Hokkaido University was founded in 1876 as Sapporo Agricultural College, the first higher educational institution for agricultural sciences in Japan. The university consists of twelve undergraduate schools, eighteen graduate schools, and twenty-seven research institutes and centers, with 4,000 faculty members, and administrative and technical members, 11,000 undergraduate students, 6,000 graduate students as well as 1,500 international students from 80 countries (all approximate numbers for personnel and students).
From 2007 the Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine at Hokkaido University and the Research Center for Zoonosis Control introduced a special program designed for foreign students who wish to study veterinary science in Hokkaido. This special program provides all of course works including lectures and practical subjects as well as laboratory activities in English. The Program aims to serve an opportunity for overseas students to study higher standard of all fields of veterinary medical science at Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine/Graduate School of Infectious Diseases, and expects all graduates to be leaders and experts who will be in part to work at the forefront of veterinary medical science in their respective home countries for animal health and global environment.