FAQ-PhD

Admissions Workshop
  1. Interview
  2. Enrollment
Student Affairs
  1. Relocation
  2. Visa
  3. Spouse/Childre/Partner
  4. Insurance
  5. Tax
  6. Finance
  7. Student Housing
  8. Travel
Academic
  1. Schedule
  2. Mentor assignment
  3. Lab rotation
  4. Courses
  5. GAP Program
  6. Faculty/Supervision

I. Admissions Workshop

1. Interview

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 2 weeks.

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.

If you wish, you can use the "Share Screen" option on Zoom, but it is not mandatory.

2. Enrollment

Please refer to this link for details.


The regular enrollment period is September 1st of the upcoming academic Year. However, we can also offer enrollment at the beginning of each semester. You may choose early enrollment in May (if you join the February Admissions Workshop), or late enrollment in January. You may also choose to defer to the next academic year but may not defer more than one academic year. A request to change the enrollment timing can only be accepted once.

Admissions Workshops Upcoming Academic Year Following Academic Year
May 1st September 1st January 1st May 1st September 1st January 1st
Early Enrollment Regular Enrollment Late Enrollment Defer Defer Defer
February Admissions Workshop Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
June Admissions Workshop No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
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II. Student Support

1. Relocation

No, Students need to choose a company/service and organize shipping themselves.

Yes you may, however, any and all costs related to your pet(s) must be covered by you, and you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with/following procedures upon bringing your pet(s) to Japan. This process is very complicated and will take up to 6 months or more to complete all the required procedures to bring them. Details
Also, make sure to contact Housing Management Section to see housing policy for pets.

Yes. You may ship your household items from different addresses as long as the waybills show your name as both the sender and recipient.

No. Ground transportation cost during relocation journey will be on your own and expected to be executed among "Transfer allowance".
In case of an exceptional case, you will be notified ahead of time.

There are expressway buses from the airport to OIST. Please see details here.
In case of an exceptional case, you will be notified ahead of time.

Yes, you could.
(Relocation and flight) Although relocation support (Flight, Transfer allowance, and Relocation expenses) will be provided only for your spouse and child(ren), we could arrange a flight, hotel, and other necessary things for relocation if you wish. *The cost will be charged on you.
You could arrange everything including you and your family by yourself and get reimbursement only for you later. If you arrange by yourself, there are some conditions you need to meet to get reimbursed, so please contact Student Support team.

(Visa) Please note that if your family members are non-Japanese, they need to have a valid Japanese visa to enter Japan. Only spouses and children are able to apply for a "Dependent" visa. Other members, such as parents/siblings are able to apply for a "Short-stay" visa. About acquiring a "Short-stay" visa please consult with the nearest Japanese Embassy/Consulate for procedures and documents.

(Housing)Please make sure to contact Housing Management Section to inquire about housing policy for your family member.

2. VISA

Some embassies or consulates may ask for your flight information in order to apply for a visa. In that case, please confirm if you need an issued ticket for your flight or just a tentative schedule.  

a.  Issued ticket: The Graduate School usually issues ticket(s) only after your visa is issued. If an issued flight ticket is necessary, provide proof of this requirement (screenshot of the website, email from the embassy, notice, etc.) 

b.  Tentative schedule: Search for your flight online and submit as your tentative flight schedule (DO NOT BOOK)

Please tentatively put "Narita international airport" or "Naha airport".

For those who have a visa for more than 3 months, a residence card is issued after your registration at the municipal office. With the residence card you can claim "special re-entry permit" as you exit Japan.

  • See “how to read visa” here.
  • See here for a Special re-entry permit.

You will need to renew your Residence card (status of residence) before it expires while your stay.

3. Spouse/Children/Partner

Roughly estimated, 10,000JPY per child per month is the minimum cost.
Tuition and textbooks for public schools are basically free, you just have to pay for school lunch and activities.  
For more details, see here.

OIST Child Development Center (CDC) is located on campus and most of the parent students choose CDC for their kids.

OIST Resource Center provides information on how to search for jobs in Okinawa, and how to get permission for a part-time job. See here for more details.

Only spouses and children are able to apply for a "Dependent" visa with a Certificate of Marriage/Birth certificate. Other members are able to apply for other types of Japanese visas. See here for work or long-term stay. See here for short-stay.

4. Insurance

All students must join National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. 70% of medical costs are covered by NHI. You will be given more information at the orientation after your arrival.

5. Tax

Taxes are not calculated for each member of your family but are calculated for the household based on the total income of your family.

In Japan, residence tax and health insurance is calculated based on your income of the previous year.(Spouse's income will also be considered) Basically, from your 3rd year, your taxes will be higher because the full amount of previous year's income will be calculated.
You may be exempted from paying tax for the first (and the second year) as your income in the previous year is 0 or low enough to be exempted. Please see the balance sheet for example.

6. Finance

Payment (the day OIST executes bank remittance to your registered bank account) is on the17th of each month.
Income tax, tuition fee (45,000JPY) and housing fee will be automatically deducted from each month's payment.

You will get them about a month after you submit the required receipts and report.

Application at OIST will start basically after your thesis unit and supervisor have decided since most of application requires thesis supervisor’s recommendation letter.

7. Student Housing

The rent and furniture fee varies by type of the room. See here (TBA) for details.

In some of the on-campus apartment it is not allowed to have pets. Once you have confirmed that you would join OIST, please send a request to Housing Management Section at the early stage.

Basically, family members are allowed to live in the campus housing. Please note that Japanese visa is not issued to anyone except family members as your relatives. For details, please contact Housing Management Section.

8. Travel

Baggage allowance differs by airline companies. We will let you know how much baggage you are allowed to check in when your ticket is booked. Extra baggage fee is covered by relocation expenses up to a fixed amount. See here for the table of relocation expenses. Receipt(s) required.

III. Academic

1. Schedule

Please refer to the Academic Calendar for details.During Enrollment Week, you will have orientations, health checks, and other sessions.

2. Mentor assignment

Usually, mentors are assigned to incoming students about 2 months prior to the enrollment term.

3. Lab rotation

Your preferred rotation labs are to be discussed between you and your Mentor, who will be assigned to you a few months prior to your enrollment term. After discussing with your Mentor, you will submit your lab preferences to the Academic Program Team at OIST Graduate School. After confirming with faculty members, we will notify you about your lab rotation unit assignmnets about 2-6 weeks before your enrollment. At OIST, an OIST faculty member, as close to the student's proposed field of study as possible, will be assigned to each student as a Mentor prior to arrival on campus. Once your Mentor is confirmed, you and your Mentor will communicate online and discuss your Academic Plan for the first two years of your PhD program including your rotation lab preferences.

You may change units for future lab rotations, after discussion with your Mentor. Changing a lab rotation which has already begun is not recommended.

Lab rotations provide a variety of experience in different laboratories that will broaden the student’s understanding of different disciplines, techniques, and ways of scientific thinking. Importantly, lab rotations are intended to help the student select the most appropriate research unit and research question for their thesis research.

An out-of-field rotation is a key element of OIST's non-disciplinary ethos. It is hoped that experience out-of-field will broaden the student's understanding of different disciplines and ways of scientific thinking, and allow students to find new avenues for future collaborative research that may not have been considered before.

4. Courses

Before your enrollment, you will submit your course plan (Academic Plan) and we will register you to the courses. Once you are officially enrolled at OIST and need to change your course, please submit the “Course Change Request” web form, which can be downloaded from the Graduate School Group site. Please also refer to the Academic Policy, "4.2.2.2 Course Change" and "4.2.2.3 Course Withdrawal" for more information.

The 1st year of the program is a combination of lab rotations and coursework. Students are required to develop and complete a meaningful lab rotation project, in collaboration with the professor in charge of the host research unit, in line with the interests of the student and the capabilities of the research unit. Students are recommended to take a maximum of two elective courses per term, considering the balance between course work and lab work. You may choose one or none to tailor your program as needed.

New courses are added to the catalogue as they become availble. Course options are updated every term.

5. GAP Program

The Gap Program provides lab experience and an opportunity to develop scientific English proficiency for incoming students in need. An offer to join the Gap Program will only be made to incoming students after consideration of each individual's circumstances.

Students are not automatically eligible for enrollment into the Gap Program. An offer to join the Gap Program will only be made to an incoming students after consideration of each individual student’s circumstances. Please indicate your interest in the Gap Program in the Pre-enrollment Survey.

6. Faculty/Supervision

It depends on the particular agreement for the professor. Some adjunct professors are at OIST about 50% of the time, others only about 20%. Note that an adjunct professor cannot be a primary thesis supervisor, but can be a co-supervisor.