Graduate Program Group
Division of International Collaborations and Public Relations
National Institute for Materials Science

1-2-1 Sengen, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0047 JAPAN

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How different is this program, compared to the conventional graduate programs?

The program is a unique type of graduate school, aiming at high level education and training of scientists and technicians. Students will take part in some of the latest research projects, experiencing the forefront Research and Development activity. This could bring the students towards understanding the most up-to-date and relevant developments in materials science.
The difference may arouse a little concern over basic study and knowledge, particularly in the Master's program. However, the program is designed to provide a platform for further research. It is delivered via a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials at both university and NIMS.

Where am I going to study at the university or NIMS?

Most of the research activities will be performed at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS, located in Tsukuba city, Ibaraki prefecture). All students of the NIMS Joint Graduate School Program will join the NIMS research groups to conduct their research. The group and location are determined by where the supervising professor is, either Sengen, Namiki or Sakura site.

Where am I going to take the university entrance exam to get admitted to the NIMS Joint Graduate School Program?

The exam is held at the university in most of the programs. The admission will be decided by the application documents and the interview at the exam. The selection process will be different by the courses. If you have applied for the NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship, you may be requested to attend the interview at NIMS which is usually held a few days before the university exam.

How am I going to earn the course credits required for the degree?

Basically, the required course credits will be able to earn by activities at NIMS. Depending on what courses the student takes, it may be required attending an intensive lecture course at the university. Please ask the NIMS program researchers for the details.

NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship

What is the Graduate Research Assistantship? NIMS Junior Researcher?

NIMS offers the NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship to excellent doctoral students enrolled in the NIMS Joint Graduate School Program, who aspire to a career as researchers. The awarded students, NIMS Junior Researchers, will have opportunity to work as members of the NIMS laboratories and receive a monthly stipend for their activities.

Study toward a degree is not deemed to be a duty. However, the assigned duties are consistent with the research objectives of the NIMS laboratory where you study. Eventually, the assistantship requirement can be fulfilled by focusing on the activities in the course of obtaining the degree.

How can I become the NIMS Junior Researcher?

Enrollment to the graduate program is a prerequisite to be the NIMS Junior Researcher. The application of the assistantship is usually announced 3-4 months before the university application period. Please find the information on the top page or each NIMS Joint Graduate School Program websites. The application documents need to be sent by email to the Graduate Program Section, NIMS. Prior to the university application, the candidates will be selected based on the documents, and the results will be sent by email in 1-2 months before the university application period. The candidates need to be successful in the university entrance exam.

Note : Application for the NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship and for the university is different. Applicants who were selected on the document screening of the assistantship must submit the application documents to the university.

Are there age restrictions to apply for the NIMS Junior Researcher? How long is the contract?

No age restrictions. The contract is for one year; it may be renewed annually, depending on your performance. The maximum employment period is the same as the program duration; 3 years for doctoral students, and 2 years for master's students. The contract will terminate if the NIMS Junior Researcher completes the program, even earlier than the duration, or withdraws from the university.

Can I have another part-time job while working as the NIMS Junior Researcher?

No. The purpose of the NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship is to enable the students to focus on their graduate study and research. The NIMS Junior Researcher has an obligation to perform their duty and is restricted from pursuing a side job. The assistantship is designed to fit in the conditions of the work permit for student visa holders. Upon the employment as a NIMS Junior Researcher, all international students have to obtain the permit (Permission to Engage in Activity Other Than That Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted) as well as the student visa.

While I get paid as a NIMS Junior, can I possibly receive a scholarship as well?

Yes, if the employment conditions meet the eligibility of the scholarship application. You can apply for both the NIMS Junior and scholarships, including JSPS Research Fellowship, government scholarship and JST fellowships offered by some universities. However, please apply with the understanding that you will not turn down the scholarship offer. If you are selected both, your NIMS Junior stipend will be deducted or terminated regardless of the NIMS funding source.

< Important note >

  • - The employment will be withdrawn if the NIMS Junior gets awarded JSPS research fellow, government scholarship or fellowship by JST.
  • ** If a scholarship is awarded and paid retroactively, as an exception, the NIMS Junior stipend with confirmed work record will be concurrently paid.
  • - If the scholarship (a total of living allowance and research grants) is more than 100,000 JPY per month, the monthly salary of NIMS Junior will be deducted to approx. 120,000 JPY for PhD, 70,000 for Master’s.
  • - Scholarship that specifies a type of employment after graduation, such as working at a designated institution, are not allowed to receive.
  • - No NIMS Junior salary reduction by working as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant at an enrolled university.
  • - Failure to promptly report to your supervising professor about being selected for a scholarship may result in revocation of your NIMS Junior employment.
  • Is it possible to apply for both NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship and JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) Research Fellowships?

    PhD Students are eligible to apply for JSPS Research Fellowships for Young Scientists. Please find the details on the JSPS website. Please note that you cannot make contracts with both at the same time.

    If I get paid as a NIMS Junior Researcher, will I get exempted from repaying the JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization) scholarship?

    Due to the employment condition of the NIMS Junior Researcher, the repayment exemption does not apply. Please see the JASSO website.

    I am being employed now. I will be on a long unpaid leave if I am accepted into the graduate program as a student. Am I eligible to apply for the NIMS Junior Researcher?

    Yes. Once you are back from leave and get paid again, the contract of the NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship will be terminated.