U.S.-Japan Higher Education Engagement Study Resources

​​​Data curation for the U.S.-Japan Higher Education Engagement Study (USJP HEES) relies on the alignment and communication of multiple primary and secondary resources from the United States and Japan.

Data Sources

Covering a period from 2017 to 2020, ACE aggregated data shared by various U.S. and Japanese government agencies, including most notably, the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Japan’s  Ministry of Education Culture Sports Science and Technology (MEXT), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).  

In addition, ACE acquired data from online, open-source databases such as the Nature Index, USASpending.gov, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which yielded data on typical inputs and outputs associated with successful academic exchange and research collaboration, including grant funding, publications, and patents.

As a final step, ACE carefully reviewed primary source websites to cross-check secondary data as well as to provide additional information such as the duration of exchange activities and discipline areas.

U.S.-Japan Higher Education Resources

​The USJP HEES categorizes intermediary actors as government agencies and quasi-governmental organizations; foundations; public-private partnerships; nonprofit associations and organizations; and for-profit intermediary agents. The following is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives an indication of the many intermediary actors that are playing an important role in facilitating academic exchange, research, and workforce development activities for U.S. and Japanese higher education institutional partnerships.

Inclusion on this list is neither an endorsement nor a recommendation of any specific entity or program.


 A – G


Specific area/topic/discipline for collaboration listed under a formal agreement between partner universities.

Collaborative Research

Agreements between one or more higher education institutions that are cooperating in the conduct of a research program. In these agreements, there is generally no transfer of funds between institutions (referred to as a “no cost collaboration”). Instead, the agreement describes the actions that each organization has agreed to undertake and defines the obligations each party has to the others participating in the collaborative research effort.

Consortium Research

A contract that enables multiple sponsors (government, NPO, and industry) to participate together in supporting research and to equally share the outcomes of the research.

Dual/Double Degree–Nonreciprocal

A degree program that is designed and delivered by two or more partner institutions in different countries. Agreement permits students to take courses and receive a degree or diploma from each participating institution.

Dual degree programs that are nonreciprocal mean that students from the partner institution complete a certain number of courses at home and transfer to the partner host institution to complete the remaining degree requirements for both home and the partner host institution. The partner host institution, at its discretion, may accept the credits that the student earns at the host partner institution and confer a separate degree.

Dual/Double Degree–Reciprocal

Agreement permitting students to take courses and receive a degree or diploma from each participating institution. Reciprocal dual degrees require careful assessment of student demand, foreign language requirements, residency requirements, and tuition and fee rates. Partner institutions commit to sending a balanced number of students each way. Students pay tuition and fees to their home university and pay the host university for course and lab fees, books and supplies, international student health insurance, and room and board.

Faculty Teaching Exchange

Faculty visits or exchanges formalized and conducted on a regular basis. Faculty may give lectures during their visit or may pursue their own research. Teaching is normally part of the exchange agreement. Length, number of faculty, costs, and disciplines are variable as they and other factors are decided by partner universities in a formal agreement.

 H – N


​A curriculum based on the idea of educating students in the disciplines of philosophy, religion, languages and literatures, linguistics, history, and the arts.


​Organization that works to formalize agreements between two universities. Includes government, NPO, and industry groups.

​Japan Department

​Department, school, institute, center of a Japanese college or university that has entered in a formal agreement with a U.S. institution. If blank, agreement is university-wide.

​Japan Institution

​Japanese degree-granting college or university recognized by Japan's appropriate national authority.


​Students receive a single diploma or degree endorsed by both participating institutions.


​Short-term (less than one semester/quarter); long-term (one semester/quarter to one school year).

Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) 

Minority serving institutions (MSIs) are institutions of higher education that serve minority populations in the United States. They are unique both in their missions and in their day-to-day operations. Some of these colleges and universities are located in remote regions of the country, whereas others serve urban neighborhoods. Some are only a few decades old, whereas others have been striving for more than a century to give their constituents the social and educational skills needed to overcome racial discrimination and limited economic opportunities.

 O – R

​Partnership Memorandum of Understanding

A brief document, signed by representatives of the U.S. and Japanese institution, which states the intention for future collaboration and development of joint academic activities. MOUs do not specify activities or commit resources. A general MOU or agreement sets forth:

  • That all parties have agreed to an institutional partnership
  • Their intention to explore areas of collaboration (sometimes listing the specific disciplines or topics for this collaboration, other times leaving this open)
  • Steps to be taken before specific
  • Period during which the MOU is in effect collaborative projects can commence
  • Possibility and conditions under which either side can end the collaboration
  • Naming of individual who will serve as the contact person on each side

Online Education

Learning agreements that are the basis for the recognition of academic qualifications, assessment, and credentialing obtained through online courses/MOOCs.

Physical Sciences

A curriculum based on the idea of educating students in the study of natural sciences, dealing with nonliving materials. Areas of coverage includes physics, chemistry, earth science, geology, space science, astronomy, and materials science.

Researcher Exchange 

A valid exchange program tied to research activities only, including scientists, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows.

 S – Z

​Social Sciences

A curriculum based on the idea of educating students in the following disciplines: anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, linguistics, politics, psychology, and sociology.


A curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Student Exchange

A valid student exchange program between a home university and the host university. Exchange students expected to receive university credits, which they can transfer to their degree studies at their home university. Length, number of students, costs, and disciplines are variable as they and other factors decided by partner universities in a formal agreement.


Specific, detailed sub-agreements of an MOU for each new collaborative activity developed with that partner in the future. Sub-agreements define: 

  • The purpose and scope of the specific activity under consideration
  • Key responsibilities for each side
  • Specific start and end dates, at which point review will occur before possible renewal
  • What kinds of students, faculty, and staff will be involved and how they will be selected
  • What funds, facilities, and other resources will be provided by each side
  • Rules, regulations, policies, and laws that govern the agreement
  • Legal liabilities, insurance provisions, and similar matters
  • Principles of academic freedom and rights that must be upheld
  • Conditions that may lead to termination of the agreement
  • Procedures for managing disagreements and maintaining communications
  • Specific individuals who have responsibility for various parts of the activity

U.S. Department

Department, school, institute, center of a U.S. college or university that has entered in a formal agreement with a Japan institution. If blank, agreement is university-wide.

U.S. Institution

United States degree-granting college or university accredited by a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)-recognized accrediting agency or Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency.

Virtual Exchange/Collaborative Online International Learning (VE/COIL)

Virtual exchange is a structured learning practice, supported by research, that consists of sustained, technology-enabled, people-to-people education programs or activities in which constructive communication and interaction takes place between individuals or groups who are geographically separated and/or from different cultural backgrounds, with the support of educators or facilitators. COIL is a research-based method of virtual exchange. COIL is an innovative pedagogy, involving faculty in two or more countries collaborating to develop a joint syllabus for students to work together online to complete assignments that meet shared learning objectives.

Explore the Study
About the Study
About the Study
Learn more about the USJP HEES methodology, sponsors, and partners.
Study Findings
Study Findings
The USJP HEES website includes data visualizations, fact sheets and infographics based on the analysis of point-in-time data captured from 2017 to 2020.
Study Recommendations
Study Recommendations
Based on the Study’s findings, USJP HEES offers recommendations for strengthening U.S.-Japan bilateral activities for higher education institutions, policy-makers, businesses and other stakeholders.