Please note that there will be no TOMODACHI-STEM program in 2020. Information about the 2021 program will be posted to this page.


The online application for the 2019 TOMODACHI STEM @ Rice University program is now closed. No further applications can be accepted.  To receive notification of future application cycles please email  

2019 Application Timeline

Monday, November 19, 2018
by 11:59 PM (Japan Time)
1. Students Must Submit Online Application
2. Reference Letters Must be Received Via Email
November 28 – 29, 2018
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Japan Time)
Skype Interviews With Program Finalists.
Early December Notification of Selected Participants

Step One: Review Eligibility Criteria, Program Schedule, and Alumni Profiles

  • Make sure you are eligible to apply to the program by reviewing our Eligibility and Selection Criteria page.
  • Undergraduate students from any university in Japan who meet all stated Eligibility Criteria may apply
  • Review the Program Schedule page to be sure you can participate in the full program abroad.
  • For questions, email

Alumni Profiles: To date, 30 Japanese undergraduate students from 18 universities in Japan have participated in this program.  Of these participants, 26 or 86.6% have been women.

Institution Name Participants Institution Name Participants
Doshisha University 2 Tohoku University  1
Keio University 1 Tokyo Institute of Technology  2
Kyoto University 1 Tokyo University of Science  2
Kyushu University 2 Tokyo Women’s Medical University  1
Meiji University 1 Tottori University  1
Nagoya University 1 Toyota Technological Institute  1
Ochonomizu University 1 University of Tokyo, The  5
Osaka University 4 University of Tsukuba  1
Sophia University 1 Waseda University  2

We strongly recommended applicants review the the student profiles of past participants to learn more about what the experience of conducting research in the U.S. is like.  This will help you better understand the program overall. If available, lick the name of the student’s research poster title to see a PDF of their final project poster.

Step Two: Select Up to Three Potential Research Host Labs 

  • Within the application, you will be asked to list, in ranked order, 3 preferred host laboratories at Rice that you would be interested in working with.
  • Please see our Potential Research Hosts page for more information.

Step Three: Request One Letter of Reference (In English or Japanese) 

  • Your application will not be considered complete until we have received one reference letter, in support of your application to the TOMODACHI-STEM @ Rice University Program.
  • The person you ask to provide this letter should be someone who knows you well and you can write about your interest in this program, ability to work well with others, and how participating in this program will impact your future goals.
  • Reference letters may be submitted by: 
    • A professor or research advisor/mentor at your current university in Japan
    • An English language teacher or other staff member at your current university (for example an advisor in your study abroad or international programs office)
    • A high school teacher or counselor
    • A current or previous employer or volunteer/internship supervisor
    • Reference letters cannot be submitted by family or friends/peers.
  • How to request a letter of recommendation

Step Four: Request/Prepare Supplemental Documents
You will be asked to upload the following documents in your online application. Request/prepare these documents now and save them to your computer so you can submit online.

  1. Japanese University Transcript in English Showing all Courses/Grades Received To Date
    • Request this as soon as possible (ASAP) from your university Registrar’s office. It may take 1 – 4 weeks for this document to be prepared in English.
    • If this document is not ready by the November 19 (Japan time) deadline, you can still submit your online application. You will need to email a copy of your transcript to as soon as it becomes available.
  2. Resume in English (Required to Submit Application) 
  3. Optional Documents – Upload if Available 
    • Scanned Copy of the Photograph Page of your Passport
    • English Language Test Scores

Step Five: Prepare Essays
You will be asked to submit three short-essays, in English, as part of your online application. We strongly recommend you compose your essays first in Microsoft Word or other word processing software and that you save a copy of your essays to your computer. It is also highly recommended that you ask a trusted advisor or mentor to proofread your essays prior to submission. If you have prior research or study abroad experience, you will also be asked to briefly describe this prior experience.

  • Maximum Length for Each Essay: 2,500 character limit, including spaces! This is about one page, single-spaced. Use the ‘Word Count’ feature in Microsoft Word and check the character limit to be sure your essays are not too long.
    • Why TOMODACHI STEM? Please introduce yourself and tell us why you have decided to apply for this program. (2,500 characters, including spaces)
    • Why Research? What are your specific research interests and what type of research are you most interested in doing while abroad? Why have you selected the three potential host labs listed above? (2,500 characters, including spaces)
    • Long-term Goals? What are your long-term goals? How will participating in the TOMODACHI STEM program further your long-term goals? (2,500 characters, including spaces)
  • Short-Answer Responses (Only for students with prior experience.)
    • Prior Research Experience in Japan: If you have previously conducted scientific or engineering research in Japan, you will be asked to briefly describe this experience (1,500 character limit, with spaces).
    • Prior International Experience: If you have prior study abroad, internship/work abroad, or volunteer abroad experience you will be asked to briefly describe this experience (1,500 character limit, with spaces).
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