Study in Japan - Research Students
“Research Students” are defined as below:
A) Those who are enrolled in a master’s course, a doctoral course, or a professional graduate course in a graduate school
B) Those who are conducting research in a specialized field at an undergraduate department, graduate school, institute attached to a university, etc. without the aim of completing the course
And includes those who are receiving preparatory education in the Japanese language and other subjects prior to placement at the university, etc.
Research Students attend lectures and seminars in universities basically delivered in Japanese, conduct experiments, participate in practical training and receive guidance and advice from their instructors or supervisors.
Research Students may be enrolled in a university as non-degree student. Enrollment in a university does not guarantee that they to proceed to any graduate degree programs.
If they wish to proceed to any graduate degree programs, they will need to pass the entrance exam conducted by the universities. Please see details in the below.
If they fail to pass the entrance exam, the student may continue to be enrolled as a non-degree Research Student at the university.
How Can Research Students enroll in a master's or doctoral program?
For admittance to a master's or doctoral program, the student will need to pass an entrance examination conducted by the universities. In addition, if the student is admitted into a graduate school and wishes to continue receiving the MEXT scholarship, he/she will need to apply for extension of the scholarship (subject to screening examination by MEXT),
In general, graduate school entrance examinations include document screening, short thesis, and oral interviews, mainly on the field of study that the student wishes to major in, as well as written exams for Japanese, English, and other particular subjects. Since each university has its own enrollment requirements, Research Students should consult with the international student advisors at the universities.
Although entrance exam schedules differs according to the university, most graduate schools hold their entrance examinations between August to October, and some graduate schools, especially those for liberal arts, have exams in February or March. Research Students should prepare for the examination on their own. In this process, Monbukagakusho (MEXT) cannot issue any recommendation nor act as an intermediary.
How can Research Students obtain a master's or doctorate degree?
In order to receive a master's degree from a Japanese university, a student must attend a master's program for two years or more and obtain the minimum credits in their field of study, pass the examination on their master’s degree thesis, and pass the final examination.
The doctoral degree is granted to those who have attended the course for five years or more; three years or more for those who have obtained the master's degree, or four years or more for those majoring in medical science, dentistry or veterinary medicine, and who have obtained the minimum credits in their field of study including the number of credits obtained during the master's program, and have passed the examination on their doctor’s degree thesis, and passed the final examination.
Do Research Students need to study Japanese Language in Japan?
After the arrival in Japan, Research Students are required to attend a Japanese language course at their designated university for an initial six month period, when deemed necessary. After completion of the course, they will move on to the universities to which they are placed for their field of study. If a student's knowledge of Japanese is recognized as sufficient to conduct his/her research, he/she may not be required to take the Japanese language course.
We also encourage you to correspond directly with universities in Japan, as they may have their own scholarship programs.
More information on Japanese universities and the directories are available at the library of Information and Culture Center at the embassy. You may also access the following websites.
► Study in Japan: www.studyjapan.go.jp/en/index.html
► Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO): www.jasso.go.jp/index_e.html
► Japan Study Support: www.jpss.jp/eng/index.html
► Directory Database of Research and Development Activities: