5.2. Admissions and Registration

The OIST 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, recruitment focuses on attracting outstanding students. Here “outstanding” 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.


The OIST Graduate Program is conducted in English, therefore our students also require proficiency in oral and written communication skills in English for advanced study in science.


<equal opportunity statement: Candidates are considered for admission without regard to gender,  gender  identity,  gender  expression,  age,  sexual  orientation,  mental  or     physical


disability, medical condition, race, ethnicity, ancestry, culture, national origin, religion, or marital status.>>


5.2.1.Eligibility for admission to the graduate program

Students will be eligible to apply for the OIST Graduate Program if they have completed a BSc, MSc or equivalent degree or expect to do so prior to the admission date. They must also meet admission requirements stipulated in Article 20 of the University Rules.


Successful candidates for the OIST Graduate Program will only be enrolled into a doctoral program and only as full-time students. Students must indicate an intention to complete the program leading to a PhD. There is currently no provision for a student to undertake an MSc.


5.2.2.Application for admission to the graduate program

An applicant who wishes to become a candidate for a PhD shall apply for admission before the closing date. Applications at other times should be directed to the student enquiries desk. The President may permit flexibility in time of entrance, for example when this would give advantages in recruitment of excellent students, or when this would be of benefit for the academic progress of the student.


Specific application period and closing dates are announced on the OIST public website. Prospective students are required to submit an application for admission online. All forms are to be filled out in English. The following documents are required:


    1. Academic transcript and authenticated copies of diploma (BSc, MSc, etc.) An English explanation is required for transcripts that are not written in English.
    2. Applicant’s statement. This should be not more than 400 words and should address the following points:
      1. The applicant’s scientific interests and aspirations, and;
      2. What the applicant hopes to gain from undertaking graduate studies at OIST.
    3. An applicant who is seeking admission on the basis of a qualification from a university for which the language of teaching and/or examination is not English is required to provide standard language test scores (TOEFL or IELTS) obtained within last 2 years. There is no minimum score required but the information is necessary in determining preparatory course requirements.
    4. A minimum of two letters of recommendation from appropriate academic sponsors.


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 test scores obtained within last 2 years.
  2. Additional material such as copies of publications and abstracts of oral presentations, and other evidence of achievement.

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


5.2.3.Selection for admission

The Admissions Committee makes the selection of students for admission, in accordance with the policies, rules and procedures of the Admissions Committee.

This Committee reviews all material submitted by each student and makes a short- list of about 80 applicants. The short-listed applicants are invited to an Admissions Workshop. Admissions Workshop

An Admissions Workshop will be held each year. The aims of the Admissions Workshop are to:

  1. Conduct face-to-face interviews of candidates by the Admissions Committee or a subcommittee thereof. In the interview the Committee discusses with the student their aims and their motivation to undertake graduate studies at OIST. The panel will also discuss the student’s academic record and career aspirations. The student will have an opportunity to ask questions about the graduate program. The interview will be recorded and available to the selection panel.
  2. Provide tours of OIST research and teaching facilities, student support and accommodation, and the surrounding environments.
  3. Provide a social program giving an opportunity for students to meet existing students and faculty members. Travel Rules for Candidates Attending Admissions Workshop For those invited to attend the workshop the travel costs will be paid by OIST. The workshop will comprise a minimum of two full days in Okinawa, with flexibility regarding additional time.


Meals and accommodation

OIST will cover the cost of accommodation and meals for candidates attending the Admissions Workshop at the OIST Graduate University. Breakfast, lunch & dinner will be provided from the evening before through the morning after the workshop.


Travel support

1:    OIST will support a round trip in economy class between Okinawa and the airport for the candidate’s starting and returning destination, excluding expenses for any layover (at any Japanese or foreign cities).


2: Candidates are responsible for fees resulting from any change or cancellation of their flight and accommodation made after our travel agent or OIST has confirmed the booking. Change or cancellation of the itinerary by the candidate is not permitted without prior approval from OIST. In case of any breach of this rule, flight and/or accommodation might be charged to the candidate.


3:    OIST will arrange transportation between Naha (Okinawa) airport and OIST Seaside House or accommodation nearby. If a candidate does not arrive in and/or depart from Okinawa as scheduled for personal reasons, they will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own transportation.


4: If candidates wish to purchase domestic travel insurance, they are asked to do so at their own expense. However, OIST will pay in principle, for international travel insurance for candidates who travel internationally.


5: Candidates are expected to arrive at OIST on the day before the workshop. The workshop will comprise a minimum of two full days in Okinawa, with flexibility regarding additional time. A longer stay in Okinawa is permitted provided that the graduate school approves the itinerary in advance. In case of an extended stay the candidate will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own accommodation. Final selection

The Admissions Committee will make a final selection of applicants who will be offered a place in the graduate program, and inform the Admissions Office. The successful applicants will be sent an official letter offering admission to the graduate program. Successful applicants will be required to accept or decline the offer within 30 days. The deadline for accepting or declining the offer may be extended by the Admissions Committee. A ranked list of reserves will be kept for a second round of offers if places become available.


5.2.4.Number of Students Admitted

In accordance with best-practice graduate teaching methods where low numbers of students for each faculty member are essential, and in line with overseas prestigious universities, the admission capacity of PhD full-time graduate students accepted by the Graduate School shall be as stipulated in Article 15 of the OIST University Rules.


5.2.5.Transfer students

Students who have commenced studies at another university and wish to continue their  students  at  OIST  and  obtain  the  OIST  PhD  degree  may,  under     special

circumstances, be admitted subject to meeting admission standards. Such cases may arise, for example, when newly appointed faculty members with existing graduate students are appointed at OIST before their students complete their studies. In such cases OIST wishes to ensure the best possible outcome for the students and their supervisors while preserving the high international standards of the graduate program.

Transfer students should complete the application process in the same way as other students but their folder should include a letter from the OIST faculty member explaining the situation and recommending the student for the OIST graduate program.



An applicant who has been admitted to the graduate program as a full-time candidate for a PhD will become a student of the OIST Graduate School on the date of first registration. Registration is a synonym for matriculation in this context. Every student is required to register on admission to the Graduate School (Article 25 of the University Rules), and thereafter at the beginning of each academic year of the graduate program.

Flexibility in time of admission or registration may be of advantage. For example, there may be advantages to the Graduate School in recruitment of excellent students, and there may be benefits for the academic progress of the student. Variations in time of registration may be allowed by the President at the request of the Dean of the Graduate School.

For graduate students registering for the doctoral program leading to a PhD, the following conditions apply:

  1. Registration is restricted to full-time candidates.
  2. A full-time candidate may hold an external scholarship or receive financial support from OIST, or a combination of both, to enable him or her to study on a full-time basis, but may not otherwise hold employment.
  3. The full-time status of the student must be confirmed in a written declaration signed by the student and the Dean of the Graduate School.

In order to register, the student, must submit all forms in complete form to the Student Affairs Section.

On registration a “registered student record” will be created for the student in the student record system. This record will be the official record of the student and will

link to all other records including student academic record, progress reports, financial support, and housing, etc.

If the student does not fulfill all the requirements for registration by the deadline announced by the Office of the Graduate School, the admission will be automatically cancelled, and the student will be notified of cancellation in a timely manner.


5.2.7.Student ID Card

Students are required to carry a valid Student ID Card to access OIST facilities (doorways, classrooms, laboratories, administrative offices, libraries, etc.), and must present it when certificates are issued or when OIST staff asks for identification. Short-term students will be provided with a temporary Student ID card. Card Issue and Return

When the student has been registered by the Graduate School, he or she will be issued with a Student ID Card. The card remains the property of the Graduate School, and must be returned upon completion of the period of study.


The card becomes invalid once the student is no longer a registered student at OIST. Access

Entry to general laboratory areas is only permitted after the student has successfully completed the induction program during Enrollment Week, or similar (see PRP 5.2.8). Additional access to specific more restricted areas will only be made available after the appropriate safety and equipment training has been provided. Such access will only be provided while the student has a need to enter those particular restricted areas. Loss and Replacement of Cards

In the event that a Student ID Card is lost or misplaced, the student must immediately inform the Graduate School Office. A replacement Student ID Card will be issued. Permissions

Student ID Cards may not under any circumstances be loaned out or used by other persons, whether or not those persons are themselves authorized to have access to OIST facilities. Cards may not be copied, reverse- engineered, distributed without permission, or cryptanalyzed. Cards remain the property of OIST even when invalidated. The Dean of the Graduate School may take disciplinary action in the event that these provisions are not followed.


5.2.8.Induction program

Students registered as full time OIST PhD students complete an induction program during Enrollment Week (the first week of the first term of the Academic Year). This program includes briefings on the PhD program, the mentoring and guidance of students, and student support, as well as training in the use of OIST facilities such as the IT infrastructure, the library, and the laboratories. Essential safety training to operate in the research laboratories and a preliminary health screen are mandatory before entry to the laboratory areas is provided.


OIST PhD students arriving outside of Enrollment Week and incoming special students may take this induction program at other times of the year more suitable to their arrival time. However, no laboratory access can be provided to students who have not completed this or a similar induction program.


5.2.9.Application Fees, Admission Fees and Tuition Fees

The Application Fee, Admission Fee and Tuition Fee (Article 42 of the University Rules) are set as follows.


Application Fee    0 Yen

Admission Fee  0 Yen

Tuition Fee    540,000 Yen /Annual


Payment of the Tuition Fee is by deduction of one-twelfth of the Tuition Fee from the monthly Research Assistant payments, over 12 months.


5.2.10  Early Program for full-time PhD student

The OIST Graduate School offers an Early Program for full-time PhD student (also known as Gap program) to selected incoming students prior to enrollment in PhD program. The purpose of this program is to better prepare students prior to joining the regular PhD program, if they have less strength in language or research skills.

In the Early Program, students enroll in the following optional courses as necessary; PD3 (English for Science and Technology), PD4 (Essential Japanese for Foreign Researchers), or PD5 (Laboratory Experience). These optional courses are awarded credit upon successful completion, although these credits do not count towards the degree requirements.

Students are not automatically eligible for enrollment into the Early Program. An offer to join the Early Program may be made by the Graduate School to an incoming student after consideration of each individual student’s circumstances. If there is no added educational benefit to a student, the student may not be eligible to enroll in the Early Program.

In principle, students are only eligible for the Early Program if they have accepted an offer at least 6 months before the actual start date of the regular PhD Program.

Rules concerning financial support for the Early Program are separately stipulated in PRP