Tokyo Tech to allocate 14% of undergrad admission to female-only selection scheme

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Tokyo Institute of Technology

To increase the proportion of women in its student body, the Tokyo Institute of Technology has announced a new admissions policy in which it will set aside 143 slots specifically for female students in each year’s incoming undergraduate class by the 2025 academic year. The slots will be filled through a recommendation-based process.

The number accounts for 14% of the total of 1,028 places offered each year. The university hopes the scheme will help increase the percentage of female students in undergraduate programs from the current 13% to more than 20%.

The number of places offered under the scheme will be split among Tokyo Tech’s six schools. The School of Materials and Chemical Technology, the School of Life Science and Technology and two others will start accepting a total of 58 female students through the scheme from the 2024 academic year. The School of Science and the School of Engineering will start accepting a total of 85 from the 2025 academic year.

Although the total number of places offered each year will remain unchanged, students selected through general entrance exam — open to men and women alike — will be reduced from 930 for the 2023 academic year to 801 for the 2025 academic year.

“Japan is faced with a gender imbalance in the science and engineering fields,” Tokyo Tech President Kazuya Masu said at a press conference last week. “If we don’t take a step forward, we’ll fall further behind the rest of the world over the next 20 to 30 years,” he said, noting that nearly half of the students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States are women. “It will help to invigorate Tokyo Tech if the number of female students increases.”

Tokyo Tech and Tokyo Medical and Dental University will merge by the end of fiscal 2024. However, examination procedures for the two institutions will not be changed for the time being, according to Tokyo Tech.

In Japan, the percentage of female students enrolled in science and engineering undergraduate courses is 7%, compared to an average of 15% among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, according to OECD data.

The education ministry has been urging universities to find ways to admit more women in science and engineering fields as part of efforts to resolve the imbalance.

The universities of Nagoya, Shimane and Toyama will introduce similar schemes, but in a much smaller scale, for the entrance exams ahead of the 2023 academic year.