Student Responsibilities and Expectations


The following document applies to all students enrolled at OIST, and serves to clarify mutual expectations and responsibilities between the student and relevant parties at OIST in the interest of ensuring successful completion of the OIST educational program.

This document supplements, and does not in any way supersede, OIST’s “Policies, Rules and Procedures (PRP)”, for example, the University Code of Conduct (PRP 1.4) and the OIST Gender Code of Conduct within. If any discrepancy is found between the two, the OIST PRP takes precedent.

Faculty, in accepting students into their Research Unit, acknowledge that they have read and understood this document, and agree to abide by its contents.


i) Students enrolled at OIST will be members of a Research Unit (RU), and in being accepted into an RU the Thesis Supervisor (TS) confirms the availability of facilities and resources for your proposed research

ii) Following progression to thesis research, the TS and Thesis Committee (TC) (the latter made up of your TS, your Mentor, and Third Committee Member or Co-Supervisor) are responsible for overseeing academic progress

iii) OIST degrees are overseen and awarded by the Dean of Graduate School (DGS), and the Graduate School is responsible for ensuring students are complying with OIST education program requirements, including the meeting of academic milestones in a timely manner

iv) Students are to be proactive and act independently as required by their TS, while taking full advantage of the resources available to them; including supervision, facilities, resources, training and teaching, both at OIST and elsewhere

v) Students are responsible for the quality of their academic research, including compliance with relevant conventions as they pertain to their chosen field

vi) Students are expected to have submitted their thesis and have been examined by the end of their fifth year of enrollment

vii) Students are responsible for discussing any difficulties they may encounter with the relevant party, and without delay, to ensure every effort can be made to assist them in alleviating or overcoming the difficulty in question

viii) The TS and TC are required to report any concern they may have at any time regarding a Student’s academic progress, while ensuring they are available to assist the Student in any reasonable manner

ix) The DGS may recommend to the Curriculum and Examinations Committee (CEC) a student’s discontinuation from the program

x) The DGS is empowered to commence discontinuation of a student from the program


i) Students are required to inform OIST of all contact detail changes, and to abide by University requirements and procedures for any change of situation (including withdrawal from their course or program)

ii) In enrolling as a student of OIST, Students agree to abide by all OIST rules, policies and regulations. It is their responsibility to be informed of the same, including through official email communications, and completing all relevant paperwork (electronic or otherwise) in a timely manner

iii) As a full-time Student, it is expected that Students dedicate at least 37.5 hours per week to their course/research for the duration of their enrollment, and that at all times they work responsibly toward the timely completion of their degree

iv) It is expected that Students will avail themselves of the full benefit of supervision, teaching and facilities available. Students are to be proactive and act independently as required by their TS in their study, and to take full advantage of resources available to students at OIST, including the library

v) Students will proactively learn the historical bases and background literature of their chosen field of research, and relevant methodologies

vi) Students are to develop and pursue a unique question/topic of research, achievable with primary supervision at OIST (or with resources available to OIST, including co-supervision in agreement with a partner institution), and contribute to the scholarly knowledge in their field, including as it applies to relevant problems/issues

vii) Students are expected to operate with the highest integrity and transparency in their research

viii) Students are to proactively develop their professional relationships, and to contribute to the scholarly discourse through publications, conference participation and presentation, and through other avenues

ix) Students are expected to meet with their TS regularly and keep them abreast of their progress. Any difficulties or delays are to be discussed with them immediately. Work should be submitted to the TS as requested for their assessment. Any problem in meeting with the TS on a regular basis should be discussed with the Graduate School

x) Students are to regularly communicate with and inform their TS and TC of any circumstance that may affect their academic progress or performance

xi) Students are to develop, and act within, an ethos of collaboration and collegiality in classrooms, research units, and as representatives of OIST

The Graduate School (GS)

i) The provision of OIST degrees is overseen by the DGS

ii) The role of the DGS is made clear at Orientation, and on the GS website

iii) The role of staff of the GS may be found on the Graduate School website

iv) The GS will ensure that students are provided with all pertinent information related to their study, including general information about Health and Safety

v) The GS will, as required, provide appropriate acculturation mechanisms to assist students adjust to life in OIST and Okinawa

vi) The GS will ensure an appropriate range of courses is available to all students so as to complement/facilitate their chosen field of research

vii) The GS will stipulate frequency of Research Progress Reviews (RPR). This may vary in accordance with academic progress and advice received by the DGS regarding a student’s academic performance

viii) The GS will ensure all Students in Research Units and Courses will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the administration, delivery and content of lab rotations and courses, and that this feedback is provided to PI and faculty presenting courses to ensure feedback can be properly incorporated. The GS will undertake periodic reviews of lab rotations and courses provided by OIST

ix) Staff of the GS act as sources of advice if a student is experiencing difficulty with their TC, or the academic program in general. If any such difficulty arises, you are strongly encouraged to raise your concern with the GS as soon as possible, as time has shown that the earlier a concern is raised, the better the chance that a suitable remedy may be found

x) The GS will facilitate, in accordance with GS policy, centrally administered student matters, including conference travel

xi) The GS, on behalf of OIST, will facilitate financial support, guaranteed up to five years, to assist students in their progress toward their degree

xii) The GS will provide a Professional and Career Development program, in collaboration with other relevant sections at OIST, to enhance the scholarly, professional and academic interests of OIST graduates

xiii) The GS, through its Professional and Career Development program, will provide a range of activities, including seminars, workshops, internships, conference presentations and guest lecture series

xiv) The GS will collect, collate and publicize comprehensive data on student retention, graduation rates, time to completion, and initial career progression

xv) The GS will conduct exit surveys in order to assess the performance, relevance and effectiveness of the OIST academic program, and to make adjustment to the same when required

xvi) The GS will develop and publicize policies, rules and regulations to address student and faculty concerns, ensuring avenues of address are available, that principles of fair and equitable practice and institutional standards are followed, and that ethical considerations are adhered to

Staff and faculty responsibilities and expectations as they relate to your study

xvii) This section covers the roles of those individuals and committees responsible for success as a Student

xviii) As OIST is a non-disciplinary university, students are not formally members of a department. Initially students study under the umbrella of the GS, and following progression to thesis research, students become members of their RU, supervised by the TS

xix) On Student admission to the RU, the TS confirms with the DGS that the resources and facilities required for the student’s research are available

xx) The DGS is responsible for matters within the RU as they relate to the educational program at OIST


i) A Mentor will be appointed to each student during enrollment. The Academic Mentor is not required to be in the student’s exact area of research but should be conversant enough to provide appropriate advice in the development of student’s academic curriculum, and further to provide additional (to that of the TS) research support throughout enrollment

ii) The Mentor is further required to ensure your academic welfare throughout student enrollment

iii) As a member of the Thesis Committee, the Mentor is required to endorse academic progress throughout enrollment

iv) In years one and two of enrollment, the Mentor, after meeting with the student, is required to submit an Academic Mentor Report to the Graduate School

Thesis Supervisor (TS)

i) The Thesis Supervisor must be a full-time member of OIST faculty and is principally responsible for guiding and assisting with thesis research

ii) Within sciences and technology, group research may be common in a particular RU, and a TS may work in conjunction with post-doctoral researchers on a regular basis. TS may delegate elements of routine student supervision as long as oversight of the project by the Thesis Supervisor is not eroded or undermined. It is expected that students and Thesis Supervisors meet on a regular basis, and at least once per month, through the attendance of supervisory team meetings or by any other such meeting

iii) In agreeing to act as TS, the supervisor has approved the research topic, availability of resources, the student’s knowledge-base and the time constraints imposed by the OIST academic program

iv) The TS will be impartial, fair and professional in all dealings within the RU, commensurate with OIST policies and regulations as they pertain to harassment, confidentiality and nondiscrimination

v) The TS will develop and maintain an ethos of collegiality within the RU

vi) The TS will allow students to complete their education and research in a productive and timely manner and will not require students to undertake work that is not directly related to their thesis, that is outside the student’s academic responsibility, or that impedes the student’s timely completion of the OIST degree

vii) The TS will provide intellectual guidance, including the historical bases of the discipline, knowledge of the leading edge of the student’s field, and opportunities to advance research

viii) The TS will respect student’s research interests and goals and assist in achieving them

ix) The TS is responsible for monitoring student attendance, and subsequent reporting to the GS for administrative purposes

x) The TS will be respectful, compassionate, and reasonable in accommodating student requests for periods of absence from study

xi) The TS is responsible for ensuring that the Student is aware of requirements and conventions pertaining to the student’s area of research, for example, nomenclature, integrity of data, analytical methodologies, etc. The Thesis Supervisor will further provide pertinent advice on relevant sources of information, how best to present research, and university best practice

xii) The TS is responsible for RU occupational health and safety matters, and for ensuring students are educated in relevant University policy on research ethics and other areas of ethics that may be more specific to your area of research; for example, University policy on the welfare of animals, or on working with human subjects

xiii) The TS is responsible for specialized occupational health and safety training as it relates to your field of research and the RU

xiv) The TS is expected to be familiar with this agreement, courses available to students, structure of the academic program, and be willing to undertake training as required by the Dean of Faculty Affairs (DFA)

xv) The TS will establish with the Student the most effective means of communication, including frequency of meetings, the form these take, what is required at each meeting, and who initiates the meeting

xvi) All students should have the opportunity to receive feedback from their TS, and TS likewise must have the opportunity to provide feedback

xvii) The TS should provide constructive feedback on draft chapters so that there is the opportunity to incorporate feedback in subsequent work undertaken. Given reasonable notice, the TS should respond promptly to requests to meet and provide feedback

xviii) If the TS is going to be absent from the University for an extended length of time, the TS and Student must organize a mutually agreed upon supervisory arrangement in accordance with OIST policy and academic program rules

xix) The TS is expected to advise on appropriate skills training and development, and financially support the same when unavailable from the GS

xx) In accordance with the Academic and Examinations Timeline, provided by the GS, the TS is required to ensure academic progress is consistent with the timeline, and to provide constructive and candid appraisals of student academic progress (see Academic Research Progress Review)

xxi) The TS is responsible for nominating examiners to the CEC

xxii) Where the result of an examination requires major revisions, or re-examination, the TS should agree to an immediate remedial form of supervision

xxiii) The TS is obligated to report to the GS immediately when there is, in the TS’s opinion, lack of academic progress, a likelihood that the student will fail examination, or academic misconduct of any form. Any such report may be reported to the CEC at its next meeting. The CEC and DGS deliberate on discontinuation of a student’s enrollment. The final approval will be made by the President following Article 40 of the OIST University Rules. The DGS acts concurrently as Chair of the CEC

xxiv) The TS is expected to assist in applications made by the student, for example, in applications for external funding when not provided by the GS

xxv) The TS is expected to provide advice on publication of research and act as a reference in applications of any sort; and may be able to provide advice on opportunities in the student’s research area

xxvi) The TS will encourage students when exploring career options and will provide relevant advice when able to do so

xxvii) The TS will provide opportunities and support in the development of presentation and teaching skills, grant-writing, networking with relevant professional contacts, applying for copyrights and patents, and in joining collaborative projects in accordance with accepted norms

Thesis Committee (TC)

xxviii) The Mentor, assigned to you at admission, is responsible for developing your initial curriculum, and is thereafter responsible for your academic welfare throughout your enrollment.

xxix) The TC, formed in the student’s second year of enrollment and comprised of the Mentor, TS, and Third Committee Member, oversees the conduct of student research. Student’s may, at your discretion, have an OIST Co-supervisor (in place of a Third Committee Member), or an External Co-supervisor (if applicable)

xxx) The Third Committee Member, in addition to duties normally conducted by the TC, acts as a mediator, when needed, to resolve disputes at a local level

xxxi) The TC is responsible for ensuring you are making satisfactory academic progress, conducting an RPR through years three to five of your enrolment

xxxii) In the case of any extension of due date or enrollment, your TC is required by the DGS to provide written support as documentary evidence is required to assess such requests

xxxiii) The TC is further responsible for the academic oversight of the student and the TS, and endorses your research proposal before examination.

xxxiv) The TC will work toward a collegiate learning environment, wherein faculty and students work together collaboratively and with mutual respect, and will provide appropriate levels of academic support to students

Curriculum and Examinations Committee (CEC)

xxxv) The CEC receives reports from the Graduate School on students’ academic progress and decides on courses of action required of, or in regard to, students as needed

xxxvi) The CEC receives examiners’ and chairs’ recommendations on examination results, and as the sole body authorized by OIST to do so, decides on final examination outcomes, including re-examination and award of an MSc

xxxvii) The CEC approves courses available to students at OIST, including courses of independent study, and external courses for which students may receive credit toward their OIST degree

Work submitted for assessment and examination

xxxviii) The quality of work submitted for assessment and examination is entirely the Student’s responsibility, including revisions required by Examiners. It is important to note that the assistance and support of the TS and TC provides no guarantee of success at examination. Furthermore, the lack of any report from the TS or TC raising concern about academic progress, despite endorsing research for examination, will not constitute grounds for complaint in the event of a failed examination

xxxix) Students are to make sure they are aware of academic milestone requirements as set by the GS, and to manage workloads, including submission of the thesis, so as to meet the due dates set.

xl) Students at OIST are expected to submit a written thesis, be examined, and graduate within five years. Funding is only guaranteed for this period of enrollment. Extensions beyond five years must be applied for in advance, require concrete documented supporting material in the application, and are approved, if warranted, only after considerable investigation. Funding beyond five years will be the responsibility of the TS, so students are required to

discuss financial assistance with the TS in in any discussion of extension of due dates or enrollment

xli) Students are expected to be familiar with, and to comply with, the conventions and requirements of their subject and field; including integrity in data collection and analysis, and acknowledgement of work completed by others. OIST reserves the right to submit student research and theses for plagiarism screening, and if detected, students may face disciplinary action

xlii) Thesis and thesis proposal drafts should be discussed with the TS, or in their absence (on reasonable grounds), the Mentor. All members of the TC are required to read and endorse the thesis proposal before progression to examination

xliii) Following examination, time allowed for requisite revisions will normally adhere to the recommendations of the Chair of the examination but will not normally exceed three months

Unsatisfactory academic progress and discharge from the OIST academic program

xliv) The TS and TC are required to report to the Graduate School any concern regarding unsatisfactory academic progress as soon as it arises. Students may be required to attend a meeting with the GS, the TS, or other members of the TC

xlv) Concerns will be raised with the student, and potential avenues of redress discussed. The meeting and any agreed plan of action will be recorded, with a copy provided to you. The consequences of failure to comply will also be made known to the student, ranging from a warning, or withdrawal of program benefits, to a report to the Curriculum and Examinations Committee recommending a finding of unsatisfactory academic progress and imposition of academic probation, which may ultimately lead to discontinuation from the OIST academic program

xlvi) If evident the student is impacted by extenuating circumstances, such as health-related difficulties or other personal concerns, the student may be referred to relevant resources, including the OIST Ganjuu Center

xlvii) Reasonable time will be allowed for the student to improve and return to study. Note, however, should requests of the TC not be complied with, or should academic progress remain unsatisfactory, the GS may, after meeting with the student to discuss the matter, recommend to the CEC that the student be discharged from the OIST academic program

xlviii) The CEC and the DGS deliberate on discontinuation of a student from the OIST academic program when:

a. The student has not progressed to the TC satisfaction;

b. The student has failed to comply with conditions previously set; or

c. The student is unlikely to reach the standard of the program in which they are enrolled

The final approval will be made by the President following Article 40 of the OIST University Rules


xlix) The TS will recommend external examiners for approval by the CEC. In the case of thesis proposal examinations, students will be examined by one Internal Examiner, and one External Examiner; the latter leading the examination as the expert in the research subject. In the case of thesis defense examinations, two External Examiners will be appointed

l) External Examiners are expected to be expert in one or more areas covered in the thesis or thesis proposal. External Examiners are not expected to be expert in the entire field covered by the thesis, but normally examiners’ expertise will be complementary. Note that examiners make a recommendation only on examination result to the CEC and DGS (through the Chair of the examination). The CEC ultimately decides on the examination result after referring to the Chair’s recommendation

li) The Chair of the examination is to facilitate and moderate the examination, ensuring the student has been treated fairly and given opportunity to defend their thesis or proposal, and respond to examiners’ questions

lii) The Chair further makes a recommendation on examination result to the CEC and DGS after receiving and reviewing the examiners’ recommendations. Note that the Chair does not have a deciding vote in the case of conflicting recommendations from the examiners. In the event of sizeable difference in examiners’ recommendations, the Chair will advise and make a recommendation only to the CEC. Further information on the examination process may be found in “Procedure and Responsibilities of the Chair for Thesis Proposal Examinations” and “Procedure and Responsibilities of the Chair for Thesis Defense Examinations”.

liii) Examination results are final, and examination results may be appealed only on procedural grounds

Complaints, problems and disputes

liv) When dealt with promptly by the appropriate University staff member or the Academic Mentor, most concerns can be dealt with efficiently and with a satisfactory outcome. There are also a number of other independent avenues of address (including the Ganjuu Center, for example). There is an expectation that students will first reasonably exhaust all avenues of early, local and informal intervention before proceeding to more formal avenues of redress (for example, the submission of a formal complaint). If unsure of whom to speak with, your Academic Mentor or the GS Student Early Intervention Program Coordinator should be consulted.

lv) Unfortunately, some circumstances will call for more formal resolution. In order to limit any disadvantage, and to provide effective redress, formal complaints should be initiated within twenty (20) business days of the matter in question. In matters pertaining to the Graduate School, the Graduate School General Appeals Procedure can be found on the Graduate School website.


Supplementary Provisions 

This Student Responsibilities and Expectations shall come into force from September 1, 2020. 

Supplementary Provisions 

This revised Student Responsibilities and Expectations shall come into force from May 1, 2022.