Academic Plan

Academic Plan for New Students

Background of the Student

The following sections on prior courses and research experience are included for the purpose of summarizing the background information to the Graduate School and the Mentor.

Laboratory Rotation

An important part of the OIST program is the laboratory rotations.  During the first year, all students are required to do three rotations to experience a range of scientific approaches and to broaden their skill set.  

Students must complete rotations in two laboratories in their broad area of academic background and intended thesis research, and one laboratory from another broad area of science.  At least one of the rotations must be outside your research area.  You may be asked to defend your choice of out-of-field rotation to ensure that it is out-of-field, to ensure that you are gaining experience in a complementary field.  For example, if you are a neuroscientist, a molecular biology lab or a biochemistry lab would count, but a third neuroscience unit would not.

Discuss your Laboratory Rotation Units choices with your Mentor, and in the boxes below, please type FOUR unit choices for your in-field and TWO unit choices for your out-of-field rotation; in order of your priorities. If you have more units you would like to select, please write these unit names in “Remarks”.

Information about each laboratory may be found online at

Constraints: Your choice of research units will be honored as far as possible; however, please bear in mind that not all requests may be accommodated due to the availability of faculty members and space. The laboratories of adjunct professors are not normally available for laboratory rotations.  And if your out-of-field unit is not considered to be far enough out of field, we may ask you to choose again.

This selection is not binding, as the OIST program allows for flexibility and a change of your preferred units as you move through the program.

In-field Unit
Enter FOUR choices of in-field units in order of your priority (1-4).
Out-of-field Unit
Enter TWO out-of-field unit choices in order of your priority (1-2).

Instructions for Course Selection

  • Refer to the course list and course timetable for the course contents and the term offered. While this is correct at the time of this survey, changes will be made to course availability from time to time.
    UPDATED August 2022

  • Only nominate Elective courses on this form. 

  • A maximum of 4 credits worth of Elective courses per term is recommended considering the balance between course work and lab work. You may choose one course or none to tailor your program as needed. A small number of courses are worth only 1 credit, and may be taken together if you wish; please check the course description for more details.

  • Credit requirements for Electives: 20 credits of electives for Bachelor degree holders; for STEM Master's degree holders, a minimum of 10 elective credits are required. If you have graduate level science courses that were not included in your bachelor's or masters's degree,  you may contact Curriculum and Programs Section at for discussion about receiving possible transfer credit toward your OIST degree.

  • Please list sufficient courses to cover your full credit requirements.  Courses taken as Independent Study should be listed later

  • Plan a program of courses that complements what you already know and develops your knowledge in the core area more fully in consideration of your background, aims, and intentions at OIST.  Consider taking some basic courses outside your specialization to better prepare you for collaborative and interdisciplinary work.  Additional material not offered at OIST may be taken as an Independent Study through online courses (such as MIT, Stanford, Coursera, EdX) or via directed study with an OIST faculty member. Pease contact Curriculum and Programs for advice and support.  
AY 2022
Term 2 (2023 Jan - Apr)
Term 3 (2023 May - Aug)
AY 2023
Term 1 (2023 Sep - Dec)
Term 2 (2024 Jan - Apr)
Term 3 (2024 May - Aug)
AY 2024
Term 1 (2024 Sep - Dec)