Doctor's Course | Study in Japan

Doctor’s Course

Eligibility for admission

(any of the following requirements must be met)

  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 programmes at education institutions in Japan recognized as having overseas graduate programmes 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

Look for your prospective academic advisor

  1. Contact graduate school to which you intend to apply to ascertain if you need to find an academic advisor beforehand and to obtain informal consent for admission prior to application
  2. If contacting an academic advisor is necessary, try the following ways to search for a suitable one
    • Ask your current / formal instructor at university to introduce you to a suitable academic advisor
    • Obtain information from academic journals, recommendations from former international students or researchers in your country.
    • Look for an academic advisor from websites
      >>> researchmap
    • Check with the graduate school which you intend to apply for if they introduce academic advisor to students
  3. After about a year as Research Student, students are required to sit for entrance examination as required by graduate school (graduate school entrance examination usually consist of document screening, short thesis, interview, mainly on students’ major, written tests in Japanese and English or other languages )
  • When contacting an academic advisor in Japan, you need to
    1. Specify your past research record and future research plan
    2. Tell the reasons why you have selected him / her
    3. Enclose a letter of recommendation from your previous academic advisor
    4. Communicate with the academic advisor several times to convey your enthusiasm about your studies
  • There are some doctor’s courses taught in English language, mainly on science and engineering subjects.
  • Application deadlines, procedures, method and documents differ from school to school, and department to department, students have to check directly with the school they wish to attend for specific details. In general, graduate schools in Japan announce their application from June to August every year

Conditions for graduating / completing courses

  • To complete a doctor’s course, a student must study for at least 5 years (including the 2 years of a master’s course)
  • Acquire at least 30 credits (including master’s course credits) in his / her special subject
  • Write a doctoral thesis that is judged satisfactory
  • Pass an examination

For admission to doctoral programme in faculties of medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and certain pharmaceutical programmes

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.

Research student (Kenkyusei)

A research student is defined as a non-degree student, as explained below.

  • Students enrolled in a course for short-term research and not to obtain a degree (mainly graduate-school level)
  • Short-term international students enrolled in a course under the inter-university exchange agreement (undergraduate courses and graduate schools)
  • Students enrolled to prepare for admission to regular graduate school programmes (mainly for students who have completed undergraduate courses)

Selection process: The admission process is mainly based on document screening, but some graduate schools include an interview as well.

Status of residence: In order to obtain the “Student” status of residence as a research student who is to study by auditing courses exclusively, he or she will have to attend at least 10 hours of classes a week. Additionally, research students who don’t audit courses but conduct unpaid research will need a “Cultural Activities” status of residence.