Contact・FAQ

General enquiries on the graduate program

Administrative office of Subprogram in Materials Science and Engineering,
Doctoral Program in Engineering Sciences, Degree Programs in Pure and Applied Sciences,
University of Tsukuba

< NIMS Sakura Site > 3-13 Sakura, Tsukuba city, Ibaraki 305-0003, Japan
< University of Tsukuba > Graduate School of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Tsukuba
Tenodai 1-1-1, Tsukuba city, Ibaraki 305-8571 Japan

butsuzai@un.tsukuba.ac.jp

Access and Transport

Please see the university website

Enquiries on NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship

Graduate Program Group
Global Networking Division
National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)

1-2-1 Sengen, Tsukuba city, Ibaraki 305-0047, Japan

029-859-2204

nims-graduate@nims.go.jp

Access and Transport

Please see the NIMS website

FAQ

Doctoral Program and NIMS

Q1What is the educational collaboration between NIMS and University of Tsukuba?

Numbers of laboratory-based collaborations between NIMS and the University of Tsukuba have been instrumental in this unique graduate program. Both organizations have the same intention of becoming one of the global centers of research and education, utilizing the advantage of Tsukuba Science City with its youthful vitality.

Q2How different is this program compared to the conventional graduate programs?

The program is a new 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.

Q3What kind of degree is awarded by completing the program?

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering is awarded by University of Tsukuba, for successfully completing the "Doctoral Program in Engineering Sciences, Subprogram in Materials Science and Engineering".
Masters of Engineering is awarded by completing "Master's Program in Engineering Sciences, Subprogram in Materials Science" or "Master's Program in Engineering Sciences, Subprogram in Applied Physics".

Q4What is required if I want to join "Doctoral Program in Engineering Sciences, Subprogram in Materials Science and Engineering after completing the Materials Science and Engineering Class?

In fairness to other applicants, you have to apply for the doctoral program on your second year of the Master's program. You need to be successful on the entrance exam. However, the application fee and the admission fee will be exempted.

Q5 Do I have to pursue "Doctoral Program in Engineering Sciences, Subprogram in Materials Science and Engineering" after completing the Materials Science and Engineering Class?

The path is not determined automatically. You can take our graduate program after getting a degree from the other University of Tsukuba programs or from other universities, and vice versa. Please consult with the professors prior to application.

Campus Life

Q1Where will I study? At the university or NIMS?

All students, both Master's and PhD, 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. The lectures are usually held at the University of Tsukuba.

Q2I have a research theme that I have been working on. Is it possible to conduct it as my thesis research?

Your supervising professor will advise you on that, taking into account your interests, experience, and research background. It will be developed through discussion with the supervisor.

Q3At the laboratory, will I work with other laboratory members as well as my supervising professor?

You may have opportunities to work with other researchers, laboratory staff, postdoctoral researchers, or/and other students. You could participate in projects with companies, other universities or research institutes. This depends on the laboratory, but we believe that the atmosphere will give you an intellectual incentive.

Q4I assume that the opportunity to work with other students is not as great as it is at university.

NIMS has various programs for students, apart from this graduate program. The students, from Japan and across the world, can take advantage of the opportunities to gain knowledge and skills that will benefit the present and the future.
In this program, 70 percent of the students are from overseas. English is used in daily activities. This program hosts a get-together event twice a year, inviting all the doctoral and master's students. The students will often have opportunities to go to the University of Tsukuba.

Q5How many credits are required to pursue the degree?

By a subject "Research in Materials Science and Engineering", 3 credits are accumulated in each semester by conducting research activities, including research doctoral thesis preparation. Another subject, "Seminar in Materials Science and Engineering" is to acquire 0.5 credits each semester by giving a presentation on the research progress. It also aims to develop presentation and discussion skills in English.

Apart from those mandatory subjects, a series of lectures provided by the program professors "Nanomaterials" is strongly recommended. This is mandatory for the Master's students in Materials Science and Engineering Class, but would give the PhD students comprehensive understanding of this program.

The credits required for Materials Science and Engineering Class in Master's Program in Engineering Sciences (Subprogram in Applied Physics and Subprogram in Materials Science) are more than 20 : 2 credits by "Seminar in Materials Science and Engineering" by giving a presentation on the research progress, and 18 credits by taking subjects of Materials Science Engineering Class.

All Master's and doctoral students must also submit a thesis and pass the defense to obtain a degree.

Q6Can I attend seminars held at NIMS?

The students can participate in several events, such as workshops and symposiums, at NIMS as well as the University of Tsukuba.

Q7Is it possible to use the facilities at NIMS, other than the facilities owned by the laboratory I belong to?

Yes, in the cases. You will first need to get the approval by your supervising professor.

Q8Can I use the libraries of both NIMS and University of Tsukuba?

Yes. With your ID cards, the students of this program can use libraries in each site of NIMS and all five libraries at the University of Tsukuba. Online journals and databases are also available to use.

Q9Is insurance required for my study and research?

All students must take out 2 types of insurance from enrollment to graduation : Personal Accident Insurance for Student Pursuing Education and Research (know as Gakkensai) and Liability Insurance coupled with Gakkensai (called Futaibaiseki). You will have to purchase the insurance as soon as your university life begins.
Separately, the students are required to join the National Health Insurance paid by the students (approximately 20,000 yen a year). It reduces the medical expenses by joining the scheme, and helps in case of accident and/or illness. Details will be provided by the university.

Q10Is it possible to have a medical check during a course of study?

Yes, you can annually have a medical check on the university main campus. If your research involves the use of radiation, organic solvent or particular types of chemicals, you will have the extra compulsory medical check. The medical check organized by the university is free.

Q11Is there any particular registration required if I deal with radiation for my research?

If your research involves the use of radiation, you have to register as a radiation worker at University of Tsukuba. The users have to go through safety training every year. It will be instructed by your supervising professor or the university.

Q12Can I present the results/articles at a conference or seminar during my course study or after the completion? Is there any way to have financial support for the travel?

You will be encouraged to present your results at such occasions. Prior discussion and approval from your supervising professor is required. If you present the research results conducted at NIMS, you can possibly have travel financial support.

Q13Is there a student accommodation facility?

Student Residence Hall is available. Please refer the university website for the details. There are also many student-friendly affordable off-campus apartments/flats in Tsukuba city.

Q14How can I commute to NIMS and to the university?

The bus journey between NIMS Sengen or Namiki and the university takes 15-20 minutes. NIMS Sakura is located within 10-minute bicycle distance from the university. Tsukuba city is relatively bicycle friendly. You may find it the most convenient. If you would like use a car, you will need permission from both NIMS and the university.

Q15Can I complete the doctoral program within 3 years?

The duration of the doctoral study is 3 years. If the student achieved distinctive work, it is possible to complete it after the first year.

Q16If I cannot complete the program within 3 years, is there still any chance to get the degree?

The program duration for the doctoral study is 3 years. However, the maximum duration of the enrollment is 5 years. This means, you can obtain a PhD degree if you successfully defend your dissertation within 5 years.

Q17Who will be on my dissertation?

Professors from the Subprogram in Materials Science and Engineering will be your dissertation committee. Professors from other programs of the university may participate as well.

NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship

Q1What is the Graduate Research Assistantship? NIMS Junior Researcher?

NIMS offers NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship to excellent doctoral/master's students enrolled in Materials Science in Engineering at University of Tsukuba, 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.

Q2How 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 months before the university application period. 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.

Important Note : Application for the NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship and the one for University of Tsukuba are different. Applicants who were selected on the document screening of the assistantship must submit the application documents to the University of Tsukuba.

Q3I 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.

Q4Are 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.

Q5How and when can I apply?

The call for the NIMS Junior Researcher is usually announced 4-5 months before the university exam. The entrance exam in August is for April admission, and the exam in February is for both April and October admission. Please check the application details on the following website.

Q6How much is the monthly stipend? Does the employment start from the first month of the enrollment? Is housing allowance also provided?

The monthly stipend is,
Doctoral student : approximately 180,000 JPY for 13 days work per month
Master's student : approximately 160,000 JPY for 11 days work per month
Income tax is imposed on the stipend. The stipend is paid in the middle of every month, after the tax deduction. The start of the employment is the same date as the university enrollment. There is no housing allowance, but student housing/dormitory service is available at the university.

Q7Is 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 go to the JSPS website for the details. Please note that you cannot make contracts with both at the same time.

Q8While I get paid by the NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship, can I possibly receive a scholarship as well?

Yes. However, amount of the monthly stipend may be deducted, depending on the type of the scholarship.

Q9If 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 for the details.

Q10Can 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.

Application and Admission Procedures

Q1How can I get the application form?

See the university admissions website for the application details, and download the formats when you apply. If you have any questions, contact the following office or ask the professors of the graduate program.

Academic Service Office for the Pure and Applied Sciences Area
1-1-1 Tennoudai, Tsukuba-city, Ibaraki-ken 305-8571 Japan
Phone: +81 29 853 4030 or +81 29 853 5623
Open Hours: 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday, except the holidays

Q2When is the entrance examination?

The entrance exam in August is for April admission, and the exam in February is for both April and October admission. All applicants, including the ones from overseas, must attend the exam at the university and pass it successfully. For the schedule and the details, please see the university admissions website for the application details.

Q3Does this program have a recommendation-based entrance exam?

Master's program applicants (Subprogram in Materials Science or Subprogram in Applied Physics) may possibly take the exam if the applicants meet the criteria. For details, please see the website of the Degree Programs in Pure and Applied Sciences.

Q4Is there any particular admission procedure for people who are currently employed?

Please contact our office or the professors of the program. For the Master's Program in Engineering Sciences, please see the details on the website of the Graduate School of Pure and Applied Sciences.

Q5I am an international student currently studying at university in Japanese. Is there a particular exam for those international students?

No. The entrance exam is taken place at the University of Tsukuba, conducted in English for the international students. No Japanese language proficiency required.

Q6I am not Japanese, currently residing outside of Japan. Do I need to obtain a visa to take the university entrance exam?

Citizens of some countries must apply for a "short-term stay" visa to enter Japan. For guidance and application, please consult Japanese Embassy/Consulate in your region.

Q7I am a third year undergraduate student. Is it possible to apply for the Master's courses?

If you fulfill the admission requirements, you will be eligible by applying for the qualification pre-screening. Please see the university admissions website for the application details.

Q8What does the entrance exam consist of?

Doctoral Program in Engineering Sciences, Subprogram in Materials Science and Engineering
The exam is comprised of a presentation (15 min) and an interview (15 min).

Materials Science and Engineering Class (for Master's students) :
the exams are different depending on the Master's programs (Subprogram in Materials Science and Subprogram in Applied Physics). Please read the university admissions website for the application details. The past exam papers are available in some programs. The evaluation will be based on a written exam, interview, and TOEIC/TOEFL/IELTS score.

Q9Is it possible to visit laboratories before application or exam?

Please contact the professor directly by email for the arrangement. In every May, the Degree Programs in Pure and Applied Sciences holds an open day. You can visit NIMS, the University of Tsukuba, and the laboratories you are interested in. The information will be updated on the top page of our website.

Q10I have a little difficulty in obtaining references from past supervising professors. Would my application be accepted?

Reference letters are not required for the university application. If you wish to apply for the admission based on recommendation to the Master's programs, you would need a reference letter. Please read the university admissions website for the application details.

However, if you plan to apply for the NIMS Graduate Research Assistantship, you need to provide at least 2 references on your application form. NIMS may directly contact those references in the selection process.

Q11At the examination, can I present my research achievements while I was employed, not from my master's thesis?

Please discuss the contents with your prospective supervising professor.

Q12How can I find accommodation during the university exam period?

Both NIMS and the University of Tsukuba do not arrange accommodation for exam-takers. There are many reasonable hotels in Tsukuba. Please search on the internet, or your prospective supervising professor will help you.