Planning studies in Japan
1. Eligibility for admission
Students must satisfy any one of the following eligibility criteria:
1. Master’s program/Doctoral program (first phase)
- 1) Japanese university graduates
- 2) Students that have been conferred their bachelor’s degree through the National Institution for Academic Degrees and Quality Enhancement of Higher Education (NIAD-QE)
- 3) Students who have completed 16 years of school education in countries other than Japan
- 4) Students who have completed a program with the standard study period of three years or more at universities or equivalent educational institutions in countries other than Japan and received a degree equivalent to a bachelor’s degree
- 5) Students who have completed 16 years of education at education institutions in Japan recognized as having overseas undergraduate programs
- 6) Students who have completed designated professional training college courses
- 7) Students recognized as having academic abilities equivalent to or better than university graduates in an individual entrance qualification examination conducted by a graduate school, and who have reached 22 years of age
2. Doctoral program (second phase)
- 1) Students with a Japanese master’s degree or students with a Japanese professional degree
- 2) Students who have been awarded with an overseas degree equivalent to a master’s degree or professional degree
- 3) Students who have completed graduate programs at education institutions in Japan recognized as having overseas graduate programs and who have obtained a degree equivalent to a master’s degree or professional degree
- 4) Students who have graduated from universities and have been involved in research study at universities or research centers (including overseas universities and research centers) for two years or more, and recognized as having academic competency equivalent to persons with a master’s degree by the graduate school
- 5) Students recognized as having academic abilities equivalent to or better than master’s degree or professional degree holders in an individual entrance qualification examination conducted by the graduate school, and who have reached 24 years of age
3. Doctoral program (faculties of medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences and certain pharmaceutical programs)
If you apply to a program in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or certain pharmaceutical sciences, please confirm directly with the school of your choice before applying since eligibility requirements for admission vary according to the applicant’s academic background.
2. Create research plan
A research plan is a document that outlines the subject and approach of your research. Most graduate schools require the submission of a research plan.
Your research plan should include the following items:
- 1) Purpose of your research
- 2) Background
- 3) Significance
- 4) Method
- 5) References, etc.
The format and word count requirement vary with each graduate school. The word count for a research plan is usually about 2,000 Japanese characters. When developing a research plan, it is important to clarify and understand what has been accomplished and what work remains in your area of research by carefully reviewing the relevant theses and articles.
Key examination points are as follows:
- 1) Research ambition
- 2) Ability to find a topic
- 3) Ability to analyze things
- 4) Ability to think logically
- 5) Knowledge relating to major/specialty
●『実践 研究計画作成法 』
(How to write a research plan)
(In Japanese only)
You can learn how to write a research plan and how to
prepare for the oral test.
Published: Bonjinsha Co., Ltd. (sold in Japan)
Note: Available for browsing at Study in Japan Resource Facilities (see page 45)
Online database of journal articles
3-1. Find a school
3-2. Look for your prospective academic advisor
An academic advisor is a professor/lecturer who gives you advice on studies and course planning. Basically, you have to look for an academic advisor on your own. Some graduate schools require the applicants to look for an academic advisor and obtain his/her informal consent prior to the submission of the application.
How to search for an academic advisor:
- ・ Ask your academic advisor in your university to introduce a graduate school academic advisor.
- ・ Obtain information from academic journals, recommendations from former international students or researchers in your country.
- ・ Look for an academic advisor from the website.
- ・ Ask the university you want to enroll to introduce a graduate school academic advisor.
When contacting a university or an academic advisor:
You should write specifics of your research results, your future research plan and the reasons why you chose that particular academic advisor. It will be better if you attach a letter of recommendation from your academic advisor in your home country. As the academic advisor can judge you only from your letter, it may be difficult for him or her to immediately accept your request. So, what you need to do is to communicate through several letters to show your deep interest in the subject matter. Instruction concerning how to write an e-mail message to an academic advisor is provided in the book “実践研究計画作成法 (How to write a research plan)” introduced above.
Online database of researchers
4-1. Application materials required
To enter a regular graduate school program, some graduate schools allow applicants to take an examination to enter the program directly, while others prefer that students enter the regular program after studying as a research student (kenkyusei).
- 1) Application form (graduate school-specific form)
- 2) Certificate of bachelor’s degree (or anticipated degree)
- 3) Certificate of master’s degree (or anticipated degree) (in case of a doctoral course)
- 4) Transcript of the last school attended
- 5) Letter of recommendation
- 6) Research thesis (graduation thesis) and summary
- 7) Research plan
- 8) Others
Documents for submission may vary according to graduate schools, and some schools require them to be translated into Japanese or English. It is best that you inquire directly with the relevant school for details.
4-2. Application period
In most cases the application period is generally between June and January. Admission is generally in April. There are some graduate schools that use a September or October admission system.
4-3. Entrance exam
Admission consists of the following parts. Admission process and requirements vary depending on the school. It is best that you visit the school website for details.
- 1) Document screening (application materials required)
- 2) Test on academic ability (written exam on major field or designated subjects)
- 3) Interview (in person or online)
- 4) Short essay
- 5) Oral exam on major field (in person, by phone, etc.)
5. Professional graduate school
A professional graduate school (professional degree program) specializes in cultivating highly-skilled professionals who can take a leading role in various fields of society and work anywhere in the world. There are programs specializing in fields such as law (law school), education (graduate schools of education), business management, MOT (management of technology), accounting, and public policy.
6. Requirements for course completion
＊ Notes: 1. Graduate school doctorate programs are sometimes divided into the first phase (two years) and the second phase (three years).
＊ Notes:2. There is no master’s program for certain six-year pharmaceutical programs and medicine, dentistry and veterinary programs where the required period of undergraduate study is six years. The duration of their doctoral programs is four years.