5.1. The Graduate School

5.1.The Graduate School

The mission of the Graduate School of the OIST Graduate University is to provide first-class postgraduate education to the highest international standard. The Graduate School implements the following three core policies:

i.Admission Policy:

The Graduate University aims to train researchers who will play important roles in the international scientific community at leading scientific institutions in the public and private sectors. Accordingly, the Admissions Policy will make it a principle to recruit candidates with the potential and motivation to become leaders in scientific research on the international stage.

Recruitment will focus on attracting outstanding students from within Japan and internationally. Here “outstanding students” means students who are highly motivated by the excitement and potential of the cutting-edge research that is possible at OIST, who have the curiosity and academic ability needed to excel in their chosen areas of study, and who have the capacity for independent research and original thinking. Our students will also require proficiency in oral and written communication skills in English for advanced study in science, and the ability to interact effectively with people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Students will be eligible to apply if they are expected to complete a BSc or equivalent degree prior to admission, or have previously completed a BSc, MSc or equivalent degree representing the completion of an undergraduate course in science and engineering, or exceptionally in other fields. The student should meet requirements for admission to a graduate school under the School Education Act. Those who hold a Masters degree may be exempted from some coursework with the approval of the Dean. Successful candidates will only be enrolled into a doctoral program.


ii.Curriculum Policy:

In keeping with the concept of “best in the world” we will recruit outstanding students and conduct top class academic instruction. The academic program will aim to develop the full potential of each student toward scientific excellence and independence. In accordance with this aim, every student will be treated as a unique individual and have their program

of studies tailored to their scientific aspirations, prior education, and current interests. The basic principles of the curriculum design are to facilitate independent scientific thinking, and to learn by doing research. There will be a single program without barriers between disciplines.

The students will be accepted directly into an integrated doctoral program leading to a postdoctoral career path in leading research institutes and universities. The doctoral program will have a standard enrollment period of five years, and will follow a course- based study system. A three-term per year system will be used. The first two years will comprise a combination of laboratory rotations and courses, designed to prepare the students for their doctoral thesis work in a flexible way. In the second year the students will choose a laboratory in which to undertake thesis research and will submit a Thesis Proposal. An examination for progression to thesis research is held at the end of the second year, based on the written Thesis Proposal and an Oral Examination that includes a defense of the proposal and examination of fundamental knowledge in the field of the research. In order to ensure the highest international standards an external examiner who is expert in the field of the thesis study is a member of the examining panel. After determination of readiness for thesis work the students will enter into a three-year period of thesis research, which will conclude with examination of the thesis.

Students entering the program directly from undergraduate studies will normally take about five years to complete their course of study. Those with a relevant Honors degree or a Master’s degree in another area can finish in four years. Students entering with a Master’s degree in the area they intend to specialize can finish in three years.


iii.Diploma Policy:

The Ph.D. degree is conferred by the University in recognition of completion by the candidate of original research that makes a significant contribution to scientific knowledge. The degree is not awarded for completion of certain courses or a fixed period of enrolment, or for directed work as a technician. The work for the degree consists of original research and systematic studies that advance knowledge, conducted by the candidate with an appropriate degree of independence. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the ability to communicate the results of their research and scholarship effectively in both oral and written English. The candidate must present their work in a thesis and defend it in an oral examination. A published paper or manuscript ready for submission must be included as an appendix to the thesis. A candidate may not submit for examination work that has been included in a thesis or dissertation that has been previously submitted towards a degree qualification.

In order to ensure the highest international standards a Final Examination is held after submission of the thesis. The Final Examination includes examination of the written thesis by two external examiners of international standing in the field of the thesis research, who also conduct an on-site oral examination.

The Graduate School is a division of the OIST Graduate University. The Dean is the head of the Graduate School. The Graduate School’s major role is to provide academic services, student support and administrative support. These functions are organized into the corresponding sections as follows:


5.1.1.Academic Affairs Section

The Academic Affairs Section supports the academic program of the graduate school, and performs the following tasks:

  1. Administers the delivery of the academic programs of the Graduate School;
  2. Organize course advising and appointment of Academic Mentors;
  3. Organize thesis supervision;
  4. Monitor the academic progress of graduate students;
  5. Coordinate conduct of course assessment and manage results;
  6. Coordinate the examination process;
  7. Determine the results of PhD candidatures;
  8. Administer graduation requirements and the award of degrees;
  9. Provide information about the Graduate School and its courses;
  10. Coordinate teaching activities;
  11. Participate in the formulation of academic policies;
  12. Manage teaching resources;
  13. Provide professional development courses as part of the academic program;
  14. Organize seminars and lectures of general interest, among other things;
  15. Provide secretariat for academic committees including:

         a.  Curriculum and Examination Committee;
         b.  Thesis committees


5.1.2.Student Affairs Section

The Student Affairs Section is concerned with the everyday requirements for living, health and welfare of students at OIST, and is charged with the following tasks:

  1. Implement policies on issues broadly affecting students, including housing, travel expenses support, financial support and other welfare;
  2. Provide supporting services for students;
  3. Provide orientation to life in Okinawa and Japan for new students;
  4. Disseminate information and advice to students concerning scholarships and financial support;
  5. Administer student financial support and scholarships;
  6. Administer student welfare services;
  7. Administer all travel expenses support related to the Graduate School


5.1.3.Admissions and Records Section

The Admissions and Records Section is charged with recruiting graduate students to OIST, administering the process of admissions, and handling records and data for students at all stages of the program from recruiting, admission, enrollment, and

throughout their time at OIST, and after their departure. This section performs the following tasks:

  1. Undertake student recruitment activity;
  2. Administer the process of admission, registration and enrolment of students;
  3. Provide secretariat for the Admissions Committee;
  4. Prepare and maintain database systems concerning:


  1. Intending students and applicants for admission
  2. Individual records of faculty members
  3. Teaching assignments
  4. PhD thesis supervision
  5. Student academic records
  6. Course schedules
  7. Evaluations of teaching and supervision
  8. Alumni

    v.  Administer and monitor student transcripts and certificates;
    vi. Administer alumni association and activities;
    vii Respond to Graduate School reporting and evaluation.


5.1.4.Academic Program Development Section

The Academic Program Development Section is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the quality and diversity of the taught component of the educational programs delivered by the Graduate School. This section performs the following tasks:

  1. Develop and administer curriculum design and content;
  2. Administer independent study and special topics;
  3. Approve and monitor off-campus, online, and distance education;
  4. Approve external credit recognition;
  5. Provide induction programs for new teaching faculty;
  6. Design and implement new academic programs as needed;
  7. Disseminate good practice in teaching and PhD supervision;