Test / Graduate

What kind of immigration issues do I face once I arrive in Japan?

Students will need to take care of obtaining re-entry permission at the local immigration bureau and also for obtaining a work permit if you work during your stay.

What kinds of jobs do alumni find?

Alumni of Sokendai took a position at universities/research institute as an assistant professor or a postdoctoral research fellow. Some people found a job at companies. For the detail, please click here

Are there any work opportunities in the program?

Yes. Depending on needs and availability, some of our students are hired as research assistants by their supervisors.

Can I visit NII under a summer program?

Yes. We accept students under the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science summer program (see which is implemented jointly with Sokendai. This allows young pre- and post-doctoral researchers from the USA, Canada and Europe to receive orientation in Japanese culture and to work under the guidance of a host researcher in Japan. The period of the program is two months during the summer (late June through August).]

Can I change my supervisor after enrollment?

Although you can change, please deliberate and decide it in prior of enrollment as much as you can.

Degree / Program

Who awards my degree?

The Graduate University for Advanced Studies ('Sokendai') awards all the degrees. The National Institute of Informatics in its role as the Informatics Program in Sokendai undertakes the role of training and teaching.

What is the supervision system?

Each student receives advanced tuition on their individual dissertation topic from an Advisor. Additionally up to two sub-advisors will be assigned to provide extra guidance. While the advisor is considered to be the main point of contact for academic training, the sub-advisor(s) play a key role in offering an alternative perspective on the student's research. Additionally, each foreign student will be assigned a tutor from the senior Japanese students who will help them settle in to life at NII and Tokyo.

Do you have an internship program?

Yes we do. NII's internship program is focused on universities and institutes which we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with listed universities . We circulate a call for applications to those universities once a year consisting of topics that have been proposed by NII researchers. Interns who are accepted are normally invited to work at NII for up to six months.
Please also see question 18.

Can I apply to the doctoral program with only an undergraduate degree?

Possibly. In general we require students to the Three-year Doctoral Program to have or expect to receive a master's degree in some subject relevant to their doctoral study. However if you have equivalent research experience to a master's degree (for example you have been working in a private research institute) then Sokendai will consider this on a case-by-case basis. For the Five-year Doctoral Program an undergraduate degree is fine.

If I applied last year and was not admitted can I apply again this year?

Yes. You will need to resubmit all application materials.

How long does it take to complete the PhD program?

We have both Three-year Doctoral Program for students who are already in possession of a master's degree or equivalent experience and a Five-year Doctoral Program for students with an undergraduate degree.

Applications / Student Life

Is there a spring admission?

Yes. We have admissions for both the spring and fall semesters. The spring term admission though is aimed more at residents of Japan or those who will be self supporting and will not apply for a Japanese government scholarship.

Is it possible to visit NII and the School of Informatics?

We encourage applicants to attend the NII Open House and the guidance lecture which is given there. Open House is held once a year usually in the early summer and is a good chance to meet researchers and our students. Apart from this visits to NII should be arranged through your prospective supervisor.

Should I contact faculty members directly?

Yes. You should feel free to contact individual professors with specific questions about their research and to discuss whether they will be able to supervise you on the doctoral course.

Is Japanese language a requirement to enter the International course?

No. The International course is aimed at English speaking students and all of the lectures and supervision can be given in English. Japanese language capability though will certainly help your daily life in Japan and we provide free language classes for our students.

How can I receive the latest brochures, application forms and other relevant information?

You can view them online at or request them from.

Do I need to come to NII for an interview?

No. If you live outside Japan we usually conduct a remote interview based on an Internet presentation (e.g. using Skype). Your proposed supervisor and several other faculty members will attend the interview.

What kinds of housing are available for students?

Since Sokendai is a distributed university throughout Japan we do not have regular student dormitories. All our students are housed in private apartments within a convenient travel distance of NII. Our graduate school office maintains a list of accommodation agencies and supports students and their supervisors in finding suitable accommodation.

What kind of support is there for visa applications?

When students enter into Japan to enroll in our university, we arrange for the Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) for obtaining the student status visa at the Japanese Consulate in their country. Basically international students must obtain the "college student" status visa in order to enter Japanese universities. We also support students at the visa renewal or the changing status of residence after their enrollments.

Informatics Program, Graduate Institute for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

国立大学法人 総合研究大学院大学 大学共同利用機関法人 情報・システム研究機構 国立情報学研究所 / National Institute of Informatics