How to Say College in Japanese – Formal and Informal Ways, Tips, and Examples

Gaining knowledge and education is a universal pursuit, and for many people, attending college is an important step towards achieving their goals. If you’re interested in discussing college in Japanese, it’s crucial to understand both the formal and informal ways to express this concept. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various ways to say “college” in Japanese, provide examples, and offer essential tips for effective communication. Let’s get started!

Formal Ways to Say College in Japanese

When it comes to formal settings and academic contexts, the word used to refer to “college” in Japanese is 大学 (daigaku). This term is widely recognized throughout Japan and is the most appropriate word to use in formal conversations, presentations, or when addressing your professors and classmates.


Watashi wa Tokyo Daigaku ni kayotte imasu.
I am attending the University of Tokyo.

Daigaku de keizaigaku o senkō shite imasu.
I am majoring in economics at college.

Informal Ways to Say College in Japanese

Conversely, when you’re in a casual setting or having informal conversations, friends, or family members, you may prefer using more relaxed terms for “college.” Here are a few common informal alternatives:

  1. 学校 (gakkō): This word generally refers to any educational institution, including elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and universities. It is the most versatile term for expressing the idea of “college” in casual conversations.
  2. 大学院 (daigakuin): If you want to specifically refer to graduate school or postgraduate education, you can use this term. It implies a higher level of education beyond undergraduate studies.
  3. カレッジ (kareggi): Borrowed from English, this term is used in certain informal contexts to describe smaller colleges or specialized institutes.


Kare wa shōrai, igakko ni shingaku suru yotei desu.
He plans to enroll in medical school in the future.

Daigakuin de hōritsu o manabitai to omotte imasu.
I am considering studying law in graduate school.

Useful Tips for Communicating about College in Japanese

While knowing the different ways to say “college” in Japanese is important, there are several additional tips that can enhance your communication skills:

  • Context is Key: Always consider the context of the conversation when choosing the appropriate term for “college.” Use formal language when necessary, such as in professional settings or when talking to superiors.
  • Politeness Matters: When speaking with professors, academic advisors, or other esteemed individuals, use honorifics and respectful language to show politeness and courtesy. This will help you build positive relationships within the academic community.
  • Leverage Formal Titles: Address your professors or academic advisors with respect by using their formal titles, such as 先生 (sensei) or 教授 (kyōju) followed by their surname.
  • Utilize Honorific Language: When referring to someone else’s college, especially if they hold a higher position, show respect by using their appropriate title along with the word “college.”


Expressing the concept of “college” in Japanese requires an understanding of both formal and informal ways to communicate. In formal settings, using the term 大学 (daigaku) is the most appropriate, while informal conversations may call for words like 学校 (gakkō) or 大学院 (daigakuin). Remember to consider the context, use appropriate honorifics, and show respect to build positive relationships within the academic community. With these tips and examples, you’re now well-equipped to discuss “college” confidently in Japanese!

⭐Share⭐ to appreciate human effort 🙏
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top