Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) PhD Program, Japan

Publish Date: Oct 27, 2015

Deadline: Dec 31, 2015

The OIST Graduate University offers an individualized PhD program assembled with the support of an Academic Mentor appointed to each student. The program will be designed to provide a secure foundation in the fundamentals of your field of research. We recognize every student as a unique individual and take this into account in the design of each student’s program. Alongside established courses we offer independent study with world-class faculty members who provide teaching at the most advanced levels, special topics of current interest, and participation in world-renowned OIST international workshops as part of the program.

OIST provides unparalleled opportunities for cross-disciplinary research due to its non-departmental structure. In the first year, students rotate through three different research units, of which one is from outside the applicant's field in the broad sense (life sciences or physical science).  In the second year, students develop their thesis proposal in their chosen research unit.

Students entering with a BSc are required to complete 20 credits of coursework and 10 credits of laboratory work, and pass an examination for progression to candidacy in the field of their thesis research.  Students who have completed an MSc receive credit for relevant previous work.

Financial support is available for up to five years from the date of admission. A student entering the program with a BSc may require five years to complete their thesis research and graduate. More advanced students can complete in less time provided they fulfill academic requirements and present a thesis meeting the requirements.

Admission is competitive. The Graduate School accepts about 20 full-time graduate students per year.  This ensures low numbers of students for each faculty member so that we can deliver best-in-the-world teaching for our graduate program. The basic requirement for the OIST Graduate Program is completion of a Bachelors, Masters or equivalent degree prior to the admission date.

Note: Candidates are considered for admission without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or gender.

Prospective students are required to Apply Online. Please check the necessary documents below and read the Frequently Asked Questions.

Required Documents

  1. Scanned copies of your current academic transcript and any completed diploma (BSc, MSc, etc.) in PDF format. An English explanation is required for transcripts that are not written in English.
    • Note: A scan of an unofficial transcript or other record of grades may be uploaded to the application website. If selected for further interview, you must then arrange for an official transcript to be delivered to OIST, either by bringing one with you or having it sent directly from your school to OIST at a later date.
  2. Applicant’s statement. This should be not more than 400 words and should address the following points:
    • The applicant’s scientific interests and aspirations, and
    • What the applicant hopes to gain from undertaking graduate studies at OIST.
  3. The application system requires applicants to submit a passport number and upload a scan of their passport photo page. It is essential that applicants from outside Japan have a valid passport for travel to Japan. You must supply your passport details in the application process.
  4. Each applicant is required to have at least 2 but no more than 5 letters of recommendation from appropriate academic referees. In the online application system, the applicant will enter the name and email of each recommender. The system will then contact the referee directly for their letter.
    • OIST strongly recommends that applicants ask academic referees in advance for permission to list them as recommenders. Recommenders will have ONE WEEK after the closing date for OIST to receive letters of recommendation. Referee comments are a very important part of the selection process, and it is the applicant's responsibility to first ensure that referees are willing to submit such a letter, and then that they do submit before the deadline.
    • Recommender’s letters will be treated as confidential material and will not be available to applicants or parties other than OIST faculty members assessing the application. In registering a recommender the applicant acknowledges that there is no right to read the recommender’s letter.
  5. An applicant who is seeking admission onTHE BASIS OF a qualification from a university for which the language of teaching and/or examination is not English is required to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score obtained within the last 2 years.
    • OIST Institutional Code for TOEFL: 8794
    • There is no minimum score required but the information is necessary in determining preparatory course requirements.

Optional Documents

The following documents may be submitted optionally, and will be taken into consideration by the selection committee if available:

  1. Additional evidence of academic ability such as GRE general or specific test scores obtained within the last 2 years.
    • OIST Institutional Code for GRE reports: 8794
  2. Additional material such as the title and abstract of publications and oral presentations, and other evidence of achievement.

Note: The OIST Graduate School reserves the right to request an external evaluation of academic qualifications from any applicant.

Application Fee

There is no application fee to apply for the OIST Graduate Program.

Important Dates

Students may submit an application at any time. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an admissions workshop held at OIST as part of the selection process.

To arrange travel for particular workshops, applications must be received before certain cut-off dates, which are earlier for students who need a visa to enter Japan.

For a list of countries for which a visa is NOT required, see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Exemption of Visa (Short-Term Stay) page.

Workshop Closing Dates for applicants who DO NOT require special visas to enter Japan:

  • February workshop (16th - 18th February 2016): last day to submit an application is December 31st 2015.
  • June workshop (7th - 9th June 2016): last day to submit an application is May 15th 2016.

Workshop Closing Dates for applicants who DO require special visas to enter Japan:

  • February workshop (16th - 18th February 2016): last day to submit an application is November 15th 2015.
  • June workshop (7th - 9th June 2016): last day to submit an application is April 15th 2016.

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