Home > Students > How to Apply

How to Apply

Students interested in participating in a JCMU program can start an application by visiting the JCMU Application Portal site. The JCMU East Lansing office is happy to assist if you have any questions or concerns.

JCMU Application Process (YouTube playlist)

Wondering where to begin? Then follow along with this video playlist as we go over each part of the JCMU application process. 


Stuck on a certain form/questionnaire? Then click the various content below to learn more about a specific part of the JCMU application.

Picking a Program and Starting Your Application

You’ve decided to study abroad in at JCMU – but which program is right for you? To learn more about the various programs we offer, first visit the "JCMU Programs" page on our main website. Here, you can click each program’s name to provide basic information about the program, including dates, budget sheets, credit load, and a "Brochure Page" link leading to more detailed program information.

Find one you want to learn more about? Then click the “Brochure Page” link for that program. This will lead you to the program’s application webpage, which contains more information about the current application cycle, detailed program description, and what classes you will take on the program.

Find a program that you want to apply for? To start your application, visit the program’s “Brochure Page” and click the “Apply Now” button near the top of the page. From there, follow our application system’s instructions, and you’ll soon be on your way to starting your JCMU application.

If you would like us to walk you through this process, view the YouTube video tutorial for picking a JCMU program and starting your application.

Pre-Acceptance Questionnaires

There are three main online questionnaires you will complete as a part of your JCMU application:

  • Application Questionnaire - Basic information about yourself.
  • Essay (700 words maximum) - Your essay should address the following questions:
    • Why do you want to study abroad and why are you interested in this particular program?
    • How will studying abroad will you meet your academic, professional and personal goals?
    • Why do you feel you are qualified to participate and what will you contribute to this program?
    • How do you plan to apply your experience upon returning from Japan?
  • Release of Student Information - If you would like someone other than you and your home institution, such as a parent, guardian, or partner, to be able to discuss details regarding your application or participation in the JCMU program with the JCMU staff, you must list them on this questionnaire.

For more information, view the YouTube video tutorial for our pre-acceptance questionnaires.

Signature Verification, Online Signature Documents

Download the Signature Verification Form

Please print, sign, and send the Signature Verification Form to the JCMU East Lansing office with a copy of a valid state or national ID.

After we receive and confirm your Signature Verification Form, you will be able to complete the following online signature documents electronically on your JCMU application:

  • Passport Status
  • Policies and Agreement
  • Statement of Information Verification

For more information, view the YouTube video tutorial for the Signature Verification Form and the online signature documents.

Application Fee

The application fee for JCMU is 100 U.S. dollars. We accept cash, check or money order. We do NOT accept card payments. While nonrefundable, your application fee is treated as a deposit. If you are accepted for your JCMU program, we will deduct the $100 fee from your billable program fees.

For more information, view the YouTube video tutorial for our application fee.

Dean of Students Reference Form

Download the Dean of Students Reference Form

First, complete the top portion of the form yourself. The bottom portion of the form should be completed by an office or individual that has access to student academic and judicial records - typically a Dean of Students office or equivalent. If you're not sure where to go, your study abroad office may be able to complete it for you or point you in the right direction.

MSU students can complete the top portion and send a scan of the form to doso(at)msu.edu with a request that it be completed and returned to our MSU-based office (International Center, Rm. 5).

For more information, view the YouTube video tutorial for the Dean of Students Reference Form.

Home Institution Approval Form

Download the Home Institution Approval Form

This is only required for students attending a JCMU partner institution outside of Michigan State University. Have the representative responsible for JCMU programs at your home institution complete the form.

For more information, view the YouTube video tutorial for the Home Institution Approval Form.


You are required to submit an official transcript from your current (or most recent) home institution. Since transcripts submitted to JCMU may also need to be used for Japanese immigration procedures (if applicable), we ask that you submit an official paper transcript when possible. If your school does not issue paper transcripts, we can accept official electronic transcripts directed to jcmu(at)msu.edu as long as they are sent directly to us by your home institution (or their designated service for academic records).

If you have recently transferred to a new school, please provide official transcripts from all of the colleges and universities that you have attended over the past two academic years.

For more information, view the YouTube video tutorial for our official transcript requirement.


Two academic recommendations are required to support of your JCMU application. Both of your recommenders should be instructors that have taught you in class recently. Teaching Assistants (TAs) and similar instructors are acceptable.

Rather than physical letters of recommendation, you will instead be asked to complete recommendation requests electronically through the JCMU application portal. Under the “Recommendations” section of your online application, click “Record Electronic Recommendation”. From there, fill out the name and e-mail of your recommender. This will send them an e-mail requesting that they complete a short questionnaire pertaining to your academic capabilities. This questionnaire is brief and should not take your recommenders take long to complete.

If you are applying for a JCMU program with a Japanese language component and are studying (or have studied) Japanese at the college-level, it is recommended that at least one of your recommendations come from a current or past Japanese language instructor. 

For more information, view the YouTube video tutorial for our academic recommendations requirement.