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What is Five-year doctoral course?

From the 2006 fiscal year, School of Physical Sciences and School of High Energy Accelerator Science introduced Five-year doctoral program. We accept the graduates and Colleges of Technology graduates. Five-year doctoral program is divided into in the 1st to 2nd years of the 5-years doctoral course, which is equivalent to a master’s program and in the 3rd to 5th years of the 5-years doctoral course, which is equivalent to a doctoral program. The same faculty advisers provide consistent research guidance over the entire five-year period.

We also accept Three-year doctoral program course. We have introduced a flexible and unique doctoral education system to accept even master’s degree graduates.

Admission Policy

Philosophy in School of Physical Sciences

School of Physical Sciences aims the training a high degree of expertise at the forefront of the world that targets substance, space, energy and chemical phenomena related to the human resources.

Philosophy in Department of Fusion Science

The Department of Fusion Science conducts experimental research on high-temperature plasmas, using large fusion experimental devices, and various engineering research necessary for fusion reactors with a view to realizing nuclear fusion power generation that can provide a next-generation energy source. The Department also provides instruction on a theoretical inquiry into the complex behavior of high-temperature plasmas. In this way, the Department aims to contribute to the advancement of fusion research and nurture high-level researchers with discernment and broad perspectives.

Prospective student for Department of Fusion Science

The Department seeks students who are strongly interested in and passionate about a broad range of research, ranging from the basic analyses to the applications, which is aimed at the achievement of fusion power generation; and have formidable intellect, abundant sensibilities, and the potential to develop into high-level researchers with discernment and broad perspectives.

Admission policy in Department of Fusion Science

  • We do the examination from the point of view of finding the appropriate enrollment properly in School of Physical Sciences.
  • To test comprehension, expressive power, insight, and English, the examination is implemented.
    It not only the score of the examination test, applicants personalities and qualities, motivation, etc., also taking into account a variety of potential, in the interview.

Important dates

Five-year Doctor-course Program for April 2023Five-year Doctor-course Program for April 2023 or October 2023
Three-year Doctor-course Program for April 2023Three-year Doctor-course Program for April 2023 or October 2023
Distribution of application guidelineslate-August 2022
Application periodSeptember 22 - 28, 2022December 1 - 7, 2022
paper test and interviewSubsequent 2 days between October 25 and 28, 2022Subsequent 2 days between January 17 and 20, 2023
announcement of acceptancelate-November 2022mid-February 2023

Events for Prospective Students

Application Guide

Application Guidelines in English are provided for the purpose of non-Japanese Applicants’ convenience only. In the event of any inconsistency between the Japanese Application Guidelines and the English Version, the Japanese version shall prevail.
For the request of the printed Application Guidelines, please contact to Graduate School Affairs Section(tel:0572-58-2042、E-Mail:daigakuin@nifs.ac.jp

The Entrance Examination

Overview of an entrance examination

This department has followed the five-year doctoral program system since 2006. Graduates of the undergraduate course can apply for admission. It is also possible to apply for the conventional three-year doctoral course, as an enrolled into the third-year class.

The application for admission is open twice a year, in summer and in winter. The screening is conducted by examining submitted documents, the results of the written examination, and an interview.

Please refer to the application guidelines with regard to the details of the entrance examination. It is also possible to obtain information from the website.

A list of the entrance requirements

5-year doctoral course3-year doctoral course
QualificationsGraduates of an undergraduate
Master’s degree or a
professional degree
ScreeningSubmitted application documents, results of written examination (English and special subjects), and interviewSubmitted application documents, results of written examination (English essay), and interview (mainly regarding past study and plans for future research)
Conferring degreeDoctor of Philosophy
AdmissionOctober this yearThe following AprilThe following October
Early JulyEarly July / Late NovemberLate November
Mid- AugustMid- August / Late JanuaryLate January
Notification of
Mid-SeptemberMid-September / Mid- FebruaryMid- February

Please note: The schedule is different in FY2022.

Messages from graduates

  • 宮澤 健さん

    graduated in 2013 Takeshi MIYAZAWA (currently Japan Atomic Energy Agency)

    I took the five-year doctoral course program, and material research aimed at the development of vanadium alloys which are attractive candidate structural materials for breeding blanket of advanced fusion reactors.

    I chose this five-year doctoral course in SOKENDAI because I had wanted to contribute to the realization of the fusion reactor. Furthermore, the departure from my hometown of Tokyo for an unfamiliar place of Toki city in Gifu was likely “diving into the new world” to me. I had this little excitement that it would be very enriching and remarkable experiences of my life.

    Although it is not simple when you wish to study fusion science, the fusion science research is an interdisciplinary research that you need to learn multiple specialized areas consequently and its field is diverse.

    On a first year, you will learn extensively basic of the plasma physics, simulation science and the fusion system with a study of magnetic-confinement fusion science. Based on those studies, there is a great educational system that you will be able to choose your specialty from various fields, and to select a supervisor from among specialists of fusion science. You will have a great opportunity to determine which field is appropriate for you.

    I chose the division of the material science for fusion reactors for my specialty. It’s worth to challenge in the process of designing a something new alloy by my own hands. I have felt a great sense of accomplishment when I was able to finish my thesis about creating an alloy after I spent a lot of effort on it.

    Although it seems a large hurdle to go to the five-year doctoral program course if you are at the stage of undergraduate, let yourself experience the challenge, and join a project of the fusion reactor realization.

  • 武村 勇輝さん

    graduated in 2012 Yuki TAKEMURA (currently National Institute for Fusion Science)

    After I completed a master’s degree, I enrolled in a doctor’s degree in department of fusion science at SOKENDAI (the Graduate University for Advanced Studies) and had studied the plasma physics experimentally. When I was a student in the master’s degree, I knew SOKENDAI because I jointed a collaborative research with National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS), which is a campus of SOKENDAI. In the institute, many researcher are involved in the fusion research, which is my interests, and there is a library with books related with the fusion research. I thought that SOKENDAI have the proper conditions to do research, and is attractive. So I decided to enter SOKENDAI. When I was a student in the doctor’s degree, I had jointed an experiment of Large Helical Device (LHD), which is a large device, and were involved in the fusion research as a member of a big project. Students in other universities are not able to have the valuable experience. For students, who wants to be involved in the fusion research for the realization of the nuclear fusion power production, and be interested in the big project research, SOKENDAI is a good place.

  • 村上 昭義さん

    graduated in 2011 Masayoshi MURAKAMI (currently National Institute of Science and Technology Policy)

    I have been at NIFS for 5 years as a graduate student and for a year as a postdoctoral researcher. I involved myself to the research and development for the method of operating fuel gas such as hydrogen gas for the generated large scale high temperature plasma inside of the LHD.
    An advantage of being a student of SOKENDAI is that an extraordinary experience of the fusion research is opened.  You are able to install equipment which is designed and produced by yourself with LHD which is the world class superconducting plasma confinement device. Besides the experiment of LHD, the learning environment of SOKENDAI has many excellent researchers and fulfilling with well-equipped facilities for students who desire to research the fusion science research generally.
    Also, attending a workshop or a seminar are the opportunities to interact with students from other departments, share your knowledge and find out what they do.  It was fun for me to know what other fields do.
    It’s important that the advanced research of fusion science needs many researchers and technical engineers and they should be well-cooperated, and abilities to carry out to achieve the project.
    Joining such large scale experiments was variable and great experience to me in graduate school days.  I appreciate to supervisors and teachers who enthusiastic in teaching, they provided me with good support, encouragement and scholarly advice throughout this study.
    Studying of general engineering of nuclear fusion science has generally enhanced the quality of my work, so the knowledge and experience through my studies while at SOKENDAI is still very useful and helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Enrollme

  • Q1. I would like to receive detailed information regarding the entrance examination.

    Details regarding (the examination schedule, examination subjects, the interview, and previous examination questions) may be found here.

  • Q2. Is is possible to take the entrance examination in English?

    Yes, the entrance examination may be taken in English. The entrance examination questions are the same for both the Japanese-language examination and the English-language examination.

    The questions for the “English-language” examination are set for candidates who are native speakers of Japanese or are proficient in Japanese. The candidate may be exempted from this examination by submitting an official document that certifies the TOEIC score or the TOEFL score.

  • Q3. What is the “Course-by-Course Education Program”?

    This is our unique educational program for nurturing and training graduate students with highly specialized competences to become PhDs with advanced and specialized skills.

    After entering the graduate school program, if one has applied to a course, special research funds will be provided from the third year and beyond according to each course. Thus, one may receive research guidance in an advanced environment.

    For further information, please see the corresponding website of the school.

  • Q4. What are the unique assets of SOKENDAI?

    The unique assets of SOKENDAI may be summerized in the following three points:

    1. Advanced specialist education in a research facility
      (that is, Inter-University Research Institutes [or IURIs] in Japan)
    2. Supervision by a large number of top-level IURI researchers in individual fields
    3. Inter-disciplinary education that cultivates a broad range of vision


    Regarding (1), we provide an ideal education and research environment, offering direct access to large-scale experiment/supercomputing facilities, such as the Large Helical Device (LHD) and the Plasma Simulator (PS), at the world-class nuclear fusion research institute in Japan, the National Institute for Fusion Studies (NIFS).

    This privileged environment enables students to develop their own research and achieve cutting-edge results in individual research fields.

    Regarding (2), for the prescribed number of new students, 5, for each year there are approximately 50 teaching staff for fostering specialties and expertise in their individual research fields.

    Students may be in daily communication not only with approximately 150 cutting-edge researchers at NIFS, but also with collaborating visitors and guest scientists in Japan and from abroad, and thus may find answers and solutions to research issues.

    Regarding (3), joint education and academic exchange activities (see here) are always held in multiple departments or schools of SOKENDAI. Students may also attend seminars and collaboration workshops and symposia held at the hosting institute.

  • Q5. Are there financial support programs?

    Yes. According to the economic condition of each student, students may apply for and receive not only a partial or a full tuition exemption, but also various scholarships, such as from the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).

    In addition, it also is possible for third-year students and above to apply for an associate researcher position or to be a fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

    For further information, please see here.

  • Q6. How is student daily life?

    [Lectures and Research]
    First-year students in the five-year doctoral course have lectures in the morning every day. In the afternoon, they individually will have laboratory seminars or research instruction in laboratories. Second-year students and above will give more attention to the latter. At the laboratory, students will receive intense research instruction with many researchers.

    [Mutual communication]
    In SOKENDAI, university-wide events such as student seminars and SOKENDAI lectures are held at the Hayama Headquarters in Kanagawa Prefecture. Those events promote friendship between students and staff from different schools and departments, including the humanities and the social sciences. It is also easy to have relationships with not only SOKENDAI students in other departments but also with students from partner graduate schools, such as those Nagoya University, Hokkaido University, Toyama University, and Gifu University. There also are many foreign students and visiting researchers from overseas at NIFS, and English is commonly used for communication.

    [Living environment]
    NIFS is in a typical Japanese local city, one which has a long history well known through the production of the famous Mino ceramic ware. A good natural environment mixes with convenient urban life, thus students can concentrate on their research at NIFS. And because rent is relatively lower than in metropolitan areas, students can possibly study with a lighter financial burden by using financial support programs. Please see our student life here.  Also see the messages from current students and graduates.

  • Q7. What about employment after graduation?

    As at other graduate schools, there are no quotas for recommending doctoral degree holders to companies or corporations. It is typical for PhD holders to search for their position themselves.

    However, taking into account the severe conditions for job searches, we consider it necessary to strengthen support by offering advice from research supervisors. Based in an inter-university research institute, our department is fortunately endowed with opportunities to come into contact with various experts and companies nationwide. Please refer here to find the recent employment results.

    [Finding employment at universities, colleges, or research organizations]

    With personnel becoming more mobile, it has become common for research staff to be hired for a fixed term of several years. Consequently, most post-doctoral researchers apply for several full-time positions while advancing with their research achievements.

    It must be noted that employment for researchers has become increasingly competitive. However, by taking full advantage of these world-advancing institutional resources, SOKENDAI students have important advantages to accomplish remarkable achievements which will certainly help them in gaining employment.

    [Finding employment in companies or corporations]

    Since our university has a relatively short history, its popularity among companies is not as high as traditional universities. However, graduate students are gaining a wider variety of employment by fully utilizing their unique research careers.

    Typical companies have no set number of positions for hiring doctoral degree holders. Therefore, please note that job hunting activities must be undertaken by oneself.

  • Q8. Can business persons enter the school to receive a degree?

    Yes. It is possible to take the entrance examination if the applicant satisfies the specified requirements, such as the scholastic ability of a university graduate, a master’s degree, or an equivalent degree.

    Business staff students can apply for the long-term completion plan, which may be extended for a certain period of time beyond the standard term for graduation from the doctor course. When granted, the total course fee must be paid in installments over the years of the course.

    Some business people have succeeded in completing the course and received the degree. It is strongly recommended that one negotiate with the work supervisor beforehand.

  • Q9. Are there opportunities to study abroad?

    The School of Physical Sciences is now promoting the “Course-by-Course Education Program” to cultivate researchers in physical sciences with broad perspectives, and studying abroad is substantially supported.

    Students can present their research achievements at international conferences held overseas, and can also participate in summer/winter schools.

    It is also possible for a certain period to study in an overseas research institute by receiving supporting funds or scholarship for the research and travel expenses.

  • Q10. I cannot find my research subject and an appropriate supervisor.

    For the first half-year of the five-year doctor course, every student will study various fields and have sufficient time for searching for one’s own research subject and professorial supervisor.

    For the three-year doctor course students, it is strongly recommended before entering the graduate school to determine the professorial supervisor and consult that supervisor for determining one’s research subject.

    It is also possible to search for your most interesting subject and for your supervisor candidate from the list of professors. If there are unclear matters, please feel free to ask the Graduate Student Affairs Section, such as through the query form.

  • Q11. Can I receive a Master’s Degree?

    Yes. The master’s degree will be issued if one fulfills the specific requirements and submits the application.  For more information, please see here.

  • Q12. I would like to ask further questions.

    Please inquire to the Graduate Student Affairs Section “Daigakuin Renkei Kakari.” This office can provide overall services for the SOKENDAI graduate students and candidates, such as regarding educational affairs, student welfare, scholarship, and event information. Please make a request to the liaison office for the examination and admission information materials.

    One may also directly contact the professorial staff for the specific research field. By making an appointment beforehand, one can visit the department and receive individual guidance or consultation.

    Please feel free to ask any questions to us.