PhD in Japan


Why study PhD in Japan?

Studying PhD in Japan is a fantastic opportunity to do research in one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries. Furthermore, because Japan has the world’s third largest economy, there are numerous interesting employment opportunities for exceptional postgraduates — Japan boasts world-class universities that rank among the top 100 in the world.

The country has 777 universities and 27 Nobel Prizes. Japanese universities are well-represented in worldwide rankings – five universities are among the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings.


Top Universities

  • The University of Tokyo
  • Kyoto University
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech)
  • Osaka University
  • Tohoku University
  • Nagoya University
  • Hokkaido University
  • Kyushu University
  • Waseda University
  • Keio University


Popular Fields to Study PhD in Japan

  • International Development Research, PhD
  • Global Science Graduate Course (GSGC), PhD
  • English Engineering Education (e3), PhD
  • Japanese Humanities, PhD


Program Duration & Cost of Education

The PhD program duration in Japan is three to four years.

On average the monthly living expenses (including tuition) for international students in Japan is around 138,000 yen on a national level. There are many types of financial aid/fully-funded scholarships provided for PhD programs in Japan.


Eligibility Criteria to Study PhD in Japan

A master’s degree or an international equivalent is required. Alternatively, if your university allows it, you may be able to start a five-year PhD program right after completing a four-year undergraduate degree, such as a Bachelor’s degree.

To pursue a PhD in Japan, you might be required to take the GRE in your subject area, so check what the practice is at your chosen university.


Intakes & Application Deadlines

Depending on the curriculum, Japanese universities have three intakes- Spring, Autumn & Summer.

For Universities with two intake periods

  • Application deadline for the spring intake: November
  • Application deadline for the autumn intake: April

For Universities with three intake periods

  • Application deadline for the spring intake: October/November
  • Application deadline for the summer intake: February/April
  • Application deadline for the autumn intake: June/July


A Sneak Peek into the PhD Application Process

Below are the documents that are required:

  • Official diplomas of your previous degrees
  • Official transcripts (you may also be asked for a copy of your Bachelor or Masters dissertation)
  • Graduate entry test score and language proficiency certificates (if applicable)
  • At least two letters of recommendation (generally from a senior member of staff such as a department head or academic advisor)
  • An up-to-date CV
  • A research proposal
  • A medical certificate
  • A photocopy of your valid passport

Besides this, it is always better to check the university requirements at your chosen university.


Student Visa Terms and Provisions

Once you’ve received your PhD offer, you’ll need to apply for a “College Student Visa” (ryugaku visa) if you live outside of Japan. You can apply for this visa at the Japanese embassy or consulate in your area. As part of your application, you’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • A letter of admission from your university
  • A valid passport
  • A completed visa application form

You may also be asked to present proof that you will be able to sustain yourself financially while in Japan.

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