Six paths to enrollment to accommodate a diverse range of applicants

At the Faculty of Law, we believe that when students with different backgrounds come together and push one another to excel, it creates an ideal environment for the study of jurisprudence and political science. That is why we have expanded our entrance exam system to bring together students from more diverse backgrounds.

1. General Admission

This entrance exam seeks to measure an applicant’s academic ability with a written examination.
Many students take this path to admission.

2. FIT Entrance Examination

The FIT entrance examination provides a path to admission that is unique to the Faculty of Law. This method seeks to achieve a good match, or fit, between Faculty of Law faculty members who wish to teach certain applicants and applicants whose first-choice program is either the Department of Law or the Department of Political Science at the Keio University Faculty of Law. The FIT entrance examination (Method A and Method B) evaluates the ability of candidates to excel and be effective communicators in society by considering attributes such as personal initiative, social skills, creativity, and communication skills.

3. Exam for Japanese Returnees and International Baccalaureate (IB) Applicants

With the aim of elevating the international character of the Faculty of Law, this entrance exam is designed for applicants who have graduated from high schools overseas and those who have obtained an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma in Japan. There are a total of ten openings in each of the departments of Law and Political Science.

4. International Student Exam

This entrance exam is designed for international students who have completed their junior high and high school education overseas. Usually, the application guidelines are announced in late June, with the application period in or around October. There are a total of ten openings in each of the departments of Law and Political Science.

5. Admission by Recommendation from a Designated School

This path to admission is based on a recommendation provided by the principal of high schools designated by Keio. Through this system, we welcome unique individuals who have also made outstanding achievements outside of the classroom. Around June each year, we send application guidelines and other information to high schools that wish to nominate a candidate. High school students interested in this option should check with their school’s guidance counselor. Application materials are due in November.

6. Admission from within Keio

Keio University and its affiliated schools nurture a diverse student body through an integrated education system. This Keio-internal admission route accepts students from five high schools established by Keio University (Keio Boys Senior High School, Keio Girls Senior High School, Keio Shiki Senior High School, Keio Academy of New York, and Keio Shonan Fujisawa Senior High School).

Faculty of Law Open Campus Q&A

The following are answers to questions taken from questionnaires collected at the open campus for prospective students, held every August. Although we cannot respond to every question we receive, we have divided our responses into several categories. Read on for more.
The information below is current at the time of publication of this page, so please be sure to check other pages of this website or the Keio University website for the most up-to-date information.

I. The Faculty of Law

(1) Rules & Regulations

Q: What is the difference between the Department of Law and the Department of Political Science?
A: The Department of Law and the Department of Political Science both belong to the same faculty, the Faculty of Law. Although they are related to each other as academic fields, the course curriculum of each department is different. The two departments offer different major field courses, which account for nearly two-thirds of the number of credits required for graduation.

Q: Can I take courses in other departments or faculties?
A: While enrolled in the Department of Law, for example, it is possible to take major field courses in the Department of Political Science or other faculties, but be aware that 1) there is an upper limit, and 2) you must also take the required major field courses in your own department.

Q: Will I be at a disadvantage when job hunting if I don’t join a seminar?
A: There are two reasons people often think this. One is that if you are not a member of a seminar, you may be asked in job interviews to explain what you studied during your time at university. The second is that not belonging to a seminar may give the impression that you did not adapt well to university life, since so many students do join them. In fact, the majority of students in the Faculty of Law belong to seminars. With that being said, even if you do join a seminar but are frequently absent or do not contribute, it will not be of any benefit to you. Likewise, if you do not join a seminar but have a valid reason and display strong study habits, you will not be at any disadvantage. In the end, it all depends on your attitude and habits.

(2) Preparing to Enroll

Q: Is there anything I should do to prepare for entering the Faculty of Law? Is there anything students coming from an affiliated Keio high school need to be aware of?
A: It is important to have a clear objective, but there is no need to rush to make any special preparations. In addition to foreign language proficiency, an awareness of history and the social landscape forms the basis for the study of law and political science. Therefore, it is better to enthusiastically pursue your own desires and interests before entering the Faculty of Law, keeping your senses attuned to a wide variety of topics.
It is often said that students who enroll from within the Keio system have inferior English abilities because they have not had to study for entrance exams, but this is only true at the beginning. Moreover, the starting line for major field courses is the same for everyone, so it is ultimately up to the student. Students entering from within the Keio system should take advantage of their opportunity to fully recharge before beginning their university studies.

Q: What are the pros and cons of September enrollment?
A: The biggest advantage is that there will be no gaps in your academic history following high school. In this case, these students will join the April enrollees in the middle of the academic year, so they will need to catch up on their major field courses. However, this is more than manageable if the student works hard. These students will graduate in September, so they will have a six-month break before entering the workforce. It is up to each individual to make the best use of this time.

(3) Study Abroad

Q: What are the different types of study abroad programs?
A: There are two main types of study abroad programs: exchange programs with partner universities and privately funded programs. Information on study abroad programs is available from the Keio University International Center. As a general rule, study abroad programs are limited to one year. If you find a study abroad destination through an introduction from an institution other than Keio, your study abroad will be considered a privately funded program. This applies to both long-term and short-term programs for language training or other purposes.
In 2008, 20 students from the Department of Law (16 of whom were exchange students) went on long-term study abroad programs, and together with the Department of Political Science, there are more students from the Faculty of Law studying abroad than any other faculty. This is because both the Law and Political Science departments changed to a semester-based calendar in the 2007 academic year, and the number of students studying abroad is expected to grow in the future.

Q: How will studying abroad affect my credits and advancement?
A: With the semester calendar of the Faculty of Law, students will not be required to repeat a year if they obtain the required credits for advancement during the spring semester before departing for their study abroad. In addition, if students obtain the necessary credits for advancement during the fall semester after returning to Japan, they will be able to graduate on time. Furthermore, although subject to review, certain credits earned on study abroad programs will be recognized as major field courses by the Faculty of Law.

(4) Career Paths (see also the Career Paths page)

Q: Is there a difference in employment opportunities for graduates of the Department of Law and the Department of Political Science?
A: Both departments offer a wide variety of career paths, and there is no particular tendency for companies to prefer graduates from one department over the other.

Q: Is there a difference between the Department of Law and the Department of Political Science when it comes to working in fields related to international relations? What about diplomatic careers?
A: Some graduates find employment in international organizations such as the United Nations, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), but the number of graduates in positions such as these is small since the number of openings is typically very limited. Neither department has an absolute advantage over the other, but it would be fair to say that the Department of Political Science has sent more graduates to such positions. This also applies to diplomatic careers. It depends on whether you ultimately want to build expertise in international law or international politics for use in your career.

Q: To get a job in the media, should I enter the Department of Law or the Department of Political Science?
A: The Department of Political Science offers specialized courses related to mass media, so students from this department are more likely to pursue careers in this field. However, students in the Department of Law can also take these courses, and many graduates of that department go on to work in the mass media.

II. Department of Law

(1) Career Paths Beyond the Legal Profession

Q: What other career paths are available outside of the legal profession in Japan? How does the Faculty of Law handle students who do not wish to join the legal profession?
A: The majority of Department of Law graduates are employed in the general corporate sector, working in a wide variety of industries and occupations. Many also become public servants (see also the Career Paths page). This demonstrates that there is a great need in society for professionals—not just lawyers—who are knowledgeable about the law and able to observe and analyze things in a balanced manner, accurately present problems and their solutions, and formulate preventive measures. In other words, the ability to think with a legal mind. In this sense, the options after graduating from the Department of Law are more numerous than you might think, and the department does not say that only pursuing a legal career is worthwhile. Students are free to choose the direction in which they want to go.

(2) Enrolling in Law School

Q: What is the relationship between the Faculty of Law and law school?
A: Under the current system, in order to join the legal profession, one must complete an undergraduate degree and then enter a professional graduate school, called a law school, for further education and training. (The former bar examination system, which could be taken while still in university, will soon be abolished.) Roughly speaking, you could think of the Faculty of Law as being for acquiring fundamental academic skills and law school for developing the applied skills necessary in the legal profession. Note that in order to advance to a law school, you must pass the law school’s entrance examination. Graduates of the Faculty of Law are not automatically granted entrance to the Keio University Law School. In fact, there are quite a few students who wish to go to Keio University Law School but are unable to do so and instead go on to law school at other universities.

Q: Is it possible to enter law school from the Department of Political Science or another faculty? If so, what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?
A: This is possible. Having a strong academic background outside of legal studies will certainly be of use when working in the legal profession in the future. Although we do not have exact statistics, many students study in the Department of Political Science or other faculties before entering law school. However, these students must commit to learning about jurisprudence, which is no easy task. Students can choose between the 2-year and 3-year course, with many choosing to take the 3-year course. However, choosing which course to take is based on the student’s progress in legal studies when taking the entrance examination for law school and is not determined by their department or faculty.

Q: Do I have to take law school prep courses?
A: Because of the rigorous nature of the bar examination and entrance examination for law school, many people attend preparatory schools to prepare for these exams. This, however, does not mean that you will fail the exam if you do not go to a prep school, nor does it mean that going to a prep school will guarantee good exam performance. The most important thing is to seek to accurately understand the exams by thoroughly exercising your own mental faculties.

Q: What happens if I fail the bar exam three times?
A: Students take the bar exam after completing law school, but the pass rate for this exam is on the decline. Unfortunately, if you fail three times, you will have to seek another career path. Some alumni fall into this category and are no longer pursuing a legal career. The Faculty of Law is committed to following up with them to address this important issue going forward.

III. Department of Political Science

(1) Curriculum

Q: What do students in the Department of Political Science study? It’s hard to tell compared with the Department of Law or the Faculty of Economics.
A: “There are as many definitions of political science as there are political scientists.” This is a phrase that students in the Department of Political Science are sure to hear at least once. You can look forward to learning more about what this means after you enroll. However, that might not be a satisfactory answer, so we will just mention one point here. Recall the general election in the summer of 2009, a major event in Japanese politics. Candidates were extolling the merits of their party’s platform to voters, getting down on their knees pleading for support, and appearing on television talk shows wearing sharp-looking ties. In other words, they were trying to appeal to people’s intellects, emotions, and aesthetic senses to motivate them to take action and vote. Without question, this is one aspect of politics. We can say that the study of politics is ultimately concerned with just about everything that mobilizes human beings. For more information, see courses offered on the Department of Political Science Curriculum page. The department offers courses in law and economics, as well as history and philosophy. But to fully explain political behavior past and present, as well as predict future political behavior, we must put knowledge from all of these disciplines to work. If there is any barrier to comprehension in the study of political science, it stems from the incomprehensibility of human beings. I am confident that the Department of Political Science has classes that will prove useful to those inquisitive students who are eager to make sense of this incomprehensibility.

Q: How will studying in this department help me when I enter the workforce?
A: As an example, let us share a response from a faculty member who is also a member of the Office of Correspondence Courses. “Many correspondence course applicants are working adults with relatively important positions. In their application statements, many say that they are applying because they do not understand the fundamentals of law and politics and that, as a result, they have had to learn as they go while carrying out their duties. Because this is not an ideal way to work, they desire to relearn these fields from the ground up. Now, you might have the impression that some university courses may not necessarily be useful in your working life. The variety of courses offered by the Department of Political Science mentioned earlier may make you feel this way. However, at the very least, the academic mindset you acquire on campus will be an asset that you possess for the rest of your life. The things you learn in university may not necessarily be directly applicable to your working life; society is not so simple. Therefore, you should step onto the university campus with the intention of making the most of the opportunity you have as a student to learn things that you won’t be able to study once you enter the workforce.”

(2) Career Paths

Q: Is there any aspect of the Department of Political Science that is advantageous in terms of getting a job?
A: This goes along with what is mentioned above, but in talking to graduates, it seems that the broad knowledge they cultivated while completing the department’s curriculum appeals to corporate recruiters. And there’s one more thing. We often hear that the presentation skills, discussion etiquette, and teamwork that students acquire through small-group courses such as seminars are great assets when job hunting.

Q: What kind of career should someone aim for if they choose this department?
A: Again, please see the Career Paths page for more information. Even though we are responsible for preparing our students to enter the workforce, every year we are surprised that our graduates enter such a wide variety of industries, from the private sector to government agencies, the legal profession, and research institutions.

Q: Do my grades in university matter when I get a job?
A: It would, of course, be wrong to say they are irrelevant. You should study hard, however, getting “good grades” in university is easier than you might think; it’s not impossible to get a lot of A’s on your transcript by taking only the so-called “easy” courses (your more senior classmates will surely give you pointers on this). However, corporate recruiters are professionals at evaluating people. They make their living based on their ability to comprehensively evaluate what you have acquired as a student. To them, the transcript attached to your resume is an important, but not definitive, piece of information that helps them get to know you.

IV. Questions for alumni

Q: What can I do to make sure I’m prepared for the bar exam? How can I overcome anxiety?
A: If you don’t continue to study every single day, you will fall behind. The hardest thing is to make yourself keep studying even when you feel like slacking off, but that is what you have to do. It is important to know how to create an environment in which you can keep up your studies while staying healthy. The struggle against anxiety can be overcome by a strong desire to realize your goals and forging friendships with those who will not only share their concerns but also listen to yours.

Q: What should an attorney do in a case where the suspect is clearly guilty?
A: The Japanese government used to punish people at will, even if the accused person was innocent. As a result of this unfortunate history, the government is forbidden from punishing whoever it wants, and individuals charged with a crime are now guaranteed a trial. In a trial, the opposing parties put forward all of their arguments and evidence, and a third-party judge renders a verdict. In response to the prosecutor’s allegations and evidence, the accused must refute each allegation, such as those that contradict facts. However, this is not exactly a fair arrangement as a defendant is one individual lacking the power and expertise to stand up to the power of the state, which is represented by the prosecutor. It is the defense attorney’s job to make up for this imbalance. Whether the accused is guilty or not, the actions of the defense attorney in a trial will not change, and these actions form the foundation of the court system.

Q: How do you struggle with the pressure of having to judge people?
A: Such pressure will be offset by the professional mindset you will have as a specialist in law.

Q: Will the lay judge system work? Should I observe a trial as soon as possible?
A: If the public understands the significance of the system and takes it seriously, it will work.
If you are interested in attending a trial, we do recommend it, but there is no need to rush to attend one.