Application Process

STEP 1 : Apply online

Admission is competitive. The Graduate School accepts about 40 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.

Note: Candidates are considered for admission without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or gender.

Prospective students are required to Apply Online. Please check the necessary documents below and read the Frequently Asked Questions.

Required Documents

  1. Scanned copies of your current academic transcript and any completed diploma (BSc, MSc, etc.) in PDF format. An English explanation is required for transcripts that are not written in English.
    • A scan of an unofficial transcript or other record of grades may be uploaded to the application website. If selected for further interview, you must then arrange for an official transcript to be delivered to OIST, either by bringing one with you or having it sent directly from your school to OIST at a later date.
    • 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.
  2. Applicant’s statement. This should be not more than 400 words and should address the following points:
    • The applicant’s scientific interests and aspirations, and
    • What the applicant hopes to gain from undertaking graduate studies at OIST.
  3. 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.
  4. Each applicant is required to have at least 3 but no more than 5 letters of recommendation from appropriate academic referees. 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.
    • Recommender’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 recommender’s letter.
  5. 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 a TOEFL or IELTS score obtained within the last 2 years.
    • OIST Institutional Code for TOEFL: 8794
    • 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.
    • OIST Institutional Code for GRE reports: 8794
  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.

Important Dates

Students may submit an application at any time. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an admissions workshop held at OIST as part of the selection process.

To arrange travel for particular workshops, applications must be received before certain cut-off dates, which are earlier for students who need a visa to enter Japan.

For a list of countries for which a visa is NOT required, see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Exemption of Visa (Short-Term Stay) page.

Workshop Closing Dates for applicants who DO NOT require special visas to enter Japan:

  • June Admissions Workshop (20th-22nd June 2017): the application deadline is May 15th, 2017. 
  • August Admissions Workshop (1st-3rd August 2017): the application deadline is June 30th, 2017 - Applicants currently residing or studying in Japan only

Important note: The August Admissions Workshop is held for September 2018 enrolment.

Workshop Closing Dates for applicants who DO require special visas to enter Japan:

  • June Admissions Workshop (20th-22nd June 2017): the application deadline is April 15th, 2017. 

STEP 2: Admissions Workshop

The Graduate Admissions Committee makes the selection of students for admission. This Committee reviews all material submitted by each applicant and makes a short-list of about 80 applicants. The short-listed applicants are invited to an Admissions Workshop.

During the workshop, students will be expected to attend several face-to-face interviews with OIST faculty. In the interview you will be asked about your aims and your motivation to undertake graduate studies at OIST. There may also be questions about your academic record and career aspirations. Faculty members may also ask scientific questions related to your previous and intended studies.

Tour OIST research and teaching facilities, student support and accommodation, and the surrounding environs. You will have many opportunities to ask questions about the graduate program and life at OIST.

Enjoy a social program giving you an opportunity to meet existing students and faculty members.

For those invited to attend the workshop, the travel costs will be paid by OIST, and accommodation and all meals will be provided at OIST.  The workshop will comprise a minimum of three full days in Okinawa, with flexibility regarding additional time.

After the Admissions Workshop, the Graduate Admissions Committee will make a final selection of applicants who will be offered a place in the graduate program. Successful and unsuccessful candidates will be notified within a week or two.  The successful applicants must accept or decline within 30 days. The deadline for accepting or declining the offer may be extended by the Admissions Committee.

After the Offer…..

Admitted students will be contacted by the Graduate School to start arrangement for visa, relocation, and housing on campus.

OIST will cover the expense for relocation up to the maximum level (International: ¥500,000  Domestic:¥250,000)

OIST faculty will be available to answer any questions or offer support whenever needed.