japanese or global law firms while they are in Japan.  Waseda’s long tradition of training leaders in law, government, and policy means that Waseda students enjoy unparalleled access to a wide range of influential institutions.


Waseda Law School offers several courses in English during the fall semester.  Students with sufficient Japanese language ability would have full access to the larger Waseda Law curriculum.  In the past, instructors have accommodated the schedule needs of exchange students (i.e., returning in December) by offering special written examinations, oral examinations, or research papers of approximately 20 double-spaced pages. With permission, if an exchange student wishes to write a substantial research paper of more than 40 double-spaced pages for additional credits, they may undertake a special study supervised research paper. Students should receive their official transcript from Waseda by the end of February.


Prior to their departure, students must ensure they are on track to complete the necessary upper-level semester hours to meet their JD degree requirements.  Penn Law students will receive 12 credits for their semester at Waseda Law School. 

Below is a sample of courses (in English) taken at Waseda by former Penn Law participants:

  • Japanese Legal Culture 
  • Introduction to Japanese Legal Research             
  • Human Rights Law in Japan         
  • International Entertainment Law             
  • Corporation Governance and Risk Management
  • International Trade Law               
  • Civil Law in Japan             
  • Pacific Settlement of International Disputes       
  • Comparative Financial Law          
  • Business Law in Japan   
  • Civil Dispute Resolution in Japan              
Grading and Evaluation

Academic performance is assessed by various methods, including written exams, oral presentations, and papers.  The Waseda grading system is comparable to the letter scale used in the U.S.; a C or higher is required for a passing score.   All classes must be taken for a grade (i.e., not pass/fail) but will not be factored into your Penn Law GPA.

Academic Calendar

Although the program dates vary from year to year, the Waseda academic term generally begins in mid to late September with classes and exams running into January.   However, special accommodations are made for exchange students, allowing them to compensate for missed January coursework through special evaluation/examination provisions.

Cost of Living

Estimates for living expenses in Tokyo are provided on the Waseda Campus Life website.

Housing Information

Waseda University is affiliated with National Students Information Center (NASIC), which manages several private dormitories for exchange students. Admitted students who apply for dormitory housing should receive information about their arrangements from the NASIC office by the end of July.  Note: if seeking private apartment housing, in Japan, it is customary to pay a lump-sum amount before taking up residence, in the form of key money (reikin, non-refundable) and deposit (shikikin), in addition to one month’s rent in advance.

Visa Information

Exchange students are required to enter Japan under a ‘College Student’ visa. A Certificate of Eligibility will be forwarded to admitted students once Waseda receives the relevant documentation from the Tokyo Immigration Office around July. Students then need to submit this certificate along with a valid passport to the Japanese Consulate for issuance of a visa. The visa can usually be obtained within a few days of application.

Health and Safety

‘College Student’ visa holders are obliged to participate in the National Health Insurance Scheme of the Japanese Government. The insurance covers 70% of your medical charges.  The monthly premium is about 700 yen for international students.  Further details are available in the International Student Handbook. 

Please review the Health and Safety information available on the Penn Global Support Services website.  Details on Travel Warnings, if relevant, are posted under International Travel Guidance.

Disability Access and Special Needs

The Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO) provides necessary essential academic support to disabled students (with hearing impairments/ visual impairments/ limitations in mobility) studying at WASEDA University.  For guidance on general disability access that may be available in Tokyo, please contact the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange

Contact Info for Foreign Institution

Ms. Kaori Yutani 
Waseda Law School
1-6-1 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo 169-8050, Japan
Tel: 81-3-5286-1678


Remember to read the Study Abroad Guidelines for answers to the most frequently asked questions about studying abroad.