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The Graduate School accepts about 60 full-time graduate students per year. This ensures low numbers of students for each faculty member so that we can deliver best-in-the-world teaching for our graduate program. The basic requirement for the OIST Graduate Program is completion of a Bachelors, Masters or equivalent degree prior to the admission date.Students may submit an application at any time. Your application will be considered at the next admissions committee meeting. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to the next possibleĀ Admissions Workshop, held at OIST, as part of the selection process.

OIST strives to create and maintain an inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment that does not discriminate against gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, medical condition, race, ethnicity, ancestry, culture, national origin, religion, or marital status. Applications from women and other underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged. For more details, please refer to theĀ OIST Graduate School Three Policies.

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Application Deadlines

November 15, 2021 23:59 (JST UTC+9) – to participate in February 2022 Admissions Workshop

We are currently accepting applications for February 2022 Admissions Workshop. Due to Covid-19, the February 2022Ā Admissions Workshop will be held online.

March 31, 2022 23:59 (JST UTC+9)- to participate in June 2022 Admissions Workshop

Applications for the June 2022 Admissions Workshop will be accepted from November 16, 2021.

Number of Accepting Students

The Graduate School accepts 60 students. To conduct education and research tailored to the wishes and aptitude of each students, we accept a small number of students.

Application Requirements

Completion of a Bachelors, Masters or equivalent degree. Furthermore, we accept applications from persons, who expect to complete their degree before the date of enrollment at the Graduate School.

Application Procedure

We accept application documents only online. Please prepare all necessary documents written below in English and in a PDF file and upload all necessary documents at theĀ application website.

Required Documents

Scanned copies of your current academic transcript and any other transcript from your past degreeĀ  (BSc, MSc, etc.) in PDF format

Completed diploma (BSc, MSc, etc.) in PDF format.

  • A scan of an unofficial transcript or other record of grades may be uploaded to the application website.
  • English explanation is required for transcripts that are not written in English.
  • If you have not graduated and do not have a diploma yet, please upload a certificate of enrolment from your institution that indicates your expected graduation date.

This should be not more than 400 words and should address the following points:

  • The applicantā€™s scientific interests and aspirations, and
  • What the applicant hopes to gain from undertaking graduate studies at OIST.

The application system requires applicants to submit a passport number and upload a scan of their passport photo page. It is essential that applicants from outside Japan have a valid passport for travel to Japan. You must supply your passport details in the application process.

Each applicant is required to have at least two and no more than five letters of recommendation from appropriate academic referees. Two is the minimum requirement, but as a rule, it is very helpful for the admissions committee to have three or more letters. In the online application system, the applicant will enter the name and email of each recommender. The system will then contact the referee directly for their letter.

  • OIST strongly recommends that applicants ask academic referees in advance for permission to list them as recommenders. Recommendation letters needs to be submitted by the deadline. Referee comments are a very important part of the selection process, and it is the applicant’s responsibility to first ensure that referees are willing to submit such a letter, and then that they do submit before the deadline.
  • Recommenderā€™s letters will be treated as confidential material and will not be available to applicants or parties other than OIST faculty members assessing the application. In registering a recommender the applicant acknowledges that there is no right to read the recommenderā€™s letter.
  • You can only submit your application after at least two recommendation letter are received in the application system.

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 aĀ TOEFL or IELTSĀ score obtained within the last 2 years. Please upload a digital copy of your official score report to the application website.

  • There is no minimum score required but the information is necessary in determining preparatory course requirements.

Optional Documents

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 or specific test scores obtained within the last 2 years.
  2. Additional material such as the title and abstract of publications and oral presentations, and other evidence of achievement.

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

Application Fee

There is no application fee to apply for the OIST Graduate Program.

To be eligible for the OIST Graduate Program, you must have completed a BSc, MSc or equivalent degree or expect to do so prior to the admission date.

Applicants need to select OIST ā€œFaculty of Interestā€ during their online application for the purpose of screening and coordinating interviews for shortlisted applicants. This does not mean the student is committed to join the laboratory of the selected faculty if they are admitted. Students are admitted into the program rather than into the laboratory of a certain professor. The broad nature of the training we provide in the first two years allows students to discover many different approaches to the problem they are interested in and may even introduce them to completely new questions. Students become based in their intended thesis lab at the end of the first year, and their thesis topic is finalized after a qualifying examination at the end of the second year.

Admission to OIST is competitive against a standard that is similar to that of graduate programs of the leading universities the world over. The selection process for admissions takes into account all aspects of the OIST Graduate School application, including: academic record, applicant’s statement, letters of recommendation, additional evidence of academic ability such as GRE general test scores, additional material such as copies of publications and abstracts of oral presentations, and any other evidence of achievement provided. For short-listed applicants, the selection process additionally takes into account face-to-face interviews with four faculty members. All of these aspects are considered together in the final decision for each candidate.

Students are accepted to the OIST program and will go through lab matching process, therefore it is important to list the Faculty of Interest, but it is not necessary to contact faculty to get their approval or support prior to applying. In general, please consider the relevance of your message prior to contacting the faculty.


II. PhD Online Application:

You do not need to provide us with TOEFL/IELTS score if the medium of your education is English and you upload documents to prove so.

If you are unable to meet the deadline to take the test, please follow the instructions below.

  • Register for the nearest TOEFL / IELTS exam
  • Create a text document that lists (a) the date you are going to take the test and (b) the date you expect to receive your results.
  • Make a PDF of the note
  • Upload the PDF to your application
  • When you receive your scores, make sure to send a scanned copy of them by e-mail toĀ

For the online application, you can upload other government issued identification documents instead. If you receive a positive result and are invited to Okinawa for the Admissions Workshop, we will need the copy of your valid passport at that time for visa application and travel arrangement.

Deadline for submitting recommendation letter(s) is the same with the application deadline. However, please keep in mind that you can only submit your application after at least two recommendation letter are received in our system, so please make sure to communicate with your referee(s) and give yourself enough time. When the letter is submitted, you will receive a notification from the system, and you can proceed with submitting your application at that time.

Once you have invited your referees, you can check the status of your invitation by logging in to your account. You will be able to see the status of your invitation (Sent, In Progress, Submitted). You can also resend your invitation.
Depending on the settings of your refereesā€™ email accounts, there are cases the invitation letter sent from the system will be classified as Spam or Bulk mails. If your referees cannot find the invitation from their Inbox, please ask them to check Spam or Bulk folder as well.

You can no longer make any changes to the application once it is submitted, and you cannot withdraw it yourself. If you really must make some changes to your application, you may request us to reverse the status of your application to ā€œIn Progressā€ by emailing us atĀ However, it is your responsibility to submit your application again before the deadline. Please take enough time to revise your application and make final submission. There are no advantages by submitting the application earlier.

OIST uses an internet-based application system so we do not require submission of any document in hard copies. You only need to scan the documents and upload them on our online application system.If you are a successful candidate, some hard copies will be needed for visa application and enrollment process. You will be further instructed at that stage.

Yes, leaving this field blank will not affect your application in any way, as we understand many universities do not share class rank information with students.


III. Result Announcement:

For the 1st screening, it usually takes about 4-5 weeks after each application deadline, depending on the volume of applications we receive. For the final result after Admissions Workshop (interviews), it takes about 3 weeks. Both results are announced via the application system.

OIST policy is not to provide explanations for admissions decisions to individual candidates. The assessment of your submitted materials was made with reference to a set of criteria that are specific to the OIST Graduate School. A negative decision at OIST therefore should not deter you from applying to other institutions – each university admits students based on their specific requirements and goals.

You may apply again in the following year given that your academic records have made some progress to reconsider. Please submit an updated transcript with other supplemental documents when you reapply.


IV. Enrolling at OIST:

In discussion with the Mentor, MSc graduate entrants may receive up to a 10-credit dispensation at enrollment to elective coursework requirements, dependent on their educational background and proposed area of research. In terms of completing thesis research and being subsequently examined and graduated, there is no requirement to be enrolled for the full five years.

As all students enrolled in OIST PhD program are fully-funded with a generous Research Assistantship, you are not allowed to work part-time. The Research Assistantship ensures a comfortable living in Okinawa so that students can focus on

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