The iCLA academic year is split into two semesters, each 16-weeks long (15 weeks of classes and one week of exams). The spring semester generally begins the first week of April and concludes with final exams over the first week of August. The fall semester begins the first week of September and concludes after final exams during the third week of December. All first-year students move into the dorms over two-day period in the last week or March or August. This move in period is followed by Orientation Week, then the and start of the semester.
Students can be admitted to iCLA in either the spring or fall semester. The semester a student matriculates does not affect the length of the degree, which remains four years in both cases.
Access the latest academic calendar for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Overview of a year at iCLA
- Dormitory move in day 1 & 2: Last Week of March
- Orientation week: Last week of March to first week of April
- Course registration: late March to mid-April
- Golden Week holiday: First week of May
- Spring classes end: 3rd week of July
- Spring Finals week: Last week of July
- Dorm move-out day for spring graduates: First week of August.
- Dormitory move in day 1 & 2: Last Week of August
- Orientation week: Last week of August
- Course registration: late August to mid-September
- Fall classes end: Mid-December
- Fall Finals week: 2nd-3rd week of December
- Dorm move-out day for fall graduates: Late December.
- Winter program for EAE track students: Mid-January to 1st week of March
About the Japanese school year
Many students are interested to know more about Japan’s education system, when the school year starts in Japan, and the differences between the Japanese school year and that of their home country. Japan has a rather unique timing to the start of the school year in that it mirrors the fiscal year. So, in Japan, the school year starts in April and ends in March. This is true for all levels of the Japanese school system, from Elementary, to Junior High and High School, and through to university. There is typically a summer holiday over late July and August, and a short New Year’s break.
However, many top universities in Japan now offer fall (typically September or October) intakes to accommodate more international students. This also makes it much easier for international students to do a foreign exchange program in Japan, and for Japanese students to study abroad.
The Japanese academic year and its effect on graduate employment
Traditionally, university students in Japan will attempt job hunting activities in their 3rd and 4th year to secure a guarantee of employment with a major corporation upon graduation. A student that has secured a guarantee in this way is known as a “naitei-sha” within that corporation and becomes known as a “shinnyu-shain” or “new entrant” for their 1st year of employment where traditionally, they will undergo training and be placed in a department to start their career.
International students seeking to work in Japan after graduation may wonder whether due to this system, entering a Japanese university in September may put them at a disadvantage. However, the increasing shift away from life-time employment with a single company, increasing internationalization, and the dynamic nature of the Japanese economy, means that many companies hire year-round, or have hiring processes specifically targeting students who graduate in fall. This means international students have excellent opportunities to secure guarantees of employment regardless of whether they graduate in spring or fall, and many leave with multiple options to choose from.