The University of Tsukuba (筑波大学 Tsukuba daigaku), one of the oldest national universities (established by Japanese Government) and one of the most comprehensive research universities in Japan, is located in the city of Tsukuba (known as Tsukuba Science City), Ibaraki Prefecture in the Kantō region of Japan. The University has 28 college clusters and schools with a total of around 16,500 students (as of 2014). The main Tsukuba campus covers an area of 258 hectares (636 acres), making it the 2nd largest single campus in Japan. The branch campus is located in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, which offers graduate programs for working adults in the capital and manages K-12 schools in Tokyo that are attached to the university.
The university boasts its academic strength especially in STEMM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine) and physical education, as well as related interdisciplinary fields by taking advantage of its location in Tsukuba Science City which has more than 300 research institutions. The university had 3 Nobel laureates (2 in Physics and 1 in Chemistry, see also "History") in the past, and about 70 athletes from the university, their students and alumni, have participated in the Olympic Games so far.
Some of their recent initiatives include the establishment of new interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs in Human Biology and Empowerment Informatics as well as the establishment of International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine, that were created through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's competitive funding projects.
Its Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences is represented on the national Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.
Their founding philosophy states the University of Tsukuba is "a university which is open to all within and outside of Japan."
As of August, 2015, the university has over 300 international inter-university agreements and 13 overseas offices in 12 countries, located in Brazil, China, Germany, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Tunisia, Taiwan, United States, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
The university is also known for its internationalization efforts by consistently winning various Japanese Government's funding projects for internationalization of Japanese universities, including the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's "Global 30" Project and the "Super Global University Project" (or formally known as "Top Global University Project"). In the Super Global University Project, University of Tsukuba won the Type A funding, which is for 13 elite Japanese universities to be ranked in the top 100 in global university rankings by 2023. Their initiative includes expanding the number of courses and degree programs taught in English only, sharing faculty members with partner institutions such as National Taiwan University, University of Bordeaux, and University of California, Irvine to promote educational and research collaboration, and establishing so-called "Course Jukebox System" which enables their and partner institutions' students to take the other partner institutions' courses as if the courses are of their original institutions' ones.
In 2009, the university participated in the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization's (SEAMEO) affiliated member, and it has been cooperating in the development of education in the ASEAN region. The university is also a member of AIMS program, which is to promote regional student mobility among the ASEAN and participated countries including Japan.
In 2004, the university established "The Alliance for Research on North Africa (ARENA)" as an academic research center with the purpose of promoting comprehensive research concerning the North African Region through integration of humanities and sciences. Since then, ARENA has been expanding its research fields, and the university established a branch office in Tunis, Tunisia in 2006. The university is also accepting African students through ABE initiative, which was initiated by Japanese Prime Minister Abe and is bringing 1,000 African graduate students to Japanese universities in 5 years from 2014. Currently, University of Tsukuba is planning and leading "Japan-Africa Academic Network (JAAN)" initiative to bring together all the Japanese universities' resources for Africa and to deepen the academic relationship between Japan and Africa.
In May 2008, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development became an opportunity for the African Development Bank (AfDB) and universities in Japan to promote partnership on higher education, science and technology. Donald Kaberuka, the president of the AfDB, and the president of University of Tsukuba signed a memorandum of understanding during the three-day event.
The current university was established in October 1973. A forerunner of this university was Tokyo University of Education (東京教育大学 Tōkyō kyōiku daigaku) originally founded in 1872 as one of the oldest universities in Japan, Tokyo Higher Normal School (東京師範学校 Tōkyō Shihan Gakkō?).
In October 2002, the University of Tsukuba merged with the University of Library and Information Science (ULIS, 図書館情報大学 Toshokan jōhō daigaku). The School of Library and Information Science and the Graduate School of Library and Information – Media Studies were established.
The University of Tsukuba has provided several Nobel Prize winners so far, such as Leo Esaki, Hideki Shirakawa and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. Dr. Satoshi Ōmura was an auditor at Tokyo University of Education.