Special Research Students

Faculty members may host students of other universities who are permitted by their home institution to receive research guidance or co-supervision toward a degree as Special Research Students (Tokubetsu-Kenkyu-Gakusei) if the students stay at OIST for more than 6 months. A written agreement with the partner institution is required.


Candidates for Special Research Student status must obtain approval from the Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of Research at OIST. The application procedure requires the OIST supervisor to submit the documents listed below to academic@oist.jp:

i)    Application for Special Research Student (click here to download the form)

ii)   Recommendation letter from thesis supervisor in the home institution of the student

iii)  Brief outline of arrangement and plan of research at OIST from the OIST supervisor

iv)  Copy of transcript of the current degree at the home institution of the student

v)   Brief Curriculum Vitae of the student (if a visa is required)

vi)  Digital image of student’s photograph (on white background) and a scan of the information page of the passport (if a visa is required)

* We may ask for other documents the OIST Dean of the Graduate School deems necessary.

The Dean of the Graduate School will decide on admission after consulting with faculty members and notify students of the decision. The period for which a student can receive research guidance as a Special Research Student shall be determined by the Dean of the Graduate School in consultation with the partner institution and the OIST supervisor. This is granted normally on an annual basis and may be renewed.

Please submit application documents well in advance as the process can take up to 6 months. This includes the signing of an agreement between the student’s home university and OIST.

Research Supervision at OIST

Research guidance shall be provided to Special Research Students by members of the faculty of the OIST Graduate School. Upon the completion of Research Guidance, or annually in the case of extended tenure, the OIST supervisor shall submit a report on the student to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Special Research Students may apply to audit OIST Graduate School courses. The application will be considered by the Dean of the Graduate School, in consultation with the OIST supervisor and the course coordinator. In general, such applications will be approved provided this poses no obstacles to the education and research of the Graduate School.

Other Conditions

Special Research Students must observe OIST Graduate University rules as defined in the Graduate School Handbook and the OIST Graduate University PRP. A Special Research Student who violates the regulations of the OIST Graduate University shall be disqualified as a Special Research Student and their research guidance shall be terminated in accordance with the OIST Graduate University PRP.

In general, Special Research Students enjoy many of the same privileges of degree candidates in the University, with the exception of Financial Support, which is handled differently. Special Research Students will not be charged application fees but may be charged tuition fees in the absence of a fee waiver arrangement between universities.

Financial Support for Special Research Students

No financial support for Special Research Students is available from the Graduate School or other central funds at OIST. In some circumstances, financial support for Special Research Students may be available from the host research unit, in which case financial support for Special Research Students, including SRS Research Assistantship and other benefits, should be included in the budget of the host research unit.

Insurance for Special Research Students

All Special Research Students must join the National Health Insurance scheme, or provide evidence of similar medical insurance that is appropriate to their situation. They are covered by Accident Insurance for Students Pursuing Education and Research (PAS), and Liability Insurance coupled with PAS (Gakkensai and Gakkenbai) provided by the Graduate School.

Accommodation for Special Research Students

Subsidized housing is available to Special Research Students who receive OIST financial support in the Campus Housing. If a Special Research Student is required to live off-campus due to unavoidable circumstances, such as shortage of housing in the Campus Housing, the University may lease off-campus housing for resident of the student. Other family members may be accommodated with adequate prior notice and consultation.

Further information can be found on PRP 5.5.2.